8 Best Professional Clarinets

Once you have moved from beginner to intermediate, it is now time to play professional. Searching for a professional clarinet is a bit different from an intermediate one as price is not so much a consideration like quality and build. This means you will need to invest more to fuel your passion.

Choosing the right professional clarinet can be quite challenging as you have to check the quality of different pieces. You will also need to test the instrument to see whether it produces the right tone. This can greatly influence your musical composition. However, we have done the research for you to present the 8 Best Professional Clarinets.

8 Best Professional Clarinets – Comparison Table

ModelNoteMaterial usedAvailability
Yamaha YCL-650B FlatGrenadillaCheck Price
Buffet Crampon R13 Green line professionalB FlatGrenadilla and polycarbonateCheck Price
Vento VE9304E-GrenadillaCheck Price
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb ClarinetB FlatNickelCheck Price
Yamaha YCL-CSVR Series ProfessionalB FlatWoodCheck Price
Roy Benson RBCB417 Professional clarinetAged grenadillaCheck Price
SDWL ABS Down E AltoE tonePlasticCheck Price
Buffet Crampon Tradition Professional BbA, E, flatStained African blackwoodCheck Price

Reviews of 8 Best Professional Clarinets

Yamaha YCL-650 – Best Overall Professional clarinet

The Yamaha YCL 650 is a professional clarinet that produces a reliable tone and defined intonation. It is made from a grenadilla wood construction with silver plated key work. This gives the clarinet a classy feel. To enhance ease of use, the clarinet comes with a cylindrical bore design with a natural finish for superb sounds.

The Yamaha YCL 650 comes with tapered holes that have been expertly crafted to ensure precise tone balance and intonation. On the bell you have a solid resonance chamber that helps in projecting a more solid sound. During purchase the instrument comes with case, 4C Yamaha mouthpiece and Yamaha case accessories.

What we liked:

  • Classy grenadilla wood work
  • Cylindrical bore design for easy blowing
  • Yamaha list of accessories
  • High quality build

What we did not like:

  • Some users complain of problems adjusting the corks


View price here


Buffet Crampon R13 Green line professional – Best for all-weather clarinet

Buffet Crampon is a reputable brand when it comes to making musical instruments. The R13 is an ideal clarinet for those who want to move from intermediate to expert. Unlike its predecessor the R12 that come with a ABS plastic design the R13 has the more classy granadilla wood construction. This helps give it an excellent resonance.

The clarinet also has the addition of carbon fibers that helps the instrument handle a number of atmospheric conditions. The clarinet also comes with hand burnished bores that improve the quality of the intonation and center the tone. The R13 is good to look at due to its Grenadilla and carbon fiber combination.

What we liked:

  • Made from 95% grenadilla wood and 5% polycarbonate fiber
  • Does not crack
  • Capable of withstanding extreme temperatures
  • Uses same level of finishing as wooden clarinets

What we did not like:

  • A bit heavy


View price here


Vento VE9304E – Best for dark full tone

The Vento offers you mechanical reliability, and outstanding intonation that helps professional players take their skill to the next level. The clarinet is built on a high quality ebony granadilla woody construction which gives it a rich tone. The clarinet also comes with rounded body rings which give the instrument added strength.

The Vento VE9304E comes equipped with a changeable thump rest that enables the player to find a balance and boost hand position. It also gives you the most comfortable playing experience. The Vento is capable of producing a dark full tone and with its silver plated keys you are able to get some rich tones. The clarinet comes with two 60mm and 63mm barrels, mouthpiece, cap, and ligature.

What we liked:

  • Undercut tone holes
  • Silver plated keys
  • Ring-less design
  • Comes with two 60mm and 62mm barrels
  • Attaché brown leather case

What we did not like:

  • Lacks many accessories


View price here


Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet – Best adjustable thumb rest

Yamaha has been producing high quality musical instruments for years and the YCL 255 is no different in terms of quality and design. The clarinet is capable of delivering some of the best pulsating tones with a high level of intonation.

The YCL 255 is equipped with silver keys that are ideal for removing clogs and rust. It also comes equipped with a 65mm barrel with an amendable thump rest and strap ring. The latter allows for the player to maintain perfect hand place position and reliable balance. This ensures flawless playability. With the redesigned thumb rest it allows for a variety of players with varying hand sizes to play the instrument. This will help you develop your unique taste and improve your skills.

