16 Best Student Clarinets for Beginners in 2020

Buying your first student clarinet can be an exciting experience, but it can also be confusing with so many choices on the market. When I first bought my clarinet, I remember that I didn’t even know what key it played in or what it was made of! I simply went to a large wholesale store and picked the cheapest instrument to bring to my first band class.

Some of the Best Student Clarinets on the Market

I’ll start this article off by reviewing some of my favorite clarinets for beginners, but I also put together a clarinet information guide at the bottom of the page here that covers everything you’d ever want to know while purchasing your first clarinet. Even if you have no clarinet experience or are looking to own one after some time with a rental, this guide includes everything from technical details to general topics about the clarinet.

Name of ProductImage of ProductDescriptionPrice RangeFull Review
1. Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet (Best Overall)Jean Paul USA CL 300 Student ClarinetBody material: Ebonite
Keywork: Nickel
$190Read Full Review Below
2. Eastar ECL-300 Black Ebonite B Flat Student Clarinet (Best Value)Eastar ECL 300 Black Ebonite B Flat Student ClarinetBody Material: ABS Bakelite
Keywork: Nickel-plated
$100Read Full Review Below
3. Yamaha YCL 255 Standard B-flat Clarinet (Best High-End)Yamaha YCL 255 Standard B-flat ClarinetBody material: ABS Resin
Keywork: Nickel Silver
$605Read Full Review Below
4. Selmer SCL711 Prelude Student Clarinet (Best mid-range)Selmer SCL711 Prelude Student ClarinetBody material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel silver Keys
$400Read Full Review Below
5. Benjamin Adams CL 100 Student Bb Clarinet OutfitBenjamin Adams CL 100 Student Bb Clarinet OutfitBody material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel-plated
$200Read Full Review Below
6. Buffet Crampon Premium Student ClarinetBuffet Crampon Premium Student ClarinetBody material: Co-polymetric ABS
Keywork: silver plated, black nickel-plated tenon rings
$795Read Full Review Below
7. Backun Alpha Bb ClarinetBackun Alpha Bb ClarinetBody material: blend of synthetic material
Keywork: nickel or silver
$1020Read Full Review Below
8. Jupiter JCL700NA Student ABS Bb Clarinet Jupiter JCL700NA Student ABS Bb ClarinetBody material: ABS
Keywork: Nickel-Plated Silver Keys
$1000Read Full Review Below
9. Jean Baptiste CL290 Premium Student Clarinet outfitJean Baptiste CL290 Premium Student Clarinet outfitBody material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel-plated
$420Read Full Review Below
10. Etude Student Clarinet Model ECL-100 Standard Etude Student Clarinet Model ECL 100 StandardBody material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel
$130Read Full Review Below
11. EASTROCK Clarinet Bb FlatEASTROCK Clarinet Bb FlatBody material: ebonite
Keywork: Nickel plated
$130Read Full Review Below
12. Herche Superior Bb ClarinetHerche Superior Bb ClarinetBody material: ABS resin
Keywork: Nickel plated
$260Read Full Review Below
13. Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with CaseHisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with CaseBody material: Ebonite
Keywork: Nickel silver
$140Read Full Review Below
14. Mendini by Cecilio B Flat Beginner Student ClarinetMendini by Cecilio B Flat Beginner Student ClarinetBody material: Ebonite
Keywork: Nickel plated
$100Read Full Review Below
15. Lazarro 150 150-BK-L B-Flat Bb ClarinetLazarro 150 B flat ClarinetBody material: Hard resin ebonite or ABS plastic body
Keywork: Gold colored or nickel-plated keys
$85Read Full Review Below
16. Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet Glory B Flat Black Ebonite ClarinetBody material: High-grade black ebonite
Keywork: Nickel-plated
$75Read Full Review Below

Here Are Our Favorite Student Clarinets

1. Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet (Best Overall)

Jean Paul USA CL 300 Student Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $190

My Review: This is an affordable student clarinet that is well made and durable. It is perfect for someone starting to learn and needs an instrument that can be played in outdoor and indoor settings. It is easy to play and has a nice tone due to the ebonite materials used in the body of the instrument. It also comes with all of the accessories to immediately get started with playing. The features and specs themselves seem basic, but it shines in the quality of materials.  Considering the price and quality, we can’t write a page about the best student clarinets available in 2020 without highlighting the Jean Paul USA CL-300 student clarinet! I would recommend this instrument to any beginner.

Key Specs / Features: Although it lacks stand-out features, the reliability and quality of the basic materials make up for it.

