Clarinets Buying Guide
Whether you buy a clarinet for a love of the instrument or are simply looking for a transition piece before moving to something a bit more complex--like the sax or flute --it's important to know a bit about clarinet anatomy as well as the indicators of quality before making any big investment.
While the clarinet family includes the contra-alto and bass models, the Bb clarinet is the most popular. While it can be used in any genre of music, it is most commonly found in jazz ,swing , and Dixieland . The following are the five basic pieces of the clarinet that you will need to know how to assemble:
- A: The Mouthpiece : The reed is attached here.
- B: The Barrel : Directly below the mouthpiece.
- C: The Upper Joint : Contains the holes needed for playing upper notes.
- D: The Lower Joint : Contains the holes needed for playing lower notes.
- E: The Bell : The sound exits here.
- Clarinets are largely made of two materials: plastic and wood . The type of plastic used is specifically engineered for musical instruments, possessing both a flexibility and durability while still retaining certain musical qualities. The majority of plastic clarinets are intended for entry-level, student use. Intermediate and professional clarinets, on the other hand, are most commonly made of grenadilla wood fibre (some also contain a carbon fibre and epoxy resin mix). This gives the clarinet its distinctive sound along with a long shelf life if properly cared for.
- The key work on a clarinet is commonly plated in nickel or silver, although some high-end models are made with gold.
- Nickel plating is durable, shiny and will not tarnish like silver.
- Silver plating has a very smooth touch and a brighter lustre than nickel.
Things to Consider
Before buying your first clarinet, ponder these questions:
- What's my budget? Clarinets are a significant investment, ranging from £250 to over £700. Consider renting, buying used, or working out a payment plan to help control costs.
- What accessories will I need? The extras that clarinet players often find useful, including cleaning supplies like cork grease and swabs, clarinet reeds, and method books, can add significantly to your overall costs.
- Does it come with a warranty? If you feel like you may be rough and tumble with your instrument, so much so that it might need refurbishment down the road, consider purchasing a clarinet with a warranty.
Consider purchasing one of these trusted brands: