Student Clarinet

While checking the stats of I noticed that through the years there is one constant factor: the pages that are visited the most by far are the pages about student clarinets…

Which clarinet to buy for a starter, do I choose a wooden clarinet (grenadilla) or a composite material, plastic? Is it easy to upgrade to a better clarinet and when is the right time to do so?

It seems that everybody has his own opinion about student clarinets.

Some of the articles you ‘ll find on the site are:

And of course we also know the Lyons Clarinet (the new type is called the “Clarineo”) and I am sure I am far from complete.

But, please, comment on this subject about student clarinets, give us your opinion as a student or as a teacher or professional. What do you think is the best instrument to start playing the clarinet?



  1. Marilyn says:

    This might be a bit off topic, but one thing that bothers me quite a bit is that people whose children took clarinet instruction from a high school band teacher and were in a school band often sell the instrument if the student later loses interest or if the student advances and purchases a professional clarinet of greater value. These parents have no use for the student clarinet and post them for sale on places like Craigslist and ask extremely low prices for them. For example, a clarinet the parent purchased on a rent-to-own plan for $450 later advertise it for sale at a ridiculously low price such as $50 or $150 a couple of years later. I actually contacted one such person and pointed out that she is devaluing the instrument and making it very difficult for others who expect to sell a clarinet at fair market value. She replied saying she had no idea how much to ask and I told her to ask no less than $200 or preferably more.

  2. Ralph Wilder says:

    During this past year I have become aware of a FANTASTIC clarinet – at a tremendous price – that certainly can be used for young players – but – an instrument that is good enough to take a student quite far. The famous German bassoon maker, Schreiber, had a collaboration with the Buffet company several years ago – and THEY made the E 11 for Buffet – in Germany – BUT – after Buffet severed the relationship, Shreiber continued making the clarinet – BUT – with their name on it.
    The instrument is beautiful – silver Buffet keys, gorgeous wood, excellent pitch and quality – BUT – selling for a fraction of the cost of an E 11 Buffet! I had a student purchase one this past year and I’m constantly amazed as to how her horn, in many ways, is as good as my R13!!
    Check out the Schreiber Clarinet! Not the old German system – the Scheiber copy of the E 11 – it’s terrific!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I know very little, but I have a Vito Reso-Tone B flat clarinet and my teacher told me it was a nice clarinet for a beginner. It is plastic and was made in USA.

  4. Kate says:

    I started off on a regular ol’ Selmer. It served me well for a good 8 years before I bought myself a Buffet E11 for high school, but I continued to use the Selmer all through marching band and since have donated the Selmer to my high school. An instrument like that is really built to take a beating, I’ve found, and as long as you take care of it, it’ll last for a while.
    As for the E11, it’s just lovely and plays so well as long as you service it every so often and keep it clean and happy. Until I can afford something of a bit more professional quality, that’s the horn I’m using and honestly, I’m very happy with it.
    (Currently working as a student teacher for band and playing with various ensembles, playhouses, and theaters.)

  5. James says:

    Long, long time ago, in band class one would have to carry this clarinet tip around with them for weeks at a time learning how to blow threw it.
    Then we got really lucky after we learned that, we got to make noise with the whole clarinet all put together,
    Then one note at a time for a few days over and over and by the time the school year was over with we could march in a line and play bye, bye black bird.
    All this did nothing for me in relationship to becoming a clarinetist.
    All that took place many years later and putting the clarinet aside for many years as well.
    My thoughts on a student clarinet are;
    That it really doesn’t make a bit of bloody well difference.
    Anything that is light weight, easy to blow through, and has small holes so that not much effort is needed to cover then up even with tense fingers, OH yes an easy blow threw tip that fits nicely, one that your lips can fit over evenly not one that is five times larger then the naturally form of your mouth.
    Anything else well would just be a waste because you really couldn’t have the experience to appreciate any kind of quality in a good instrument.
    Now here’s a real tip. When you can manipulate the tone and most keys your ready to look for a real clarinet and just because it is expensive doesn’t really make it a match for you.
    My advice for you is try everything you can get your hands on. You’ll know that one that fits you,
    I thought I was really smart in selecting a good clarinet I don’t have very many however I do have some of the most popular ones.
    But the one I can tell you stands out the most is a 1962 Selmer Signet Soloist made in the USA, I picked up in a pawn shop in Marysville California in 1989. huh go figure!!

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