Clarinets – Why Upgrade?

21st May 2019

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. So where is your money going, and why is it important to upgrade?


‘Reed’ all about it: Part 2 of 3. The Clarinet Rico/D’Addario Stable…

8th May 2019

Many thanks for all the positive feedback from Part 1. (Vandoren & Gonzalez) we’re glad you found it so useful. In Part 2. we’re going to look at the Rico & D’Addario offerings, there’s quite a few options here but stick with me, it’ll all be worth it!


‘Reed’ all about it: Part 3 of 3. Synthetic Clarinet Reed Options & ‘Best of the Rest’

5th May 2019

Following on from Part 1 (Vandoren & Gonzalez) and Part 2 (D’Addario Woodwinds i.e. Rico, LaVoz etc) we’re going to look at some of todays synthetic options for clarinet players, plus a special ‘best of the rest’ mention for another brand of cane reed which deserves your attention.


‘Reed’ all about it…Part 1 of 3. Vandoren & Gonzalez (Clarinet Reeds)

2nd May 2019

Clarinet reeds have developed a long way since the old days when the choice was either a box of Vandoren or some Rico reeds. There are multiple brands that are worth your consideration and within the brands there are different models of reeds, let’s have a look at some of the more popular options (Vandoren & Gonzalez) in Part.1 of our Clarinet Reed ‘State of the Union’…


Clarinet Playing Advice – Warming Up (Video 3/3)

23rd April 2019

In the final video of this mini-series, we talk about the importance of warming up. Often overlooked, the warm up should form a strong part of your overall practice time and regime. Nick talks about the books he uses and why it’s so crucial to warm up properly, whatever your level and experience.


Clarinet Playing Advice – Alternate Fingerings (Video 2/3)

17th April 2019

This is Part 2 of our Clarinet Playing tips series with Nicholas Carpenter (former Clarinet Principal London Philharmonic Orchestra). In this video we discuss SELECTED (not all!) clarinet alternate fingerings. Including throat Bb, long Bb, second register F# and High G…


Gonzalez Bass & Bb Clarinet Reeds – Daniel Rye

We catch up with Gonzalez Reeds pro player Daniel Rye and discuss why he chooses to use the Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet reeds and the FOF Bb Clarinet reeds.


Clarinet Playing Advice – Practice Tips (Video 1/3)

9th April 2019

In the first of a series of three videos we look at some important points around efficient clarinet practice. With the help of top pro-player Nick Carpenter (former principal clarinet with London Philharmonic Orchestra) we discuss the importance of practice and some helpful tips and suggestions for how to practice efficiently…


Workshop Feature: Making a Bass Clarinet

28th February 2019

We’re very lucky to have a unique team of experts in our Woodwind Workshop. Their skills cover everything Woodwind & Brass related, and we want to share some of their stories with you…

In this blog, we talk to Ana who joined us in 2016 after receiving her BA Hons in Musical Instrument Craft (Woodwind Making & Repair) from Newark Campus (Lincoln College) – the leading Repair training centre in the UK. This is the story of her Bass Clarinet, yes, the one she actually made from scratch!


Low C Bass Clarinets – Buffet vs Selmer

27th September 2018

Low C Bass Clarinet by Buffet

The Bass Clarinet is quite simply a majestic instrument in many ways. If you’ve never seen a low C professional model it’s a piece of engineering and natural beauty. The elegant grenadilla joints filled with keywork make it look mesmerisingly complicated! However, with patience and practice the Bass can be a very expressive and versatile instrument in Orchestral and Jazz situations.

Whilst there are a few options in the market, including Yamaha and Uebel, the main choice for most players looking for a low C comes down to Buffet vs Selmer. We wanted to take a quick look at some of the models and differences with this blog…


Backun Clarinet Barrels – How to choose

Clarinet barrels by Backun

One of the most popular accessories we sell for Clarinets is additional barrels and bells. This is a great way to change your tone and response without having to mess about with mouthpieces which can take much more getting used to. The Backun range of clarinet barrels have led the way for these upgrades due to the quality of materials and design.

Backun produce various models in two different materials, so let’s take a look at the range and discuss how they can improve your sound… (more…)

Meet the Team – Ana (Repair Dept)

16th August 2018

About Ana:

Hi, I’m Ana! I moved from Lisbon, Portugal to England to study a 3 year Woodwind Instrument Making and Repair Course at Newark College. This is an internationally known course that is recognised and valued among the industry. I believe for that reason I was accepted to join the team at Dawkes Music Workshop. Also the passion I bring to put my knowledge and skills into each repair.


