15 Best Clarinets For Beginners, Intermediates & Professionals

Best clarinets for beginners

Are you planning to buy a new clarinet?

Let us help you out with our pick of the best clarinets on the market today.

We will show you all kinds of models, from budget-friendly clarinets for beginners to intermediate and professional instruments.

And in our buyer’s guide, we’ll take you through all the things you have to factor in when buying a clarinet.

Purchasing a new instrument doesn’t have to be tricky or hard, even if you’re a beginner. If you have enough information, it will be a smooth and enjoyable process!

So, let’s start with the 15 best clarinets on the market today.

15 Best Clarinets

1. Yamaha YCL-CSVR Series Professional Bb Clarinet

Yamaha YCL-CSVR Series Professional Bb Clarinet

As one of the best clarinet brands and the best instrument manufacturers in general, Yamaha has created fantastic Custom series.

The Yamaha YCL-CSVR is arguably the most beloved model from the series.

It produces a wonderful, rich sound and provides excellent responsiveness.

Its redesigned keys are made for comfortable playing and ergonomic hand placement. They have thicker silver-plating for a darker tone.

On top of that, the Yamaha YCL-CSVR Clarinet features durable leather pads, a custom barrel design, and an adjustable thumb rest.

And with the grenadilla wood body, it will surely last you a long time.

All in all, it’s a beautiful, durable instrument that will meet the requirements of clarinet players of all levels including professionals.

Pros 

  • High-quality materials
  • Fantastic sound
  • Comfortable
  • Well-designed

Cons

  • A bit pricey for beginners

2. Yamaha YCL-255 Beginner Clarinet

 Yamaha YCL-255 Beginner Clarinet

If you’re a beginner and the previous Yamaha model has intimidated you a little, we have a perfect clarinet for you.

The Yamaha YCL-255 is one of the best clarinets for beginners and intermediate students.

It’s made of plastic materials so it’s much more affordable as well.

However, this entry-level clarinet imitates the look of a wooden clarinet, so it has a really beautiful appearance.

The tone it produces is also similar to that of a wood clarinet. It’s very warm and resonant.

And the ABS resin body with a matte finish makes it durable.

So, if you’re an aspiring student looking for a reliable clarinet to practice on, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha YCL-255 Beginner Clarinet.

Pros

  • High-quality sound
  • Looks great
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Durable

Cons

  • More expensive than some beginner models

3. Mendini by Cecilio MCT

 Mendini by Cecilio MCT

If you’re searching for a budget-friendly clarinet, you should check out this unique-looking clarinet by Mendini.

It will cost you around $100 and you’ll get everything you need with it.

The accessories include a case, a mouthpiece, a box of 10 reeds, cork grease, a cleaning cloth, gloves, a pocketbook, and a stand. It’s a real clarinet starter kit!

And you can choose from different colors. This is especially interesting for younger players.

Also, this model is made from high-grade plastic cast topped with nickel-plated keys. You’ll get a 1-year warranty against the manufacturer’s defects.

As it’s inexpensive and easy to play, the Mendini by Cecilio MCT is a good option for beginners and recreational clarinet players.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Comes with all the accessories
  • Available in different colors

Cons

  • Sound quality could be better

4.  Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet

Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet

The Jean Paul USA CL-300 is a great student clarinet for improving your skills.

It’s also an affordable option since it costs around $200. That’s a really low price, but coming from Jean Paul, you can rest assured that you’ll get a reliable instrument.

Either way, the Jean Paul USA CL-300 produces a nice, clear sound.

It’s made from ebonite and it has nickel-plated keys.

The Boehm 17 key system provides good responsiveness and playability.

And it comes with all the necessary accessories: a robust case, Rico reeds, gloves, a cleaning cloth, and cork grease.

It’s really a great clarinet for beginner and intermediate students.

Pros

  • Great playability and responsiveness
  • Good build-quality
  • Clear sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Metal keys might be prone to bending

5. Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet 

Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet 

When thinking about the best clarinet brands, Buffet Crampon certainly comes to mind.

The Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet was created by Robert Carrée back in 1955 and it’s still a favorite among professionals.

It’s made from high-quality grenadilla wood and, therefore, produces a beautiful, full sound. The sound is even across all registers of the clarinet.

