So you’ve decided to start your music journey. These days, there’s an abundance of different instruments to choose from, all of which are easily obtainable either in your local music stores or via online purchases. While this is most certainly an advantage, it comes with one big challenge – it gets hard to choose. However, even despite this issue, clarinet still remains one of the most popular instruments among beginners.
And it’s really no wonder. Sure, it might not be as attractive at a first glance as, let’s say, the drums or the electric guitar. However, the instrument itself is very versatile and can be found in plenty of genres. Although many people associate it with classical music, it’s present in jazz, traditional folk music, and even blues or rock genres. And it might not be as simple and straightforward as it seems, but it’s pretty fun to play when you get a hang of it. What’s more, being a clarinet player, there’s not only going to be a high demand for you, but the skill will also open up the ways for other instruments, most notably a saxophone.
However, there’s one problem that comes to mind – you’ll need to find the right instrument for this phase. And just like with any other instrument, the whole process of finding what you need and what will suit you might be a bit difficult. This is why we decided to do a brief guide and help you find the best clarinet for beginners that will suit your needs. Of course, the choice was not exactly the easiest one, so we narrowed it down and brought a brief list of the best clarinets in many different categories. So here’s what we’ve got.
- 1 Best Clarinets for Beginners Reviews
- 1.1 Best Deal Below $100 – Lazarro 150-BK Professional Black Ebonite-Silver Keys Bb B Flat Clarinet
- 1.2 Best Low Budget Clarinet – Glory B-Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet
- 1.3 Most Practical – Eastrock B-Flat Clarinet
- 1.4 Best for Younger Beginners – Mendini MCT-E Black B Flat Clarinet
- 1.5 Best Deal for the Price – Yamaha Advantage YCL-200AD Student Clarinet
- 1.6 Best for Lower Register – Yamaha YCL-250 Clarinet
- 1.7 Best Overall Clarinet for Beginners – Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
- 2 Best Beginner Clarinet Buying Guide
- 3 Conclusion
Best Clarinets for Beginners Reviews
Best Deal Below $100 – Lazarro 150-BK Professional Black Ebonite-Silver Keys Bb B Flat Clarinet
To start things off, we have a very cheap yet surprisingly reliable beginner clarinet by Lazarro. The company’s not strictly focused on wind instruments, but they do a fairly good job at making clarinets, especially at this budget level. For this particular list, we’re looking into their 150-BK clarinet, with its main target group being beginner players. This is a standard Bb clarinet with 17 keys. It’s made out of hard resin ebonite while the keys are all nickel-plated, making them fairly durable for this price level. It also comes with a second barrel, as well as an adjustable thumb rest. Additionally, the full package also includes a care kit and additional reeds.
Knowing that this instrument and all of the appropriating gear are below the $100 mark, it’s pretty surprising to see how well 150-BK works. Sure, it won’t exactly be able to pull off those fully professional settings, but it’s more than enough for a beginner.
- Very cheap
- Comes with additional gear and a care kit
- Great deal for the price
- Might not be the best option for some parts of the higher register
Best Low Budget Clarinet – Glory B-Flat Black Ebonite Clarinet
When starting out on any instrument, many music enthusiasts are not always certain whether they’ll stick to it in the long run. Or, another case is that they just want to play for fun. In both of these examples, it’s always a better idea to find a cheaper instrument. This is now always that easy for clarinets, as they usually tend to get expensive for any skill level. And those that are cheap are usually not worth it, making it hard to find a decent budget instrument. However, we managed to find one that caught our attention with some of the qualities. Although Glory is not exactly the biggest brand out there, their simple standard B-Flat clarinet is definitely worth checking out if you’re a beginner on a budget.
Going below the $100 price mark, it’s a pretty simple one. However, the clarinet comes with a full package, and that’s something that really surprised us for this particular price level. It’s made from a black ebonite of amazing quality and comes with nickel-plated keys which seem to be pretty durable. The package also includes two barrels, 8 pad cushions, and 11 reeds, as well as an additional care kit.
If you’re a beginner, this is more than enough to get you started. Sure, it won’t be enough to satisfy your needs when you reach higher skill levels. But it’s definitely a great deal for a budget clarinet.
- Extremely cheap
- Comes with a lot of additional gear and a care kit, making it a great deal for the price
- Not that versatile
Most Practical – Eastrock B-Flat Clarinet
Although not as cheap as the Glory B-Flat clarinet that we mentioned above, this one’s pretty affordable as well. Made by Eastrock, this is yet another simple variant and a great deal for the price. What we love about it is that it comes with a very practical package and is one of the best solutions for young clarinet students.
Of course, it’s a standard Bb clarinet and it comes with two barrels, a stand, a case, and even its own maintenance kit. It’s pretty well-built and it seems like a pretty sturdy one. Nonetheless, this doesn’t take away from its amazing design and aesthetic features. Eastrock seem to have done a pretty great job at keeping things in order while still managing to cut the costs. It’s a fairly simple one and very budget-friendly. As a beginner, is there even anything more you could ask? It’s durable, it sounds great, and it feels amazing. It’s just simply a go-to clarinet for beginners and you can’t really go wrong with this pick.