REPAIR CAM – Clarinet RePad (Ana)

31st May 2018

We wanted to take you behind the scenes in our Workshop. Here, Ana shows various stages of a Clarinet RePad in action. Normally this is a relatively straight forward job with modern instruments. However it still requires a good amount of skill in both the technical precision and in time management. We want to do a great job and keep the cost affordable for the customer.


5% OFF – Top 10 Clarinets Offer

6th March 2018

We’re delighted to be offering an extra 5% discount off our Top 10 Clarinet models until April 30th, 2018. There is limited stock available so don’t miss this chance to grab a bargain for either a beginner, upgrader or pro player – we’ve got something for everyone.


Artie Shaw – The Last, the Very Last, the Final Gramercies

8th December 2017

Join jazz aficionado Peter Gardner as he discusses the excellent late recording work of clarinettist Artie Shaw…

It wasn’t until about twenty years ago that I realised that such marvellous recordings existed.  I was in a large bookshop in the north of England and I had been told the bookshop also stocked some jazz CDs.  As I recall, there weren’t too many jazz CDs there and most seemed to be by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. But somewhere near the end of the jazz shelves, perhaps between Rollins and Tatum, I came across a double CD whose attention-grabbing title had the words ‘…The Last Recordings Rare and Unreleased’.


Reed Dr – Event (Sat 13th May, 2017)

17th May 2017

We were delighted to welcome Anthony Pike to the shop on Saturday to host our ‘Reed Dr’ event. Anthony is a long established professional player who has taken a hands on approach to adjusting and maximising each reed he uses. We held two sessions due to the demand and both were informative and engaging for all involved.


Benny’s Tales

19th April 2017

Join Jazz aficionado Peter Gardner as he explores the great Benny Goodman… 

It has become part of jazz folklore that once upon a time in a Chicago slum, shortly after the end of the First World War, a desperately poor Jewish father, who had emigrated to America from Eastern Europe, decided that some of his children might benefit from learning to play musical instruments.  On hearing that a nearby synagogue ran a band for boys, the father took three of his twelve children to meet the synagogue’s band master.


Squeaking? Blame the mouthpiece??

13th January 2017

Post Author: Prof. Anton Weinberg (

I am always concerned when teachers and players assume that squeaks on a mouthpiece are caused by the facing being crooked. Yes indeed, it might be a possibility, however my research over many years has found that a great majority of the mouthpieces used by clarinetists that we admire are indeed crooked.


5 Minutes with…Andrew Marriner (Principal Clarinet LSO)

29th November 2016


We managed to catch up briefly with Andrew Marriner – Principal Clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra and we fired a few questions at him to help all you Clarinet players out there. Andrew Marriner has held the position of principal clarinet in the LSO since 1986, when he succeeded the late Jack Brymer. During his orchestral career Andrew has maintained a presence on the worldwide solo concert platform, in the field of chamber music, and as a teacher. (


‘Bagpipe Lung’ – Cleaning Care Advice & Gear for Wind Instruments

23rd August 2016

Many of you will have seen the recent article and report warning players of so-called ‘bagpipe lung’ infections. So, what’s the truth behind the situation and what can you do to ensure you keep your instrument clean and safe…


New Buffet Clarinets – Launch on Saturday May 28th…

12th May 2016

The New Buffet ‘Tradition’ Professional Model:

The new Tradition has been inspired by a pre-1950s design while taking into account the needs of modern musical repertoire and performance practice, this brand new cylindrical bore compliments the R13 and RC bore families, adding a new acoustic dimension to the Buffet offerings.

Featuring a cylindrical bore design, the new clarinet harkens back to the purity of sound produced by the BC20, with a tone hole placement inspired by the Tosca design. The result is an instrument that presents a clear, focused, rich sound suitable for any acoustic environment and an even scale for consistent intonation throughout all registers.


Eddie Daniels pt.3: Choosing an Instrument…

27th April 2016

Join virtuoso clarinettist Eddie Daniels as he discusses how to choose an instrument…


Eddie Daniels pt.2: Jazz Phrasing…

21st April 2016

We hope you all enjoyed Part.1 (It’s all about the blues), now you’ve got at least a few notes going on in a more blues or jazz feel let’s think about how we can phrase them in a jazzier way…


Eddie Daniels pt.1: It’s all about the Blues…

13th April 2016

Sometimes it’s important to get inspiration from other players, re-connect us with why we play and the great benefits it can give us in life.


NEW Jupiter Beginner Clarinet…What’s in a name?!

