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Best Clarinets for Beginners: What to Look for When Buying a Clarinet

best clarinets for beginners

Choosing the best clarinets for beginners depends on what you are looking for in the instrument you want to buy.

The key that the clarinet comes in, the player’s experience level, cost, and value, even the material the instrument is made from must be weighed to find the best clarinet for your particular use.

This list will cover some of the best clarinets for beginners to provide information on this question to help guide you through the buying process.

In a hurry? Here are quick links of our top 5 recommendations of best clarinets for beginners:

  1. Jean-Paul CL-300 Student Clarinet
  2. Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet
  3. Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet
  4. Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet
  5. Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet

Whatever your budget, here you can find an ideal choice of the best clarinets for beginners and all other areas of your life that demand pristine performances.

Product name
Our Top Pick
Jean Paul CL-300 Student Clarinet
Runner-up
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet
High-quality
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet
Best Value Pick
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet
Most Affordable
Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet
Photo
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet Bb Clarinet
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet Nickel Plated
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case
Glory B Flat Clarinet with Second Barrel, 11reeds,8 Pads cushions,case,carekit and more~ Light blue
Others
Has a good tone and key action for a beginner clarinet
Outstanding tone quality
Excessive moisture accumulation
Great for school students
Affordable for beginners
Others 2
It comes with a strong case for ease of transport
Excellent projection
Adjustable thumb rest
Includes mouthpiece, reed protector, cork grease, cleaning swab
The extensive list of accessories
Rating
-
-
Our Top Pick
Product name
Jean Paul CL-300 Student Clarinet
Photo
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Others
Has a good tone and key action for a beginner clarinet
Others 2
It comes with a strong case for ease of transport
Rating
Check Price
Runner-up
Product name
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet
Photo
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet Bb Clarinet
Others
Outstanding tone quality
Others 2
Excellent projection
Rating
-
Check Price
High-quality
Product name
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet
Photo
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet Nickel Plated
Others
Excessive moisture accumulation
Others 2
Adjustable thumb rest
Rating
-
Check Price
Best Value Pick
Product name
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet
Photo
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case
Others
Great for school students
Others 2
Includes mouthpiece, reed protector, cork grease, cleaning swab
Rating
Check Price
Most Affordable
Product name
Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet
Photo
Glory B Flat Clarinet with Second Barrel, 11reeds,8 Pads cushions,case,carekit and more~ Light blue
Others
Affordable for beginners
Others 2
The extensive list of accessories
Rating
Check Price

Check out my personal favorites and see what arouses your interest. My list of the best beginner clarinets includes affordable, expensive, beginner-friendly clarinets, as well as complex clarinets in all variants.

Let us help you make the decision to purchase a beginner clarinet to begin your music career. These are some of the best beginner saxophones you can buy today.

Jean-Paul CL-300 Student Clarinet

My research informs me that this Jean Paul USA CL-300 is probably the best deal you’ll get with an inexpensive clarinet that is durable, properly tuned, and performs well enough for someone looking for a solid base on the clarinet.

The Jean-Paul USA CL-300 student clarinet is the best of excellent quality. It has a slimmer vamp cut designed to make it easier for beginners to play, as well as all the accessories you need to learn to play. It even has a sturdy case for easy clarinet portability.

Pros
  • Made of durable ebonite
  • Has a good tone and key action for a beginner clarinet
  • Nickel-plated keys
  • It comes with a strong case for ease of transport
  • Durable carrying case
  • Great for students
Cons
  • Keys start to bend a bit after time
  • You need to upgrade the mouthpiece
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet

Yamaha is another amazing brand for your new clarinet. Considered one of the most popular brands. Its quality is in the price. Just make sure you get a beginner model.

A good option is YCL-255 clarinet. While it generates a higher price, you will find this to be one of the best entry-level clarinets available.

Construction is designed for beginner gamers but is of outstanding quality with features like nickel-plated silver keys, a matte ABS resin body, adjustable footrest, and Valentino pads.

While considered an entry-level Yamaha, the YCL-255 is more of an intermediate level instrument. It costs quite a bit more than an average beginner clarinet, although it also offers a better tone and builds quality. Clarinet 255 is intended for students and professional musicians alike.

The YCL-255 made its debut in 2012, replacing the YCL-250, which was Yamaha’s premier student clarinet for more than a decade. Yamaha played it safe with the design and build of the 255 models and kept it largely similar to its predecessor. The main differences include the omission of the bell ring and the addition of a footrest with a loop.

The YCL-255 has a standard size five-piece body that is made of ABS resin and combined with silver nickel-plated hardware. This model comes with the popular Japanese-made 4C mouthpiece and a 65mm barrel.

