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What do you recommend for an intermediate level clarinet?

Discussion in 'Clarinets' started by Monocrotis, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. I already read the thread about what type of clarinet there are and stuff, but I'm debating about whether I should get a Buffet or Yamaha, and which mouthpiece is better? If you don't recommend either for the mouthpiece, what kind should I get for them? I don't really trust amazon so I'd like a suggestion from you guys.
  2. It would be helpful if you were to indicate what you plan to use the clarinet for. Are you an experienced player or a novice, are you taking lessons, are you looking for new or used, what is your budget, where are you located. This will help to give you a meaningful answer.
  3. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    ^^ as above questions
    Which model Buffet and Yamaha are you looking at?
    which mouthpieces have you tried?
    what is your current reed and hardness?

    and please don't use Amazon for buying a clarinet. Maybe use it for research but no more.
    I recommend eBay over Amazon LOL
    But over all if used I recommend a knowledgeable and known seller, or a vintage instrument online store.
    Or a local tech could have some or know people selling instruments.
  4. Re

    I have been playing for about 4 years, I would say I'm rather experienced. I plan to use it in school/college for concert purposes. I do not take lessons, but I do know what I'm doing, and I can get a really good sound out of a beginner clarinet. My budget is anywhere in the range of $500-$2000, and I'd take new over used, and I am located in colorado springs, there are several music stores nearby.

    I'm looking at using the Yamaha YCL-450 or the Buffet E11. I have not yet tried any mouthpieces, but I am looking for suggestions, my reed hardness is 3.5, and I have been on that strength for a couple years now. The place I'm purchasing the instrument is not really set in stone to be quite honest, I just want a good suggestion for an instrument, anywhere that is quality. I only went there because I wanted to see the reviews. I'm probably going to go to the store and try out instruments. Thanks anyway guys.
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I rather like Yamahas. They're quite good for the price.

    According to wwbw, the YCL-450 is $1262 for nickel keywork and a shade over $1500 for silver keywork. You can buy an awful lot of good used clarinet for that. Our forum sponsor, has a Yamaha 851II CX, Yamaha 852II CS, and a Yamaha CSV Master on eBay, each for under $1700, no reserve. These are all really high-end pro horns. And we don't just let anyone have an ad here. They have to give us a lot of money have a good reputation.

    (FWIW, the Selmer Bb and A pair he's selling for $1000 looks very intriguing. Regardless of the fact that I've never needed an A clarinet.)

    Mouthpiece choice is very individual. I was extremely happy with my Selmer C85/120 mouthpiece, which I played on a variety of student, intermediate, and pro clarinets. However, the Vandoren B40 and B45 were also very nice and I used those for awhile. My recommendation is that you call your local music shop, say that you will definitely buy from them, but you want to try a few mouthpieces. That's probably the best bet.

    Oh. For reference, I started out on Bb clarinet, went to bari sax, played bass clarinet, then contrabass clarinet, and played around on other saxophone pitches, as needed. I used 3.5 reeds on everything and I preferred Vandoren reeds. The ones I used on bari were discontinued some 30 years ago. I'm essentially "medically retired" from playing.
  6. Thanks very much for the suggestion pete, I was planning on going with a Yamaha YCL 450 and the Vandoren B40 anyway. I appreciate all your help.
  7. If you're looking at buying new gear, then within your budget I'd buy the Yamaha 450 before the Buffet E11. The Yamaha is a very well-made instrument, it tunes well and the key ergonomics are for me quite good. I've always considered the E11 an over-rated instrument for the price. There seems to be problems with build quality and there is a lot of inconsistency between individual instruments. Better by far is the more recent Buffet E12F. This is a more recent design, is made to a higher quality standard and plays better. If I had to make a choice, I'd say that either the E12F or the Yamaha 450 would serve your needs, and the choice between them would only be based on which one works better for you personally. Mouthpieces are a very personal thing, and you've already received good advice on that matter here. You might also like to consider the products of Tom Ridenour. I think he probably makes some of the best clarinets available and they fit within your budget. Good luck with whatever you buy.
  8. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    If you are going to throw that out there ...
    I'm selling a 1965 Buffet R-13 - refurbished for about $1800.
  9. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I'd also recommend the Yamaha 450

    The Buffet E-11, if not the "France" model was made by Shreiber in Germany and is a very nice clarinet. I've had old and new ones (prefer the newer ones). Buffet simply had them relabeled as "Buffet". On the backside you can see by the serial number "made in Germany". Buffet owns Shreiber now if I recall.

    The E-11s though are designed with a wood body but plastic tonehole chimneys. E-12s were all wood. The keywork on the newer ones are very nice.

    This is the same outsourcing strategy as the old Evette & Evette-Shaeffer which were mostly made by Malerne (not Buffet).
  10. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    In your price range there are always several used R13's for sale on Ebay averaging about $1200. If you look for one with no body cracks and new pads around $1000 it would be a great deal. I also really like the Selmer Series 9 clarinets---especially for jazz playing. They average around $700 in good condition. If you get a good used clarinet and then spend another $100 - $200 on a play condition with a good tech you have the best deal possible for price, quality and condition.
  11. I have started playing again after a 35 yr break since my 10 yr old Daughter took to learning the clarinet reasantly,
    looking into purchasing my first wooden clarinet but it's mind blowing just how much choice there is.
    been offered a Armstong 4028 wooden model from local music shop at a good price but can't find any info at all on Armstrong wooden clarinets
  12. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I'd personally steer clear of a clarinet named after a trumpet player. :) Seriously, Armstrong woodwinds are not among the best. The flutes are ok student models, but there are much better clarinets for the money.
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