Key: B-flat
Body material: Ebonite
Keywork: Nickel
Thumbrest: Adjustable
Barrels: 2 different sizes

Build Materials: This clarinet is made of an ebonite body, which means that it has a richer tone color than clarinets made from ABS material. The keys are also nickel plated so it is durable and friendly for those with silver allergies.

Included Accessories: 

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Soft carrying case
  • Basic care kit
  • Reeds

Finish and Appearance: This instrument has an elegant matte finish on its ebonite body. It looks professional and could be used in many different performance settings.

Who will use this the most: I would recommend this clarinet to beginner students who need an affordable instrument that will still be durable. It’s also perfect for those who have never touched a clarinet. It includes all of the basic accessories needed to start playing right out of the box.

Bottom line: Affordability and quality meet to create a great student clarinet, featuring an ebonite body for a rich tone. It includes all of the basic accessories needed to start playing the instrument.

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2. Eastar ECL-300 Black Ebonite B Flat Student Clarinet (Best Value)

Eastar ECL 300 Black Ebonite B Flat Student Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $100

My Review: This Eastar clarinet boasts many advanced features within an extremely affordable price. It is an easy to play, reliable instrument with a resonant sound. The key work is surprisingly good for this price range, which means greater flexibility when playing fast. There may be some problems with quality control that can’t be helped because this is one of the most inexpensive clarinets on the market. However, when compared with other clarinets around $100, the Eastar clarinet can’t be beaten!

Key Specs / Features: The key features in this instrument include the double sheep casing pads, which make sure the clarinet seals properly. The high carbon steel needle springs are another great feature that ensures that the keys are less likely to lose their spring.

Key: B-flat
Body Material: ABS Bakelite
Keywork: Nickel-plated
Pads: Italian felt, double sheep casings
Needle springs: NAS High Carbon Steel
Thumb rest: Adjustable
Barrels: 62 mm and 65 mm

Build Materials: The clarinet body is made of ABS bakelite, which is a durable material that can withstand changes in temperature and humidity. The keys, which are all nickel plated, also add to the instrument’s durability.

Included Accessories:

  • 4C mouthpiece,  metal ligature, and protective cap
  • Soft carrying case
  • Clarinet stand
  • Basic care kit
  • Reeds

Finish and Appearance: The clarinet has a matte finish with a nice professional look. It mimics the look of a wood and would look great in concert situations.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this to beginners who want an instrument with advanced features, but don’t have a big budget. Although there are some cheaper options on the market, I think that this instrument has the best value for clarinets around 100$.

Bottom Line: This instrument is feature-packed for being an affordable instrument. It is perfect for those who are just starting, but still want advanced qualities. For the money, this is easily one of the best student clarinets.

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3. Yamaha YCL 255 Standard B-flat Clarinet (Best High-End)

Yamaha YCL 255 Standard B-flat Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $605

My Review: This Yamaha clarinet is a wonderful student instrument that will hold up well over time. It’s perfect for beginning students who may want to continue playing long term. Yamaha is a brand that has beginner to professional level clarinets.  Although the price is much higher than other student instruments, it is worth the price. It is modeled after the professional line of Yamaha’s clarinets, but it’s still made out of a durable ABS resin, which makes it one of the very best student clarinets available. It also comes with Valentino pads which will withstand temperature changes and feature durability. This would be a solid choice for the serious student.

Key Specs / Features: There are many key features on this instrument such as the tapered undercut tone holes. These tone holes allow for better intonation and can be more satisfying to play. The addition of the strap ring on the thumb rest, allows students to easily add a neck strap for added support.

Key of: Bb
Body material: ABS Resin
Keywork: Nickel Silver
Tone holes: Straight tone holes with tapered undercut
Barrel: 65mm
Thumb rest: Adjustable with strap ring
Pads: Valentino
Spring: Stainless Steel

Build Materials: The clarinet body is made of ABS resin material. Unlike other plastic clarinets, this instrument boasts a warm and resonant sound due to the professional design of the instrument. The key work is nickel plated which means that it has great durability and is friendly for those with silver allergies.

Included accessories: 

  • Yamaha 4C mouthpiece, nickel plated ligature, and cap
  • Carrying case

Finish and Appearance: This instrument mimics a wooden clarinet with its matte finish. It has a professional look despite being a student instrument.

Who Will Use This Most:I would recommend this for a serious beginner student. Because of its durability, it can be played inside and outside from marching bands to indoor concerts.

Bottom Line: This clarinet is a professionally designed instrument for the serious student. It is worth the price for durability and playability.

