Finding a good beginner clarinet for a good price can be very difficult. Why is this important? For beginners, learning with a quality instrument is crucial. While plastic models are considered very durable and can survive the wear and tear from young players, they do not last forever. There are also clarinets that are made of a composite of wood and plastic that produce a good sound. It is important for students to have an instrument that works well, to avoid frustrations they would encounter with low-quality instruments. Looking for a beginner clarinet for a good price? Not sure where to begin? The following guide can help you find the best student clarinets on the market within your budget.
Yamaha YCL – 255. Yamaha has had a long history of making high-quality orchestral and band instruments. The newly redesigned YCL-255 is made out of a resin matte body, has an adjustable thumb-rest with a strap ring, nickel-plated keys, and comes with a 65mm barrel. The adjustable thumb-rest and neck strap accommodates players with small hands. The student level clarinets are reliable, well-made, and long lasting.
Out of all the beginner clarinet models, the Yamaha YCL–255 is the closest to sounding like a wooden model. The matte finish makes it aesthetically appealing and has a redesigned bell for enhanced intonation. Click here to find the current price of the Yamaha YCL–255 clarinets.
- Level: Standard
- Key of: Bb
- Fingering: Boehm
- Key System: 17 keys, 6 rings
- Barrel Length: 65mm
- Body Material: Matte ABS Resin
- Barrel Material: Matte ABS Resin
- Bell Material: Matte ABS Resin
- Key Material: Nickel, Silver
- Plating: Nickel
- Bore: Molded
- Tone Holes: Straight tone holes with tapered undercut
- Thumb Rest: Adjustable with strap ring
- Mouthpiece: Yamaha 4C
- Mouthpiece: Cap Plastic
- Ligature: Nickel-plated
- Pad Type: Valentino
- Spring Type: Stainless Steel
- Posts: Threaded
Backun Alpha Bb Clarinet. This clarinet is comprised of a blend of synthetic material for maximum resonance and durability and designed as the optimal indoor and outdoor student clarinet. This clarinet is stable, resonant, and has a lightweight synthetic body, water-resistant black Valentino pads, durable and ergonomic key work, and an adjustable thumb rest with neck strap ring. The left E-flat lever is a special-order item. The current price range can be found here.
- Bore: Backun Bore with under-cut tone holes
- Pitch: Bb
- Material: Proprietary Synthetic Material
- Pads: Custom Black Valentino
- Key Style: Backun Design, Nickel-plated
- Barrel: Alpha Stock Barrel – 65mm
- Case: Alpha Backpack Case
Buffet Prodige. The characteristics of this instrument include, “tone, ergonomics, and reliability.” This clarinet was inspired by the E13 model that allows for more ease. Another update from the E13 is the improvements made to the bell and a textured bore. These adjustments allow a young musician to learn how to produce a great sound at a reasonable price. Find out more about the Prodige here.
This Prodige is an improvement from the Buffet B12 and is the most inexpensive in comparison to the Yamaha YCL–255 and the Backun Alpha clarinets.
- Key: Bb
- Pitch: 442 Hz
- Body: Co-polymeric ABS, Poly-cylindrical bore inspired by the E13 model, Barrel 65mm
- Keywork: 17 or 18 keys, 6 rings, Eb lever in option, Silver or nickel-plated, New adjustable thumb rest, Rubber dampers, Blue steel springs
- Pads: Leather
- Mouthpiece: Urban Play, black
- Case: Backpack or ABS case
- BC2541-2: Silver-plated finish
- BC2541L-2: Silver-plated finish, with Eb lever
- BC2541-5: Nickel-plated finish
- BC2541L-5: Nickel-plated finish, with Eb lever
Uebel Étude. The Étude has a special low resistance design that makes it a joy to play and very accessible to beginners. Its innovative combination of ABS – plastic body with a naturally dried Grenadilla wood barrel offers unparalleled richness of tone and ease of playing to both newcomers and professionals looking for a beautiful sounding alternative to outdoor playing and orchestra pits. Click here to find out more about the pricing.
- Key: Bb
- Keywork: 17 keys, 6 rings, ergonomically optimized design, Eb lever, silver-plated keywork
- Body: ABS body
- Thumb rest: Adjustable ergonomic thumbrest
- Barrels: 2 grenadilla-barrels
- Pads: leather pads
- Mouthpiece: FAU mouthpiece
- Ligature: Rovner ligature
- Additional: Vandoren reed, comfortable case
Clarinets to avoid. Avoid purchasing unbranded, cheap clarinets, as they are difficult to put together and take apart. If the clarinet is difficult to put together and take apart, students won’t want to practice. It may also look good out of the box, but quickly wear due to regular use that results in the plating wearing off. In short, cheap clarinets may save you money, but ultimately hold the student back in the long run.
Finding the best beginner clarinet is an investment. Currently these models are priced between $475 to $1,200. This range depends on whether the instrument is used or new, whether it has nickel or silver plating, and the added e-flat lever, which are all additional costs. Contact a local professional in your area who will be able to assist you in buying a quality beginner instrument, making you more likely to continue playing. A good quality beginner clarinet will provide you with the confidence to learn music.