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 New to the clarinet
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-12 17:02

Hello from Scotland. At the age of 40 I have decided to take up the clarinet (while teaching be daughter the trumpet) neither if which I have played before.

I have managed to get a Jupiter JCL631 for £85 and have the offer of a Buffet B12 for £50.

I recognise both these as being recommended as "good" basic student level instrument.

I picked up the Jupiter and managed to get a reasonable sound and scale out fairly easily.

I got the abracadabra clarinet book with the Jupiter is this a good starting point?

Sorry for rambling, just saying hello and looking for hints tips and advice.

Is it worth picking up the B12 at that price as a 2nd instrument? Thinking of keeping it in the van for down time when I'm working (courier)



Post Edited (2021-01-12 17:08)

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-12 19:10


The Buffet B12 is a worthless piece of crap. Poor internal intonation (from note to note) that cannot be fixed due to zero attention to the bore or precise placement of tone holes.

The Jupiter should be fine. Others to look for (inexpensive) would be an older plastic Vito or even perhaps Bundy. For a step up, a good threshold might be around $400 dollars (perhaps a bit more in British Sterling......not sure what the used market and availability is out there).

Congrats on the Jupiter and your voyage with playing the clarinet.

...............Paul Aviles

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-12 23:27

The Jupiter does seem easy to get a not bad note from and I can just about play "when the saints go marching in" after a few days.

Is a B12 really that much worse by comparison? If so I'll maybe give it a swerve, even for only £50.

Thanks for the advise on brands to look out for. I've got the Jupiter so don't really need a 2nd, but if I can get something cheap to keep in the van of the van then I can keep my practice up during downtime on the road.

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-13 05:33

so............ why can't you bring your Jupiter with you into the van?

And yes the Buffet B12 is just awful. Don't waste your money on that horn.

................Paul Aviles

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2021-01-13 06:23

I thought old Vitos were good as well. I've owned two good student Yamahas and a student Selmer. All good.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers (PDF samples here)
Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-13 12:46


It's as much remembering to pick it up in the morning to take it with me.

Also the van can be cold and damp so concerned about the instrument surviving. That's why I was thinking something cheap. Does that make sense? Or am I being overly concerned?

Thanks for the input, still new and never too old or to proud to learn and take advice.


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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-16 19:38


Have you had any experience with Corton clarinets? I only ask I
As I seem them on those auction websites for a range of (affordable) prices.

I realise my £85 Jupiter is at the budget end of the market but I find it easy to play (well at 2 weeks in play is maybe the wrong word!)

Also what are you opinions on the Tune a Day books and Abracadabra?

I seem to recall the Tune a Day books (for guitar) felt very dry and dull (tho that may have been down to my high school attitude)

My clarinet came with the abracadabra book and I seem to be getting on ok with it.

I see there is a New tune a day series of books also?

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-16 21:28

The new edition of tune a day for clarinet has an absolutely brilliant fingering chart. I would highly recommend it. I worked through tune a day 1 and then moved almost directly to ABRSM grade 1.

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-01-16 21:34

Doug, The best thing you can do is have your Jupiter looked at by a tech. and get it play conditioned. That may be hard or take a long time with the UK lockdown... Maybe for the future.

In the US the standard beginners book is the Rubank Elementary Clarinet Method. IDK if they use it in the UK. It has a mix of short tunes and scales.

The Albert scales book is also a standard. It's good for beginners.

You can also look at the ABRSM books, they're oriented toward younger students and exams, but obviously you don't have to take the exams. The first one has tunes, with professional recordings, and accompaniment tracks.

Grade 1 Book


Scales and Sight Reading Grades 1-5
Scales Grades 1-8

- Matthew Simington

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-16 21:36

About clarinets - from my experience I would say the important thing is to find just about any clarinet that is affordable (your Jupiter is probably perfect) and get it serviced by a really top notch technician to get you started.

There is a guy called David Fingerhut ( who does a really smashing job, and that will get you off to a brilliant start. Clarinets that leak even slightly under the pads are just a nightmare to play so getting it set up really well is extremely important.

After that, if you want to improve things, the next thing is to get a better mouthpiece.

If you are still playing and enjoying it a little way down the line after that, then it seems to be usual at that point to look into getting a really nice clarinet. That seems to be very often to be whichever Yamaha you can afford or possibly a buffet.

I got so hooked on my clarinet playing (after starting at 42-ish) that I blew nearly £2000 on a really nice Yamaha Custom CX and I've never looked back. It makes everything so much easier. I still needed to send it off for a really good service though. They just don't work if the pads are not sitting right.

Hope that helps.

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-16 21:54

Jennifer / Matt

Thanks for the pointers.

I think I'll order the new tune a day (if nothing else for the fingering chart Jen)

I used to work in an Accordion shop of all places, but they run a music school now so I'll ask them if they know if any good woodwind technicians locally to service my Jupiter.

Thanks everyone for your help and advice. Good to know I'm not totally crazy giving this a shot at 40!


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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-17 11:49

Hi Dougie,

That's great that you already have contacts like that. That will help a lot.

I was thinking a bit more about it last night and I realised something else that might be useful to pass on.

I used to look at clarinets on ebay a lot and wonder if they were good or not, and how I would be able to figure out what the additional cost would be of getting them done-up if I bought them.

Thinking more about it, I reckon this is one area where it is probably worth buying from a dealer that has their own in-house team of technicians. If you do that then the repair work will already have been done and there are unlikely to be any additional costs.

I only mean if you go ahead later on and buy an even better instrument. I think your Jupiter is probably excellent to start out on.

Once you've got your Jupiter all set up, I think the next stop is a mouthpiece that suits your particular mouth shape and that usually costs about £100. If you can find out where there is a shop near you that will let you try a dozen on one visit then that will save you a lot of trouble.

Likewise, if you do decide to upgrade later, it's really essential to try the instrument or at least another copy of the same model before you buy it.

As far as I can see it's not possible to be a good clarinettist without having a really good woodwind technician/shop around as well. If you are a courier then I can imagine that being so mobile will help a lot.

Good luck!


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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-17 12:41

Thanks Jen

That's awesome advice. I'll stick with the Jupiter just now and see about getting it set up as soon as thats possible the way things are just now.

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-17 19:31

Brilliant! Good luck.

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 Re: New to the clarinet
Author: eac 2017
Date:   2021-01-21 21:54

If you plan on leaving your clarinet in the van, consider taking your cane reeds inside or use a plastic/synthetic Legere reed in the van. Came reeds are very sensitive to changes in humidity. And a cold instrument will play flat so your tone may not sound very good when you first start playing

Liz Leckey

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