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4. Selmer SCL711 Prelude Student Clarinet (Best mid-range)

Selmer SCL711 Prelude Student Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $400

My Review: The Selmer SCL711 is a worthwhile choice for the beginner clarinetist. Although it is a bit more expensive than some budget brands, it’s a great investment to buy a Selmer instrument. Selmer is an established company that also makes top professional clarinets. They know how to craft clarinets that are reliable and sound great! It has features that would normally appear in professional level instruments but uses durable materials like ABS plastic and nickel plated keys. The small bore size is particularly important for beginners so that they can easily play with a nice sound.

Key Specs / Features: One of the key features in this instrument is the small bore size. This allows the player to have a more focused sound and ease of playing.

Key: Bb
Body material: ABS plastic
Key work: Nickel silver Keys
Bore size: .569”
Thumb-rest: Adjustable
Pads: Bladder Pads

Build Materials: The body is made from ABS plastic, which is a durable and standard material for student clarinets. It needs less maintenance than wood and can be useful in outdoor and indoor concerts. The nickel silver keys are also great for students because of durability.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, cap, and ligature
  • Light Carrying Case
  • Basic care kit

Finish and Appearance: This Selmer instrument has a faux wood grain finish and tries to mimic a wooden instrument in both sound and appearance.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this to serious students and beginners. If the student decides to further their clarinet studies and upgrade in the future, they would already be used to the Selmer key mechanism.

Bottom Line: This is the ideal instrument for a beginner who wants a high quality instrument from a trusted brand. It has professional features using durable student-grade materials.

5. Benjamin Adams CL 100 Student Bb Clarinet Outfit

Benjamin Adams CL 100 Student Bb Clarinet Outfit

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Estimated Price: $200

My Review: This Benjamin Adams clarinet is a great fit for a beginner who is looking for an affordable and comfortable instrument. It has a great design to fit all age levels and it can be a good starter instrument. Due to its price point and durability, it is the ideal instrument to learn basic maintenance habits and responsibilities.

Key Specs / Features: One of the key features is the ergonomic design of the instrument. This allows students of all ages to be able to feel comfortable when playing the instrument.
Key: Bb
Body material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel-plated
Thumb rest: Adjustable

Build Materials: The clarinet is made from ABS plastic and nickel-plated keys. It is very durable and ideal for players needing to play in different outdoor and indoor conditions.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, cap, and ligature,
  • Case strap and carrying case
  • Basic care kit
  • Reed

Finish and Appearance: This instrument has a professional matte finish with beautiful keywork.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this to beginner students who may be concerned with finding something comfortable to hold. Depending on hand size, it can be difficult to find an instrument that can feel easy to hold and play.

Bottom Line: This is a great instrument for all ages due its ergonomic design. It also has an affordable price point and includes many accessories to immediately start playing.

6. Buffet Crampon Premium Student Clarinet

Buffet Crampon Premium Student Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $695

My Review: This is a beautifully designed instrument from a reputable clarinet brand. The design comes from years of clarinet-making and combines with affordable materials to create a wonderful student instrument. The basis of the design is from Buffet Crampon’s professional line of clarinets so the sound quality and intonation of this instrument is at a higher caliber than cheaper clarinets. Unlike other student-grade instruments, it features many high-end elements like silver plated keys and fish-skin pads. However, due to these features, it would need more maintenance and responsibility to take care of the instrument.

Key Specs / Features: This instrument’s key feature is that its bore is based on Buffet Crampon’s entry level professional clarinet. Despite using affordable materials, it will be closer to a professional grade sound. The other key feature is the double fish skin pads, which have a better seal than other pad materials.

Key: Bb
Pitch: 442 Hz
Body material: Co-polymetric ABS
Keywork: silver plated with black nickel-plated tenon rings
Barrel: 65 mm
Thumb-rest: fixed thumb rest
Springs: Blue steel
Pads: Double fish skin

Build Materials:The build of the instrument features a co-polymetric ABS plastic. It is drilled precisely in the factory in Germany. The key work is made in China, where Buffet Crampon created a factory just for the purpose of creating this clarinet. The silver keywork is unique in the student market. This means that the instrument will have a smoother mechanism and feel.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece: Urban play, black
  • Soft backpack case with shoulder straps

Finish and Appearance: This clarinet has a professional and beautiful matte finish. The silver plated keys will have a shiny appearance, with the right maintenance. The black nickel-plated tenon rings have a unique look and blend into the black body.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this instrument for a student who may be serious about playing long-term. Due to its design with silver plated keys, it would be best for indoor playing. Also, I would recommend this to older students who already know how to take care of a clarinet.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable clarinet by a professional brand, that features beautiful silver keywork. It is a great investment for the serious student.

