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Any Clarinet Players?
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#1 beaglebaby

Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

It says Books, Poetry and Music but I couldn't find much about music!

DS is starting in the school band this year and he has been asked to learn the Clarinet so before term starts we need to buy him a Clarinet.  The music teacher gave us the numbers of the specialist teacher who would be coming in, a second hand sales place and a music store.  The specialist teacher recommended 4 brands, the store recommended doesn't even stock those brands!

So, any advice for a non-music playing parent?  My first instinct is to bite the bullet and pay for a good quality new student instrument, but then we keep hearing about kids changing their mind after a term etc. Wish DS had actually had a chance to try out some of the instruments!

#2 SplashingRainbows

Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

I would hire if at all possible.

I played clarinet and if I had my time again would have chosen differently.

Good clarinets are quite expensive. I would not be buying one because we were told that was the instrument we were allocated.

If my child had a specific interest in that instrument and made some age appropriate financial / household contribution to its purchase - maybe. Actually at that age with no musical experience no I don't think I'd be buying. Definitely see if you can hire for a term and see what comes of it.

#3 noi'mnot

Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

I played clarinet at school, but wouldn't call myself a clarinet player. But, having played several instruments in my life I would highly recommend that you hire a clarinet. See if the local store (or any other stores nearby) does a plan where you can hire on a plan to purchase, or something like that.

It's a pretty cool instrument, though, I hope that your son enjoys it!

(And also good luck. The screech of a clarinet being learned really is unique!)

#4 Expelliarmus

Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

We bought DD1 this one. She tried the teacher's while she was learning recorder and we decided to buy one as she'd been asking to play for 2 years. This one 'takes them through to Year 12'. She played a Yamaha recently when hers was in being serviced and hated it.

In your case I would hire one though. We hire DD2's flute through the school music service but I don't think other state Ed Depts/independent schools have that.

#5 Missmousie

Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:29 PM

I am a clarinet player, but its not for everyone! I agree with hiring... Are you in Sydney? If you are, I can PM you store details...

#6 beaglebaby

Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

The teacher suggested either that one or the Yamaha Howdo, thanks.  

Thanks for the offer Missmousie, we're in Perth though.

Noi'mnot, I'm planning some revenge on our v8 owning neighbours - band practice at our place anyone?

Brighton, contribution to purchase isn't a bad idea, shall have to have a think about that.

So far the only hire one's I've found locally are lesser brands, and when you factor the cost per month you'd be paying nearly as much in a year as it would cost to buy a new Yamaha or Buffet, so I suppose it's a case of whether we want to gamble!  DS tends not to be fickle and at least one of his best friends is also doing Clarinet, but I also wouldn't want him to feel pressure to continue if he didn't enjoy it.

Edited by beaglebaby, 22 January 2013 - 08:50 PM.


#7 Let_it_Rain

Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:53 PM

My sister plays and has taught. I agree with others to hire at first.

She has said a crap instrument makes it hard to play, hard to get the tone right etc and can cause bad habits.

If it is bad it may turn him off learning.

I know when I was learning violin a good instrument made a huge difference to sound (not so much technique) and a violin has a lot less bells and whistles.

#8 Expelliarmus

Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:00 PM

FWIW virtually every other clarinet player DD plays with in band, orchestra and wind ensemble has a Buffet. They seem to be the clarinet of choice at the specialist music high school as well.

Either they are good or an Adelaide music store got a good deal on them and they had to shift them wink.gif

Edited by howdo, 22 January 2013 - 09:01 PM.


#9 beaglebaby

Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:21 PM

WDH, so far my options for hiring locally seem to be at the cheap end - so we'd run the risk of getting something crappy:(

Howdo, any good stores in Adelaide you'd recommend? DH will be there the first week of term.  That website you linked to has a great review of beginner clarinets - thanks:)



#10 Feraldadathome

Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:42 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 22/01/2013, 10:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
FWIW virtually every other clarinet player DD plays with in band, orchestra and wind ensemble has a Buffet. They seem to be the clarinet of choice at the specialist music high school as well.

Many years ago my sister switched form a school Yamaha to a second-hand Buffet and the improvement in tone was immediately apparent. And I say that as someone who dislikes most clarinet.

Of course I married a clarinet player - luckily DP's Yamaha is unplayable without new corks and pads.