The standard 17-piece Boehm key system is also there, as are the Valentino keyboards. The package also includes a case, cork grease, cotton swab, cleaning cloth, reed, and instruction manual.

Pros
  • Outstanding tone quality
  • Very well-built
  • Excellent projection
  • 4C mouthpiece
Cons
  • Might be too expensive for some
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet

The Jupiter JCL-700N is reliable for its reliability and almost worth its price, which may be at the top of the average budget for beginners.

It is not a wooden clarinet, but that is not necessarily a disadvantage for a student clarinet. In fact, that adapts it to outdoor conditions that wooden clarinets simply won’t handle that well.

Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Excessive moisture accumulation
  • Solid wood body
  • Adjustable thumb rest
  • Excellent tone
Cons
  • It isn’t anything much more than a student instrument
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet

The Hisonic Signature Series 2610 is a standard B flat soprano clarinet for beginners and experienced players returning from a long pause.

The clarinet offers decent, though not flawless, build quality that is to be expected at its price point. Plus, 2610 has a sleek classic design that will blend seamlessly with the rest of a band or orchestra.

The 2610 clarinet starts with an ebonite body and a set of nickel silver keys. The body is five standard pieces and the bell at the bottom is topped by a metal ring.

Pros
  • Great for school students
  • Good build quality
  • Hard-shell case
  • Durable ebonite body
  • Includes mouthpiece, reed protector, cork grease, cleaning swab
  • Easy to play
  • Good projection
Cons
  • Case handle breaks easily
  • Comes with very few accessories
  • Tone clarity could be better
Glory B Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet

In my opinion, if you’re just starting out, your safest bet is to get a super affordable instrument.

When you progress beyond the basics, you can easily upgrade to a more advanced instrument.

The Glory B Flat Clarinet is an entry-level soprano model made with complete beginners in mind, so it comes with everything a beginner will need to start their musical journey.

The Glory B flat clarinet starts with a soprano-sized ebonite body and nickel-plated keys. The keys are presented in the standard 17-key Boehm pattern, with inline trill keys.

Although it is of good quality, the hardware of this model cannot be compared to the more expensive options.

In terms of tone quality, this B-flat student model is roughly comparable to other entry-level models. The tone is bright and has a decent projection.

Combined with the average playability, it makes the B Flat clarinet a good choice for learning the basics.

The package also features a carrying case with a shoulder strap, a set of 10 replacement reeds, 8 pads, white gloves, a cleaning cloth, a screwdriver, reed holder, cork grease, replacement barrel, and cap.

Pros
  • The extensive list of accessories
  • Good value for the money
  • Good tone and playability
  • Affordable for beginners
Cons
  • Overall build quality could be better
  • Not suitable for intermediate or advanced players

What is a Clarinet?

The clarinet is a wooden wind instrument that was developed around the year 1700 by Johann Christoph Denner. It works by vibrating a reed with the lips and breathing, and alternating tones covering the tone holes along with the instrument.

Popular in jazz and orchestral music, the clarinet is an impressive introductory musical instrument for beginners looking for a challenging and rewarding instrument.

Plastic Clarinets Vs. Wood Clarinets

If the student is young, then the best clarinet for beginners will be robust and durable. For starters, I wouldn’t buy a wooden clarinet. Although the sound of real wood is beautiful, it will take several years before the student’s tone quality is developed, making the difference worthwhile.

Wooden clarinets are also more difficult to maintain. Student clarinets are designed to be easier to control and tune in more easily. Then I would start with a plastic or resin clarinet.

Plastic (or resin) clarinets will be better able to withstand all the potential rough handling that comes with the beginner learning curve. We have phone cases to protect us from accidental drops, but unfortunately, there is nothing like that for a clarinet.

The Yamaha clarinet has a neck clip hook that is the best way to prevent accidental drops. If shopping for a young clarinet student, be sure to purchase a clarinet with a neck clip.

If this clarinet is for a music band student, it seems obvious that plastic is the right choice. Wood expands and contracts with the weather and temperature, making it very difficult to stay in tune and stay safe while walking in the mud.

The use of plastics has really opened up the world of clarinets, making us affordable and durable instruments available to the masses! These lower prices are a lifesaver for parents who no longer need to mortgage the home to buy an instrument for a child who can walk away from it at any time.

What Type of Clarinets to Avoid

There are some negative factors for cheap clarinets. Many are difficult to assemble and disassemble. This is critical because the daily routine includes packing and taking it to school or classes and back home where the student wants to practice.

However, if one has difficulty putting it together or taking it apart, then frankly, the student will not practice.