7. Backun Alpha Bb Clarinet

Backun Alpha Bb Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $1020 for nickel plated, $1160 for silver plated

My Review: This instrument has one of the highest price tags for a student level instrument. However, it is well designed and crafted with care. There are many aspects that are modeled after Backun’s professional line of instruments, such as the keywork and overall clarinet design. I was especially impressed by the intonation and ease of playing on the instrument, which would allow beginners more satisfaction with their playing. The instrument can be played in many different conditions because of its durable construction.

Key Specs / Features: Some key features include the ergonomic keywork which can be expected from Backun. It is modeled after their professional line of clarinets. The Valentino pads are also high quality and water-resistant.

Key: Bb
Body material: An unspecified blend of synthetic material
Keywork: nickel or silver
Thumb rest: adjustable with neck strap ring
Pads: Valentino
Barrel: Alpha 65mm

Build Materials: The blend of synthetic material used in the body of the instrument is very lightweight with a great sound. The choice in nickel plating or silver makes it customizable to the player’s preference.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Hard carrying case
  • Basic care kit

Finish and Appearance: The clarinet has a smooth and sleek look. The tenon ring is only used in the middle which adds to an all-around dark matte finish.

Who Will Use This Most: I highly recommend this for those who have an extra budget for a high-quality instrument. It is mainly for the serious student who wants to have an instrument that will last.

Bottom Line: This is a well designed instrument that combines supreme craftsmanship with student grade materials. The ergonomic keywork and overall quality of the clarinet is excellent.

8. Jupiter JCL700NA Student ABS Bb Clarinet

Jupiter JCL700NA Student ABS Bb Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $1000

My Review: At first glance, the price of this instrument is much higher than many other student clarinets on the market. However, it seems that many band directors endorse this product, and it will withstand everyday wear and tear. There are also many professional features on this instrument which means that students can learn comfortably, and improve with minimal frustrations.

Key Specs / Features: Some key features include offset trill keys which help with moisture build-up. In addition, the register key is made for comfortable playing and it includes undercut tone holes which helps with intonation.

Key: Bb
Body material: ABS
Keywork: Nickel-Plated Nickel Silver Keys
Bore size: .583 Bore
Thumb-rest: Adjustable
Barrel: 65mm

Build Materials: This instrument is made from ABS material, which is the standard for plastic clarinets. Combined with the nickel-plated keys, this instrument is very durable.

Included Accessories:

  • ABS Molded Case
  • Other accessories are not specified

Finish and Appearance: The instrument features a matte faux wood finish and beautiful tenon rings, as well as a bell ring.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this to beginners who are looking for a long lasting instrument. Also, band directors who may need something durable that can be rented out to students, might want to invest in this clarinet.

Bottom Line: This is a sturdy and well-built instrument with advanced features. It’s perfect for those looking for a long-lasting beginner instrument.

9. Jean Baptiste CL290 Premium Student Clarinet outfit

Jean Baptiste CL290 Premium Student Clarinet outfit

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Estimated Price: $420

My Review: Jean Baptiste instruments are made with the student in mind. In general, their concept is that the instrument can be played right out of the box without any adjustments. This instrument features durability and is a great starter instrument. It’s important to start on a good instrument for further success in music learning. Although it costs slightly more than the lowest priced clarinets, it is worth it because of the high quality and ease of playability.

Key Specs / Features: Some key features of this instrument is the specially designed bore and barrel. This allows the player to have greater ease of playing and projection.

Key: Bb
Body material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel plated
Build Materials: The ABS plastic and nickel plated keys allow for maximum durability.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Soft carrying case

Finish and Appearance: An interesting aspect of this instrument is the lack of tenon rings on the barrel. That allows the sound to resonate more and create a better tone. Overall, it has a matte finish and elegant design.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this instrument for students who need a durable and reliable instrument.

Bottom Line: This is a clarinet that is well designed for a beginner’s first instrument. It is easily playable right from the start and has enough durability to last.

10. Etude Student Clarinet Model ECL-100 Standard

Etude Student Clarinet Model ECL 100 Standard

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Estimated Price: $130

My Review: This Etude student clarinet is affordable and it’s a great option for beginners. Although it does not have many advanced features, it has good ergonomics, it’s easy to play, and has everything you might want in a basic student instrument. It also includes accessories that can get you started right off the bat.

Key Specs / Features: This instrument does not have any distinct key features but has a durable and reliable construction.
Key: Bb
Body material: ABS plastic
Keywork: Nickel

Build Materials: It is made from standard ABS plastic and nickel-plated keys for playability in all environments.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Hard carrying case
  • Other accessories unspecified

Finish and Appearance: The matte finish has a classic look that will fit into formal concerts.

