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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 Yamaha custom range of Clarinets and the differences between these models…

What to look for?

For clarinetists, it’s all about finding an instrument capable of combining a rich, harmonically complex sound with clarity and the ability to project in large concert halls. The instrument must be responsive and easy to play, which means that keys must open and close precisely and quickly, and tone holes must open fully and close with a perfect, airtight seal. With almost 100 individual key components involved, this requires a precision approach to all of the manufacturing processes involved – pressing and forging, trimming, brazing and plating.

The Importance of Materials

To achieve a consistently rich and expressive tone across the different notes and dynamic range of the instrument, professional Clarinets are typically made from aged Grenadilla, a wood so hard that it’s cut and machined using the same methods as metal. It’s important that there’s no moisture content, so the wood must be dried for several years before being used.

In 2018, this African black wood was listed on the ‘CITES’ register for endangered species prompting Yamaha to take on fifteen hectares of forest in Tanzania, not only to produce a sustainable resource but to support future generations on the local community who depend on the forest for income. Check out our blog on Yamaha’s sustainable approach to wooden instrument production.

Why Consider Yamaha?

Yamaha produced its first custom clarinet 46 years ago and today, the company’s facility in Toyooka, Japan is home to three clarinet designers supported by 50 dedicated staff members. The Yamaha approach to clarinet development is centred around a continuing quest for excellence and the performance of new designs is simulated using cutting edge computer modelling.

Modern manufacturing techniques combine with traditional craftsmanship to ensure that each and every Yamaha custom clarinet reaches the same exacting standards. And perhaps most importantly, Yamaha fosters an ongoing dialogue with leading artists from a range of musical genres at its Woodwind Ateliers in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and Hamburg, firm in the belief that only through a true understanding of the needs of musicians can the best instruments be made.

The Yamaha Custom Clarinet Range

SEVR Models

While retaining the traditional wide tone holes, tapers, and undercuts of Yamaha’s popular SE Series, the SEVR Custom Clarinet offers rich tone and even greater freedom of expression. Not only does it blend beautifully in ensembles, but it’s also a standout choice for solos.

  • Ideal for high level upgrade (Grades 6-8) or keen adult player/semi-pro player
  • White leather pads for durability and clarity of tone
  • Broad rich tone, warmer than the CSVR
  • Traditional bell & barrel shaping
  • Available for Bb Clarinet & A Clarinet

CSVR Models

The CSVR Clarinet is of the same quality level as the SEVR but offers a different tonal response. It has slightly smaller tone hole sizes, tapers and undercuts in comparison which results in a slightly brighter, more focused sound with plenty of clarity. We encourage customers to test the SEVR and CSVR back-to-back to find their personal sound preference.

  • Ideal for high level upgrade (Grades 6-8) or keen adult player/semi-pro player
  • White leather pads for durability and clarity of tone
  • Brighter and more focused sound compared to the SEVR
  • Traditional bell & barrel shaping
  • Available for Bb Clarinet & A Clarinet

CSG Models

Guided by the philosophy of reinventing tradition, the Yamaha team reanalysed and re-evaluated every aspect of clarinet design in pursuit of excellence. The YCL-CSG sound is warm, yet has a clear, focused centre surrounded by a wealth of overtones, resulting in extraordinary beauty and expression. The most popular pro clarinet at it’s price point by far. The longer design of the top joint allows for better intonation and smoother response due to the higher position of the barrel joint.

  • Designed for the advanced player (Grade 7/8+ to Music College) and/or Teachers/Pro Players
  • Mix of cork & white leather pads for clarity of tone and quick response
  • A beautiful and unique tone with a rich core full of overtones
  • Slightly plumper barrel design & thick wall bell adds richness and depth
  • Comes with extra left hand Eb key as standard
  • Optional Low E/F tuning vent key (L Models)
  • Available for Bb Clarinet & A Clarinet in Silver Plate or Hamilton Gold Plate

SE Artist Models

The most refined Yamaha technology and craftsmanship have been applied in creating a flagship clarinet that answers the needs of top artists worldwide: the YCL-SE Artist Model. Retaining the fundamental SE Series concept of warm, richly expressive tone, critical elements such as the bell and tone holes have been redesigned with innovative features derived from development of the CSGIII for a sublime combination of precise pitch and expressive freedom.

  • Designed for Professional Players/Soloists
  • Mix of cork & white leather pads for clarity of tone and quick response
  • Very free blowing sound with warmth and depth
  • Unique barrel and bell design to add density to the sound
  • Left hand alternate Eb key + Low E/F tuning vent key fitted as standard
  • Pink gold plated trim and silver plated keywork
  • Very limited supply – Available for Bb Clarinet & A Clarinet