28th January 2016

I mentioned in a recent article that Yamaha were often guilty of using Roman numerals to denote new models, i.e. YCL-CXIII. Seemingly Jupiter have a slightly different affliction and that is to put S, Q, FQ or QO and all sorts of letters after a model when they change it. It can be both confusing and a bit misleading as sometimes the change is very minor (i.e. it’s just in a new case) and other times it can be a full instrument re-design.


NEW Selmer Privilege Clarinet…

25th January 2016

It’s arguably the greatest time ever to be looking for a new professional wooden clarinet, there are simply loads of wonderful choices. In fact whilst discussing this exact topic with a colleague the other day it was noted that if you can’t find a great instrument now then it’s probably time to try playing another instrument, or take up something equally lucrative such as Hungarian stamp collecting…


Rico Jazz Select Reed Re-Branding & Reed Tips…

4th January 2016

It’s amazing to think that the D’Addario company bought out Rico back in 2004 yet the confusion of branding cropped up again recently and so we wanted to take this opportunity to update all Clarinet & Sax players of the most recent reed box packaging changes on Jazz Select & Reserve reeds in particular to avoid any confusion and to discuss what a re-brand can do to us single reed players minds!…


The Uebel Emperior Bass Clarinet is a serious competitor!

29th December 2015

The Uebel Emperior is a fantastic new addition to the professional Bass Clarinet range.


“The Uebel bass clarinet is a fantastic and much needed addition to the bass clarinet market that compares favourably with it’s competitors. It plays extremely well and is a reliable alternative for players looking for a high quality instrument at an affordable price.” Sarah Watts, B
ritish bass clarinet specialist, teacher of bass clarinet at Royal Northern College of Music.


Have you tried D’Addario Reserve Reeds?

4th December 2015


Acclaimed for their unrivalled consistency and ease of response, D’Addario Reserve reeds are fast becoming a favourite amongst the UK’s top orchestral players.


Introducing… Dawkes Music Reed Selection Packs

29th August 2015


As fellow clarinettists, here at Dawkes we understand how important it is to find the right set-up.


Workshop Tips: How we fix clarinet cracks

23rd July 2015

BEFORE: 20150608_115030-2

This Buffet R13 came into our workshop with an enormous crack in the top joint, running through the speaker tube and into the thumb bush. Miraculously, the crack had not travelled through into the bore of the instrument, so we were able to fill and secure the crack using wood powder, glue and a lot of patience.


Buffet R13 vs Buffet RC – Which to Choose

30th January 2014

For many years the Buffet range of clarinets has been quite dominant in the upgrade and professional clarinet market. Whilst the competition has certainly come on strong in the last few years (Bliss & Yamaha in the mid range and Selmer & Yamaha CSG in the pro range) it’s fair to say that for many players and teachers the Buffet is still first on the list to start the comparisons.


Intermediate Clarinets – Sound Clip Tests

28th November 2013

We help lots of customers coming to the store (or mail order) choose an ‘upgrade’ clarinet. Often we’re asked “what are the differences?” – Well there are often many technical differences to do with the internal bore shape and size of the clarinet, the wood quality and how it is treated, plus multiple manufacturing and quality control differences. However, what it comes down to is the sound, we only stock models that we feel are good enough to deserve your hard earned investment, and as such we encourage players to play-test the instrument themselves to determine what’s best.


Rico X10E Bb Clarinet Mouthpiece – Launch

Rico X10ERico have certainly ‘rocked the boat’ in the clarinet mouthpiece world since the introduction of their Reserve Range. The initial range consisted of the X0, X5 and X10. Featuring advanced modern manufacturing techniques coupled with vintage mouthpiece designs the Reserve Range offers a dark, rich, centred tone that is easy to play and ‘reed friendly’. After some touring of Europe with Ricos product specialists they felt there was a requirement for something a little different/extra for players in our area, thus the release of the X10E.


Julian Bliss visit to Dawkes Music

30th October 2013

For those of you that have been to Dawkes you know we have a big shop area, but now we’ve converted our previously ‘unseen by the public’ front building (maybe we need a better name for this area!) into a spacious teaching and master-class/clinic suite. The front couple of rooms are taken up by our MyMusic adult teaching service and that leaves a larger room for events and ensemble rehearsals etc. Well, in true Dawkes style we thought let’s give this room a little launch so to speak and invite arguably the most well regarded young clarinettist the UK has produced for many a year…Julian Bliss.


Workshop Tips – Clarinet Squeaking? Throat A key screw adjust

Hi All, just a little quick top tip from our workshop to get you out of squeaky problems on your clarinet. Of course many things can cause issues with your instrument which is why we recommend keeping it regularly serviced, but this little tip may get you or a pupil out of trouble!


