In our experience, the clarinet is one of the most popular woodwind instrument for new players. It is very affordable, very portable và has a wide application across orchestra, windband & jazz ensembles. Many different types of clarinet are available but for new players, we strongly recommend the standard Bb model.

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Contents

Types of ClarinetYounger PlayersFeaturesMouthpieceLigatureBarrelBodyBoreKeyworkPopular Student ClarinetsCaring for wooden instrumentsAny questions?

Types of Clarinet 

Type

Key

Application

Other Comments

Bb Clarinet

Bb

Windband, Orchestra, Jazz, Ensemble, Clarinet Choirs, Solo

Strongly recommended model for new players

Eb Clarinet

Eb

Windband, Orchestra, Clarinet choirs

Shorter in length to lớn the Bb enabling younger players lớn start earlier

C Clarinet

C

Some Orchestral repertoire (Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler), Folk,

Similar to the Eb in its shorter length và suitability for newer players. Can play the same sheet music as other ‘C’ instruments (piano, flute, oboe) without having khổng lồ transpose.

A Clarinet

A

Orchestra

Standard orchestral instrument used alongside the Bb

D Clarinet

D

Some Orchestral Repertoire (early Molter)

Very rare

Basset Clarinet

A to Low C

Orchestra

Essentially a soprano clarinet with a range extension to low C

Basset Horn Clarinet

F

Orchestra

 

Bass Clarinet

Bb to Low C, Bb to low Eb

Orchestra, Windband, Jazz, Solo

Available in two versions

Contra Alto Clarinet

BBb

Windband, Clarinet Choirs

 

Contra Bass Clarinet

EEb

Windband, Clarinet Choirs

 

Younger players

Learning a musical Instrument at a young age has a whole host of benefits but it is important that children are comfortable holding and playing their clarinet before they start their musical journey in earnest. The clarinet is a popular choice with younger players and with that come a number of challenges. The physical length of the standard Bb clarinet can make it difficult for younger players khổng lồ comfortably hold whilst maintaining a good posture. It is important that students are comfortable holding & playing their instrument or it is likely that they’ll chiến bại interest pretty quickly.The other key challenge that many younger woodwind và brass players will face is considering how the shape of their mouth and teeth will change over time và how this will affect their embouchure. Embouchures are very personal khổng lồ each different players and require many hours of practice & development for improvement. The change in mouth shape và teeth can make it difficult for players to size a consistent baseline from which to develop their playing.If children are very keen to play before they are capable of playing a full size Bb clarinet, there are a number of other options. 

Start on an ‘Eb’ or ‘C’ clarinet

Both of these types of clarinet are physically shorter than a standard Bb model và are popular with younger players. The Eb is the shortest with the C model being slightly longer. Music teachers will often have an opinion about which of these is the best choice. This decision is very player dependant given the age, kích cỡ etc of the player. Sheet music for these models will be in a different key compared to lớn the standard Bb clarinet. Some players & teachers favour the ‘C’ clarinet as sheet music for other instruments in the key of C (Piano, Flute, Oboe) can be used without having khổng lồ transpose.

 

 

Reduced keywork models

Some clarinet models are available with a reduced keywork system. This can tư vấn the development of younger players as it removes some of the keywork that it usually only required in higher standard repertoire. This also has the benefit of reducing maintenance costs & reducing the chance of accidental damage. Considering a reduced keywork clarinet is a good step for those looking to start learning at a young age. 

Use a sling

Although a clarinet sling should still only be used when the player is of a form size where they can manage lớn comfortably hold their clarinet correctly, they can help to support the weight of the instrument which is especially useful for youngers players. A good quality, comfortable sling can pay dividends and also enable players to practice & play for longer.

 

 

Features

Mouthpiece

A vital part of your clarinet, mouthpieces are available in a large range of different sizes, dimensions and materials. Student clarinets are usually supplied with a functional yet basic mouthpiece with ligature và mouthpiece cap. These tend lớn be manufactured from plastic và cast from a mold whereas more expensive, higher standard mouthpieces will tend to lớn be milled from ebonite, a hard rubber based material. Once players reach a certain standard it is common that they will look to lớn update their mouthpiece and/or ligature khổng lồ better match their embouchure, chosen repertoire & style. More expensive mouthpieces benefit from improved design, precision và manufacturing quality. Many see mouthpiece thiết kế as more of an art than a science. It is an area of much debate between woodwind players.

Ligature

Much like the mouthpiece, your ligature has a big effect on the sound that you produce. It does this by firmly holding your reed in place against your mouthpiece. Lượt thích mouthpieces, ligatures are available in a wide range of materials, designs & finishes. Most student models will be supplied with a basic, likely metal ligature which players may look lớn upgrade once they are past the early grades. More expensive ligatures may use more innovative fastening systems reducing the dampening effect that cheaper ligatures may suffer from.

