Clarinet Bore Oil Information

22nd February 2024

In this blog (with demonstration video) we discuss the how and why of oiling the internal bore of a wooden musical instrument. In this example we’re demonstrating using a Bb Clarinet, but the same technique and reasoning applies to any wooden bodied instrument.


Most Useful Clarinet Accessories: Swabs & Pullthroughs

30th November 2023

In this upcoming series of articles we’re going to be looking at some of the most useful clarinet accessories. This will include swabs, cleaning materials, slings, supports, stands, mouthpiece patches, ligatures and more! Let’s first take a look at the most important accessory to use every time you finish playing; the cleaning swab/pullthrough.


Best Clarinet Set-Up: Under £2,000 (Non-Classical!)

4th October 2023

In this blog with accompanying video, we discuss and demonstrate a range of Clarinets and mouthpiece/reed set-ups for under £2,000. The emphasis is on non-classical playing such as jazz, commercial and band. We compare models from Buffet, Yamaha and Backun. We also get the input of a professional player on his preferred mouthpiece and reed set-up for this combination.


Which Clarinet is Best for a Beginner?

29th August 2023

Whether choosing one for your child or picking up the instrument for the first time yourself, it’s never easy knowing which clarinet is best for a beginner. There are so many options and a lot of jargon to wade through, making it near impossible to figure it out without a little help. That’s exactly why we’ve put together this guide looking at beginner clarinets.

beginner clarinet

Buffet B12 Clarinet – An Old Favourite

23rd August 2023

The Buffet B12 (recently replaced by the Buffet Prodige) was THE student clarinet for many decades. We recently recorded a video featuring a limited edition clear perspex model (see below) and decided to look back at this popular beginner Clarinet here on the blog.


Best Clarinet Set-Up | Under £2,000 | ‘Non-Classical’

7th August 2023

In this blog, with accompanying video, we’re taking a look at potential clarinet set-up options for non-classical players. We’ll be discussing three different clarinets and using Simon Bates combination of mouthpiece, ligature and reed to top it all off. Read on to find out more…


One Ligature to rule them all? BG Duo Ligatures

3rd April 2023

We’ve been really impressed with a particular range of BG ligatures that could well be the solution for many Sax & Clarinet players. Introducing the BG Duo ligature, one ligature that can fit not just one of your mouthpieces, but two!

BG Duo – Fits Standard Alto Sax & Clarinet Mouthpieces

Best Student Clarinet Mouthpieces

15th March 2023

In the first few years of Clarinet playing your choice of mouthpiece is very important. Student Clarinet mouthpieces are usually plastic, primarily for cost reasons, and they come in a variety of designs. The 3 most popular (and best) student clarinet mouthpieces are made by Buffet, Yamaha and Windcraft. In this blog, with accompanying video, we discuss and demonstrate the options.


Clarinet Playing Tips & Advice (Part 2/2)

31st October 2022

We recently hosted Peter Cigleris for a Backun Clarinet event here at Dawkes Music. This is part 2 of our follow up blog showcasing some clarinet playing tips & advice from Peter.

clarinet playing

Clarinet Playing Tips & Advice (Part 1/2)

24th October 2022

We recently hosted Peter Cigleris for a Backun Clarinet event here at Dawkes Music. Along with a stunning performance Peter also spent some time discussing common aspects of Clarinet playing. In this blog (part 1 of 2) we share some of the highlights with you…

clarinet playing

Clarinet Mouthpieces: How to Test

10th August 2022

We asked leading UK professional player Nick Carpenter for his top tips on choosing the correct clarinet mouthpiece for you. Dawkes offer a wide range of clarinet mouthpieces, these tips will help you when testing between different models.


Heatwave Advice for Woodwind Players & Instruments

7th July 2022

Over the next few days we could be in for temperatures exceeding 30 degrees! This kind of environmental change affects our bodies, and the same goes for your woodwind instrument. Here are some ‘hot tips’ from the Dawkes Workshop to help your woodwind instrument keep its cool in hot weather.


Ultimate Guide – Clarinet Mouthpieces

4th July 2022

Students, intermediate players, hobbyists and professionals…clarinettists of all levels inevitably go through the process of finding a new mouthpiece. Clarinet mouthpieces appear simple, but their intricate designs ensure no two are the same! This ultimate guide will explore all things clarinet mouthpiece to help you make the best choice next time you purchase.