And the R13’s 3-step poly cylindrical bore adds extra resonance.

This stunning instrument is also very durable and resilient, and metal rings on the edge prevent cracking.

Depending on what kind of tone you like, you can choose from nickel silver, and silver-plated keys. And you’ll get a ligature, cap, and a case in the package.

Without a doubt, the Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet is a top-notch instrument that won’t let you down.

Pros   

  • Made from grenadilla wood
  • Well-designed
  • Beautiful sound
  • Durable

Cons

  • A mouthpiece is not included

6. Antigua Winds Backun Bb Wood Clarinet

Antigua Winds Backun Bb Wood Clarinet

The Antigua Winds Backun Bb Wood Clarinet is another instrument of exceptional value.

It’s popular among experienced jazz players.

It provides an amazing playing experience and a beautiful sound.

It features a premium-grade Grenadilla wood body and power-forged nickel-silver keys. And it comes with high-end black Valentino pads.

The Antigua Winds Backun Bb Clarinet is bored and machined at Backun Musical Services in Canada.

So, you’ll get a professional instrument that won’t disappoint you. And you’ll even get a lifetime warranty.

The package includes a cap, ligature, cork grease, and a mouthpiece.

Pros

  • Well-constructed
  • High-quality pads and barrels
  • Beautiful sound
  • Lifetime warranty

7. Selmer Privilege Bass Clarinet

Selmer Privilege Bass Clarinet

Just like all the clarinets mentioned above, bass clarinets are pitched in B flat but they sound an octave lower than the Bb clarinet.

They have a wider tone range and darker timbre, and they are physically larger.

The Selmer Privilege Bass Clarinet is designed for all kinds of performances.

It has ergonomic keywork for a natural and comfortable playing position.

And it’s made from quality materials: it has upper and lower joints in ebony, leather pads fitted with metal resonators, and stainless steel needle springs.

The Selmer Privilege Bass Clarinet is an ideal clarinet for experienced players searching for a distinctive, darker sound.

Pros

  • High-quality materials
  • Great sound
  • Compact (has a two-piece body)
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Pricey

8. Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet

Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet

The Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet is a great choice for students and intermediate players.

It’s reliable, affordable, and easy to play.

It has the ABS resin body protecting it from cracking. It also has nickel-silver keys and an adjustable thumb rest.

With the good build quality, the Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet produces a very nice, rich tone.

And it has a smooth matt finish so it’s eye-catching as well.

All in all, it’s a beautiful, resilient clarinet ideal for regular practice.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Well-designed
  • Good sound quality
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • It’s not made of wood (which shouldn’t be an issue for beginners though)

9.  Cecilio CT-380

Cecilio CT-380

If you want to buy a wooden clarinet but you’re not ready for a big investment, the Cecilio CT-380 is for you.

It features a solid rosewood body, silver-plated keys, and quality Italian pads.

Considering it costs less than $500, that’s a pretty good deal.

It’s in standard Bb key so it’s suitable both for students and marching bands.

Moreover,  the Cecilio CT-380  comes with a hard-shell case, a mouthpiece, a box of 10 reeds, cork grease, a cleaning cloth, and a pair of gloves.

You’ll also get a 1-year warranty against the manufacturer’s defects.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Good build quality
  • Versatile
  • Comes with all the accessories

Cons

  • A bit heavier than some other options

10. Selmer CL211

Selmer CL211

The Selmer CL211 is a fantastic clarinet suitable for players of all levels of experience.

It produces a warm, focused tone.

It’s made from aged grenadilla wood so it’s just as beautiful in appearance.

Without a doubt, the Selmer CL211 is a top-notch clarinet that will satisfy even the most experienced players.

Its sophisticated design is topped with CL211’s undercut tone holes producing a smoother sound.

All things considered, it’s a great option for all kinds of players, although it might be a bit advanced for first-time beginners.

Pros

  • Smooth sound
  • Excellent build quality
  • Looks great
  • Suitable for different levels

Cons

  • Might be too pricey for beginners

11. Buffet Crampon Tosca Bb Clarinet

Buffet Crampon Tosca Bb Clarinet

As it’s expected from a Buffet Crampon instrument, this clarinet will ensure you outstanding performance.

