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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!
I'm thinking of buying a clarinet but I've never played before. I play the saxophone and flute in a Big Band so I want to complete the family. Nothing too expensive. Any recommendation?
 

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Please quantify "expensive". What is the budget?
 

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Very easy:
1st choice: Student Yamaha, new or second hand, serviced.
2nd choice: Student Yamaha, new or second hand, serviced.
3rd choice: Student Yamaha, new or second hand, serviced.

If you want something better after a couple of years, invest in a professional mouthpiece.
 

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Used Buffet R13. You can get a decent one for under $1000 and if it's set up right you'll keep it and love it for the rest of your life.
 

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Problem is, wooden clarinets have more issues than a student Yamaha.
And Buffet has more issues.

So second hand especially, you run a lot more risk of getting something that needs a lot of work, and that can be very expensive.
 

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I’d get a Yamaha, student or professional model, over a used R13. The Yamahas are well built, tune really well, and are super reliable.
 

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A recently serviced Vito 7214 or V40 can generally be purchased for a similar (or lower) price to the Yamaha and the keywork is better
 

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Problem is, wooden clarinets have more issues than a student Yamaha.
And Buffet has more issues.

So second hand especially, you run a lot more risk of getting something that needs a lot of work, and that can be very expensive.
Looks like I've been outvoted. I've had one for 40 years that I got new and the only problem I've ever had was when somebody knocked it off the stand and bent a key. I ALWAYS run an oiled swab through it after playing and leave it sitting out with the case open so it can dry. Leaving a wood clarinet in the case wet will lead to cracks.

Can't argue with a good Yamaha. I like a wood clarinet and if I could find a clean used pro model I'd go that route. Having said all that, you can't go wrong with a good Yamaha if it's been cared for and is in good adjustment.
 

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I've written about the Yamaha ycl-250 before. I like it so much I bought two (both used). The newer ones have a faux wood type finish and from a distance no one can tell it's not wood. I'm also using a wooden barrel which really makes a big upgrade to the sound. It's also little bit shorter than the OEM barrel so intonation is easier for a doubler. After a while, you'll want to get a B45 mouthpiece or something else.
Yamaha now make the ycl-255, which seems very similar. Not sure what the differences are but they must be small or Yamaha would have used a model number like ycl-275.
 

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There are many budget clarinets out there. I bought a noblet artist with a B45 mpc for about 200 dollars and will never need a better clarinet. And there were lots of similar instruments around when I looked for it.
 

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Used Buffet R13. You can get a decent one for under $1000 and if it's set up right you'll keep it and love it for the rest of your life.[/

I paid $1,000.00 for a used R13 from 1999 and it's all the clarinet I'll ever need. If you're talking really inexpensive in the $200.00 - $400.00 range the old Selmer Signet wood clarinets are actually pretty nice if in good playing condition.
 

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Used Buffet R13. You can get a decent one for under $1000 and if it's set up right you'll keep it and love it for the rest of your life.[/

I paid $1,000.00 for a used R13 from 1999 and it's all the clarinet I'll ever need. If you're talking really inexpensive in the $200.00 - $400.00 range the old Selmer Signet wood clarinets are actually pretty nice if in good playing condition.
I don't understand the resistance to wood. It's always been the standard for professional musician. If you care for it like a responsible adult you'll never have a problem. That's why there are so many out there available. You can find a nice Selmer or LeBlanc for very reasonable prices. I can't speak to the condition of the pads but I saw a lot of them on ebay for under $500.
 

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No resistance to wood but the OP asked about inexpensive clarinets and in that category, plastic are best.
 

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Since the OP has never played before on a clarinet, he should find a Leblanc Resotone or an earlier Claritone. Very small investment and set up properly, they play excellently. I learned on a Claritone in 1973 and I still have and use it for outdoor gigs where weather and/or beer will be a factor (Oktoberfests).
 

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+1.
I've had students pick up older C100's for next to nothing. With good repair work and a nice mouthpiece they are incredible clarinets for the money. Beyond that it's all about the person attached to the pointy end.
Very easy:
1st choice: Student Yamaha, new or second hand, serviced.
2nd choice: Student Yamaha, new or second hand, serviced.
3rd choice: Student Yamaha, new or second hand, serviced.

If you want something better after a couple of years, invest in a professional mouthpiece.
 

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A recently serviced Vito 7214 or V40 can generally be purchased for a similar (or lower) price to the Yamaha and the keywork is better
In what way is the "keywork" better.
I find the low spatulas in very awkward positions, but that may be just my physiology.
Yamaha posts are screwed in; AFAIK Vito's are moulded.
 

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Why it's generally best to buy plastic student clarinets: Grenadilla wood is expensive, and good cuts are scarce. A student instrument in good grenadilla is probably quite old, and there's possible mechanical issues. And some of the really old horns are terrible players. If it's newer, the grade of wood is probably poor, and shortcuts may have been taken to keep the price down (sloppy boring, pot metal keywork, etc.). If lightning strikes and you find a great-playing wood clarinet in top condition for $200, good for you!
 

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Hi! We got a Selmer Signet Special recently for my cousin for about 80 USD and it sounds really good. Good intonation, not stuffy at all. It did need new pads, but the price was still under 200 USD at the end. Old Noblets, Conns and Leblancs also can be found in the same range and many of these were pro instruments in their time. You do need to know what you are buying, though, and for full disclosure: I would never touch a plastic/ebonite clarinet if my life depended on it, so I don't know if these are a good alternative or not.
 
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