Clarinet Mouthpieces

New VENN Synthetic Reeds by D’Addario

28th March 2022

The new VENN advanced synthetic reeds for Clarinet, Alto Sax and Tenor Sax are now available from D’Addario. These are the 2nd Generation models and are the biggest news to hit the single reed market for decades!​​​​​​​

All the benefits of synthetic reeds (consistency & durability) with the best qualities of cane reeds (tone and playability).

VENN synthetic reed

Selmer Clarinets: Pro Models Compared

23rd March 2022

In this blog, with accompanying video, we check out the main 4 professional Selmer Clarinets. Made in the factory outside Paris, these models offer a beautiful tone and response. In this guide we check out the Recital, Signature, Privilege and Muse models.


Repair Materials Spotlight: Mini Woodwind Repair Kit

15th March 2022

If you play Flute, Clarinet or Oboe this is a perfect small repair kit for minor fixes and diagnosis of your instrument. This combination of a small screwdriver, our smallest spring hook and Yamaha cleaning papers (useful as a feeler gauge) is small enough to fit in most instrument cases or outer bags. 

Perfect for taking to band practice when your playing colleagues ask you to “just have a look” or you have a sudden playing fault on your own instrument – the ideal kit for the gigging repairer.


Reserve Clarinet Reeds by D’Addario Woodwinds

14th January 2022

The D’Addario line of Reserve Clarinet reeds have three different variations: Reserve, Reserve Classic and Reserve Evolution.  These are ideal reeds for the advancing student or professional player, whether you are wanting to blend within an orchestra or stand out with your solo performance. But what is the difference between them?

We asked leading professional Clarinettist Nick Carpenter to demonstrate and discuss this range of reeds…


The Reed Cane Journey – From Field to Factory

6th December 2021

In this blog we take a look at how your Clarinet reed or Saxophone reed is made. The natural materials used to make cane reeds go from field to factory and eventually onto your mouthpiece! Check out the full journey of this incredible natural product and the hard work that goes into making your reeds by the D’Addario Woodwinds team…


Top 5 Clarinet Accessories – D’Addario Woodwinds

26th November 2021

We offer a huge range of clarinet accessories from many top brands. The D’Addario Woodwinds range offers great value for money and high quality. In this blog we take a look at our Top 5 most popular (and most useful) accessories for clarinet players.


Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces – Which is Best?

25th November 2021

We asked leading UK professional player Simon Bates to demonstrate and discuss a range of jazz clarinet mouthpieces and ask “which is best?”. We looked at the leading models from Vandoren as well as alternatives from Otto Link and Meyer.

If you’re wanting to play in a more jazz oriented way on Clarinet we would advise selecting a jazz designed mouthpiece to really help. Check out the video and our info on how to choose below…


GUIDE: How to Test a Clarinet

16th September 2021

Testing any new musical instrument should be a fun experience. But you also need to be sure you’re really testing the instrument, not yourself! Together with professional Woodwind player & teacher Alastair Penman, we’ve put together our ‘Top 5 Tips’ for testing a new Clarinet…


Buffet or Yamaha?

25th August 2021

We’re often asked about the difference between Buffet Clarinets and Yamaha Clarinets. Each brand offers a range from student to professional. In this blog we take a look at the two manufacturers and their Clarinets and consider if you should choose Buffet or Yamaha?


The Best Accessories for Yamaha Woodwind Instruments

If you’ve invested wisely in a quality Yamaha Woodwind instrument such as a Clarinet, Flute or Saxophone it’s a sensible idea to keep it well maintained. Choosing and using the best accessories for your Yamaha instrument will help maintain its finish, keep it playing better and support a stronger resale value.

In this blog we’ll take a look at the best accessories for your Yamaha woodwind instrument…


Top Tips: Testing a Clarinet Mouthpiece

16th August 2021

Here at Dawkes we often assist players when choosing a new Clarinet mouthpiece to help improve their sound and response. Whenever testing it’s important to follow some simple steps to make sure you’re really testing the mouthpiece fairly and to ensure you make the right choice.

In this short video and blog we give you our Top 5 tips for testing Clarinet mouthpieces…


Buffet R13 vs Buffet RC – What is the Difference?

11th July 2021

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 (Yamaha and Backun primarily) it’s fair to say that for many players and teachers the Buffet is still first on the list to start the comparisons.