Tosca clarinet is one of the favorites among professional musicians.

It has a distinctive, rich timbre and sonority.

That comes as no surprise since it’s available in grenadilla wood and in the Green LinE composite material.

You can also choose between a silver and gold-plated finish.

After all, experienced players know exactly what they want in a clarinet.

Pros

  • Exceptional value
  • Rich timbre
  • High-quality materials
  • Comes in different finishes and materials

Cons

  • Pricey

12. Gemeinhardt 2CN1 Student Bb Clarinet

Gemeinhardt 2CN1 Student Bb Clarinet

Another good student clarinet worth taking into consideration is the Gemeinhardt 2CN1 Student Bb Clarinet.

It’s in E flat key and it produces a nice, even sound.

It has an ABS resin body with a wood-like finish. It’s not a wooden clarinet, but strong body materials make it durable.

It also has forged nickel-plated keys, durable steel rings, and thumb rest.

Another benefit is the clarinet’s signature bore design with inset and undercut holes.

And it’s quite affordable (but not too cheap).

Pros 

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Good sound
  • Well-designed

Cons

  • It’s not made of wood

13. Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet

Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet

The Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet is another popular clarinet among students.

It comes completely set up and ready to play. And you’ll get a deluxe carrying case.

This student clarinet has a low price so it’s great for anyone on a budget.

It’s well-designed, easy to play, and produces a nice, rich sound.

Although it’s categorized as an intermediate clarinet, it’s probably the best for beginners.

So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly clarinet that will help you improve your skills, the Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet might be a good start.

Pros

  • Easy to play
  • Nice sound
  • Great price

Cons

  • Might be difficult to keep in tune

14. Yamaha YCL-650

Yamaha YCL-650

The Yamaha YCL-650 is a professional clarinet for seasoned musicians.

It features a grenadilla wood body and silver-plated key work.

Due to the cylindrical bore design, it’s very free blowing. And it comes with the 4C Yamaha mouthpiece for an even better playing experience.

Moreover, the bell features a solid resonance chamber for superior sound.

And the clarinet generally offers quick action and excellent responsiveness.

As you can see, the Yamaha YCL-650 is designed to provide perfect intonation and a full, consistent sound. 

And its natural finish makes it look amazing in appearance as well.

Pros  

  • Outstanding build quality
  • Looks beautiful
  • Highly responsive
  • Precise intonation

Cons 

  • Pricey

15. Vento VE9304E Professional Clarinet

Vento VE9304E Professional Clarinet

We’re rounding up this list with another clarinet for advancing players.

The Vento VE9304E Professional Clarinet is a perfect fit for bands and orchestras.

It features an ebony Granadilla woody construction and, therefore, provides precise intonation and a beautiful, rich sound.

It features undercut tone holes so it’s highly responsive.

Due to its adjustable thumb rest and efficient design, it’s easy and comfortable to play.

All in all, the Vento VE9304E Professional Clarinet has everything that a professional stage clarinet should offer.

And it’s a great option for advancing intermediate players as well.

Pros

  • Highly responsive
  • Great intonation and sound
  • Comfortable
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Some other professional models are more popular

How To Choose The Best Clarinet For You

When there are so many great options on the market, finding a perfect clarinet might seem like the mission impossible.

But the thing is, you don’t have to search for a perfect clarinet. You just have to find the one that works for you.

And to be able to do that, you need to know what you’re looking for.

Firstly, you should determine what type of clarinet you want to buy and what is your level of experience. Even if you’re just a beginner, but you practice regularly, you might want to consider some intermediate models.

Also, before going to the music store or a webshop, you need to decide on the price range. What is the acceptable price of your new instrument? Do you want to opt for a budget-friendly clarinet to try it out or a long-term investment?

Best clarinets and clarinet buyer's guide

When you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to narrow down the choices.

However, there are other things you should consider before buying a new clarinet.

The clarinet is a delicate instrument, and all of its parts play a role in the overall performance and playing experience.

These elements might be confusing for beginners.

To make your buying process easier, especially if you’re new to this, we’ll take you through the important things you need to factor in to choose the best clarinet for you.

Types of the Clarinet

The Bb clarinet (or soprano clarinet) is the most common type of clarinet.