Who Will Use This Most: I recommend this clarinet to beginners who do not have a large budget for an instrument. It’s a perfect replacement to renting and will allow the student to test whether they want to become a serious player.

Bottom Line: This clarinet is an affordable and durable clarinet. It has a classic look and sound that’s perfect for beginners.

11. EASTROCK Clarinet Bb Flat

EASTROCK Clarinet Bb Flat

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Estimated Price: $130

My Review: This is an instrument that has many high-end features despite its price tag. I especially like the smoothness and ease of response. The keywork and pads have many perks like the high-carbon steel springs and double sheep casing pads. It also has options for changing the intonation with its two barrels. It would be perfect for students who’ve just begun to play the clarinet.

Key Specs / Features: There are many key features that stand out from other student instruments. The two included barrels are unique in that it can allow for adjustment of intonation. The high-carbon steel springs will last a long time and it might not need as much maintenance.

Key: Bb
Body material: ebonite
Keywork: Nickel plated
Pads: Double sheep casings
Barrels: 62 mm and 57 mm
Springs: high-carbon steel

Build Materials: The ebonite body is a great material for a distinctive and nice sound. The nickel plated keys allow for durability that is great for students.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Lightweight hard case
  • Clarinet stand

Finish and Appearance: It has a wonderful polished appearance, with its nickel plated keys and durable matte finished ebonite construction.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this instrument for any beginners who may need an affordable instrument with high quality features. It’s perfect for anyone not looking to make a large initial investment.

Bottom Line: This clarinet is an affordable option with plenty of features to help a beginner learn more efficiently. It’s a great buy as a beginner’s first clarinet.

12. Herche Superior Bb Clarinet

Herche Superior Bb Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $260

My Review: This Herche clarinet is an instrument which can be trusted, due to it being tested by technicians in the U.S. prior to shipping out. The company takes pride in the fact that it is a family business, which is very different from other affordable student clarinet brands. It has many professional features, while still maintaining the durability necessary for a student instrument.

Key Specs / Features: This is an instrument that has some notable features such as the blue steel springs and double bladder pads, increasing the durability of the instrument. They include undercut tone holes that help with the instrument’s intonation. Another key feature is that it is tested in the U.S. and adjusted prior to shipping out.

Key: Bb
Body material: ABS resin
Keywork: Nickel plated
Thumbrest: adjustable
Pads: Double bladder
Springs: Blue steel
Bore: 14.75 mm
Barrel: 63 mm

Build Materials: High quality ABS resin and nickel plated keywork, gives the instrument a warm sound and flexibility.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Plush lined case
  • Basic care kit
  • Reeds

Finish and Appearance: The instrument has a reliable and tasteful matte finish and great keywork.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this instrument for all beginners, and also professionals who might be looking for a spare clarinet.

Bottom Line: This is a trust worthy and well-crafted instrument for the price. The brand seems to be reliable, and the instrument has many advanced features.

13. Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case

Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case

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Estimated Price: $140

My Review: The Hisonic clarinet is a great student instrument for the price. Because of the low cost, it is not as reliable in terms of quality. However, it will likely last a couple of years of playing so that you can decide if you like to play the clarinet and invest in an upgrade. There is also an advanced feature on this instrument, which are the Prestini pads. This will allow a bit more durability and a nicer seal.

Key Specs / Features: The Prestini pads are one of the most exciting features of this instrument. It can provide a good seal for the keywork.

Key: Bb
Body material: Ebonite
Keywork: Nickel silver
Pads: Prestini made in the USA

Build Materials: The instrument’s ebonite body allows the instrument to have a bright tone. The nickel silver keys provide durability.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Protective plush-lined case
  • Basic care kit

Finish and Appearance: This instrument has a shiny finish and does not mimic a wooden clarinet. However, it’s rare to find a shiny finish clarinet these days, so it might be a unique look!

Who Will Use This Most: I recommend this instrument to beginners looking for a starter instrument. Due to its low cost, there’s not as much pressure to maintain it well and handle it carefully.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable clarinet with some exciting features. It would be perfect for the beginner who doesn’t want to spend too much on a starter instrument.

14. Mendini by Cecilio B Flat Beginner Student Clarinet

Mendini by Cecilio B Flat Beginner Student Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $100 for ebonite black, $120 for other colors

My Review: This is an affordable clarinet for those who want to start playing the clarinet but don’t have a big budget. There is some quality control prior to shipping so that you can get an instrument that will already play as soon as you open the package. The fun colors are a bonus for younger students who may want something unique. That being said, it might not be as long lasting or well made as other reputable brands.