In the pro upgrade range Buffet start with the R13 and RC. These two clarinets are the same price, made of the same quality materials, made by the same team etc so what differentiates them? We take a look at the differences below and also feature a video demonstrating both models…


Adjusting Your Reeds: Clarinet or Sax

4th February 2021

We all know and understand that Sax & Clarinet reed strengths vary slightly within a pack. This is due to the natural material and internal fibres of the cane. In this blog we check out some non-destructive(!) ways to alter your reeds to get the most from a box…


Choosing The Best Reed: Clarinet or Sax

With so many different Clarinet & Sax reed types and strengths on the market it can be overwhelming. How do you know which make to buy? And how do you choose the right strength? In this blog (and video) we give some advice on choosing the best option for you…


Upgrading Your Clarinet…

1st February 2021

There a comes a time in every player’s life when a better-quality instrument is the key to both inspiring and unleashing the next phase in their musical development. In this blog we take a look at some considerations when upgrading. We also check out the custom range of Yamaha Clarinets and the differences between these models…


Sustainable Production Methods

9th December 2020

Do you know where the wood for your Clarinet came from? What do you know about the methods used to obtain or produce it? Have you considered the full lifecycle of your musical instrument (of any type) from raw materials to your hands? Many of us probably don’t give enough thought to these questions. Here at Dawkes we’re determined to bring you more information about the sustainability of products, and learn more from our suppliers about the responsible actions they take in production.

We’ve been lucky enough to visit factories and manufacturers around the world and can say that all things are not equal. From the way raw materials are procured to the conditions that are present in the factories. This can be to do with workers, materials and disposal of waste. Running a responsible operation comes at a financial cost and sometimes if instruments are extremely cheap, it’s worth considering why.

In this first blog we check out Yamaha’s commitment to a more sustainable future and methods of production…


Top 5 Clarinet Gift Ideas

4th December 2020

Whether you’re looking for a loved one, or perhaps just treating yourself (!) we’ve put together our Top 5 gift ideas for Clarinettists of all levels. From accessories to instruments, we’ve got something for all players and all budgets…


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

19th July 2020

Clarinet reeds have developed a long way since the old days when the choice was either a blue box of Vandoren or orange box Rico reeds. There are multiple brands that are worth your consideration. Within all brands there are also different models. In this blog we have a look at some of the more popular options (Vandoren & Gonzalez) in Part.1 of our Clarinet Reed ‘State of the Union’…


Clarinets – Why Upgrade?

10th June 2020

If you’ve been playing clarinet for a few years on a trusty plastic beginner model, or indeed a basic wooden instrument, the likelihood is that at some point you’d very much benefit from an upgrade model.

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?


Breathing Control for Clarinet & Sax

8th June 2020

It seems obvious, right? We all play Wind Instruments, and thus the importance of breath and airflow cannot be underestimated. But, it’s a common issue that comes up with players in-store and from Teachers…We all need to blow MORE!

Check out two videos from our pro-playing friends who discuss and demonstrate some exercises to help you improve your airflow and capacity.

Liz Drew: The Importance of Airflow


Clarinet Playing | Articulation Advice

1st June 2020

Achieving a clean and crisp articulation is obviously the goal for all of us. We asked top Clarinet player Elizabeth Drew to give some tips for all advancing players on this topic…


Clarinet Playing | Resistance Exercise

26th May 2020

This is a neat little exercise to get you focussing on your air flow and air support. Regular use of this exercise will improve your sound and control.


Clarinet Articulation Exercises

19th May 2020

We all know just how important good articulation is on all Wind Instruments. In this video Peter Cigleris walks through 3 exercises to incorporate into your warm-ups to help with articulation and get your tongue moving swiftly and lightly.


Ask Dawkes – Clarinet & Sax Answers Session #2

11th May 2020

We recently offered to answer more of your Clarinet & Sax related questions. We picked out our favourites and recorded our answers via the power of online meetings!

Check out all the questions and answers below, or the first 8 questions here. If you would like to submit a question, you can do that through the initial blog, or by using the form at the bottom of this page.


Clarinet Warm-Up Tips

We’re joined by Ben Mellefont (Principal Clarinet, London Philharmonic Orchestra + Yamaha Performing Artist) to discuss the importance of warming up correctly, and some top tips of how to do it…


Ask Dawkes – Clarinet & Sax Answers Session #1

5th May 2020

We recently offered to answer ANY of your Clarinet & Sax related questions. We had a good number of queries and have recorded our answers via the power of online meetings!

Check out all the questions and answers below. If you would like to submit a question, you can do that through the initial blog, or by using the form at the bottom of this page.


