Exploring the Best Clarinet Brands

best clarinet brand

In the enchanting world of music, the clarinet stands tall, captivating listeners with its distinctive and resonant sound. It is not as easy to play as a saxophone. Choosing the perfect clarinet, however, can be quite a daunting task, especially considering the myriad of brands available in the market. Fear not, for this comprehensive article aims to alleviate that pressure by delving deep into the realm of the best clarinet brands.

By exploring their unique features, exceptional craftsmanship, and unparalleled tonal qualities, we will guide you on a musical journey towards making an informed decision that resonates harmoniously with your artistic aspirations. So, let us embark on this melodic exploration together and uncover the best clarinet brands that will elevate your musical prowess

What Type Of Clarinet Should I Buy?

When it comes to buying a clarinet, the choice largely depends on your skill level, musical goals, and personal preferences. The world of clarinets is broad and fascinating, with various types to choose from, each offering unique sound characteristics that can shape your musical journey.

For beginners, the B flat clarinet is typically the best choice. This type of clarinet is the standard in orchestras, bands, and solo performances due to its versatile range and accessibility for new players. Its melodic and vibrant sound can bring life to any musical piece. Moreover, B-flat soprano clarinets are relatively affordable, making them a great starting point for those who are dipping their toes into the world of wind instruments.

As you progress in your musical journey from beginner to intermediate, and become more acquainted with the clarinet’s nuances, you might want to explore other types of clarinets available. One such option in the clarinet family is the bass clarinet. Known for its deep, rich tones, the bass clarinet is a favorite among musicians looking to add depth and richness to their ensemble’s sound or for soloists seeking a distinct and captivating voice.

The Bass Clarinet

Playing the bass clarinet requires more lung capacity and control due to its larger size and lower pitch, making it suitable for more advanced players who have developed their embouchure and breath control. It offers a unique challenge and can be an exciting addition to your musical repertoire.

Investing in a better clarinet becomes essential as you advance in your playing. Better clarinets are typically made from high-quality materials like grenadilla or rosewood, which contribute to a warmer, more resonant sound. They are meticulously crafted with improved keywork for smoother playing and better intonation.

While these clarinets come with a higher price tag, the investment can significantly enhance your playing experience and performance, allowing you to fully express your musicality. Always remember, the best clarinet for you is one that fits your needs, aligns with your skill level, and feels comfortable to play.

So, whether you’re a beginner embarking on a musical journey or an experienced player seeking new horizons, choosing the right clarinet will shape your sound and elevate your musical expression. Happy music-making!

Boehm, Albert, and German Clarinets

The Boehm, Albert, and German clarinets are three different systems of clarinet that have emerged over the years, each with its unique characteristics and design.

The Boehm system, named after its inventor Hyacinthe Klosé and often referred to as the French system, is the most widely used today. This model features a larger bore and uses a system of rings and axles (or “rods”) for keywork, which allows for greater technical ease. The Boehm system clarinet typically has a brighter, more focused sound and is known for its flexibility across different musical genres.

Most modern clarinets use the Boehm system.

The Albert system, also known as the simple system, is an older model that predates the Boehm system. It has fewer keys and a smaller bore, resulting in a darker and more mellow tone. Although it is less popular today, the Albert system is still used in some traditional and folk music settings. Notably, it was the preferred system of many early jazz clarinetists.

The German system, or Öhler system, is primarily used in Germany and Austria. It features a narrower bore and more complex keywork than the Boehm system, resulting in a darker, richer sound. The German system requires precise finger technique and is often favored for playing classical music, especially works from the Germanic tradition.

In summary, the type of clarinet system a musician chooses depends largely on personal preference, the tonal quality they seek, and the genre of music they intend to play.

What Makes a Good Quality Clarinet?

When it comes to the world of clarinets, several factors come into play that determines what makes a good instrument.

The Mouthpiece

One of the primary aspects is the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is where the player’s air and embouchure meet the clarinet, and it plays a crucial role in producing the sound. A good mouthpiece should not only be comfortable to play but should also provide a consistent tone and allow for a wide range of dynamic control. It is the gateway through which the player’s musical expression flows.

The Reed

Additionally, the reed has a significant impact on the clarinet’s sound. The reed, which vibrates against the mouthpiece, creates the clarinet’s unique timbre. Quality reeds are designed to offer a clear and focused tone, responding well to the player’s breath control. Finding the right balance between flexibility and stability is key to achieving the desired sound quality.

