RECOMMENDED BUDGET BUYS
The Buffet B12 is probably the best budget clarinet available.
Coming a close second are the Selmer CL311 (was CL301) and the
250 (was YCL 26 II).
You may also want to consider the Vito clarinets from Le Blanc
although these tend to cost more than the others.
Also Jupiter plastic clarinets can be quite good but do check for such
things as whether the toneholes are round!
AVOID THE CHEAPEST!
We recommend avoiding any of the cheapest instruments. They have to cut
corners to get the prices down and in our opinion this results in a poor instrument.
Makers we would avoid are Shinghai, Parrot, Lark, Skylark, Arbiter 201, J Michael, Simba,
Symphony, Odyssey, and Intermusic instruments etc.
WATCH OUT FOR RED PADS!
BE CAREFUL!!! There are a huge number of immitation instruments appearing in
this country - predominately from India. These include metal clarinets and
reproductions of simple system clarinets. Watch out for red pads and plastic case
handles. They are all poorly built and not suitable for playing music on. They are
really just ornaments.
Wooden clarinets are either of intermediate standard or better. The exceptions
are a few instruments, generally Chinese, which are manufactured to poor standards.
Not all wooden clarinets will be good buys!
Check the wood very carefully. Firstly some plastic instruments are grained to
look like wood, so don't be fooled. Secondly, wood is prone to cracking if allowed to
dry or subjected to extremes of temperature.
Recommended instruments are the Yamaha YCL 450 (was YCL 34) and their better
model the YCL 650 (was YCL 64). Selmer are again producing the Selmer
is a good intermediate model. Their better quality instruments are the Selmer
Paris range. The Buffet E11 continues to be a good instrument with
the professional model, R13 being so good that many others, including the
Yamaha instruments, are based on it. LeBlanc wooden clarinets are also
CLARINETS FOR SMALL
Clarinets of smaller size are made. Be aware that the smaller size means they will
play different notes to an ordinary clarinet. The Kinder Klari is a good instrument in
Eb. The Lyons is not so well liked and is a unique instrument with plastic
mechanism. Both of these can be used up to Grade 3 standard - after that you'll
need a 'full size' clarinet to progress.