- Reliable and durable
- Good for the price
- Comes with a good case
- The company could have included a care kit at this price level
Best for Younger Beginners – Mendini MCT-E Black B Flat Clarinet
Mendini is another great brand of music instruments. They’re a subsidiary of Cecilio, which is another great brand that has both entry-level and professional instruments to offer. If we’re talking about the best clarinet for beginners, we should mention Mendini’s MCT-E, which one pretty decent standard Bb clarinet.
The category of beginners is a pretty wide one, and we also need to think of the youngest ones as well. Knowing that Mendini’s MCT-E is very cheap (similar to the one by Glory) and fairly simple to figure out, we’d recommend it to the youngest musicians who are keen on playing a clarinet. Sure, it might not have the tone that some other more experienced students would like, but it’s still more than enough for the youngest ones.
- Extremely cheap
- Really simple, making it a great choice for the youngest clarinet students
- A student would need to get a better one after they pass the beginner phase
Best Deal for the Price – Yamaha Advantage YCL-200AD Student Clarinet
Look, whatever kind of instrument we’re talking about, there’s hardly any chance to avoid mentioning Yamaha in there. So it doesn’t really come as a surprise that we’re seeing the legendary company on a list of the best clarinets for beginners. For this purpose, we’re checking out their YCL-200AD clarinet.
Compared to some other clarinets that we mentioned here, YCL-200AD is just a bit more expensive. However, the price is definitely worth it, since this instrument sounds great, feels great, and is pretty reliable, even in the longer run. Although labeled as a “student clarinet,” we can see some great features on it, including nickel-plated keys, matte finish, a bell cutout, as well as a hardshell carrying case that comes with it.
- Very reliable
- The price is relatively low considering its qualities
- Nothing for this price level
Best for Lower Register – Yamaha YCL-250 Clarinet
Knowing how great Yamaha is, there was no way for us to avoid mentioning at least one more of their great products on this list. For this purpose, we’re including their YCL-250, which is modeled after some of their most prestigious clarinets of all time. The most striking thing here is the overall tone quality. It’s designed in such a way to that it projects its sound much better than most of the clarinets at this price level. Additionally, we also noticed that it’s extremely good at projecting the notes in the lower register. This is especially useful for beginners as they might sometimes struggle to provide enough power to pronounce those lower notes.
It’s also worth noting that Yamaha’s YCL-250 is made out of plastic. This is not unusual for beginner clarinets, or just those that are cheaper. Nonetheless, Yamaha did a great job at not only making it sound good, but also making it look like their professional-level instruments. To be fair, you can’t go wrong with YCL-250.
- Great deal for the price
- Good projection
- Really good at pronouncing those lower notes
- Great feel
- Might be a little expensive for some beginners
Best Overall Clarinet for Beginners – Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Lastly, we’d like to look more into Jean Paul USA, which is a brand that specially focuses on beginner level wind instruments. With all this in mind, we couldn’t help but include their CL-300 model as the best overall clarinet for beginners. This particular model comes in three variants, but this one works the best for beginners. CL-350 and CL-400 are also great, but may be a little expensive for some beginners.
Nonetheless, CL-300 is a standard Bb clarinet with a very stylish-looking ebonite body. This is accompanied by nickel-plated keys that are not only very comfortable but also really durable. Additionally, its specially-designed keys are responsible for a very sharp tone making it sound very defined and focused in the higher register. At the same time, the lower register might not be as pronounced, but it still works pretty well.
- Great deal for the price
- Very comfortable to play
- Great tone, especially in the higher register
- Lower notes might not sound that defined compared to the higher ones
Best Beginner Clarinet Buying Guide
If you’re a beginner, you should also inform yourself about some basic features to check out when looking for the best beginner clarinet. This is why we came up with a simple buying guide. Here are a few things to look into before you decide to make a purchase.
The “standard” average clarinet is tuned to Bb, meaning that this is their open note. However, there are a few variations here, like C or A. If you’re a beginner, then you’ll be looking into Bb clarinets. However, the tuning, including some minor variations in pitch, can also be changed using different mouthpieces.
In these beginner categories, ABS (or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is the most common material, especially if we’re talking about cheaper models. Although some may think that plastic is not exactly the best choice, the building practices have been perfected that these instruments still manage to pull off some great tones. However, the rule always remains – better clarinets are made out of different types of wood, most notably rosewood, African hardwood, and granadilla. But even though beginner clarinets are mostly made out of plastic and other similar materials, even cheaper brands can do a really good job at making them look good.
The quality of components is one of the most important traits you should look into. This especially goes for the main part of the body and the keys mounted on it. In most of the cases, clarinet keys are either plated with nickel or silver. Nickel-plated ones are generally more durable and a little shinier in appearance. Silver-plated keys are not as durable and may tarnish more in the long run, but have a better feel to them. But no matter the type of keys, proper care will keep them safe from any unwanted changes.
Clarinets are probably one of the most expressive wind instruments. However, you should still take care when choosing the right one as a beginner. The models that we shared in this guide should be more than enough for the respective categories that we mentioned. Some of them might be a bit more expensive, like those two by Yamaha. Nonetheless, they all do a really great job for beginners, both financially and performance-wise.