The newly improved design offers you firmer screws and incorporates silver soldered rings. This helps boost the clarinet durability. The clarinet is lightweight due to its bell construction that features a ABS design. This is a great clarinet that delivers a high resonate tone and warm sounds.

What we liked:

  • Strap ring to hold instrument in place
  • 65mm barrel with changeable thump rest
  • Silver keys eliminate clogs and rust
  • Bell construction with durable ABS resin design

What we did not like:

  • Not so great case


View price here


Yamaha YCL-CSVR Series Professional – Best professional clarinet bore

The YCL CSVR embodies a design that has been improved over the years so that it reflects the kind of professionalism that is synonymous with Yamaha. This clarinet is available at an affordable price, and combines outstanding sound and consistent output.

The clarinet features a long-lasting leather pad that ensures a defined seal in between the pads and tone holes. This allows for a rich and amazing response through your entire play. The clarinet is made from grenadilla construction with silver plated keys that do not rust or clog. The custom barrel ensures a consistent warm and rich tonal color.

The extended bore is there to ensure you get the best sound quality while the redesigned keys ensure confortable hand placement.

What we liked:

  • Silver plated keys
  • Grenadilla wood for the barrel, wood body and bell
  • Poly-cylindrical bore
  • Hand-tapered undercut tone holes

What we did not like:

  • Not too many accessories


View price here


Roy Benson RBCB417 Professional clarinet – Best wood construction

The Roy Benson features an elegant design with awesome aged granadilla wood construction. It is also features silver plated keys that are ideal for keeping moisture and dust away. The level of craftsmanship used in the design of the Roy Benson is excellent and this leads to its high resonating tone.

The clarinet comes with an amendable thump rest that allows the player to properly position themselves during play. To enhance its looks and playability the Roy Benson comes with rounded body rings design. You also get undercut holes that offer greater response and this enhances a student skills. For your accessories you have ligature, cap, mouthpiece and back pack straps.

What we liked:

  • Adjustable thump rest
  • Classy granadilla wood construction
  • High resonating tone
  • Rounded body rings design

What we did not like:

  • Assembling it is a bit complicated


View price here


SDWL E Alto – Best E tone professional clarinet

The SDWL is made from plastic but that does not mean that its sound is any way inferior to the wooden ones. It does provide high levels of intonation and sound output. The clarinet comes in an appealing design that enables it offer excellent functionality. It is designed to be played on the down E tone which is unlike most professional clarinets that offer the B flat.

The keys are designed with silver plating which makes them durable and appealing. They also offer great hand placement while playing. The clarinet comes with a good case to protect your instrument from destruction.

What we liked:

  • Drop E tone
  • Nickel plating for surface treatment
  • Exquisite workmanship
  • High quality clarinet

What we did not like:

  • May not be readily available


View price here


Buffet Crampon Tradition Professional Bb – Best bore design

The Buffet tradition professional comes with an improved all new cylindrical bore design with silver and nickel plated keys. It is also stained with some African blackwood to give it a more classy look. That’s not all, the instrument comes with leather and natural cork pads.

The design for this clarinet is inspired from a pre-1950s design of taking the needs of performance practice and modern musical repertoire. The design of the clarinet does not overstate technology and helps retain the natural form of the instrument. The Buffet traditional new cylindrical bore takes after the R13 series and RC.

What we liked:

  • Newly improved bore construction
  • Two barrels
  • Leather and natural cork pads
  • Classy design and look

What we did not like:

  • Complicated to assemble


View price here


Buying Guide for 8 Best Professional Clarinets

As a professional clarinet player you have played as a beginner, intermediate so you know how the instrument operates. This means price is not so much a consideration like quality and sound resonation. Here are some key factors you can consider towards purchasing the right professional clarinet.


Several elements come into play for you to have a great sound. Tone, intonation, projection and consistency have to be considered. When choosing the right clarinet you will find some with what is described as dark tone others have a full or warm tone. You will need to check out the tones to find something that you like.

Body materials

Clarinets are made with two main materials – wood and plastic. The most used type of wood used for professional clarinets is grenadilla. It is preferred due to its unmistakable sound but comes with a downside of requiring regular maintenance. Clarinets need lots of care as humidity imbalance can cause the clarinet to crack. The Greenline is one of the best professional clarinets, it is designed by Buffet Crampon. The clarinet uses a mixture of grenadilla (95%) and carbon fiber (5%). This enables the clarinet to withstand humidity changes and withstand temperature changes. The clarinet also requires less maintenance and does not crack.

