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Clarinet Brands to AVOID, and to Buy (2023 Updated List!)

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Buying a musical instrument can be an overwhelming experience, even for professional and more experienced players. When choosing something as important as a musical instrument, a lot of things come into consideration. 

This is to make sure that you choose the best instrument that will stick with you throughout your playing/learning journey. Choosing the wrong musical instrument, regardless of the instrument you are learning, can ruin both your playing and learning experience. 

On that note, while researching a musical instrument (like the clarinet), we oftentimes only narrow our focus to the ones we should buy. This, no doubt, is an awesome way to search for a musical instrument. 

However, just as it is important to search for the best musical instruments we can lay our hands on, it is equally important to be aware of those we should avoid at all costs. 

While some brands are known for making the best possible clarinets you can lay your hands on, some brands are known for the opposite. 

They are known for making the worst types of clarinets you should avoid. Buying a bad clarinet can make your clarinet-playing experience a regrettable one. 

Oftentimes, while searching for the perfect clarinet, price is always one of the major factors to consider. However, while trying to get the most affordable clarinet that can play just awesomely, it is also good to do that with caution. 

The saying that “you get what you pay for” cannot be truer. Oftentimes, cheap clarinets will always sound “cheap.” There are no two ways about it. When this happens, you only get to discover that you are spending more while trying to save some money. 

Regardless of how cheap a clarinet is, if it doesn’t play nicely or meet your playing needs, you are wasting money. It is always better to buy the more expensive model (that you can afford) which will play nicely than to buy the cheap one that will be a pain… 

In this comprehensive article, we will present to you some clarinets that you should avoid at all costs, regardless of how cheap they are. Also, we will recommend some amazing brands that you should look out for. 

It is a fact that some brands do not care about quality, all they care about is making cheap and terribly designed clarinets. They do this because they know that the lower price tag will somehow attract low-budget and inexperienced players/buyers. 

Again, the best thing to do is to avoid brands like this. Read on to find out the clarinets you should avoid at all costs and also the ones you can spend your hard-earned money on.

5 Clarinets Brands to Avoid

5 Clarinets Brands to Buy

Review of 5 Clarinet Brands to Avoid


This brand seems to have some trouble delivering quality clarinets. Many customers report that parts break easily, leading to replacement and extra costs. That being said, this is very far from desirable. 

What you want is an instrument that you can pull out of the box and just play it without having to fix anything, that’s basic! So stay away from this one.

Here’s a link to check out if you’re curious.


Imagine having the package delivered to your door, or coming back from the music shop, all excited, just to realize the instrument you bought can’t be assembled correctly. When you buy an instrument and you can’t even assemble it, that’s an “oh oh” moment.


This brand has fallen into this category for having bad assembly properties, and basically making it nearly impossible to play in tune. 

What’s strange about this one is that the actual parts don’t look bad, even though it’s plastic, the components kind of look promising, but once you assemble it and want to make the magic happen, guess what… You can’t even play a scale in tune, and the octaves are terrible. 

Check out a demo here: How bad can a plastic clarinet be?


I met this brand 6 years ago when looking for an electric violin. I found a very cheap option by Cecilio and I said, “Why not?” Well, you get what you pay for. 

Their clarinets are no exception. Even though some people back them up for being cheap and accessible, we think that even for beginners, there is a standard to maintain. 

Check out this model here.


Simply put, stay away from this brand. They just produce bad quality products, many users reported having their instrument broken within a month, which is obviously not acceptable.

Also, it is hard or sometimes impossible to assemble it correctly. You can find some reviews here.

What Makes A Bad Clarinet?

Not all clarinets are created equal. Some brands just focus on the wrong aspect when creating a clarinet, resulting in a poorly designed and constructed product, thereby leading to a less than satisfactory playing experience. 

In a way, it’s like cars, great cars are well built, have a quality and durable engine; they are comfortable, and basically all the parts are created with quality materials and quality design. 

