Best UK Clarinet
Just Updated: October 2021
Here are our top ranked selections in the category of best clarinet to buy in the UK.
#1 Pick: Rating = 91%
#2: Best Rated Runner-Up
#3: Another Great Pick
Clarinets: A Buyer’s Guide
The clarinet is probably one of the most popular woodwind instruments the world over. It’s a fantastic starter instrument for most children, however, it can take a lifetime to master. You have likely heard a clarinet or two as part of various orchestral soundtracks. It’s safe to say that it has a firm place in the modern orchestra, regardless of what type of music or score is being played. It also has a firm place in many genres, from marching music to jazz. Therefore, as you can imagine, it’s a really diverse little music machine!
However, there are always going to be a few things you need to keep in mind when you first buy a clarinet. What key do you need to buy a clarinet in? How do you know you’re getting the best quality in manufacture? What’s a good clarinet to buy for beginners, or for children who are just starting out? As you can imagine, there are plenty of different questions you’re likely to ask. Don’t worry, however, as there are thousands of people like you out there all asking the exact same things!
In this buying guide, we will drill right down to the basics. What makes a clarinet worth buying? Why might it be the best choice of instrument for you or your children? What should you be looking for when you buy? Don’t worry. As always, we are here to take you through the basics, and to consider the various factors which separate the best models on the market. Check out our frequently asked questions, too, which will let you in on what fellow shoppers and buyers have to say.
Why Buy a Clarinet?
As mentioned, the clarinet is one of the most versatile instruments around. You can create some wonderful melodies, whether as a soloist, or as part of a wider ensemble. The clarinet, depending on the key you play in, is never going to rise above the harmony too much. Therefore, it is always going to be a good choice if you want to help create an atmosphere, and not just to show off.
The clarinet is a great starter instrument for kids. It can be complex to master in the long run; however, it is surprisingly easy just to pick up and start playing. It is, as you can imagine, a step up from a basic recorder or panpipe! Therefore, if you have older children who are showing interest in and aptitude for music, the clarinet is likely to be a great choice which will stick with them for a while. All instruments are complex to learn in their own little way; however, you can at least leap straight into playing the clarinet without much guidance.
However, choosing the right clarinet for you or your kids is a different matter. Do you need to worry about manufacturing? What about mouthpieces? Let’s take a look.
Things You Should Bear in Mind
You should never be ready just to buy a clarinet outright. Make sure you shop around! There is a reason why there are so many different models and types out there. It’s not just the price that sets these instruments apart! Let’s consider some of the basics you’ll need to compare when shopping for the perfect clarinet.
This is going to be an obvious factor if you are buying a clarinet for a child. Therefore, think about the best size of instrument which is likely to be most comfortable for them. There is absolutely no point in giving a child a massive clarinet. However, you will need to think about reach, and whether or not they are going to ‘grow into’ the instrument. If they are likely to play the clarinet for many years to come, then it makes sense to go for an option they can adapt to. Read up on what other buyers have to say so you can find the right fit.
Types of Clarinet
Ok – this is where things can start to get a little bit detailed. No two clarinets are quite the same in the first place. However, depending on the type or style of music you’d like to play, you should be careful with the key you purchase. For example, ‘A’ clarinets produce noise and music which are likely to fit in well with general orchestral symphonies, particularly as they have a nice, flowing tone. Anything in ‘B’, meanwhile, is probably going to be a good fit for looser music such as jazz. Many experts will probably advise that a B flat clarinet is going to be easiest to work with as a novice. Do bear in mind, however, that these clarinets may be a little too heavy for younger children.
Otherwise, you might think about a bass clarinet if you want to produce deep, rich sounds. These are great for big bands – as are alto or tenor clarinets, which give an incredible richness in sound. A great way to measure which option is right for you is to watch a few videos online. See if you can find someone who plays these different types of clarinet so you can get a handle on what the sound you produce is likely to measure out at.
You can generally buy clarinets in either wood or plastic. As you can imagine, wooden clarinets tend to cost more, but will offer you better quality and durability. If you’re unsure whether or not the instrument is going to be right for you or your kids long term, then a plastic model might be a good choice. However, a wooden clarinet is less likely to break down and cause problems along the way. What’s more, wooden clarinets are likely to be a more eco-friendly choice.
When you or your kids get more proficient at playing the clarinet, you may wish to change the sound up a little. Most clarinets are hugely adaptable. This means that you can swap reeds in and out. Reeds will change the way that sounds travel through your instrument. Therefore, if you do wish to opt for jazzier tones, or more mellow sounds, you can swap between different accessories if you wish.
You may find that some clarinets come with a variety of accessories and add-ons right out of the box. This is a good thing. You don’t have to start using all of them right away! However, a clarinet in a box that comes with different reeds, mouthpieces and even wax to lubricate the instrument will all help you in the long run. As with other woodwind instruments, the clarinet is a hugely flexible item which you can modify per your tastes further on down the line.
Renting and Trialling
In some cases, you may be able to rent or trial a clarinet before you buy. This is obviously going to be a good decision if you want to ensure you are making the right purchase! However, make sure that you use a removable mouthpiece for the sake of hygiene. Not everyone rents clarinets right away, meaning that if you are certain that buying an instrument outright is the best choice, you should go right ahead and make the investment!
Frequently Asked Questions
Buying a clarinet is not as easy as it might seem right away. Therefore, you will need to think carefully about the music you’d like to make, and the budgets you have in place. Don’t worry! Here are some commonly asked queries from shoppers in the same boat as you.
What is the Best Clarinet for Beginners?
You might get different answers to this question depending on who you speak to! However, B flat and C clarinets are thought to be good beginner choices. Of course, if you are buying a clarinet for a child, you will need to consider weight and size, too.
Are Clarinets Easy to Learn?
That can all depend on who’s playing! However, clarinets do tend to be a good choice for anyone looking for an adaptable woodwind. Clarinets are fairly flexible and customisable. What’s more, there are plenty of models for kids out there which are simple enough to get used to. You should take a look at buyer reviews, videos and ask for expert advice.
How Much Do Clarinets Cost?
A good clarinet with reeds and other accessories will likely cost you around £60 to £100. However, you can expect to pay more if you want to take advantage of a carry case or refined manufacture. In many cases, this is well worth looking out for! Therefore, do be willing to put more than a bit of money aside if you are going to play the instrument long term. It doesn’t always follow that the more you pay, the better quality you’ll get, but do be careful when you shop around.
Clarinets provide some of the most wonderful music on the planet. They are nice and easy to get used to, and providing you have the right model for your needs, you should master it long term without any difficulty. Just be willing to compare models!