Clarinet Tips | Tone Exercises

27th April 2020

We’re joined by Ben Mellefont, Yamaha Performing Artist & London Philharmonic Principal Clarinettist to discuss a couple of quick and easy exercises for your Clarinet tone development…


Ask Dawkes – Clarinet & Sax

22nd April 2020

We’ve put together a top panel from our team with over 75 years of Sax & Clarinet playing, making, advising, teaching and performing experience under their belts.

You can SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION further down the page…


Clarinet Tips | Warm Up Exercise

21st April 2020

As part of our #CreateInspireSupport content we’re delighted to bring you the first of a series of Clarinet videos from top UK player Peter Cigleris, supported by Backun Clarinets.

In this first video, Peter demonstrates a warm up using intervals on the clarinet. All designed to get your air flowing, your lips flexible and your instrument warmed up.


Auxiliary Woodwind Instruments

19th February 2020

This is a term you may have heard before, but what exactly does it mean? In short, an auxiliary instrument is any ‘non-standard’ version of the common members of an instrumental family. They’re often used in orchestras and other ensembles by the specialist players. Today we’re looking at the auxiliary instruments in the woodwind family, as well as a few that we sell in store!


JazzLab Sax Silencer – Info & Exercises

The saxophone and clarinet, aside from the instrument, use a setup comprised of the mouthpiece, reed and ligature. The ligature secures the reed to the mouthpiece in such a way that leaves about half of the reed’s length free to vibrate. When the mouth forms a seal around the reed an mouthpiece and air is passed through, the reed vibrates. These vibrations push air down the instrument – this is how our sound is made.

Solid breath and embouchure control is the foundation block of any wind player. Read on to see how to take advantage of just your mouthpiece setup to build your technique and stamina – and how to do so anywhere with the JazzLab Silencer!

JazzLab Silencer


Backun Clarinet Barrels – How to choose?

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 range of Backun clarinet barrels has led the way for these upgrades due to the quality of materials and design.

Backun Clarinet Barrels

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…


Lightweight Legends! Beginner and Student Woodwind Alternatives

9th January 2020

Musical instruments are complicated pieces of technology. In recent history (well, the last few hundred years) woodwinds in particular have seen huge shifts in design. Often the design of instruments make them unsuitable for young beginners, or people with physical handicaps – this could be due to the weight, the stretch required to reach keys, or the complexity of maintaining a wood or metal instrument and mechanism.

But as much as technology has created complexity of design, it’s also allowed for simplicity! We stock a number of plastic instruments designed for younger players, or indeed anyone else who may struggle with the stretch or weight of ‘standard’ instruments.

Yamaha YRF-21 Fife


Making the Switch – Swapping to Légère Reeds from Cane Reeds

23rd November 2019

Experimentation around reed design, and the technology to make them, has really excelled in recent years. With so many on the market, it’s become increasingly easy to find the right one for you. And then, there’s the spanner in the works … synthetic reeds! More specifically, Légère reeds. We’ll talk you through some key differences between cane and Légère reeds, as well as why switching to Légère may suit you.

Légère Signature Reed for Clarinet

Diamonds in the Rough – Vandoren’s New Mouthpieces

6th November 2019

Vandoren’s original Black Diamond, or BD5, was released in 2015 and rapidly became one of their most popular clarinet mouthpieces. It provides a rich, dark tone, with the compact sound we’ve come to expect from a good clarinet mouthpiece. Vandoren have recently developed new variations on the Black Diamond, the BD4 and BD7. I tried these new offerings, alongside my trusty BD5, to see how they compared.

The New BD4 and BD7

Top 5 Clarinet Ligatures: Rovner Fabric Style

12th October 2019

In this blog & video we check out the ever popular Rovner range of Clarinet ligatures. The vast majority of the Rovner range is made of a fabric material and these models have been the no.1 choice of many players for decades. Check out the video below demonstrating and discussing these models, and for more info we have a full model breakdown below…


Eddie Daniels joins the Légère Family!

30th September 2019

American jazz and classical clarinetist and saxophonist Eddie Daniels has made the switch! After using cane reeds throughout his career, Daniels now exclusively uses Légère synthetic reeds on clarinet and tenor saxophone.
Daniels is now a Légère edorsing artist. Read on to find out more about the innovate reeds he endorses. ‘Life just got easier’!


‘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.


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…


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.


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.


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. (


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.


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…


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.