If you want to enjoy the tunes of various musical instruments, then you should also be willing to attend multiple musical events.
For instance, orchestras, jazz, and marching bands are famous for proudly displaying various reed instruments, one of them being the Clarinet.
The Clarinet is an easy-to-play device, and the fact that it’s fun-filled makes it favorable for schools to use it as the first means to introduce their students to the reed instruments family.
Some schools will advise parents to buy one for their kids or rent it out from specific/numerous suppliers.
But before you do that, it’s critical to know how to select the best student clarinet, according to their needs.
That’s what today’s article is all about. Keep reading to find out more.
Best Student Clarinets In 2021 Reviewed
What Is the Difference Between a Student Clarinet and a Professional Clarinet?
Most of us know that a student clarinet is much cheaper than a professional clarinet, mainly due to its simplicity.
But apart from price, what other differences are there between a student and a professional clarinet? Let’s find out, together:
The first difference you will notice between these two types of clarinets is how different their material construction is.
You see, most manufacturers will readily use top-notch materials to build professional instruments and medium to lower-end for student/beginner musical instruments.
Because most students are still learning, so, they really don’t need a high-end clarinet for that. You will realize that they practice pretty well with any decent instrument and can only upgrade once they’re confident with their skills.
As for professionals, they are already out there in the world, trying to compete for the audience with other performers, so they have to use the best instruments. And this refers to the general outlook and the internal construction, as it mostly affects the quality of sound produced.
Therefore, it’s normal for companies to preserve the best materials they can have for a professional clarinet, as opposed to a student one.
If you have been in the musical scenes for long or simply have sharp ears, then it’s pretty easy to differentiate tones made by professional and student clarinets.
When you use a professional instrument, it’s easy to project your best sound as opposed to when using a student clarinet.
Most of the time, this is as a result of the high-end construction materials used to make the expert instruments. And of course, the full-range intonation features that most student clarinets don’t have.
Most student instruments produce brighter/thinner sounds. But this can change with the use of a quality clarinet mouthpiece, which students rarely give attention to.
Most pro horns have Keyworks that play really smooth, and are amazingly quiet. And although student instrument tends to mimic this feature, they really can’t match up.
If you’ve been using a student instrument and have the chance to use a professional one even for a minute, you will immediately realize what you’ve been missing.
Professional instruments require a lot of work than student clarinets. And this is evident in the manufacturing process.
The student instruments are labeled as “good enough” pretty early, and some essential procedures meant to make them the best that there are skipped. And then comes the cheaper accessories and much more.
On the other hand, professional clarinets are labeled “good enough” at the final steps of manufacturing, after all the necessary steps have been followed. Plus, the accompanying accessories are also expensive and of top-notch quality.
But this isn’t to mean that student clarinets’ sounds are worse than professional instruments. The best way to describe them is that they aren’t well refined. They are projected prematurely from the conveyor belt and end-up sounding so.
Types of Clarinets
Unlike most assumptions that the term Clarinet only refers to the Bb Clarinets, the musical scenes are actually filled with several types of clarinets. And they are used to play various kinds of music.
The most common include:
This is the most popular type of Clarinet. And this could be because it can be comfortably used for several kinds of music.
The Bb Clarinet is prominently used in jazz bands, marching bands, and swing, among others.
There is a wide range of music being written for the Bb Clarinet, and this is why most students aspire to learn it first.
Also, if you would like to try out playing other wind instruments such as the flute and the saxophone, then you might want to consider starting with the Bb clarinets as they are easy to learn.
The Eb Clarinet is famously referred to as the soprano instrument.
And you can easily spot it being used in various concert bands and orchestras to produce high melodies.
Also, because of the high tones produced by this Clarinet, it requires a few advanced skills to plus, therefore making it beginner unfriendly.
So, if you are an experienced clarinet player and would like to try a more challenging instrument, then the EB clarinet makes a perfect choice.
The bass clarinet might not be as famous as the Eb clarinet, but it also has a good number of performers.
If you want to see it in action, you can always visit the jazz bands, pop music concerts or the classical performances, for a glimpse at how good it can get.
The primary identifying feature of this Clarinet, apart from its fuller tone, is its enormous size, which is bigger than all other types of clarinets.
