Whether you’re a long-time pro, a dedicated hobbyist, a serious student, or a total novice, finding the right tool for the job is a must in the world of music.
If you’re looking to spoil yourself with your dream custom clarinet or never picked one up, there is a brand out there for you.
Below you’ll learn about ten of the best clarinet brands, their history, and prices. Let’s get started!
1. Buffet Crampon
Since 1825 Buffet Crampon has been producing remarkable wind instruments. They hold nine subsidiaries, including Julius Keilwerth, Besson, and Powell Flutes.
In the year 1900, at the World Exposition, they revealed 226 instruments to the public. The company opened the Green Line in 1994, a set of reconstituted ebony instruments that guaranteed longevity and reliability.
The French company is the world leader in fine clarinets of the Boehm system. They create high-end professional instruments that often cost upwards of $5,000 but can regularly go for anywhere between $2,000 to $11,000.
Established in 1887 in Japan, Yamaha is a huge conglomerate of companies that produces a wide range of products and services, including being the largest instrument manufacturing company in the world.
Yamaha started its music school in 1954 and established its first overseas subsidiary in 1958. In 2013, it founded the record label Yamaha Japan Co., Ltd.
Yamaha stands as a trusted and affordable instrument manufacturer. Their clarinets sell for $1,500, but the student models are as low as $800, and custom models only cost around $4,300. Their instruments are all high-quality and have been praised by musicians across the world.
French company Selmer has a long and rich history. It was founded in 1885 near Paris and has always made professional, high-grade brass and woodwind instruments, including various clarinet types and styles suitable for any level or genre.
Interestingly, Selmer offers a program called ReWIND, where you can buy used instruments, both contemporary and vintage. This program makes this brand a fantastic choice for beginner musicians looking for slightly more affordable instruments.
New instruments range from about $5,000 to $12,000. While Selmer only makes professional models, some of the cheaper ones are affordable enough for anyone looking for something better than a student model but cheaper than a professional.
A subsidiary of Conn and Selmer, Leblanc dates back to 1750s France. The company started out making instruments for the court of Louis XV. The Leblanc family took over the business in 1904 and began distribution in the US by 1921.
The 1950s saw the rise of the Leblanc music school and associated teaching materials. Soon, the company bought out the Frank Holton and the Martin Band Instrument companies, but Conn and Selmer took over in 2004.
The instruments by Leblanc are as impressive as its history. They have a vast range of clarinets known for their smooth tonality and richness with an even greater range of prices. They sell clarinets for as little as $1,500 or as high as $7,500. You’re more likely to find an affordable student model with Leblanc.
Since 1930, KHS Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. has operated under the philosophy of community engagement and musical education. They produce a full range of instruments for school music programs and individual use, including woodwinds and brass instruments.
While the parent company is Taiwanese, the Jupiter headquarters resides in Tennessee, US, and has since 1980.
Since Jupiter focuses on accessibility and community involvement, most of the clarinets range from around $600 to $1,500 in price. This option is a fantastic company for student models and affordable professional clarinets. Additionally, Jupiter offers lessons, programs, and online classes for all ages and skill levels.
A Canadian company based out of British Columbia, Backun specializes in wooden instruments. Since 2000, they have made remarkable clarinets for students and professionals alike. Recently, they’ve expanded into saxophone mouthpieces and reeds.
Backun offers two student models for around $950 and $1,400, respectively. They sell three professional clarinet models for $2,000, $3,800, and $4,600. They also offer custom models that range between $7,200 and $14,200, as well as all the individual clarinet components.
While they are still a small company with around 50 production employees, Backun is one of the best companies for affordable clarinets and individual parts. They’ve been collaborating directly with world-renowned professional musicians since its inception.
7. Fratelli Patricola
The Italian company Fratelli Patricola, literally Patricola Brothers, started making oboes and clarinets in 1976. Today, the company is just as small and dedicated, with only nine staff members. The small team ensures high-quality instruments made with passion.
Surprisingly, Fratelli Patricola clarinets aren’t overly pricey. Most models only cost between $3,900 and $4,500. Every instrument is handmade from scratch in the shop and shipped out internationally.
Most of the instruments the company makes can be considered semi-professional. They’re good quality and moderately pricey, but still affordable.
Fratelli Patricola has made a name for itself through collaborative efforts with high-ranking musicians within and outside Italy.
Our next clarinet brand, Rossi, is a bit of a one-man band when it comes to instrument companies, quite literally. Luis Rossi, a first-rate clarinet soloist himself, established his shop in 1986.
Then in 2005, Rossi joined Wenril Instrumentos Musicais and Gemstone Musical Instruments to produce student-level clarinets to go with his high-end models.
Based in Chile, Rossi offers two main clarinet models, a student model and custom options. The main models cost $5,700 and $5,900, respectively, with the student model standing only at $1,900.
Custom models can come in at anywhere between $6,000 and $9,000. You can also purchase all accessories and parts separately.
In 1853, German immigrants established the Wurlitzer Company in Cincinnati, USA. Initially, the company imported instruments from Germany to resell, but by 1880, they began making pianos and moved to New York state.
Interestingly, the company took off when they started producing band organs and the like for silent film theaters. In the 1960s, they expanded beyond pianos and started making kitchen appliances, radios, and carnival rides.
Wurlitzer makes all the instruments in the clarinet family in both German and reform-Boehm system styles. They also sell pre-owned clarinets for anywhere between $2,000 and $18,900.
10. Jean Paul USA
If you’re looking for more affordable clarinets, the family-run company Jean Paul strives to make instruments accessible and affordable for all. Since 1994, Jean Paul has worked as a distributor of instruments and started making their own in 2012.
Jean Paul is all about affordability and understands that not everyone can afford to invest in professional instruments, especially when they’re just starting. The brand is transparent about its mission and values, demonstrating its commitment to making music more accessible.
Jean Paul clarinets range from a mere $250 to $380. While these are student models, they’re still well-made using quality craftsmanship by knowledgeable staff. You can also buy all the accessories for a more affordable price.
Summing Up Our List of the Best Brands of Clarinet
As you’re probably aware, clarinet prices vary. Depending on your skill set, needs, preferences, and budget, you can find a clarinet that will suit you.
You don’t even need to be limited to the cheaper brands by your budget as most high-end companies offer used or refurbished clarinets as well as new ones. Obviously, the best brands offer the best clarinets.
If you play professionally, you need the best, but many middle-of-the-road options will cost you less and play just as beautifully.