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.

Upgrade ClarinetHowever, some people often ask us to play the instruments in the shop for them, this can be useful to hear what the instrument CAN DO, but it’s worth remembering we all play differently and have broad opinions on what a clarinet should sound like. To help give you some idea of the different clarinets please have a listen to the clips below (same mouthpiece, reed, lig etc used) and see what you prefer and why! (All prices correct as of 28/11/2013)

Buffet E13 (£1240) -The Buffet E13 has long been the best selling intermediate clarinet. It has a smaller bore with some parts conical and some cylindrical which are similar to, if smaller than the R13. With a typically ‘French’ sound it has an expressive and vibrant quality which has made it such a favourite. The bore design and size make it easy to play and keep the intonation well in check using most mouthpieces.

Leblanc Bliss (£1095) – Julian Bliss worked with Leblanc and underwent a real re-design of the clarinet. Particular attention has been paid to the feel and ergonomics of the instrument. There is a streamline layout and this is enhanced further by the sleek ringless barrel and bell. This is really a clarinet players clarinet, the springing is well balanced and positive and the key action feels nice and close to the body, everything is under the hands where it belongs.

Yamaha YCL-650 (£1026) – It contains many of the features and playing characteristics of the custom series clarinets including undercut tone holes, resonance chamber in the bell and many of the benefits only seen on handcrafted instruments. A poly-cylindrical bore ensures a sweet clean sound on this classy instrument. The 650 is made from high quality selected and seasoned Grenadilla wood to ensure the finest tone colour and durability


As they say, “the proof is in the pudding” – so the best way to form an opinion is to come in and try out some clarinets yourself. Don’t forget we also offer a ‘home-trial’ period so if you can’t come in or just can’t make up your mind, we can help!

See our full range of intermediate clarinets HERE