Material of Construction

Furthermore, the material from which the clarinet is made contributes significantly to its overall quality. Many professional-level clarinets are crafted from grenadilla wood, renowned for its dense grain and exceptional acoustical properties. Grenadilla wood produces a warm and rich tone that is highly sought after by advanced players, delivering a captivating and expressive musical experience. However, it is important to note that grenadilla wood requires meticulous maintenance and may be more expensive compared to other materials.

For beginners, a student model clarinet made from plastic or hard rubber might be more suitable. These materials offer durability and are less sensitive to temperature changes, making them ideal for younger players who may not have yet developed the skills to properly care for a wooden instrument.

Choosing the right clarinet, whether it’s a student model or a professional one, ultimately depends on your personal playing style, level of experience, and budget. It is important to find an instrument that resonates with your musical aspirations and allows you to express yourself fully as a musician.

Our List of the Best Brands of Clarinet

The market is teeming with an extensive range of clarinet brands, each offering a unique combination of features and quality. When it comes to the best brands, a select few consistently rise to the top due to their longstanding reputation for exceptional craftsmanship, impeccable sound quality, and remarkable durability. Yamaha, Buffet Crampon, and Selmer have established themselves as widely recognized leaders in the woodwind industry, catering to musicians of all skill levels.

Yamaha, renowned for producing reliable, high-quality instruments across the board, certainly lives up to its reputation with its clarinets. Their instruments boast excellent intonation, comfortable playability, and a rich, full tone that resonates with musicians. The meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that go into every Yamaha clarinet make them a perennial favorite among many players.

On the other hand, Buffet Crampon embraces a deep-rooted tradition of handcrafting professional-grade clarinets. Their instruments are revered for their warm, resonant sound and superior craftsmanship, embodying the essence of the clarinet’s rich history. Musicians who seek an instrument that embodies traditional artistry and delivers exceptional tonal qualities often turn to Buffet Crampon.

In addition to these leading brands, there are also several more affordable options available for musicians on a tighter budget. Brands such as Jean Paul USA and Mendini by Cecilio offer student model clarinets that strike a balance between affordability and quality. While they may not possess the same level of sound depth or build quality as their higher-end counterparts, these instruments serve as solid starting points for beginners embarking on their musical journey.

Famous Clarinetists

NameShort Summary About LifeBrand of Clarinet They Play
Anton StadlerAnton Stadler was a renowned 18th-century clarinetist and bassett horn player, famous for his close friendship with Mozart, who composed several pieces specifically for him.Stadler played on a custom-made clarinet, but the brand is unknown due to the era he lived in.
Harold WrightHarold Wright was the principal clarinetist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 23 years. Known for his distinctive sound and superb musicianship, Wright greatly influenced the world of clarinet performance.Buffet Crampon
Sabine MeyerSabine Meyer is a German clarinetist who has had a significant impact on the world of classical music. She was one of the first women to join a major orchestra in Germany and has since established herself as a leading soloist.Wurlitzer
Richard StoltzmanRichard Stoltzman is a Grammy-Award winning clarinetist known for his versatility, playing both classical and jazz music with equal ease. He has significantly contributed to the popularity of the clarinet as a solo instrument.Selmer
Benny GoodmanKnown as the “King of Swing,” Benny Goodman was a legendary American clarinetist and bandleader. His contributions to jazz and swing music have left an indelible mark on the music world.Selmer
Woody HermanWoody Herman was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. He led bands known as “The Herd” and was noted for his dynamic, energetic style.Buffet Crampon
Artie ShawArtie Shaw was an American clarinetist, composer, and bandleader. Known for his innovation, Shaw was one of the first bandleaders to integrate his band racially.Selmer

Best Clarinet Brand for Students

When it comes to choosing the right clarinet brand as a student, it is important to understand how it can significantly impact your learning journey. Among the most popular brands, Yamaha stands out as a highly recommended choice for beginners. Renowned for its excellent student models, Yamaha has earned global recognition for creating instruments that cater to a wide range of skill levels.


One notable example is the Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet, which exemplifies a high-quality student model. This clarinet not only offers durability and ease of play, but also delivers excellent sound quality. Its exceptional attributes make it an ideal choice for beginners who are just starting their musical journey.