Well, you probably can’t hop on your clarinet and go for a ride, but if you find a good brand, you can definitely go on a musical journey you will not regret! Remember, the brands we mention as “not to buy” possess these undesirable qualities.

Poor Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a crucial aspect of any musical instrument. A poorly designed clarinet can cause discomfort or even injury over time. For instance, some brands may have keys that are too far apart, making it difficult for players with smaller hands to reach them.

Bad Intonation

Intonation refers to the accuracy of the pitch produced by the instrument. Some clarinets, unfortunately, have poor intonation, meaning they cannot consistently produce the correct pitch. 

Imagine playing a simple scale and having some of the notes out of pitch, and no matter how many times you adjust the parts, something keeps sounding off. This can be incredibly frustrating for the player and can ruin the overall sound of a piece of music. 

What is also worrying about this is that, as we said earlier, getting used to bad intonation can really un-train (or train your ear badly) your ear to be accustomed to bad intonation, not being able to play in tune afterwards.

Low-Quality Mouthpieces and Reeds

The mouthpiece is a critical component of the clarinet, containing the soul of the instrument, the reed. According to some players I met while playing in orchestras, the reed is THE most important part of the instrument. 

Although it might be a bit exaggerated, at least we can infer that such a small component plays a huge role in the overall sound. The mouthpiece is where the sound is initially produced before it resonates through the body of the instrument. 

Some brands use low-quality materials for their mouthpieces, which can result in a poor tone and make the instrument more difficult to play.

Lousy Designed/Aligned Keys

The keys of a clarinet should be well-aligned and easy to press, otherwise, it can be difficult to play certain notes or transitions smoothly. Some brands may have keys that are misaligned or too stiff, which can hinder the player’s performance and cause distress in the hands and fingers. 

Nothing to worry about if you play occasionally once or twice a week, for a couple of minutes. But extend that to playing a whole Symphony in a live concert, plus the stress of the live performance, and you might be getting a free ticket to Tendinitis-city.

Inferior Materials

The quality of the materials used in the construction of the clarinet can significantly impact its sound and durability. Some brands use inferior materials that can affect the instrument’s tone and may not withstand the rigours of regular use.

Inadequate Assembly

Even if a clarinet is made from high-quality materials, poor assembly can lead to numerous issues. For instance, if the joints are not properly fitted, air can leak out, affecting the instrument’s sound. Some brands may not pay enough attention to this detail, resulting in a bad instrument.

Reviews of 5 Clarinet Brands to Buy


Yamaha is a well-known brand in the music world (and beyond, from motorcycles to all kinds of electronics), renowned for its high-quality instruments, and their clarinets are no exception. 

Yamaha clarinets are praised for being super comfortable to play and hold, they have excellent intonation and high-quality mouthpieces. 

One of their popular models, the Yamaha YCL250, is budget-friendly and delivers a quality sound, making it a great choice for beginners and intermediate players.

Yamaha’s commitment to quality and consistency makes it a brand worth considering for any clarinettist. You can find a detailed review of the Yamaha 250 clarinet here.

Buffet Crampon

Buffet Crampon is a brand that has been synonymous with high-quality clarinets for over a century. Their clarinets are known for their excellent build, top-quality materials, and perfectly calculated assembly. 

The Buffet Crampon R13, for instance, is highly regarded in professional circles and is often considered a stepping stone into professional-level playing. 

With a reputation for producing some of the best professional clarinets in the world, Buffet Crampon is a brand that serious players should consider. Here’s the link to their wonderful website.

Jean-Paul USA

If you’re looking for a reliable quality instrument, look no further. Jean-Paul USA is a brand that offers high-quality instruments at an affordable price. 

Their clarinets are known for their durability and good projection, even in environments with high humidity or extreme temperatures. The Jean-Paul USA CL-300 is a popular model that has received positive reviews for its robust build and excellent sound projection. 

