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 Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: lexxmexx 
Date:   2019-06-29 05:41

Hey guys,

I am picking up the clarinet again after a very long hiatus and need some opinions on the instrument models.

I have a Noblet N with the tv logo which I believe to be a model 40. This horn plays ok but I have a craving for a modern horn. I have read great reviews about the Yamaha YCL 650 but saw mixed opinions on whether this is an intermediate or professional model. I haven't have a chance to try it yet.

Is the Yamaha a significant improvement over the Noblet in terms of keyworks and tone?

Should I upgrade to this Yamaha YCL 650 or save the money and just stick with the Noblet?


The R13 and CSVR are way out of my budget ☹️

Post Edited (2019-06-29 17:29)

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2019-06-29 15:50

Personally I think the 650 is overrated. There's no doubt that it is a good clarinet, but there's just nothing special about it that would make me want to play it on a regular basis. The resistance is a bit on the higher side and while the intonation is good, it is not significantly better than any other clarinet it it's price range. The one thing most people praise Yamaha clarinets for is the setup and build quality, however the pads on the instrument are not the greatest and I've seen instruments needing overhauls after only a few years (my girlfriend's instrument had this problem and required almost a full repad). It is definitely more of an intermediate clarinet.

Edit: to address some of your questions more directly, the keywork on Noblet instruments is strong and fairly ergonomic. The Yamama has more "Buffet like" keys and is also fairly strong. Tone is heavily depended on both you and your mouthpiece and has little to do with the instrument.

The Noblet 40 is a decent instrument and I would spend the money on a good mouthpiece and overhaul to get it in perfect playing condition.


Post Edited (2019-06-29 16:07)

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: Erez Katz 
Date:   2019-06-29 18:53

My suggestion is to spend about a month to get into good playing shape with your current equipment.
Do get your Noblet checked out to make sure its condition is not getting in your way (i.e. leaks).

After that, investigate getting a new mouthpiece and reeds. A personal recommendation is to give Legere Signature European Cut a good chance including changing a mouthpiece if it works better with them.

The clarinet itself is the last link to consider upgrading.
Just make sure the other links are all set. There are a lot of good new and used offerings and rare opportunities come up on a weekly if not daily basis.
Take your time on that one.

Post Edited (2019-06-29 19:20)

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-06-30 01:51
Attachment:  P2170010.JPG (710k)

I reckon you're best spending the money having the Noblet fully overhauled as that's both less than the cost of an intermediate wooden clarinet, also Noblets are much freer blowing compared to Yamaha 650s and not all that far off pro level Leblancs.

I overhauled a 650 fairly recently (besides the tenon corks as the owner didn't want them changing to save a bit on the cost, but had to have the top one replaced the other day as it peeled off) and even with the ventings set higher than their recommended settings, it still played with a lot more resistance compared to my plastic Yamaha YCL-24 and Selmers (BT, CT and Series 9).

Hardly anyone over my way plays Yamaha Custom level clarinets (it's mostly Buffet, Buffet and Buffet), so I can't say what their top models play like.


Post Edited (2019-06-30 01:55)

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: lexxmexx 
Date:   2019-06-30 04:44

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

Yes, the Noblet had been serviced by a tech and is in good playing condition now. I am currently using the Morgan Protone mouthpiece with the Luyben ligature.The current setup plays fine.

I was just thinking since the Noblet is selling at such low prices ($200-300 on the average) on Ebay, could there be some flaws with it? Maybe new technological advances might have developed a better horn in the Yamaha 650 and can justify my indulgence in getting a brand new horn which is currently on mid year sale.

However, based on the opinions so far, seems like the 650 is not that much of a stepping up from the Noblet.

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-07-01 13:07

Don't base anything on eBay prices. Just because you may see Noblets selling at a considerably low price doesn't mean they're inherently faulty. More likely they're not as popular as Buffets and the same is true with Leblancs. If you are looking for an upgrade, then any pro level Leblanc is worth considering.

And another thing you have to consider is having it overhauled. Don't let the initial low cost of buying one used cloud your judgement on how much you think you should or shouldn't pay to have it overhauled. A pro level clarinet is still a pro level clarinet whether you buy it new or used and it's always worth spending the money on having a top quality overhaul done at whatever cost. And if anything, it'll be far better finished than it was when it was bought new as the repairer should have put any faults that were overlooked at the factory right.


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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2019-07-01 20:39

I have been on eBay since 1998 and have noted that resale values for models of pre-owned clarinets are much lower for discontinued models versus models still in production.

Yamaha models are less affected than those of other makers, but still take a significant hit.

Normandy was dropped from the Leblanc lineup around 2007, and Noblets were discontinued around 2009. Resale values for all of them plummeted within a couple of years.

The most graphic example? Take a good look at Buffet S1 Sold Item listings. They sell for a fraction of the price of an R13.

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: Kaos 
Date:   2019-07-02 01:28

I know it's off topic but is S1 any good? I'm in a desperate need to upgrade my horn, as I'm the only one in conservatory to still play Yamaha 26II at my level.... but can't afford any of the pro models even if pre-owned. My teacher only want Buffet, Yamaha or Patricola, no other brands allowed (Selmer is tolerated only if it's a Recital/Signature)

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 Re: Noblet N (model 40) vs Yamaha YCL-650
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-07-02 12:21

The S1 is as good as any other used pro level clarinet.


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