Yamaha YCL-255 Student Clarinet
  • Bb Clarinet with Matte ABS Resin Body
  • Nickel-plated Keys
  • 4C Mouthpiece
  • Barrel
  • Bell

Jean Paul

Another brand worth mentioning is Jean Paul, which has gained praise for its budget-friendly student clarinets. The Jean Paul USA CL-300 Bb clarinet, in particular, is often cited as an exceptional choice for a first clarinet. It strikes a balance between affordability and performance, making it an attractive option for aspiring clarinet players.

Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet B Flat
  • Key of BB with a Boehm 17 key system
  • Beautiful ebonite Body material
  • Nickel-plated keys for a clear and focused tone
  • Robust contoured carrying case for quick and easy transportation
  • Included accessories: Carrying Case, one Rico reed 2.5, cleaning Cloth, and cork grease

Buffet Crampon

Similarly, Buffet Crampon‘s Premium Student Bb Clarinet receives high marks for its quality and reliability. This clarinet stands as another excellent option for beginners, offering a reliable instrument that can support their musical growth.

Buffet Crampon Premium Student Bb Clarinet
  • Cpolymeric ABS body Ringless bell with flat bottom Black nickel tenon rings Keywork: 17 keys, 6 rings Silver-plated keys Adjustable thumbrest with neckstrap hook Stainless steel springs Double fish skin pads Backpack-style case
  • Buffet Crampon reaffirms its position as a market leader by bringing out a totally fresh student clarinet family
  • Stressing accessibility and reliability, their Premium family of clarinets are for beginners on a budget who want to take part in the Buffet Crampon universe right from the start because
  • The Premium’s acoustics originate from its special processed bore, fashioned after the celebrated E13 and E12F models, allowing an ease of play and air flow without precedent in the student clarinet market
  • The Premium clarinet also benefits from the expertise of French craftsmanship, resulting in very balanced, accurate notes and response


The Mendini brand of clarinets, manufactured by Cecilio, is a popular choice among student musicians. These clarinets are noted for their high-quality construction, featuring durable nickel-plated bodies that can withstand regular use. The sound quality, durability, and ease of play that Mendini clarinets offer are commendable for their price point, making them an attractive option for beginners. Apart from the instrument itself, Mendini clarinets often come with a host of additional accessories, including a pro-deluxe durable plush-lined nylon covered hard case, side carrying straps, and a zipper pocket, further enhancing their value for money.

Mendini by Cecillo Bb Clarinet
  • COMPLETE SET - This is the best beginners clarinet for students starting out. Kit includes a case, mouthpiece, box of 10 reeds (2.5"), cork grease, a cleaning cloth, gloves, a pocketbook, a stand, and a clarinet.
  • EASY TO USE - This clarinet cleaning kit and instrument set is super lightweight, adjustable, and portable. Perfect for orchestra concerts, home use, and practice rooms.
  • ELEGANT & DURABLE - With a smooth, sleek finish, our clarinets are crafted with high-grade plastic casting, along with sturdy, nickel-plated keys. Turn heads (and perk ears) with your new instrument!
  • INCLUDED POCKETBOOK - Just starting out? All of our band & orchestra musical instruments come with a handy beginner's pocketbook, filled with tips, tricks, and more.
  • GREAT GIFT - Know any aspiring young musicians, older players, or anyone in between? This is the perfect present for those looking to learn a new instrumental skill.

It’s important to note that the best clarinet brand for you will ultimately depend on your individual needs, preferences, and budget. So, take your time to explore the options and find the brand that resonates with you. Regardless of the brand you choose, remember to prioritize your musical journey and enjoy the process. Happy playing!

Professional Clarinet Choices

When it comes to professional clarinets, musicians often seek instruments that offer not just superior sound quality, excellent craftsmanship, and durability, but also a unique blend of tonal characteristics and playability. Among the popular brands available on the market, Selmer and Leblanc stand out as top choices for discerning professional clarinetists.


Selmer, a renowned clarinet brand with a rich heritage, is known for producing instruments that consistently deliver a rich, full-bodied sound with exceptional projection and resonance. Their professional models, crafted with meticulous attention to detail, often feature grenadilla wood bodies that contribute to a warm and vibrant tone. Additionally, Selmer‘s ergonomic key design ensures optimal comfort and effortless playability, allowing musicians to fully express their musical ideas.

