Collection: Bb and A Clarinets

An introduction to my clarinet-buying philosophy:

I know many people like to try multiple clarinets of the same model to get the “right one.” I have been guilty of this myself — I’ve personally tried a dozen clarinets to choose the “right one.” But now that I’ve been in the business for a while, trying hundreds of clarinets to select them for earspasm, I’ve come to realize something:

Once set up properly, there is almost no difference between two clarinets of the same model.

Whaaat? Well, in the past, clarinets were 1) drilled by hand, not by a computer, and 2) not usually set up properly before you bought them. So the variation was often huge — tone holes were not precise, there was less science involved in the wood cultivation, springs were all over the place, and pads were seated wrong. But now that all manufacturers use computer modeling, CNC machines, and other automation, the difference between one Buffet R13 and another Buffet R13 is very minimal. (That said, there’s still a fair bit of human error; springs and pads are still a mess, which is why I fly each instrument up to my technician upstate to get set up! And I pay for that so you don’t have to. Read about what he does here.)

There are now ten times more clarinet models on the market than just 15 years ago.

Now here’s where my philosophy comes in: while there may be 1% difference between two instruments of the same model, there are BIG differences between different makes and models. I recommend you try as many different instruments as you can, so you really get the breadth of what is out there. You will be surprised, and you will likely find a clarinet that you didn’t expect to fall in love with. Actually, if you keep an open mind, I guarantee you will. All this choice can be confusing, but that’s why I’m here to help—and why I started this shop.