Clarinets – Why Upgrade?

Imagine you’ve been playing clarinet for a few years on a trusty plastic beginner model, the likelihood is that at some point you’d very much benefit from an upgraded wooden instrument. But, the big question is “Why? – How do they differ?” It’s a common query we are asked. From a distance a beginner clarinet at £300 and a £3,000 pro clarinet don’t look massively different at first glance, so where is your money going, and even more importantly why is it important to upgrade?

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The First Great Jazz Saxophonist

“Sidney Bechet was, by an impressive margin of several years, the first great jazz saxophonist.”

                                                                –   Humphrey Lyttelton

One day in 1920 a trumpeter in his very early twenties and a clarinettist, who may not have been much older, were walking down London’s Wardour Street.  The trumpeter had been born in the West Indies, but had spent most of his early years in South Carolina.  The clarinettist, who had toured with various groups since a teenager, was originally from New Orleans.  He was a Creole; most of his forbears were African Americans, but at least one was French. Both the trumpeter and the clarinettist had come to England from America with Will Marion Cook’s Southern Syncopated Orchestra in 1919.  In the window of J. R. Lafleur’s music shop at 147 Wardour Street the clarinettist spotted a shiny straight soprano saxophone.

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