Appearance: If you go for the cheap clarinet, it may look good from the factory, but it can wear out quickly with regular use. The overlay on the most commonly used keys can easily wear off, making the student’s fingers sticky.

Noise: There is a lot of unnecessary noise on the keys. You can put on new pads and work to change that if you’re a DIY fan or pay big bucks at the music store.

No amount of student enthusiasm will triumph over a poor quality student clarinet. Cheaper clarinets can save you money today, but it will ultimately slow the student down. The best beginner clarinet is an investment and should not be seen as an inevitable future member of the closet or attic clutter.

A quick online search shows how many cheap student clarinets are out there. You can find them in a rainbow of colors. It may seem like an irresistible deal, but it will prevent a student from having fun and becoming competent. With a good-quality beginner clarinet, the confidence of being able to do new things will follow you through life.

Choose the best student clarinet that is in your budget. Don’t try to cut corners! If the clarinet is well cared for, you can resell it when you decide to upgrade to a new top-level clarinet.

Spending more on a student clarinet

Definitely don’t start with a “professional” model. These are difficult for a beginner to play because they are designed slightly out of tune.

Advanced players have the ability to colorize the sound and make subtle tone corrections, creating a more pleasant tone, but for beginners, this isn’t useful!

It is worth the extra money. The caliber of the instrument is remarkable. The mechanics work more and better. The keys of a student model will be “less sticky”. You get what you pay for and you can really see the difference.

When more attention is focused on construction, there is less delivery and ease. This difference in responsiveness and quality of action is where one begins to see the difference when playing fast passages.

The notes fit evenly and better on the registers. If there’s one thing you want, it’s for the sound to be more controlled and less shrill. With a better student clarinet, the high notes (altissimo register) will be less strained.

Clarinets have some questionable notes. The lower F # is often very sharp, and the mid-Bb can seem quite airy. You want to minimize this, and with a better clarinet, more attention is paid to the position and shape of the tone holes for more consistent sound quality.

This can make a big difference in the quality of individual notes. It is subtle for a beginning student, but as it grows in skill and experience it will be appreciated.

In general, a better clarinet model will last longer, sound better, and generally be easier to maintain.

So, which is the best clarinet for beginners for right now?

The best clarinets for beginners really depends on what type of saxophones you are looking for, what level of performance you are on, and how you want to use it. Our best choice for the best beginner saxophones is the Jean-Paul CL-300.

We chose this one because it gives you everything you need for a pleasant saxophone playing experience – great design is needed to go with the gear and most importantly, wonderful authentic sound. This combination of price, quality, and appearance makes this saxophone our best option.

Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
1,329 Reviews
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
  • 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
Sale
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet Bb Clarinet
114 Reviews
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet Bb Clarinet
  • Modeled after professional Yamaha models
  • 65mm barrel for a focused tone
  • Adjustable thumb rest with strap ring
  • Yamaha 4C mouthpiece included
  • Case may vary. Hard case or semi-hard case
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet Nickel Plated
9 Reviews
Jupiter JCL-700N Student Clarinet Nickel Plated
  • .583 in. bore Offset trill keys 65 mm barrel ABS resin Matte finish Nickel silver bell ring Specially designed C/G key riser Undercut toneholes Forged nickel-plated nickel silver keys Adjustable thumb rest Adjustable neck strap ABS molded case
  • "Ruggedly built beginner to intermediate clarinet
  • The ABS resin body of the JCL-700N Student Clarinet makes it impervious to cracking, and, as such, makes it perfect for young clarinet students who aren't inclined to keep after the humidity change exposure that comes with changing seasons and outdoor performing
  • The keys are nickel silver and the thumb rest is adjustable, features you see on more expensive clarinets
  • It produces a rich, full tone and is mechanically reliable, promising many years of use
Sale
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case
568 Reviews
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case
  • Prestini pads that are Made in the USA
  • Nickel-silver keys, Bright Tone, Clarinet is made of Ebonite
  • Includes: Cork grease and clarinet swab
  • Includes: Protective plush lined Case, mouthpiece with reed protector
  • Bb Soprano - This is the standard clarinet used for marching band, orchestra and jazz band

Final Words

Fortunately, you got all the information you needed from the best clarinets for beginners’ reviews provided to make the right decision.

Above all, you deserve a clarinet with impressive sound quality. The tone must be well balanced and the intonation flexible enough.

With a wide range of plastic and wooden clarinets in an even wider price range, it should be much easier to decide what you need in your clarinet.

Whatever your wishes, you are now a more educated buyer.

Best of luck and keep making music!