#11 BlondieUK

Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:00 AM

Hi OP - ex -pro clarinet player, here original.gif

QUOTE (howdo @ 22/01/2013, 08:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
FWIW virtually every other clarinet player DD plays with in band, orchestra and wind ensemble has a Buffet. They seem to be the clarinet of choice at the specialist music high school as well.

Either they are good or an Adelaide music store got a good deal on them and they had to shift them wink.gif


I'm not really sure that there's much between the B12 Buffets and the Yamaha 250/255 models. Both hold up well over time, although the Yamahas tend to be slight easier to repair (in my experience - as someone who has fixed up a lot of malfunctioning student clarinets!). Hire to buy is always a good option. But keep in mind as well that if the instrument is looked after, they hold their  value pretty well, should you wish to sell it on.

May I ask what brands/models the teacher recommended? Because, in all honesty, some teachers get deals etc and it's not always about the instrument IYKWIM.

Also, I would challenge anyone who says that a plastic clarinet will 'take you through to Year 12' - of course it will, but if you have a child who is taking it pretty seriously, and taking Year 12 music, then you should really be looking at a transition to a wooden instrument around Year 10.

Another point: whatever you end up buying, the mouthpiece/reed/ligature has almost as much to do with the sound and quality of tone as the instrument does. You would be amazed the difference that a great mouthpiece can make on even a poor clarinet. There's no point investing in a good mouthpiece, though, until the student's teeth are all down; until they've had about a year's tuition; and until they are articulating pretty well.

I don't know anything about prices in Australia at the moment, o anything about music shops in Adelaide. There is a company in Melbourne called Musicorp who (used to?) do a great hire to purchase deal: it might be worth calling them and seeing if they can recommend an Adelaide supplier.


#12 liveworkplay

Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

I played the clarinet from when I was 9 all the way through school. I had a  Boosey and Hawke. (actually still do wink.gif) You can pick them up second hand on ebay for $100.

#13 Louise2203

Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:15 AM

Hi OP,

Have you tried Theos or Musgroves?
https://www.theosmusic.com.au/shop/category...-flat-clarinets

#14 premmie_29weeks

Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:24 AM

I played in school too, I had a Yamaha back in 1990 till I graduated high school. I've never played anything different and it was fine.i recently tried to play again on a beautiful wooden European brand clarinet and found it really difficult. I still have it I would have happily sold it to you but we are in Sydney

#15 beaglebaby

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

BlondieUK, The Clarinet teacher recommended Yamaha or Buffet then added Vito or Jupiter, I don't think there are any kickbacks going on as these brands aren't even stocked at the store the schools music teacher recommended.  Prices seem quite low comparatively at the moment, should be able to get any of those brands new for under $600 - yet a second hand reconditioned one from a dealer is about $350+.  To hire one of them though is at least $40 -45 per month, but I still haven't found anywhere in Perth that hires the better brands - most are offering "no name" cheapies for about $35 a month.

I'm leaning towards buying a new Yamaha or Buffet based on the assumption that he will keep playing it for Years 5 and 6 and then either he will want to keep going in high school, or DD and her class will be starting in the band and either she or one of her friends will want to do Clarinet so it could either be used or sold.



#16 Expelliarmus

Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

QUOTE (BlondieUK @ 23/01/2013, 09:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also, I would challenge anyone who says that a plastic clarinet will 'take you through to Year 12' - of course it will, but if you have a child who is taking it pretty seriously, and taking Year 12 music, then you should really be looking at a transition to a wooden instrument around Year 10.

She did say most students who were entering SACE usually bought a new one by then but it was 'adequate' for Year 12.

I can't imagine it lasting that long since she's had it since Year 2! I don't think she'll be seriously taking Year 12 music though. It would be adequate if she was just in the school band.

OP, music stores in Adelaide are the bane of my life sad.gif they've been hit hard by the GFC or something - they keep liquidating and we've lost both Silver Strings, where we got DD's clarinet, and Allans. So all that's left for clarinets seems to be Size Music  and Presto. DD's teacher uses Presto and recommends them but we don't live that side of town. I will have to access Size for a long overdue service.

I have found that long term hire isn't a feasible option. I think I need to buy a Trumpet this year because soon I'll have paid for one anyway!!! But I did use it for initial purposes to see if he'd been keen - DS is a bit fickle. I was confident in DD's staying power and purchased the clarinet outright. DD2 meanwhile has been more keen on the flute than anticipated so I might have to source a secondhand one of those too.

