Clarinets Thinking of upgrading my starter clarinet

MikeM70

Member
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75
Location
Devon, UK.
Hi All, hoping to pick the collective hive mind here, been playing about a year and a half now, pretty hooked on it, though it can be a challenge. I'm still using my john packer rental (that I purchased) with a yammy 4C MPC.
It's OK, but I'm thinking of upgrading to something nicer and while I don't want to spend a fortune (I play only for fun, left it too late to make a career out of music) I'm happy to spend upto, say, £1k.
Now, my question is this, is it worth spending the extra to buy a wooden instrument, or would I be OK buying, say, a better quality ABS one, and maybe putting the extra to more lessons? Will I notice a significant improvement with a wooden instrument over a plastic?
 

Stephen Howard

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UK
At this price point the biggest improvement is going to come from better build quality rather than any supposed benefit of wood over plastic.
I'd say it's worth forking out to the top of your budget because any of the plastic (ABS etc.) clarinets that are cheaper than a grand aren't really going to be a very significant improvement. They'll be better, for sure...just not that much better.
The notable exception, though, would be the Hanson SE range - in a choice of body materials, and all under £1000.

The big hitter at a grand would be the Yamaha 650.

Perhaps the best bet might be a secondhand Boosey and Hawkes. You can pick up an Emperor for less than £500...and for a few hundred more you might even find a decent 926 Imperial. The Buffet E13 is worth a punt, but I'd steer clear of the E11/12 series (build quality).
 
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MikeM70

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75
Location
Devon, UK.
Thanks Stephen, oddly enough, looking around on the dreaded 'bay I've been seeing a few B&H emp's, they seem less popular than the bigger brands, I'll keep my eyes on them.
 

Stephen Howard

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UK
It's been quite a few years since B&H stopped making clarinets, and I suspect that quite a lot of buyers simply don't know what they are...or how good they are. I know modern design and manufacture has moved on a bit since the 80s - but it hasn't moved on that much, and those old B&H clarinets make for a superb and cost-effective step-up from a starter instrument.
It's worth holding out for a 926 though - I still rate it as one of the nicest clarinets ever made.

The big trick is to avoid the ones that have lots of wear to the keys (worn plating). It was a pro-spec horn in its day, and some of them will have seen a lot of hard use.
 

sax panther

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UK
The notable exception, though, would be the Hanson SE range - in a choice of body materials, and all under £1000.
There's been a flurry of these on ebay recently, all for under £200. I was very tempted, but already have three clarinet...I haven't tried an SE, but did try a T5 (the model up from that, first one in the pro range) a couple of months ago and it was really nice.
 

sax panther

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UK
it's worth having a look at the clarinets direct website, they've usually got loads of stuff around the £1k mark. No affiliation with them other than I used to have a pupil who got a nice pre-R13 from there, and I like window shopping on their website...
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
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422
Location
Glasgow
I'd say it's worth having a look on www.the-saleroom.com, plenty of nice vintage wooden instruments there, ask for photos, factor in some repair costs and take a chance- B&H & Selmer Paris relatively frequent, Buffet & Leblanc also to be seen sometimes.. I've bough 4 clarinets there, and 3 of them are great instruments ;-)
 
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