It’s popular among students and teachers and used in different music genres.

Most of the models we included in our list are Bb clarinets.

The A clarinet is another soprano clarinet with a rich, more delicate sound. It’s popular in orchestras and chamber music.

The bass clarinet is also very popular and versatile. It’s larger than its counterparts, and it can produce a darker tone.

The alto clarinet is also quite big (don’t mistake it for saxophone.) It has a distinctive low pitch.

There are some other less popular clarinets such as the basset clarinet, the piccolo clarinet, and the C clarinet.

All of these types are interesting to explore, but for new players, we recommend the standard Bb clarinet.

Materials

Just as they come in different sizes, clarinets come in different materials.

More expensive professional models are usually made of high-quality wood such as Grenadilla wood. These materials have excellent tonal quality but they, on the other hand, require more maintenance.

Clarinet buying guide

Less expensive clarinets are usually made of ABS resin and other kinds of plastic. They are durable but mostly recommended for beginners.

Although many would agree that wooden clarinets are generally much better, a plastic clarinet is more than suitable for students.

The keys of the clarinet are usually constructed from metal (nickel or brass alloy.) A silver-plated keywork is also popular among student clarinets.

And when it comes to mouthpieces, they are most often made from hard rubber, brass (or some other metal), plastic, and wood.

A mouthpiece material can make a big difference in sound, so make sure you choose something to your liking.

Ebonite (hard rubber) mouthpieces tend to produce a more focused sound, but plastic mouthpieces are the most common among beginners.

Accessories

Clarinets usually come with all the necessary accessories so you won’t have to spend extra money to complete your kit.

Most packages include a mouthpiece, a ligature and cap, a polishing cloth, cork grease, and reeds.

Good clarinet reeds are important for every player. The most popular brands are Rico and Vandoren.

Clarinet Reeds

Having a quality barrel can also improve your sound significantly.

However, replacing certain parts of the clarinet is something that seasoned players do. If you’re a beginner, the accessories and parts you get with your new clarinet will do you just fine.

Price

The price of the clarinet varies a lot.

High-end clarinets are usually an investment. Most of the professional models on our list cost from $2,000 to $3,000. And that’s quite an affordable price for a professional model.

On the other hand, you can find a beginner-friendly clarinet for less than $300.

However, cheaper instruments are, of course, made from cheaper materials. But if you’re just starting out, a plastic clarinet (that is more affordable) will be a good start.

And when you improve your skills, you will probably want to consider a more expensive wooden clarinet.

How to choose the best clarinet for you

In the end, the best clarinet brands strive to blend quality and affordability. Therefore, there are many quality clarinets available at a great price.

There’s a good possibility to find a very good deal. You just have to figure out what your priorities are.

What is the best clarinet for you?

We know that with all the great models on the market, finding an ideal clarinet is not an easy task.

You need to factor in the clarinet’s type, size, materials, and features.

But with proper research, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and buy an instrument that suits your needs.

With the help of buying guides and clarinet reviews, you can gather valuable information. All of these suggestions and product reviews are based on the opinions of experienced, knowledgeable musicians.

After all, student clarinets are categorized like that for a reason. They are not only cheaper; they require less tuning and they are easy to play.

If you want to make the best out of your clarinet practice, you shouldn’t opt for a model that isn’t designed for your level.

Your clarinet should help you improve your skills and allow you to practice smoothly. It should be comfortable to play and produce a full, even sound across the registers.

It also shouldn’t feel too heavy. That’s another reason why the standard Bb clarinets are a better choice for students than alto or bass clarinet.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to play the clarinet is very rewarding. It’s a very versatile and fun instrument to play.

But if you want to have an easy learning process, you’ll have to practice on a clarinet that is suitable for you.

Choosing a suitable clarinet is not so easy, regardless of your level of experience.

There are many things to factor in, from the clarinet’s type to size, features, and materials.

If you’re a newcomer, we hope our clarinet buyer’s guide helped you understand what to look for in a clarinet.

And our pick of the best clarinets contains some models for seasoned players as well.

Either way, buying a new instrument is always exciting, and we’re sure you’ll make the right choice and start enjoying your new clarinet very soon!

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