And because of this, performers usually strategically place it on the floor. In fact, when in setting, you can easily confuse it with a saxophone at first glance.
The A clarinets come 2nd in the ranking of the most famous instruments in the clarinet family.
It’s mainly used by classical music performers. And most of the time, it’s used together with the Bb clarinet.
This is because it’s pretty hard to successfully transpose parts meant to be played on the A clarinet for the Bb instrument. And even if you do is right, it won’t sound good.
As its name suggests, this type of Clarinet is meant to produce harmonies, instead of the typical melodies.
You will, however, have to make a particular order for this kind at your local/ online music store as they aren’t so popular and readily available as the Bb clarinets.
There are also other kinds of clarinets, though not common and they include:
- Basset Horn
- C Clarinet
- Basset Clarinet
- Piccolo Clarinet
- D Clarinet, among others.
How Do I Choose A Student Clarinet the Right Way?
Choosing the correct Clarinet is an essential step in playing right. But for that, you’ve to consider the following:
Examine the Material
Clarinet’s body material matter a lot. As a beginner, you would want to avoid handmade-wood instruments, because they will literally cost you an arm and a leg.
Instead, go for the Ebonite or Bakelite, which are substantially durable enough to withstand a student player’s constant wear and tear.
The good thing is that they don’t cost much, which is a plus.
And as I had already mentioned earlier, your instrument’s material construction mostly impacts the quality of sound produced.
And although the instruments made of hard rubber and plastic materials won’t be as rich as a wooden clarinet, they are decent and good enough for a student.
Identify the Key
For a student, the most basic Clarinet you will need is one with a B-flat key. It will, in the right way, prepare for most band performances and will get you comfortable around any kind of music.
And this makes an excellent starting point. You can narrow down as you progress.
Besides, the other keys are most popular among professionals are a bit difficult to learn, but easy to transition to once you learn the standard key B.
Check Out the Key System
You have to choose a clarinet with the correct fingering position. This should be easy for a student instrument as they’re usually around 17.
So, you really don’t have to apply a lot of mechanisms around the keys.
Most manufacturers, including the brands reviewed in this article, include some extras in their packages.
If you’re an on-budget student, you might want to check what they include to cut-off extra costs.
At the minimum, ensure the package includes reeds, cleaning cloth, cork grease, mouthpiece cleaning brush, and a weighted cloth for the insides.
Is the Pricing Within Budget? What About A Warranty?
A student clarinet should be affordable. Most of them will cost you around $100-$170. So, if you’re a parent and your kid’s school is suggesting that you decide between purchasing and renting one, it’s better to buy.
You can upgrade to a good one once your child is sure about their musical journey.
And while at it, check any warranty information and know what to expect.
FAQs About The Best Student Clarinets
What Brand of Clarinet Is Best for A Student?
There are various top clarinet brands in the current market. And the most famous of them all include Jean Paul, Yamaha, Buffet, and Selmer.
Therefore, you can freely choose from them depending on your budget and preference.
How Much Does A Decent Clarinet Cost?
A decent quality brand-new student Clarinet should cost you from around $400. You can also find plastic Clarinets, which are much cheaper and equally good.
Are Wooden Clarinets Better Than Plastic?
The main difference between the plastic and wooden clarinets is that the wooden ones have an excellent keywork and offer a smooth play. The tone between the two rarely changes.
The wooden ones tend to last longer with higher maintenance costs while the plastic instruments are low maintenance, thus favorable for students.
How Long Do Wooden Clarinets Last?
If it doesn’t crack and with regular maintenance and proper adjustments, a good wooden clarinet can last as long as your lifetime.
So, I would say it depends on you (the player), the environment you store it in, and the general climate within your area.
Are All Clarinets B Flat?
No, they aren’t. There are various types of clarinets: the A clarinet, the Bass clarinet, Eb clarinet, and harmony clarinets, among others.
As a clarinet student, you need the correct type of instrument to make your training sessions easy.
The list of the best student clarinets we have provided in this article isn’t exhaustive, but it compiles all the top brands that you should consider.
We, therefore, hope it will make your work easier so that you get to enjoy playing within no time.
Happy shopping, and all the best in your musical journey!