Barrel

An often overlooked component, your clarinet barrel provides the joining piece between mouthpiece và body. Although pro-level players may look khổng lồ upgrade their barrel, it is unusual for students to lớn feel the need to bởi vì this. Your barrel will match the material that the rest of your instrument is constructed from, usually ebonite for student models. Some student models may be supplied with a shorter barrel that will tư vấn new students to play in tune more easily.

Body

Your clarinet’s body toàn thân is made of two constituent parts, the upper joint & lower joint. In student models the body of your clarinet is likely to be made from ebonite, a hard vulcanised rubber with good tonal characteristics. You may also come across ABS resin which is similar in nature. More expensive models are likely to lớn be constructed from Grenadilla Wood which many deem as having better tonal qualities although will require more maintenance và ongoing care. The two joints are linked via a cork tenon & feature the instruments keywork which is drilled & mounted onto the body. Care must be taken when assembling & disassembling your clarinet so that the keywork isn’t bent or pushed out of alignment. Regularly applying a small amount of cork grease to your instrument’s tenons will help make this process easier. 

Bore

The bore of your instrument describes the cylindrical hole down the middle of your clarinet through which air travels creating sound. For most student models the bore is constant throughout the instrument from vị trí cao nhất to bottom. In more expensive, pro level models you may start lớn see polycylindrical bores where the diameter may differ through the instrument. This change in bore is usually found towards the bell section where a narrower bore is thought lớn produce a brighter tone. The diameter of the clarinet bore is usually 15mm for standard Bb models. It is important to lớn use a pull-though after each playing session khổng lồ remove any moisture that remains in your clarinets bore. More expensive models made from granadilla wood may also require oiling inside the bore to keep them in đứng đầu playing condition.

Keywork

Your instrument’s keywork in the majority of cases will be constructed from metal (usually a nickel và brass alloy) và plated with silver, nickel or in more expensive models, gold. Nickelplated keywork can sometimes cause issues with allergies which some players can develop with prolonged exposure over a long time scale. Many student models will features silverplated keywork which should be bright and hard wearing. A silver polishing cloth is usually supplied with many starter models and can be used khổng lồ keep keywork in good condition. Natural oils from players’ fingers will erode and tarnish keywork over time so regular cleaning will help to increase the life span of the instrument.Many other small keywork components such as pads and springs will separate cheaper models with more expensive models. ‘Blue Steel’ springs are respected for providing a quicker kích hoạt when pressing và releasing keys. The material that your clarinet’s pads are made from will also vary from model to model. These are especially important as they need lớn provide an airtight seal between key and tone hole. Many student models will feature ‘skin’ pads whereas more expensive models may have leather pads. These will also require maintenance và ultimately replacing over the lifetime of your clarinet.Finally, an adjustable, rather than fixed thumbrest is an invaluable piece of keywork for smaller players as it allows the thumbrest lớn be adjusted over time as the players hands grow. These are very common on student models but always worth double checking when selecting a first clarinet.

 

Popular Student Clarinets

John Packer JP021 Bb Clarinet

 

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This full kích cỡ Bb clarinet has been designed with first time players in mind. Constructed from ebonite, this mã sản phẩm is robust và durable & has been a favourite within the UK education sector for many years. This mã sản phẩm is supplied with two tuning barrels, one slightly shorter than the other, to support new students khổng lồ play in tune more easily. This helps to lớn encourage swift progression and build confidence.

 

Caring for Wooden Instruments

Although your first clarinet is unlikely khổng lồ be made from wood, it is worthwhile being aware of the pros & cons associated with wooden models. Wooden Instruments are widely accepted to lớn produce a better tone & sound when compared to lớn instrument constructed from more synthetic, manmade materials such as ABS Resin và Ebonite however with this come additional maintenance requirements. As a living material, wood can swell, warp and change shape, especially with the introduction of moisture which is unavoidable when playing woodwind instruments.With new wooden instruments, it is important they are ‘played-in’ gradually. This means shorter practice sessions for a limited time until the instrument has acclimatised khổng lồ the moisture from players’ breath. It is also common for players to experience stiff joints as the instrument swells slightly. In these cases, the instrument’s tenons may require adjustment which should be carried out by a professional instrument repairer.Wooden instruments will also be more sensitive to lớn heat and temperature changes. Rapid changes can lead to cracks in the body. This can be caused by accidently leaving your instrument near a radiator or somewhere similar.With the additional tonal benefits of wooden instrument come an increased responsibility và requirement for more maintenance. This is why in many cases, an ABS or ebonite clarinet for students và first time players is recommended.

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Any Questions? 

Andy, our woodwind specialist is more than happy to answer any clarinet related queries that you might have, feel free to contact him via our liên hệ form or comment below.