Keys and plating

Most of the clarinets are plated with either silver or nickel with some gold. Each has its own set of unique advantages. Nickel tends to be the most used, it is cheap, has a shiny appearance, and does not easily tarnish like silver. Silver has the advantage of having a nice touch, brilliant appearance, and is quite warm. However, it easily tarnishes unlike silver but you can take good care of it so that it remains beautiful.

Barrel types

The barrel is an important piece of equipment for your clarinet as it affects its responsiveness, intonation, and tone.

Clarinet types

Clarinets come in different styles and shapes. You have the soprano clarinet which has a thin, long body and is the most recognizable of all clarinets. The Bb clarinet is the most popular of all clarinets and is used for all types of music from Mozart to marching tunes. It is also prominent for Dixieland, swing, and jazz. Since most of the music that is practiced by beginner students is repertoire music, the Bb clarinet is used. A clarinets are mostly used by players who play classical music. This is evidenced in classical music shows where players easily switch from Bb to A clarinet. This means you may need to carry with you both the A and Bb when going for classic lessons. The Eb clarinets belong to the soprano family of clarinets. The clarinet is used for concert bands and orchestras. The instrument is capable of handling some higher melodies that would be challenging for A and Bb clarinet. Bass clarinets can be found in jazz, orchestral and classical music.

Renting versus owning

When you are a beginner clarinet player it can be tempting to rent out a clarinet as you do not plan on playing the instrument for long. However, when you consider going professional it is wise to invest in a piece of equipment that will last you a lifetime. If you choose a professional clarinet well then it is going to retain its value over time. Renting can be expensive when you consider the overall rental costs that pile up each month. Also, rented clarinets tend to accumulate dents, dust and scratches which diminishes there general appeal.

Maintenance of clarinet

When it comes to maintaining your clarinet you need to acclimate it so that it does not crack. This means where you store your instrument is critical to its well being. If you are using a wooden clarinet note that it pulls out moisture very quickly which can contribute to its cracking. You can maintain this with a humidifier. While lack of moisture can lead to cracking storing your clarinet in an area with too much humidity can also be bad for your instrument. If you note that most of your plays take place in humid areas it is vital that you apply some oil to it to protect it.

Brand name

Before purchasing a clarinet it is equally important you check out the brand name. Top brands like Yamaha, Jean Paul, Buffet Crampon and Selmer are known for producing high quality and durable clarinets and you can trust them with your product. The instruments are also likely to have undergone some sort of quality control to ensure they match what is advertised and do not break down during plays. However, branded clarinets tend to more expensive than the non-branded ones. If you are going professional it is imperative you go with something that will last you lifetime.


When you are shopping for a beginner clarinet than price is important as you do not want to spend on something you are going to be abandoning in a couple of years. However, when it comes to a professional clarinet than you may want to shelf the idea of price and go for quality. This is because you are looking for an instrument that will produce the right tone quality. You should also check whether the instrument comes with additional accessories. This can save you cash purchasing some of the accessories, the more that is offered the better.


Are gold plated keys better than the nickel and silver ones?

You will find gold plated keys in expensive clarinets but most clarinets come with nickel keys which are cheaper and more durable. The gold plated ones add to the overall appeal of the instrument.

Which are the best clarinet brands in the market?

Some of the brands to be on the lookout for include Yamaha, Selmer, Jean Paul and Buffet Crampon


After playing in the beginner and intermediate category a time comes when you have to move to the professional clarinet. Unlike the previous clarinets that you owned, a professional one needs one to go over in research as it is not relegated to price alone. Since you are going to be using the instrument more often it is imperative that you get something that will last you a lifetime.

Charlotte Moore is a Clarinetist by profession and has over time offered lessons on how to play the clarinet among other musical instruments. And while a majority of clarinet players are well versed with the process of settling with a good clarinet among other accompanying features. There is little information about clarinets. The reason why Charlotte prepared comprehensive experts touching on the various facets of the clarinet. The consolidated information will offer more insight on everything clarinets including the best stand to use, and the best plastic clarinet that you can invest in, among other information. Charlotte Moore is a devoted mother of two and a professional clarinet player.

Leave a Comment