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Quality cheap Eb Clarinet?

#1
Hey guys :) I didn't see this addressed anywhere, so I'll ask. Are there any good quality cheap Eb clarinets around? I've seen a few companies like Band Director's Choice, Paolo Mark, Barrington, and several unbranded, which I assume I should stay away from. It'd be my first Eb, (I play Bass and Bb, and really know nothing about ups and downs of Clarinet companies since the Clarinet family is my secondary instrument)
Any help you guys have is very appreciated :)
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#2
Assuming you mean Eb alto (not Eb soprano) clarinet, there are many on sale on eBay and you can fine them a plenty in pawn shops and music stores. They certainly are not in high demand, I've not seen one in any of many community bands I've played with, including the National Community Band. I purchased a Leblanc Esprit, but then I wanted new. eBay has many from the leblanc, selmer, and other big name providers listed today.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#4
From own experience, a Bundy eefer is, from a price/performance standpoint, hard to beat. I once had a "Woodwind"-brand plastic eefer, and it was so-so, but only after quite a bit of adjustments (which, when done by a repair person, easily will eat your "profit" from buying a cheap honker).
So, in a nutshell, buy some "brand" instrument (the "big four" (Selmer, Leblanc, Buffet, Yamaha), Bundy, Amati) but stay away from anything that comes with a pair of white gloves.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#5

TrueTone

Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History
#6
You might get lucky like I did and buy a Buffet with no idea of pitching standard until you get it for $150. :p
Of course there's the fact that it may be HP.
Can you play the Albert System? Might open up a few more options.
Also, out of curiosity, why did you assume he meant Alto, Gandalfe? I usually see just Eb in reference to Soprano Eb.
 
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Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#7
Also, out of curiosity, why did you assume he meant Alto, Gandalfe? I usually see just Eb in reference to Soprano Eb.
Most people don't even know there is an Eb soprano clarinet. That said, out of the ten or so community bands I've played in, only two had the Eb sop and NONE had the Eb alto clarinet. I only have an alto clarinet because on occasion I play in clarinet choirs.
 
#9
I have a Vito Eb clarinet and it's decent, pretty good really. I like it better than Bundy, but both are ok. I like both of those much more than any of the new Chinese ones, some of which are ok for their very low price but I've tried none that are anywhere near good IMO (though the last time I've tried one was more than a year ago).

Decent quality student Eb clarinet seems be something that isn't made at all anymore. I guess because of very low demand plus very cheap instruments from China. If Amati still makes an Eb clarinet then there's a good chance it's decent, about the same level as a Vito or Bundy, though it might be worse (I've tried some Amatis that were pretty awful...).
 
#10
Thank you guys for the replies so far :) I'm gonna get an Eb in January or February, unless I get an alto first haha. WhI cheer I find first that's the most bang for the buck, I'll get after Christmas. I'll get both in the long run, I'm a bit obsessed with owning the clarinet family I guess...lol
 
#11
Assuming you mean Eb alto (not Eb soprano) clarinet, there are many on sale on eBay and you can fine them a plenty in pawn shops and music stores. They certainly are not in high demand, I've not seen one in any of many community bands I've played with, including the National Community Band. I purchased a Leblanc Esprit, but then I wanted new. eBay has many from the leblanc, selmer, and other big name providers listed today.
The problem of the alto is one that's been developed over the years with a lack of literature (as well you know, I'm sure) and neglect (which you may also know about). It's the red-headed step-child of the school band, usually in awful repair, with a less-than-stellar mouthpiece, and handed to someone who is struggling with 3rd Clarinet. Thus, you end up with community bandleaders who have never ever heard one in good repair played by someone who has more than the faintest idea of what it should sound like, and to make matters worse, often has only one person playing bass clarinet, so they can't even bother to fill the alto chair for the few pieces that have a part.

A couple of years ago, I came across Prof. Mark Wolbers' paper "Alto Clarinet: The Endangered Species of the American Band". It's an interesting read.

https://depts.washington.edu/uwwinds/cbdna/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/A. Cl. Paper.pdf

You're welcome to come to Kansas City in October and hear me play alto in our 60 plus member community band. Pieces with alto parts: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" arr. Conley and "The Pearl Fishers" overture arr. Cailliet. (Both are real parts, not alto sax with "sax" crossed out and "clarinet" written in or transposed 3rd clar. Both parts have the alto filling in where the bass is in its throat.) (Four more pieces in the program, two with contra alto parts and the remaining two will see me joining our other two basses.) It helps that our artistic director is both a composer and a woodwind player himself.
 
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