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable clarinet, Jean-Paul USA is a brand worth considering. Check out the CL-300 here.


Thomann is a German brand with a great reputation. They have options made entirely of plastic, which makes the instrument durable and an affordable option for beginners. 

While some users have noted tricky tuning with some models, it’s a popular choice for those looking to play folk music. You can check out their catalogue here.

F.A. Uebel

The adage goes, “First we eat with our eyes,” implying that our first interaction with a great plate of food is through our eyes. I always thought Musical instruments are the same in that aspect. 

Not that they taste good (please don’t try to eat your instrument), but in the sense that I’ve found myself multiple times approaching an instrument for its looks first, because it captured my eyes, only to discover afterwards that the quality was even better than its facade. 

If I have to pick a brand that makes the most beautiful-looking clarinets, it would be F.A. Uebel, a German brand with a long history of producing high-quality woodwind instruments. Their clarinets have earned a spot in these top 5 brands of clarinets. 

The Uebel Classic, for instance, has received positive reviews for its sound and playability. If you’re looking for a high-quality clarinet with a rich history, F.A. Uebel is a brand worth considering. 

You can watch a play-test and review of the Uebel Classic clarinet here (wait for the chromatic scale at the end, that’s an accurate intonation!).

What Makes a Good Clarinet?

How can we define what a good clarinet is? A good clarinet should be comfortable to play, produce as perfect as possible intonation, and have a quality mouthpiece and reed.

It should also be well-designed and have aligned keys; it should be made from great-quality materials, and be constructed in a way that it can be correctly assembled. 

You can guess that all the aspects that make a bad clarinet, in its opposite expression, make a good clarinet, but let’s go over the specifics anyway.

Superior Ergonomics

A good clarinet should feel comfortable in the hands. The keys should be well-spaced and easily accessible, enabling smooth transitions between notes. The instrument should also be well-balanced, neither too heavy nor too light, to prevent fatigue during long playing sessions.

Excellent Intonation

A good clarinet should produce an accurate and consistent pitch. This is crucial for playing in tune with other instruments in an ensemble setting. A clarinet with excellent intonation will make it easier for the player to produce a beautiful, harmonious sound.

High-Quality Mouthpiece and Reed

The mouthpiece and reed are critical components of the clarinet. A high-quality mouthpiece, often made of hard rubber or wood, can greatly enhance the tone of the instrument. Similarly, a good reed, typically made from cane, can improve the response and flexibility of the clarinet.

Well-Designed and Aligned Keys

The keys of a clarinet should be well-aligned and easy to press. This allows for quick and smooth transitions between notes. Good clarinets often have keys that are silver or nickel-plated for durability and a smooth, responsive feel.

Top Quality Materials

A good clarinet is typically made from high-quality materials such as grenadilla wood or high-grade plastic for student models. The construction should be sturdy and precise, with attention to detail evident in every part of the instrument.

Reliable Assembly

A good clarinet should be well-assembled, with all parts fitting together perfectly. This ensures that the instrument is airtight, which is crucial for producing a good sound. The keys should be securely attached and move smoothly, and the pads should seal perfectly against the tone holes.


We reviewed a wide range of brands, the bad ones and the good ones, and let’s face it: there are a TON of options out there. The wide variety of clarinets out there is crazy, which is undoubtedly fantastic news for every clarinet player. 

However, it can also become a bit overwhelming when it comes to making a decision on which clarinet to purchase. After reading this article, which provides valuable insights, you should have a solid understanding of the numerous options at your disposal.

Also, take into consideration your level of proficiency on the instrument, goals, and budget. Finally, choosing an instrument sometimes is like that Harry Potter moment when he has to choose a magic wand, something in it resonates with your soul. 

It’s as if the instrument has its own unique energy and personality, waiting to be discovered by the right player, so don’t feel afraid to draw your own conclusions and experience the world of instruments yourself!