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Yamaha clarinet advice

#1
Hi,Im looking to buy a clarinet for the first time and would appreciate some advice on what type to get. I took clarinet lessons for 5 years at secondary school but used a clarinet belonging to the school so had to give it back when I left. I haven't played at all for 6 years but I'm keen to buy my own clarinet and take it up again as I really did enjoy it. When I stopped having lessons I was playing grade 5 or 6 pieces but I've probably forgotten a lot of it so won't be as good now. I used to play a Yamaha B flat but I'm not sure which model it was, I'd definitely want another Yamaha though and would want a new instrument. Does anyone have any advice on what type to get? I've been looking at the YCL-255S, does anyone have any experience with this? Thanks :).
 
#2
The YCL255 is a good student-level instrument and would serve you well. For a little more, consider the 450, which I think is the absolute bargain of the Yamaha intermediate instruments.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#3
I definitely agree that the 450 is a better horn, but I'm not sure it's the best value. I did a quick peek on eBay and a new 255 is $700 or less. A new 450 is $1200 or more. Used horns are a bit different. A used 255 is $450ish and a used 450 is $600ish. The used market is where you see the bargain. However, I also came across a nice looking overhauled YCL-52 for all of $679 on eBay. That's Yamaha's old advanced intermediate model. There's also an overhauled YCL-34II for $345. That was Yamaha's starter intermediate horn. It's wooden and I played a 34 for years. Very good horn.

Standard eBay disclaimer for wooden clarinet: make sure no cracks, pins, or bands. Assume you'll pay around $350 for an overhaul.

You might also want to contact one of our forum sponsors, QuinnTheEskimo (the_mighty_quinn@msn.com) and/or one of our members, Dave at KesslerMusic.com. They've got some good, cheap horns.

There are a lot of good clarinets out there. It just depends on how much you want to spend. Make sure you get a decent mouthpiece, too.
 
#4
All Yamaha clarinets are the same. They have different names (etc. "Advantage), and a different case look.
The only difference is the case of the Yamahas. I use the YCL-450n, Bb clarinet. This case has a more modern type of look to the case. Inside of the case, the YCL-250m has a harder interior at the top. The YCL-450n has a softer interior, and does not put as much pressure inside, and the barrel and bell of the instrument are separated. Cost varies by type of case as the case costs more to make.
Besides all Yamaha clarinets being the same in sound/tone quality/look/value, there are different types. The materials vary from wood, plastic, hard rubber, metal, resin, and ivory. When buying a Yamaha clarinet, or renting one, all of them come with a plastic mouthpiece, as different materials tend to give side effects, and plastic mouthpieces are considered the best. Most Yamaha ligatures are not so good when coming to a thicker type of reed, such as 3s, 3.5s, and 4s. The reed when put under the mouthpiece tends to scratch on the softer side of the reed, and becomes grey/black-ish. Make sure to get a better ligature as suggested. Vandoren reeds are highly recommended. I have used a plastic, metal, and wooden clarinet. They make the same sound, but tones are more smooth depending on what reed you use. 56 Rue Lepics from Vandoren give a nicer tone quality. (2.5s are recommended to start with, and as you go higher into the register, advance on to a 3, 3.5, then 4. ) Hope this helped!
How is it that Yamaha have managed to conceal this remarkable practice from clarinettist worldwide for so many years and that none of them have noticed? Its a long time since I read so much rubbish in one post. What planet do you live on?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#6
Bringing moderation experience to bear ...

Admittedly, one of the problems that Yamaha has created for itself is that they have and have had an awful lot of clarinet models and the differences between those models can be extremely subtle. While I've played a few Yamaha clarinet models and I've obviously done some research on them, I'm more conversant with their saxophone models. What's the difference between a Yamaha YBS-52 and YBS-62 baritone sax? The construction of the bell, the color of the lacquer and real pearl keys vs. nylon. IIRC, the difference between the YAS-475 and YAS-575 was the neck. The difference between the YAS-23 and YAS-25? The color of the lacquer and an extra key. It's more accurate to say that Yamaha has consistent high quality for the $ across all lines of all their instruments and, because of this consistency, it's pretty certain that, say, one YAS-62III will play and sound like another YAS-62III.

There aren't ivory Yamaha clarinets, though. That's kinda illegal :p. I think cruz was referring to something more along the lines of, "Clarinets have been made with ..." We could also talk about several different kinds of wood that have been used. Let's see: pearwood, grenadilla, m'pingo, cocobolo ....
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#8
... Cocuswood ...
 
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