The Best Brands of Clarinet | Five Top Picks

Whether you’re buying a professional clarinet or you’re just getting started with a student instrument, there are several brands that come up tops. In this article we’ll be looking at five of the best brands of clarinet and where to start as a beginner player.

Buying a product from a well-known and reputable clarinet brand guarantees that the musical instrument you’re buying will meet the standards of quality that you expect.

Keep reading as we take a look at some of our top picks from the best brands on the market right now.

The Best Brands of Clarinet

In this article, we’re focusing on student-friendly instruments from the following manufacturers, which are considered among the best brands of clarinet. We’ll take a look at the flagship student and intermediate clarinets from:

  • Yamaha
  • Cecilio
  • Jean Paul
  • Selmer
  • Jupiter

Keep reading for a more in-depth look at some of the best beginner and intermediate clarinets from these five brands.

Cecilio MCT Mendini Bb Clarinet

Cecilio specialises in making instruments for beginners at an affordable price. This is a great option for someone who’s looking to take up the clarinet for the first time. You get a quality product at a budget-friendly price.

This particular clarinet is made from thermoplastic polymer plastic. Generally, plastic clarinets are cheaper than traditional wooden clarinets, but despite being a more inexpensive option, plastic clarinets from a good brand are still durable long-lasting instruments.

On the Mendini, the fittings and keys are all nickel-plated, so you can trust that the instrument will keep its shine for years to come.

The instrument is a B flat clarinet and has an adjustable rest for your thumb and trill keys. The instrument also comes with a zipper case, a mouthpiece, a cap for the mouthpiece and cork grease for maintaining your instrument.

Another feature that makes this instrument stand out is its colour. A sky blue clarinet is bound to pop out in any crowd, if you prefer a more traditional-looking clarinet, the instrument is also available in black.

Jean Paul USA CL-300

The Jean Paul USA Cl-300 is one of the best student clarinets on the market. It is a budget-friendly option and is more durable than most of the other instruments in a similar price range.

Rather than being made from plastic, this Bb clarinet is manufactured from ebonite, a natural hard rubber that replicates the sound of a wooden instrument. The material allows the clarinet to produce a crisp and clear sound, which is generally better than that made from a plastic clarinet.

Jean Paul is a popular student clarinet brand so is available to buy in most music stores.

Like the Medini, the keys are nickel-plated, to keep the keys shiny and pristine, and the instrument’s bore produces great sound projection

Even so, this clarinet is an absolute steal, given its price tag.

Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb // Yamaha YCL-255

Yamaha is regarded as one of the best brands of clarinet. From its beginner range to its professional clarinets, Yamaha is known for its excellent build quality and design.

The work that has been put into the design of its excellent range of professional clarinets has trickled down to its beginner instruments, so if you’re looking for your first instrument, Yamaha is a great place to start.

One of the best options in this category is the YCL 255. This B flat clarinet’s design is quite similar to the ones used in Yamaha’s higher-end instruments but with some adaptations that make it more affordable.

The clarinet is made from ABS resin, a thermoplastic polymer. Thanks to its matte finish, the ABS resin gives the instrument a similar look and feel to a pricier wood clarinet.

The nickel keys and silver-plated roads are paired with an adjustable thumb rest. When combined with the Valentino pads, you end up with an excellent instrument that produces a great sound.

Unless you’re an experienced player, you’re unlikely to tell the difference between this sound and the one produced by a wooden clarinet.

These great features so however come with a price tag. This Yamaha clarinet is more expensive than most other student instruments but if you’re looking for an instrument that will last, it is well worth the extra investment.

Jupiter JCL-700N Student // Jupiter JCL700N

When it comes to entry-level instruments, Jupiter is one of the best brands of clarinet out there.

This beginner clarinet model, again, has an ABS resin body. Although it compromises on sound quality, ABS resin is a more affordable option and comes with other advantages like durability and resistance to damage by temperature change.

The keys are nickel-silver, and the clarinet has an adjustable thumb rest. Despite being a beginner instrument, it has the potential to produce a rich, warm sound.

Something you should make a note of is that this clarinet weighs more than the typical instrument, so a young clarinet player may get tired after playing for extended periods.

Selmer CL211 Intermediate Bb // Selmer CL211

If you’re looking to upgrade your instrument, Selmer is one of the most respected brands on the market for professional and intermediate clarinets and other woodwinds.

Famed for its vintage saxophones like the Mark VI tenor saxophone, Selmer is one of the most prestigious names amongst woodwind manufacturers. This particular clarinet well and truly lives up to its name, offering a perfect middle ground between a beginner clarinet and a professional instrument.

Selmer’s clarinet has a body made from grenadilla wood with silver-plated keys. They’re laid out in a French Boehm system, and the bore is slightly smaller than a lot of the typical beginner’s clarinets you’ll find available.

The thumb rest is adjustable, and the steel springs add to the quality of this clarinet. That isn’t all, though. The clarinet has a wooden body, which gives the instrument a fuller sound compared to plastic clarinets.

It is worth noting that wooden clarinets require more work to keep them in great condition and compared to plastic instruments, they are more delicate. But, the rich and warm sound more than compensates for the extra maintenance required.

Other notable features include a protective case, cleaning essentials, mouthpiece, and ligature which holds the clarinet reed in place.

This intermediate clarinet comes with a much larger price tag than the other products on this list so we would only recommend forking out if you’re committed to the instrument.

If you’re buying a clarinet, Cecilio, Jean Paul, Yamaha, Jupiter, and Selmer are all great places to start looking. Each brand is widely known and respected so you can trust that you’ll be getting a great quality instrument.

Each instrument in this list is an excellent choice, and you’ll have an excellent time playing on any of them. Though which you choose will depend on your current skill level and your commitment to the instrument.

Of course, this list only scrapes the surface of the huge number of clarinets out there on the market. We recommend heading over to the companies’ websites to ensure you find the best clarinet for your needs.

Discover more about the clarinet. Our article on the best jazz clarinettists is a great source of inspiration if you’re interested in learning more about jazz clarinet, or check out our article on Benny Goodman, one of the great masters of the clarinet.

2 thoughts on “The Best Brands of Clarinet | Five Top Picks”

  1. Cecilio MCT Mendini Bb Clarinet? You’re kidding me, right? One of my friends bought a Cecilio mouthpiece for his daughter and it was a total piece of crap. I have 53 years experience playing clarinet and the mouthpiece was totally unplayable over part of the clarinet range because the curve of the facing was completely wrong (much too short). It also had deep tooling marks across the table because it had not been polished after the milling was done. It worked after I modified it, but it required significant modification to make it right. After that experience, I wouldn’t trust their workmanship for anything.

    • Hi Max,

      Our main reason for including it is that it offers the sort of value-for-money that could prove the difference between a young beginner starting to learn and not and can usually do so with a level of consistency which allows them to decide if it’s for them or not. With that in mind, I’m not surprised that an experienced player such as yourself, who is fully aware of the nuances of clarinet, would not find it suitable or particularly enjoyable!

      Whilst it’s inevitable that some individual mass-produced budgets instruments can slip through the net, this particular one has more than 70% of 5* ratings via Amazon with in-depth reviews by beginner players who had a great experience.

      As a side-note, in terms of mouthpieces, I would usually recommend that replacing/upgrading this part of the instrument (rather than using a budget one) can make a massive difference, sometimes more (dollar-to-dollar) than the instrument itself.

      All the best



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