Clarinet Ligatures

22nd June 2012

‘The Ligature for me – The Bois’

 Michaela Bell, Woodwind Teacher; Berkshire

Clarinet set up: Selmer 10S Bb clarinet, Zenith M1 mouthpiece, Bois Ligature, Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic reeds.

When looking for a new ligature for my Zenith M1 mouthpiece, I tried a variety of different brands, styles and materials but found that the Bois did exactly what I wanted from a ligature, and I haven’t looked back.


Clarinet Accessory Reviews – Bore Oil & Pullthrough

19th May 2012

Michaela Bell; Woodwind Teacher, Berkshire

I recently bought a secondhand Selmer 10S clarinet from Dawkes, which I had kept my eye on as soon as it came into the shop! This instrument was made some time between 1978-9 (so it is approximately a decade older than I am!).  Although it is in immaculate condition, (especially after the workshop had got their magic hands on it), I was concerned that due to its age, the bore might be prone to drying out and in need of some TLC. In the past, I have treated my oboe and Cor Anglais with bore oil, but this has led to problems with sticky pads and I wasn’t entirely happy with the results, so I was a little reluctant to try that particular brand of bore oil again.


New Yamaha YCL-CSGIII… move over Buffet R13?

18th August 2011

Sam, Woodwind Dept: Yamaha Pro Clarinets have always sold steadily but we must be under no illusions, if you look at the stats for clarinet sales (over the last 10 years) around the £2000 mark the Buffet R13 stands head and shoulders above the rest, with its brother the Buffet RC usually coming in 2nd place. Of course I refer to Dawkes Music stats primarily and there could be historic reasons for this R13 loyalty from customers and teachers, BUT, if you compare the UK wide sales stats on Buffet vs Yamaha vs Selmer vs Leblanc (there are a couple of others but the numbers sold are so insignificant they’re not worth mentioning) the numbers of Buffet sold are miles ahead of the others.  Before I get to the NEW Yamaha CSGIII it’s good to think about this R13 phenomenon because we must understand why it’s kept it’s place at the top of the tree, no other instrument I can think of has done this. For example Yamaha YAS62 Alto Saxes used to outsell others by far but the last 10 years has seen the rise of Yanagisawa, Mauriat, Cannonball etc and the 62 dominance has been hit. There aren’t any flutes that consistently outperform others by such a margin either, nor Trumpet, or Trombone etc etc.


Vandoren CL4 and CL5 Clarinet Mouthpieces – NEW!

10th May 2011


The new Vandoren CL4 and CL5 clarinet mouthpieces arrived with us today. We passed them to our mouthpiece designer and Woodwind consultant Prof Anton Weinberg for a review:


Selmer Paris – My French Love Affair…

14th February 2011


Selmer – Saxophones and Clarinets

So, Valentines Day 2011 comes around and arriving on our doorstep is a new delivery of Selmer Paris Saxophones and Clarinets. I’ve been selling Selmer personally for the last 13 years and it’s fair to say it’s been a bumpy time with various ups and downs…


NAMM – Day 1 News…Yamaha Soprano Saxophones, New Vandoren Products, New Mutes

14th January 2011

So the first day of NAMM 2011 is done and as usual it was a long but interesting day.

The NAMM show is probably the biggest trade show for the Music Industry and is usually the first place to find new products hitting the market. The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) association is highly regarded in the US for improving the exposure for all music making and the importance to education. The show is the place for worldwide manufacturers and retailers to talk business, instruments and education.


Buffet B12 Clarinet – Celebrating Its Heritage

24th April 2010

The Buffet B12 has, for as many years as I can remember, been THE student clarinet that we all refer to as the industry standard. The recent passing through our hands of one of the limited edition clear perspex models got us thinking that it may be time to pay tribute to this great instrument and its heritage.


Yesterday Buffet R13’s – Today…a Tarogato!

20th April 2010
Just received a beautiful blood red looking soprano sax, which was not a soprano sax but, of course, a Tarogato. The owner needs me to make a mouthpiece for it, which roughly resembles a clarinet mouthpiece, as it fits into the instrument and not over it similar to the soprano. However, what is a Tarogato I can hear you asking? Originally a Hungarian/ Rumanian instrument steeped in folk law and when played with its original double reed certainly frightened the hell out of ones enemy. However, a revival of folk instruments by Hungarian musicians about 1890 saw it changed to using a mouthpiece and single reed, thus producing a much warmer sound without the ‘serial killers’ character.


Ton Kooiman Clarinet Thumbrest

7th April 2010

A lot of people have difficulty holding their Clarinet.  After playing a while, it can cause discomfort to the thumb.