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 What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: icsd08063 
Date:   2019-02-20 19:03

Hello to everybody from Greece,

My girlfriend plays the clarinet on our local philharmonic. Our philharmonic clubs in Greece are like this ( Each municipality tends to have its own philharmonic school where each one who wants to participate can take free lessons and actively assist on various events (indoors but mostly outdoors).

She looks for a new clarinet for some time now as she is not feeling happy with the provided one by the philharmonic school (free of charge).
I would like to gift her one but since I am completely noob on music related subjects, I desperately need your help.

She has mentioned the Buffet Crampon and doing a little bit of research, I have "selected" the below models:

PRODIGE (around 550€ in Greece)
E12-F (around 1100€ in Greece)
E13 (around 1550€ in Greece)

I can somehow understand basic differences but unfortunately, like I said, I do not have a music background at all to deeply understand the whole thing.
Here is where I need your help!

Currently, she is using the clarinet 2-3 times a week, for philharmonic rehearsals and then, for whatever event the philharmonic should participate.
I can spent around 1500€, which here in Greece can buy you a new E13 from Buffet's authorized dealer.

I would really appreciate your opinion! Maybe I am looking on a totally wrong clarinet for her needs? Worth mentioning though that she would never be a professional player as her main job is totally different. She is just playing because she likes it.

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-02-20 19:17


My husband is this week being very kind to me and buying me a clarinet, so I understand your situation very well. :-)

I think that the choice of a clarinet is very personal to the player, and there is a lot of careful work in making sure that it is in tune and that it fits the players hands. The choice of tone is also very individual to the player, so she will almost certainly want to be there to chose it herself.

Would it work if you tell your girlfriend that you would like to buy her a clarinet, and how much you could spend, and then offer to go along to the shop with her and be there with her while she chooses the instrument? Giving her your time and attention would be an incredibly valuable and kind thing, and it would be an experience that you would both remember for a very long time I think.

Clarinet-buying is a lot like buying a car, and it can be quite stressful and take a bit of time. Having you along with her will be a huge thing for her, quite apart from your kindness in offering to buy the instrument.

Good luck!

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-02-20 19:19

Playing out doors would require a composite or hard rubber clarinet. Wood may crack in such conditions.

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: IndeterminateEuler 
Date:   2019-02-20 19:19

Here's my $0.02: (Copied from the thread necrobumped by the OP from 4-5 years ago.)

I would recommend against outdoor use of a wooden clarinet. Varying climate conditions and the general rough attitude towards marching instruments can put a clarinet through a lot of stress. Additionally, a wooden clarinet can be a bit heavy to march with for extended periods of time.

However, a common practice is to have one clarinet for indoor use, and save a "beater" for marching (or pep bands). If most events are outside, though, getting a new wood clarinet for indoor use and saving the existing one for outdoor use may not seem like it would offer the greatest benefit for the expense.

The Buffet Prodige is a plastic one that is the successor to the B12. I have a B12 from my days as a younger student and it has served me well. (Of course, don't take my word for it. Look around more, and you'll see many mentions of quality control issues. I still found mine to be a good horn for what it was, though.) Note that my experience with the B12 is not necessarily representative of the current Prodige.

I would also recommend against buying an instrument for her without her knowledge. In general, I'd avoid surprise-gifting an enthusiast something of their trade that I am not familiar with. (Like buying a PC enthusiast an expensive PC component when you know little of PCs.) A clarinet, especially, is something subject to personal idiosyncrasies: How it "feels" when she holds it, and how it "feels" when she plays.

Try before you buy is a good philosophy to follow for instruments, so you should be sure to involve her in the process.

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: icsd08063 
Date:   2019-02-20 19:22

Thank you for your time to answer me!

It starts to feel like I have to involve her somehow.
I just spoke to a close friend of her who knows more about music overall and he will ask his brother for an opinion since he plays clarinet.

He also told me that she could use the cheap clarinet on the outdoor activities and use the new one when indoors.
Adding the fact that she has recently starting practicing more with these guys (the are basically a small band), I tend to believe more that her opinion is what matters at the end.

Post Edited (2019-02-20 19:25)

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-02-20 19:32

If you would like to buy her a surprise present, then a lovely ligature might be a nice thing. It's like jewelry for clarinetists, and can cost very little, or really a lot. That might be an option, if involving her in the gift is going to complicate things.

There are lots of different examples here:

The fanciest and most expensive, I think, is the Silverstein:

It would be fine for concerts outside.

The ligature is the little thing that ties the clarinet reed to the mouthpiece. Pretty much any kind of ligature works fine, but there are some very pretty ones available.

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: Plonk 
Date:   2019-02-20 23:17

Could you call the music shop in advance and tell them what you want to do and your budget, and ask them to show your girlfriend a selection of instruments to try that are in your price range?

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: icsd08063 
Date:   2019-02-24 01:44
Attachment:  clarinet2.jpg (226k)
Attachment:  clarinet3.jpg (161k)
Attachment:  clarinet6.jpg (247k)
Attachment:  clarinet9.jpg (206k)
Attachment:  clarinet10.jpg (219k)

Hello again and thank you all for your valuable help!

I decided to kind of spoil the surprise and take her to the music shop in order to give them a try.
Two days before she tried Prodige, E11, E13 and yesterday the E12F.

She finally chose the E12F as she felt really comfortable with it.
The person that helped us on the shop was really kind and showed her all little tricks that she must pay attention to, especially to preparation and after care.

Additionally, after some thought, she decided to probably buy a cheap plastic clarinet in order to use this at the outdoor activities of the philharmonic.

She had her second 10 minutes try today, where I had the chance to take some cool photos (attached)!

I would like to thank you all for your valuable help!
I am sure that I have found some really cool clarinet items that i could gift her in the near future (like the already mentioned ligature which btw, are there any differences to various ligatures in regard to music or is it just the looks?)!

Post Edited (2019-02-24 01:48)

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-02-26 01:22

That's wonderful that it went so well. :-) Well done for managing that. I'm sure your girlfriend must love her new clarinet and will have very happy memories of choosing it with you. That's a lovely memory to have together.

If you are wondering about ligatures, I always enjoy this video where an experienced bass clarinet player talks about the differences between the options:

Good luck for the future there. :-)

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 Re: What Clarinet to Buy?
Author: jthole 
Date:   2019-03-03 01:56

That sounds great! I hope it will server her for a long time.

For outdoors playing, I also have a plastic instrument (a Yamaha). It plays sharp, which is an advantage in the typical outdoor setting, where instruments cool very quickly again as well. No way I would use my wooden instruments outdoors in our climate.

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