Key Specs / Features: This instrument has basic features that are in most student clarinets. However, there is some extra reliability because the company tests the instrument in a local warehouse prior to shipping.

Key: Bb
Body material: Ebonite
Barrels: 2 different lengths
Keywork: Nickel plated
Thumbrest: Adjustable

Build Materials: The ebonite material and nickel keys allow a nice feel and ease of playing.

Included Accessories:

  • 4C mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Carrying case
  • Foldable clarinet stand
  • Basic care kit
  • Reeds

Finish and Appearance: The black color features a matte ebonite finish with nickel plated keys. This gives the instrument a professional look. However, there are also colorful options if you pay extra which could be fun for younger students.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this instrument for students who want to try out playing the clarinet at a lower cost. Students of all ages can enjoy the quirky color options.

Bottom Line: This instrument is a basic instrument at an affordable price. The different colors offer playful options for students of all ages.

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15. Lazarro 150 150-BK-L B-Flat Bb Clarinet

Lazarro 150 B flat Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $85 for black/silver, $90 for other colors

My Review: The Lazarro clarinet is a fun instrument with many colorful combinations. It has all of the necessary features to be a basic student instrument. That being said, there are some concerns of leaking air and general quality of the instrument. However, it is definitely an inexpensive option for beginners who don’t want to make a big investment at the get-go.

Key Specs / Features: Some key features of this instrument are its bell and barrel which help with a centered tone, as well as a durability.

Key: Bb
Body material: Hard resin ebonite or ABS plastic body
Keywork: Gold colored or nickel plated keys
Barrel: two different sizes included

Build Materials: This instrument is unique in that it offers both nickel plated and gold colored options. This could give the instrument a different feel. The body is made either of ebonite or ABS plastic which again allows the student to choose their preference.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, ligature, and cap
  • Hardshell case with a fabric plush lining
  • Basic care kit
  • Reeds
  • Gloves

Finish and Appearance: This clarinet has very unique color options than any of the other budget clarinet brands. It is possible to choose the color combination that you prefer. It’s important to note that the black color has a traditional matte finish that mimics wood.

Who Will Use This Most: I recommend this for students who are unsure about owning and being responsible for an instrument. Younger students or novelty clarinet seekers would be attracted by the color combinations.

Bottom Line: This is an inexpensive instrument with lots of color options. It is a great first instrument to see if the student likes playing the clarinet.

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16. Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet

Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet

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Estimated Price: $75

My Review: This is possibly the cheapest clarinet on the market. There are some concerns when it comes to the overall quality and durability of the instrument. However, this would be perfect for beginners who want to try it out. It has all of the basic features and accessories for someone picking up the instrument for the first time.

Key Specs / Features: This instrument features inline trill keys and the basic qualities of a student instrument.

Key: Bb
Body material: High-grade black ebonite
Keywork: Nickel-plated
Thumb rest: adjustable

Build Materials: The instrument is made of black ebonite and nickel-plated keys for its durability. The ebonite is a naturally derived material which has a different tone from ABS plastic.

Included Accessories:

  • Mouthpiece, mouthpiece patches, ligature, and cap
  • Hard-shell carrying case
  • Reeds
  • Gloves
  • Basic care kit

Finish and Appearance: The instrument has a matte finish and looks like a wooden professional clarinet.

Who Will Use This Most: I would recommend this for beginners who want the most inexpensive clarinet on the market. This would be perfect for anyone who simply wants to try the clarinet to see if it is a good fit.

Bottom Line: This is an inexpensive instrument that is great for beginners who are just starting out. The quality is not the best but it includes everything needed to begin learning the clarinet.

Student Clarinet Buying Guide (What You Need to Know)

The “Family” of Clarinets Explained

When starting the search for buying a clarinet, it’s a good idea to know the different types of clarinets. There’s a whole “family” of clarinets from high-pitched to low-pitched ones. Along with the pitches, their sizes vary so it’s important to buy the right clarinet for your needs.

B-flat clarinet

The B-flat clarinet is the most common type and plays in the key of b-flat. It is usually the first clarinet that beginners will buy. It is used in symphonic bands, marching bands, orchestras, jazz repertoire, and more. For your first clarinet, I would highly recommend buying this one. Almost all method books and much of the music for clarinet is written for b-flat.

Bass clarinet

This instrument also plays in the key of b-flat but it is much bigger and plays one octave lower. Just like the b-flat clarinet, it appears in all types of music and ensemble settings. It’s important to note that most people who learn bass clarinet usually spend at least a year or two on the b-flat clarinet. Bass clarinets are usually expensive because of the size of the instrument. I wouldn’t recommend this instrument for beginners and it’s probably better to rent or borrow one.