Selmer Student Model CL301 Bb Clarinet
  • Selmer CL301 Student USA Bb Clarinet
  • Plastic Body w/ Wood Like Finish
  • Nickel Plated Keys
  • .573" Reamed Bore -- Undercut Tone Holes
  • Includes Case & Mouthpiece


Leblanc, another reputable brand in the world of professional clarinets, boasts a long-standing tradition of excellence. With a commitment to precision and craftsmanship, Leblanc has been producing fine professional clarinets that have been cherished by musicians worldwide. Their instruments are revered for their exquisite tonal color, dynamic range, and remarkable responsiveness. Each Leblanc clarinet is a testament to the brand’s dedication to creating instruments that inspire and empower musicians to reach new artistic heights.

Both Selmer and Leblanc offer a wide range of clarinets tailored to suit different playing styles and preferences. From the classic Selmer Signature and Privilege series to Leblanc’s Opus and Concerto models, these brands provide options that cater to the unique musical needs of professional players. When choosing a professional clarinet, it is essential to consider not only the instrument’s quality and the reputation of the brand but also how well it resonates with your personal playing style, allowing you to unlock your true musical potential.

In conclusion, the world of professional clarinets is enriched by the exceptional offerings of Selmer and Leblanc. These brands, with their unwavering commitment to craftsmanship and innovation, continue to elevate the musical experiences of clarinetists around the globe. Whether you are seeking a clarinet with a rich, resonant tone or one that offers unparalleled playability, Selmer and Leblanc are names that resonate with excellence and inspire musical greatness.

FAQ – Best Clarinet Brands

1. What is the best clarinet brand available?

The market offers a variety of clarinet brands, but when it comes to quality and reputation, Buffet Crampon, Yamaha, and Selmer are considered among the best.

2. Which clarinet is recommended for beginners?

For beginners, it is recommended to start with a student clarinet. Brands such as Buffet, Yamaha, and Jean Paul offer reliable and easy-to-play student models.

3. What is an intermediate clarinet?

An intermediate clarinet is designed for players who have advanced beyond the beginner level. Brands like Buffet Crampon, Yamaha, and Leblanc offer intermediate clarinets with enhanced features for more experienced players.

4. How is a professional clarinet different from other clarinets?

A professional clarinet is typically made of high-quality materials such as grenadilla wood and is designed for advanced players and professionals. Brands like Buffet Crampon, and Selmer are known for their exceptional professional clarinets.

5. How often should I replace the reed on my clarinet?

The lifespan of a clarinet reed varies depending on usage, but generally, it is recommended to replace the reed every one to two months. However, this could vary based on individual playing habits and reed quality.

6. How do I choose the right mouthpiece for my clarinet?

Choosing the right mouthpiece for your clarinet is essential for achieving the desired tone and playability. It’s best to consult with a professional clarinet player or music teacher who can guide you based on your skill level and personal preferences.

7. Can I play multiple genres of music with a clarinet?

Absolutely! The clarinet is a versatile musical instrument and can be used to play various genres, including classical, jazz, pop, and more. It offers a wide range of expressive possibilities and is often featured in orchestras, bands, and smaller ensembles.

8. What is the best way to care for my clarinet?

The best way to care for your clarinet is to keep it clean, dry, and protected from extreme temperatures. To protect the keys, pads, and corks from dirt and moisture build-up, use a swab after every practice session or performance. Cleaning solutions can be used to remove stubborn residues and tarnishes from your instrument. Additionally, store the clarinet in its case when not in use and make sure to check regularly for loose screws or any other damage. With proper care, you can ensure that your clarinet will last a lifetime!


Choosing the right clarinet, be it for a student or a professional, is a vital consideration for any clarinetist. As explored in this guide, brands such as Jean Paul USA, Mendini, Yamaha, Selmer, and Leblanc provide a range of options suited to different skill levels and budgets. From the affordable student models of Jean Paul USA and Mendini, to the intermediate offerings of Selmer and Mendini, and the professional-grade instruments from Selmer and Leblanc, the choice ultimately depends on your individual requirements and preferences.

In conclusion, the journey of a clarinetist, from a beginner to a professional, is a musical voyage that involves various brands along the way. No single brand can be crowned as the best, as different brands cater to different stages of the journey. Whether it’s Yamaha’s student-friendly models, Jean Paul’s budget-friendly offerings, Selmer’s versatility, or Leblanc’s professional range, each brand offers something unique to the player. Remember, choosing the right clarinet is about finding the instrument that resonates with your playing style, skill level, and budget.

Happy playing!