Buying Your First Clarinet

Buying a beginner clarinet can seem a little intimidating, especially since most clarinets look alike and have similar specifications. However, a beginner clarinet that is poorly made or hard to tune can make learning the instrument much less enjoyable.

Fortunately, many of the top professional woodwind manufacturers make excellent entry-level clarinets. When you purchase a clarinet from brands such as Buffet, Selmer or Yamaha, you can be sure that you’ll have an instrument that will be premium quality and fun to play.

We also have student clarinets from Jean Baptiste, a brand that’s been making quality brass and woodwind instruments for more than 80 years. Every Jean Baptiste instrument is tested and adjusted for tone, comfort and optimum playability by our staff of brass and woodwind technicians to make sure that your clarinet will provide years of enjoyment.

Best Beginner Clarinets

Jean Baptiste JBCL290XX Premium Student Clarinet: The JBCL290XX provides one of the best values in a student clarinet. It features a resilient ABS molded plastic body for a full range of tone with forged nickel-plated keys that add a polished, durable feel. This clarinet has one of the best warranties in the business, including one year on parts and labor and five years on the keys.

Selmer SCL711 Prelude Student Clarinet: The Selmer brand has long been known for providing some of the finest professional brass and woodwind instruments on the market. The SCL711 is an acclaimed student clarinet made of hard rubber with a shape and feel that’s expertly designed for a beginner’s comfort. This is a great student clarinet with a great sound at an affordable price. It also comes with useful accessories including cork grease and a handkerchief swab.

Yamaha YCL255 Student Clarinet: The Yamaha YCL255 is a cut above other beginning clarinet models. Incorporating many of the distinguished features that you’ll find on Yamaha’s high-end professional clarinets, the YCL250 boasts an ABS resin body with a rich wooden finish. The synthetic Valentino pads are maintenance-free and resistant to moisture. The innovative barrel and bell design give the YCL250 a more professional tone, making it easier for students to hit the right pitches.

Clarinet Tone: Wood vs. Plastic Clarinet Bodies

Almost all beginner clarinets today are made of plastic, resin or hard rubber. This is partly because the traditional wood used to make the top professional clarinets has become more rare and expensive. Plus, manufacturers have gotten better at producing plastics with good tonal characteristics. Students are generally better off using plastic because they tend to hold up better over time. Wooden clarinets are perfectly fine as well, but students need to take extra care when handling them.

A clarinet’s tonal quality comes from both the instrument and the player. Getting a good clarinet sound takes practice learning embouchure (positioning of the mouth around the mouthpiece) and breath control. Until a beginner learns these techniques, the purchase of an intermediate or professional clarinet will overall not make a difference in sound.

Why Buy Your Clarinet from Sam Ash Direct?

Sam Ash more than 87 years of experience with brass and woodwind instruments and provide customers with the guaranteed lowest price and fast free shipping to the lower 48 states. We also have a guaranteed trade in policy that makes it cheaper to buy a clarinet from us than to rent one from other dealers. Trade in your clarinet within the first year after purchase and we will apply 50 percent off of the original purchase price to a new instrument of your choosing. Trade in your clarinet within the second year after purchase and we will apply 40 percent of the original purchase price to any new instrument you choose.

Another reason why people like to buy from Sam Ash is our 45/60 day return/price protection policy and 24/7 customer support – we do our best to make sure that you’re satisfied with your instrument.

Recommended Accessories for your Clarinet:

      • Clarinet Stands: Besides learning how to play the instrument itself, beginning clarinet players must also learn how to properly care for the instrument. Clarinet stands provide a safe storage and display solution for when your instrument is not in use. Many stands are collapsible and compact enough to take with you when you’re on the go.
      • Reeds: Clarinet reeds come in a variety of different strengths, usually from 1.5 (softest) to 4.5 (hardest). Beginners should buy several 1.5 strength cane reeds to start, as the harder reeds are for experienced players with more developed skills. Since reeds can break, it’s a good idea to have some extras on hand when you’re just starting out.
      • Thumb EEZ: This pad provides a soft surface that makes the clarinet much more comfortable to support, especially for beginners.

If you don’t see the instrument recommended by your teacher, give us a call at 1-800-472-6274. We have many models that we don’t show on our website and we guarantee the lowest possible price and fast free shipping on all clarinets.