New to the clarinet ….

beginner clarinet guide

Learning a new instrument is a wonderful experience. However, buying your first clarinet can often be a daunting process. This post offers information on what to look out for when buying your first clarinet.

The most common type of clarinet is in the key of Bb, when you look for your first clarinet this is what you should buy.

Clarinet Explanation

There are many different brands of clarinet some better than others, the following 5 brands offer great starter instruments:

Buffet, Yamaha, Trevor James, Amati, Nuvo

The Buffet B12 is a favourite of teachers and pupils alike, featuring an ABS resin body, silver plated key work and bell ring. Fitted with a fully adjustable thumb rest and neck strap ring.

(the B12 is being replaced in early April 2016 by a new Bb Student Clarinet called the “Prodige” check out this instrument here).

The Yamaha 255S combines the well known quality of Yamaha with a new student instrument. Made with ABS resin, silver plated key work fitted with a fully adjustable thumb rest and neck strap ring. The removal of the bell ring has made the clarinet considerably lighter resulting in a lighter well balanced instrument, great for smaller children.

Trevor James have been making instruments built in the UK for 33 years they are very well known for wonderful Flutes and Saxophones, and now they have produced a great student clarinet. The Series 5 manufactured from ABS resin and featuring silver plated key work, fully adjustable thumb rest and neck strap ring.

Amati clarinets are made in the Czech Republic by one of the largest instrument makers in Europe. The ACL-201 has an ABS resin body which is hand finished with nickel plated key work. Fitted with an adjustable thumb rest and neck strap ring this clarinet was built with small hands in mind.

The Nuvo Clarineo is built so young children can begin to learn the clarinet with an instrument that is very lightweight, highly durable yet produces a great sound. Pitched in C (not the standard Bb) the Clarineo would be great for primary school children who want to begin a wind instrument, have whole class instrumental tuition or friends/siblings who play a C pitched (concert pitched) instrument such as the flute or piano. With the same key work and fingering system as a standard Bb clarinet and fully waterproof, this is a great starter instrument for anyone on a budget.

All of the above clarinets come with a case, mouthpiece and ligature. You will also need to purchase reeds these vibrate against the mouthpiece to produce sound. we will be doing a feature on reeds later this month be sure to check this out!

Points to Remember 

  • For smaller children the Clarineo is a great instrument
  • Buy a Bb clarinet.
  • Play the clarinet before you buy it – if you can’t, ask someone else to play it to you.
  • All well made (ABS resin) clarinets are similar there is no wrong decision (however Buffet is the most popular).
  • Very cheap clarinets will be more difficult to play and will require more maintenance to keep them working.
  • Chose something you like the sound and feel of.

All of the above clarinets are available at The Vibe. Alongside your instrument we offer a free set up by a instrument technician before you purchase it, a one year guarantee and a one year health check to keep your instrument in working order all included in the original price (excludes repairs necessary due to damage by misuse or accident).