E-flat clarinet

The E-flat clarinet is like the baby of the clarinet “family”. It is extremely small and has a high pitch. It’s less common than the b-flat and bass clarinet.  Due to its striking sound, there’s usually only one or two players who will need to play it in bands and orchestras. In most cases, it’s not necessary to own one and it will be possible to borrow the instrument. The only situation I might recommend this clarinet is if someone is starting the clarinet at a young age (less than 10 years old). It might simply be easier to hold than the b-flat clarinet.

A clarinet

The A clarinet is another relatively common clarinet. However, unless learning the clarinet repertoire seriously or playing in an orchestra it is not necessary to have one. It looks just like the b-flat clarinet but it’s slightly longer and features a beautiful mellow sound.

Other clarinets

There are also other clarinets of varying sizes and pitches such as the c-clarinet, alto clarinet, contrabass clarinet, and more. These are quite uncommon, and even professionals may borrow one on the rare occasions they would have to play it.

What are the parts of the clarinet?

The clarinet is made up of different parts that can be put together to form the instrument. They can all make a significant impact on the sound and ease of playing. When buying a clarinet, the product descriptions will often talk about these parts.

Mouthpiece and Ligature

The part that you blow into the instrument is called the mouthpiece, and the ligature is what holds the reed in place. Often when you purchase a clarinet, it comes with a basic hard rubber mouthpiece and metal ligature.

Barrel

The barrel is the part that comes after the mouthpiece. It is often described in millimeters, so don’t be surprised if you see this number. The normal length of a b-flat barrel is about 65 mm. This is one of the key elements to adjust the intonation. Some instruments include two barrels of different sizes for further customization.

Upper joint/lower joint

The upper and lower joints make up the main body of the clarinet. It features most of the keywork and tone holes of the instrument. It also determines how the clarinet feels in the hand.

Bell

The bell is the last part of the clarinet that flares out on the bottom. It helps to project the sound of the instrument.

Keywork and more

The other parts of the instrument include the keywork. This refers to the metal mechanism, which opens and closes the tone holes. There are also pads which are put underneath some of the keywork to help close the tone holes. The quality of the pads determine how the keys seal.

Types of material for the clarinet body:

One of the key determining factors of the price, sound, and durability of a clarinet is the material of the body. Here are some of the different materials that are used:

ABS plastic

This type of plastic is what often goes into 3D printers and toys. It’s very durable and generally the cheapest material.

Ebonite/hard rubber

This is a more naturally derived material. It’s made from raw rubber and sulfur. It’s supposed to mimic ebony wood. It might have a sound closer to wood than ABS plastic.

Grenadilla

Most wooden clarinets are made of grenadilla wood, an African hardwood. It features a mellow tone with rich overtones. Despite being made from wood, it is still durable and less likely to crack than others.

Other

There are other less common wooden materials such as rosewood, boxwood, or cocobolo. Other than wood, there have also been some professional clarinets with a mixture of grenadilla and carbon fiber.

Wood vs. plastic/ebonite: key differences

Most beginners will start with plastic or ebonite because of the lower cost and durability. Until you learn how to take care of the instrument, it’s better to have an instrument that can withstand changes in weather and potential drops. Wooden clarinets tend to be less sturdy, more expensive, and the wood can crack. That being said, the sound of a wooden clarinet can be so much better than plastic or hard rubber. I would highly recommend any serious student, to eventually switch over to a wooden instrument.

Types of metal for keywork and tendons

The keywork and tendon rings are the metallic parts of the clarinet. The type of metal can be something important to consider depending on your situation and budget.

Nickel

Nickel plated keys are the most affordable option. Most beginner clarinets will use nickel and it is very durable. There is not much maintenance involved but it could be a problem for those with nickel allergies.

Silver or Gold

These are usually the more expensive options. Silver is more delicate but it can easily bring back its shine by polishing it. There are also gold plated clarinets but it is an individual taste.

The clarinet bore

The bore of the clarinet is also something mentioned frequently in product descriptions. The bore refers to the inside width of the instrument. Unlike other woodwind instruments, the clarinet has a cylindrical shape instead of a conical. This means that the width never changes throughout the instrument until the bell.

Difference between small and wide bore

The size of the bore can change many characteristics about the sound, ease of playing, and projection. A smaller bore usually means the sound is more focused and easier to project, while a wider bore has more flexibility and less projection. For beginners, I would recommend a smaller bore as it would be easier to play!

Where will you play the clarinet?