Edited by howdo, 23 January 2013 - 10:54 AM.


#17 Velocinag

Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:02 AM

I play and teach clarinet and always recommend Buffet. I'm a bit biased as I have one and I love it. Except for the mouth piece. I got a vandoren mouthpiece instead.
I know you're in Perth but The Music Place in Annandale (NSW) often has good clarinets for sale but I'm not sure if they would post it to you.

#18 BlondieUK

Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

QUOTE (beaglebaby @ 23/01/2013, 09:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
BlondieUK, The Clarinet teacher recommended Yamaha or Buffet then added Vito or Jupiter,


I would stay away from Vito if at all possible. The Jupiters used to be a cheap n nasty option - but their quality has improved immensely over the last 15 years: they are creeping up on the other two, IMO.



#19 Bobsygirls

Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:35 PM

Id get a new Yamaha for a beginner and upgrade to a buffet later


Get a vandoren mouthpiece though

Oh what a shame about Silver Keys, I bought my first professional instrument there. I did year 12 music across the rd at the Tafe.

Edited by Bobsygirls, 23 January 2013 - 04:40 PM.


#20 beaglebaby

Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:06 PM

I've found a local(ish) store that sells most of the recommended brands, he thinks for our needs this one would be good, and also has some Japanese made Yamahas - just didn't tell me the price on them.  I should try the second hand guy recommended too, I'm just not convinced that the saving is good enough to warrant buying second hand.


Bobsygirl, would a total beginner need a different mouthpiece or is that something to hold off on until he can at least pick it up the right way up!!

#21 tenar

Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:37 PM

Can I please hijack your thread a little, OP, and ask a different clarinet question?  

can anyone recommend a woodwind place in Melbourne where I could get DH's old clarinet assessed to see whether it's worth fixing up and selling (or keeping for DDs), or whether we should chuck it.  It hasn't been played in years and is probably in awful condition, but my impression is it was a decent quality instrument in the first place.

Wind isn't my area of expertise, so I don't know where to go to get a reliable opinion.

#22 Bobsygirls

Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:41 PM

QUOTE (beaglebaby @ 23/01/2013, 06:06 PM)
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I've found a local(ish) store that sells most of the recommended brands, he thinks for our needs this one would be good, and also has some Japanese made Yamahas - just didn't tell me the price on them.  I should try the second hand guy recommended too, I'm just not convinced that the saving is good enough to warrant buying second hand.


Bobsygirl, would a total beginner need a different mouthpiece or is that something to hold off on until he can at least pick it up the right way up!!


The one that comes with the instrument will do for a while, but they aren't a huge expense.

#23 JKTMum

Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:14 PM

DS has been playing for 3.5 years now and he too has a Buffet, which is the one the school recommended. We bought it outright as there was option to hire from the school and hiring from the instrument shop the school recommended was very expensive, 6 months to hire and then the buyout price after that meant it was cheaper to just buy from the word go. As I had two younger kids I assumed that even if DS didnt end up continuing that one of the girls might take it up. He actually loves playing, has been in the junior band and then in year 8 went up to the senior band where he is now the most senior clarinet player, they have an abundance of Saxophone players and flute players, but only a few who play clarinet.

#24 humphreybear

Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:25 PM

Can I join Tenar in highjacking the thread but for a Sydney place? I have my old Leblanc clarinet. It probably needs repairing and replating.

The last service was done by my teacher's father but given his age then and my age now i suspect he is no longer servicing clarinets.

Edited by humphreybear, 23 January 2013 - 06:27 PM.


#25 kadoodle

Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

QUOTE (dadathome @ 23/01/2013, 08:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Many years ago my sister switched form a school Yamaha to a second-hand Buffet and the improvement in tone was immediately apparent. And I say that as someone who dislikes most clarinet.

Of course I married a clarinet player - luckily DP's Yamaha is unplayable without new corks and pads.


What did you do to the poor woman's clarinet?!


QUOTE (tenar @ 23/01/2013, 06:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I please hijack your thread a little, OP, and ask a different clarinet question?  

can anyone recommend a woodwind place in Melbourne where I could get DH's old clarinet assessed to see whether it's worth fixing up and selling (or keeping for DDs), or whether we should chuck it.  It hasn't been played in years and is probably in awful condition, but my impression is it was a decent quality instrument in the first place.

Wind isn't my area of expertise, so I don't know where to go to get a reliable opinion.


http://www.musicjunction.com.au/




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