Buying a Beginner Clarinet

Clarinets are highly versatile instruments and your young musician will hopefully enjoy making music for years to come!

You may have lots of questions about this new journey, like what type of instrument should you purchase? For a new musician, a beginner clarinet makes the most sense. In addition to costing less, a beginner clarinet will be easier for the new musician to play because the smaller bore is easier to keep in tune.

Most students are part of the school band or orchestra and the most popular and common clarinet is tuned to Bb. Be sure to talk to the school music educator before purchasing a clarinet to ensure the instrument will produce the desired sound and tone.

What Family Do Clarinets Belong To?

The clarinet is in the woodwind family of instruments. Many clarinets are actually made of wood, but the main reason for this categorization is because of the single wooden clarinet reed that vibrates when the player blows on the mouthpiece, which produces the instrument’s sound. The clarinet is a straight, cylindrical tube with an almost cylindrical bore and a flared bell. The most popular clarinet type is the Bb (also called a soprano clarinet). If someone simply says “clarinet,” they are most likely referring to a Bb.

There are several other types of clarinet on the market, but it is unlikely that your beginning musician will use these.

  • A clarinet – probably the most popular after the Bb
  • Bass clarinet
  • Eb clarinet
  • Contrabass clarinet
  • Contra-alto clarinet
  • Alto clarinet

Who Plays the Beginner Clarinet?

A musician who plays the clarinet can simply be called a clarinet player or a clarinetist. Almost anyone can learn to play the clarinet – kids as young as 7-8 years old can start. Because it’s a light weight and versatile instrument, it’s ideal for young musicians and it’s a very popular instrument in school music programs.

What Does a Clarinet Look Like?

Most beginner clarinets contain the same five parts: the mouthpiece, the barrel, the upper joint, the lower joint, and the bell. The reed is held over an opening in the mouthpiece with a ligature, and it vibrates when you blow into the small gap between the reed and the mouthpiece.


What Are Beginner Clarinets Made Of?

The body of a beginner clarinet will most likely be made of some type of plastic, sometimes resin-based, and always sturdy and able to sustain wear and tear. The keys are likely to be nickel plated, sometimes referred to as nickel silver. Student clarinets are typically sold with a standard, molded plastic mouthpiece that will serve a young musician well.

Do Beginner Clarinets Sound Different than Professional Models?

Because student clarinets are usually constructed of plastic instead of wood, they may not have the same resonance and sound quality of a higher end clarinet, but this won’t be a deterrent for the new musician. The smaller bore size also makes a difference – a larger bore creates more projection and a fuller sound, but the ease of use with the smaller bore is the best choice for a beginner.

Best Beginner Clarinets

If you’re looking to purchase a student model clarinet, here are several to get you started on your search:

Etude Student Clarinet: combining a plastic body with nickel keys, this student clarinet is designed for easy tone production and durability

Giardinell GCL 300 Student Clarinet: built with quality materials and craftsmanship that ensure it will withstand the rigorous student treatment

Jupiter Student Clarinet: an excellent clarinet for the beginner

Prelude by Conn Selmer Student Clarinet: this student clarinet offers economy and quality for the beginning clarinet player

Clarinet Accessories

Maintenance is an important part of owning any clarinet and young musicians should be taught early on how to properly care for their clarinet. There are many woodwind care & cleaning accessories that will be needed throughout the life of the clarinet to keep it responsive and performing at the highest level. Regular use of clarinet swabs, cork grease, and mouthpiece brushes will keep your instrument in top condition.

While many instrument cases provide some room for these additional items, cases made exclusively for clarinets can provide ample storage for all the player’s accessories and provide much-needed protection for your instrument.

Most clarinet players also benefit from practicing with metronomes, no matter what your playing level is. And a tuner is a must-have for any musician!


Buying a Clarinet from Woodwind & Brasswind

When purchasing a clarinet, be sure to take into account the performer’s age and skill level to ensure years of satisfaction. When buying a beginner’s first instrument, it is beneficial to speak to the student’s band director or private instructor before making a final buying decision, and keep in mind the importance of following proper care for your instrument to give yourself the longest life-span possible.

No matter what type or category of clarinet you are looking for, Woodwind & Brasswind has been meeting the needs of students and professionals for decades. Each purchase is backed by Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, giving you 45 days to decide if the instrument is right for you. If it’s not everything you need it to be, you can return it for a full refund.*

While making sure you find the right instrument is important, making sure the price is right matters, too, and Woodwind & Brasswind’s 45-Day Price guarantee means that if you find the same model clarinet for less elsewhere, we’ll make up the difference. As musicians of all levels have done for decades, you can buy from Woodwind & Brasswind with complete confidence that you received the best instrument for the very best price.