Before purchasing an instrument, be sure to think about what you will be using the instrument for. Based on whether it will be played indoors or outdoors, special consideration should be taken on the durability of the instrument.

Outdoor playing

Playing outdoors can be common such as in marching bands and outdoor concerts. I would recommend purchasing a plastic and nickel plated clarinet in these situations. Plastic and nickel are durable materials that will withstand temperature and humidity changes. It’s also usually the cheapest option so there’s no need to be as careful with the instrument.

Indoor playing

For indoor playing, I would recommend getting an instrument that prioritizes ease of playing and sound. Well-made plastic or wooden clarinets with any kind of keywork are recommended. That being said, if you’re a beginner I would start with something that is inexpensive for versatility and to test if you want to commit to learning the instrument.

Things to Consider for Young Players

Maintenance

The amount of maintenance required may be something to consider before purchasing an instrument for a younger player. Until they know how to responsibly take care and know how to clean the clarinet, I would recommend that they use something inexpensive and durable.

Ergonomics and Weight

The clarinet can be quite heavy! If starting out as a very young player, the e-flat or c-clarinet might be a better option. They are smaller than the standard b-flat clarinet and would fit small hands. However, in general, it would be better to play the b-flat clarinet so that it’s more versatile in an ensemble setting. Also, I would suggest starting with a lightweight plastic material and adjustable thumb rest for added comfort. Injuries can happen if the instrument is too heavy or awkward in the hand. The best option is for the student to try and hold the instrument first, before purchasing.

Name Brand vs. Budget Brand: Key Differences

Another important factor to consider before purchasing an instrument is whether or not to go with a budget brand or a name brand. Here are some pros and cons for each of these options:

Name brand

A name brand clarinet would be brands like Buffet Crampon, Selmer, Yamaha, or any company that creates a line of clarinets from students, all the way to the top professional instruments. You can easily check if a company is a name brand by checking their website and seeing all of the instruments that they offer.

The benefits of choosing a student instrument from a name brand is that you can trust that the instrument will work and last for a long time. They are generally crafted more precisely and with better quality control. Also, for serious students, the option to upgrade in the future within the same company would be a benefit. In this way, they would already be used to some of the qualities of the brand. The downsides to a name brand is the cost and initial investment in purchasing the instrument.

Budget brand

A budget brand creates clarinets only for the student market. They are usually mass produced and it’s difficult to track the origin of the product and specific details about their instrument. You can immediately tell that it is from a budget brand if they only sell student-grade instruments, or if they don’t have a website.

The benefits of a budget brand is the affordability of the instrument. They are usually in very low price ranges, which means that it’s not as detrimental if you accidentally drop it or don’t maintain it very well. Some brands also offer additional accessories so that you have everything you need right out of the box. The downsides would be the lack of reliability in its quality. It may not last as long as a name brand instrument. I would suggest reading the reviews first and be prepared to possibly return the product if there are some manufacturing errors. As soon as you get one of these instruments, it’s a good idea to have a trusted professional play it so that they can tell you if you should keep it or return it.

Student vs. intermediate or professional

Student

A student clarinet is often made of plastic and nickel. These are the most inexpensive and durable materials on the market. It’s also made to withstand varying conditions in humidity and weather so that it is playable outside and inside. They prioritize affordability and durability. Some higher-end student models will also consider the ease of playing, design, and added features. Keep in mind, that many student clarinets have an unreliable design, especially in the lower price ranges. This is because they are factory made without advanced quality control.

Intermediate or professional

Almost all intermediate or professional clarinets are made out of wood. The keywork will often include more expensive metals such as silver or gold plating. Clarinets in this level will value quality and sound over affordability. The instruments are precisely made to ensure accurate intonation and even sound quality in all registers. There are also slight differences in each model of clarinet that could cater to what the player is looking for: bright sound, darker tone, or projection in large concert halls. These instruments are made for those who already have a solid playing level and know how to take care of an expensive instrument.

Other key features to look out for:

Adjustable thumb rest

I highly recommend that you find a clarinet with an adjustable thumb rest. What this means, is that the height of the thumb position can be adjusted. This is an amazing feature if you have a hand that’s larger or smaller than average!

Appearance

For some student clarinet players, the appearance could be an important factor in choosing the instrument. Some student clarinets have funky colors that might be more enjoyable to play on. Also, since most student instruments are made from plastic, it’s a good idea to choose a matte finish if you want to avoid having a shiny instrument.

Accessories

What’s included with your clarinet can also be important. If it is your first time ever playing the instrument it might be nice to have all of the tools you need to start playing. This would include reeds and basic care kits. Also, the style of the case could influence your decision if it’s easy to carry and convenient.

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