Clarinet Brands All You Need To Know

By Mike D. Schmitt

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The clarinet is a woodwind instrument that has been around for centuries, with many different brands and models produced over the years. Here are some key clarinet brands and their histories:

  • Buffet Crampon: Founded in 1825, Buffet Crampon is one of the oldest and most renowned clarinet brands in the world. They are known for their high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. Their clarinets are highly sought after by professionals due to their warm, rich sound and reliable intonation.
  • Yamaha: Yamaha is a well-known brand in the music industry, and their clarinets are no exception. Yamaha has been making clarinets for over 60 years and is known for producing high-quality instruments that are both durable and affordable. Their clarinets are popular among students and professionals alike.
  • Selmer: Henri Selmer Paris is a French company that has been making clarinets since the early 20th century. Selmer is known for its unique tone and intonation, which is why their clarinets are often preferred by professionals in orchestras and other large ensembles.
  • Leblanc: Leblanc is a lesser-known brand, but their clarinets are still respected by many professionals in the industry. They are known for their precise intonation and comfortable key work, which makes them popular among classical musicians.
  • Backun: Backun is a relatively new brand, having been founded in 2000, but they have quickly made a name for themselves in the clarinet world. Backun clarinets are known for their innovative designs and exceptional sound quality. They are a favorite among professional clarinetists who are looking for a unique and modern instrument.
  • Ridenour: Tom Ridenour is a clarinetist and designer who founded his own company to create high-quality clarinets at an affordable price. Ridenour clarinets are known for their excellent intonation and playability, and they are a popular choice for students and professionals who are looking for a reliable and affordable instrument.
  • Patricola: Patricola is an Italian company that has been making clarinets since 1976. They are known for their meticulous attention to detail and use of high-quality materials. Patricola clarinets are popular among professionals who are looking for a unique and expressive instrument.

These are just a few of the many clarinet brands out there, but they are some of the most respected and popular among professionals. Each brand has its own unique sound and characteristics, so it’s important to try out different instruments to find the one that best suits your playing style and preferences.

The Price-Performance Ratio of Clarinets

The price-performance ratio of a clarinet is an important factor to consider when purchasing a clarinet. While it may be tempting to believe that a more expensive clarinet will be better, this is not always the case. The quality of a clarinet is dependent on a number of factors, including the materials used in its construction, the craftsmanship of the maker, and the design of the instrument.

While it is true that some of the best clarinets in the world are made by top-of-the-line brands, this does not mean that every expensive clarinet is necessarily better. In fact, there are many lower-priced clarinets that offer excellent quality and playability. Some factors that may affect the price of a clarinet include the type of wood used, the amount of hand-finishing that is required, and the location of the manufacturer.

What Makes a Good Clarinet

A good clarinet should be easy to play, produce a rich and consistent sound across all registers, and be reliable and durable. There are several key factors that contribute to the quality of a clarinet, including:

  • Materials: The type of wood used to make a clarinet can have a significant impact on its sound and playability. Grenadilla wood is the most common material used for professional clarinets due to its density, durability, and resonance.
  • Craftsmanship: A well-crafted clarinet requires a high level of skill and attention to detail. The keywork should be smooth and responsive, and the instrument should be properly balanced and weighted to prevent strain on the player’s hands.
  • Design: The design of the clarinet can also impact its sound and playability. The bore diameter, tonehole placement, and other factors can affect the instrument’s response and intonation.
  • Reputation: The reputation of the manufacturer can also be a factor in determining the quality of a clarinet. Established brands with a long history of producing high-quality instruments are often a safe choice for players.

By Mike D. Schmitt

Mike is your 'Go-To-Guy' for all things music and pro audio. Engineer, musician, luthier, and quite possibly the biggest gear head on the planet. With over 30 years of industry experience in the studio, and on the road, we turn to Mike and his expertise for those hard hitting music and pro audio questions.

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