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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I am picking up the clarinet again after a very long hiatus and need some opinions on the instrument models.

I have a Noblet N with the tv logo which I believe to be a model 40. I am currently using the Morgan Protone mouthpiece with Luyben ligature which I had bought a long time ago.

This horn had been serviced and plays ok but I have a craving for a modern horn. I have read great reviews about the Yamaha YCL 650 but saw mixed opinions on whether this is an intermediate or professional model. I haven't have a chance to try it yet.

Is the Yamaha a significant improvement over the Noblet in terms of keyworks and tone?

Should I upgrade to this Yamaha YCL 650 or save the money and just stick with the Noblet?

Thanks

The R13 and CSVR are way out of my budget*by the way...
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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You don’t state a budget, but I’ll share the option that I recently exercised. I shopped Selmer Series 9 and 10S clarinets, and found that instruments in good condition could be had for circa $500. Add an overhaul, and you are set with a pro clarinet for around a kilodollar.
 

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I doubt you'd know for sure without trying it. I like the 650 but can't say it's necessarily better than every Noblet I've tried, for every player. The feel is different and some people might like one over the other. I've only tried a few 650s and they were all pretty good. I've tried many Noblets of various models, can't remember which was which model, and they varied a lot (even for the same model). So it depends on the specific clarinets more than anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, my budget is between $1000 to 2000. There is currently a Yamaha mid year sale and I am really tempted to have a brand new horn as an upgrade.

My main concern is whether both the Noblet and Yamaha 650 are on par. Honestly, I really like the looks of the Yamaha but worried that I am just wasting money on something which is not really an upgrade.

The reason I am picking up the clarinet again is that the bigband I'm playing in are having scores that require doubling. I have just ordered a Claude Lakey 5* mouthpiece for this purpose.

Thanks for the responses so far. Please keep them coming.
 

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In that case, if the budget is up to $2,000 then there are quite a few used pro models that you could get from Buffet, Yamaha, Selmer and probably some others. For example for Buffet most pro models below the Prestige line are under $2,000 used.

If you're set on new...
If overall the Noblet is decent or even good, can you try the Yamaha 650? If you can, or at least returning it is not a hassle, it might be worth trying.
Coming from a decent Noblet I'd upgrade to something better if I could. There is the Yamaha CX, which is excellent and about $2,000 new. I like it about as much as some of their higher level models. I actually thought it was one of their top models when trying a bunch of them without looking at the model names. Only later when I checked prices I found it was between the 650 and their top models.
Buffet E13 could also be an option. Some players like it better than the Yamaha 650 (and some less). I think it's about the same price (as the 650). Though it could also depend on the specific clarinet.
 

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The value of a Noblet will depend on the last repadding job. There are many notes that are resistant/muffled unless the pads are unusually thin.
I have worked on many where somebody has installed normal-thickness pads.
With the right pads they are great.
 
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