The clarinet consists of various parts with the barrel been an integral part. The clarinet is played in marching bands, orchestras or in classical plays. It is regarded as one of the most popular wind instrument when producing music.
Depending on the type of barrel you have the clarinet can produce a variety of sounds. Clarinets come with the barrel in place but it is something you can change if you desire to change the tone of your musical instrument. This means you will need to be extra careful in what you go for. We have done the research for you to present the best clarinet barrels in the market.
Best Clarinet Barrels – Comparison Table
|Buffet Crampon ICON clarinet barrel||1 pound||4.5 x 4 x 4”||Check Price|
|RS Berkeley Freedom Adjustable Clarinet barrel||3.84 oz.||5.39 x 3.5 x 1.5”||Check Price|
|Clark W Fobes Cocobolo Rubber lined clarinet barrel||2.08 oz.||3.4 x 2 x 2||Check Price|
|Rice Clarinet works Ringless Granadilla||-||-||Check Price|
|Metal Material 65mm Clarinet barrel||0.8 oz.||3.4 x 1.8 x 0.2”||Check Price|
Reviews for Best Clarinet Barrels
Buffet crampon is a known brand when it comes to producing high-quality musical instruments. Their 66mm silver plated barrel is no exception. The barrel comes in a dark elegant color with the company’s brand imprinted on the surface. The company introduced the ICON brand around 2013. This particular model is suitable for A and B Flat clarinets regardless of manufacturer or bore design. This makes it quite versatile. The barrel body is made from wood which helps give it an incredible acoustic sound.
The ICON barrel features an inverse conical bore that has been as a result of intensive research by the parent company – Buffet Crampon. This means you are assured of its quality. The barrel comes with a distinctive ring shape with three finish options – silver, gold and black. You can also find other barrel sizes from the company like 64, 65, 66, or 67mm.
What we liked:
- Features inverse conical bore
- Comes in three finishes – silver, gold, or black nickel
- Suitable for A and B Flat clarinets
- Highly versatile can be used in a variety of bore designs
What we did not like:
- It is a bit narrow for some instruments
On the surface the RS Berkeley looks like a complicated piece of instrument but in reality it is quite simple to use. In fact it does come with some features that will come in hand during plays like it being adjustable for a variety of lengths. The clarinet is ideal for medium and large clarinets.
The RS Berkeley is made purely from aluminum alloy and this makes it quite lightweight and easy to carry around. It is durable and water resistant which makes it perfect for people who live in areas where humidity is a challenge. The distinguishing characteristic for the RS Berkeley is that you can adjust it from the 60mm range to above 70mm. this makes it quite versatile for use in a number of clarinets.
What we liked:
- Great for creating new tones
- Highly adjustable
- Suitable for medium and large clarinets
- Made from durable aluminum alloy
What we did not like:
- The upper barrel can be a bit too tight for some clarinet mouthpieces
The Fobes barrel comes in an inverted cone style bore that is suitable for use with a number of Fobes mouthpieces. The barrel influences a lot the tonal coloration of the clarinet. The barrel looks great with its elegant wooden finish. It measures 67mm which is the right height for a number of clarinets. Installing the barrel is quite easy as it is neither too tall or small but perfectly fits on most instruments.
The Fobes barrel is mostly suitable for Bb clarinets but you will need to be sure of the height of your clarinet before purchase. The barrel is lined with rubber while the body is entirely made from wood. It produces a great tone. If you have a medium to large bore this is the right barrel for you.
What we liked:
- Fits most instruments perfectly
- Barrel lined with rubber
- Inverted cone style
- Suitable for medium and large bore
What we did not like:
- May not work with small bores
The Rice barrel offers you an improved resonance due to its distinctive ringless design. It offers you an enhanced response with improved tuning. The odd design of it lacking a ring can be quite confusing for new clarinet students. However, the design helps make the sound better.
The Rice barrel offers you a better focus due to the reverse taper bore and this means you should feel the difference when playing. The barrel is made from classy granadilla wood. This gives it an elegant design and is a sure barrel for B clarinets. The barrel makes it very easy to tune the clarinet.
What we liked:
- Made from elegant granadilla wood
- Focus provided by reverse taper bore
- Barrel helps improve the clarinet resonance
- Great for use in B clarinets
What we did not like:
- Can be quite confusing to buy as it lacks rings
The Moenning clarinet barrel allows for improved intonation and tonal focus. It is made out of metal with an extra layer of rubber for added protection. This also gives it grip and secures it to your clarinet. The barrel measures 65mm which makes it suitable for most clarinets in the market.
The Moenning clarinet is ideal for students who play the Bb clarinet. You will have little problems with it and due to its metallic construction it is made to last long. The barrel is also readily available and affordable.
What we liked:
- Sturdy due to metal construction
- Suitable for Bb clarinets
- Readily available
What we did not like:
- Can get stuck on some clarinet models
Buying Guide for Best Clarinet Barrels
The barrel is vital part of your clarinet and this means you need to pay extra care when replacing your barrel. The barrel will influence the sound characteristics you want. The barrel can come be made of plastic, metal or wood with each material influencing the kind of sound produced. If you want the perfect tone then the best option is usually going with the custom made ones.
When purchasing a barrel you should check the selling company policy in regards to returns. Some companies due allow you to check out the various barrels on offer before you can settle on one you like. The main focus is to consider one that works with your mouthpiece. Here are some key factors to consider when purchasing a barrel.
Most of the barrels in the market are mass produced which means you need to be sure that it will fit on your clarinet. Manufacturers are also in the business of redesigning new barrels so you should check their websites for their latest products. Some sellers have offers where you can purchase two barrels for the price of one which is a great discount.
Most of the standard barrels are made from plastic. These tend to be the most affordable and are suitable for use by students. The barrels have the advantage over wood in that they are warp resistant and therefore require little maintenance. You can use the barrel in a variety of environments without worrying about it getting destroyed. However, wood barrels tend to more stylish and produce better sound quality.
Note that the barrels can be produced from a variety of woods which means the sounds produced is not universal. Some common woods used include African blackwood, Asian ebony, and Central American cocobolo. To prevent warping the barrel manufacturers opt for hard wood.
Shape of barrel
The shape of the barrel greatly influences how well it fits into the clarinet. Barrels have different shapes like cylindrical, conical, and reverse tapered cone. The lining of the bore also differs as you can have one that is vulcanized, synthetic, or rubberized. The rule is to choose a barrel shape that fits your clarinet. You can know this by checking out the manufacturers’ recommendation. Note that the barrel length, mouthpiece exit bore and bore dimension greatly affect the sound produced. The barrel linings also have an effect on the sound produced as they absorb some of the frequencies produced. It is generally agreed that the wooden linings absorb higher frequencies and this results to a more darker tone. If you are a student you can ask your music teacher to help choose the right barrel shape.
Your skill level will largely influence the kind of clarinet you purchase. It is paramount that young players know how to hold the instrument comfortably without being strained by weight or other factors. The Bb clarinet is a bit long and as such can get students some time before they learn how to properly hold the instrument.
Students will also need to learn how their mouth shape and teeth will influence their embouchure. The embouchure varies among players and students take some time to learn theirs. When learning to play you can begin with the Eb or C clarinet as they are physically shorter than the more common Bb clarinet.
For new players your music teacher may recommend you using a string as this helps balance the weight of the instrument while at the same time helping you properly hold the instrument. Identify a good quality string that does not wear out easily.
Clarinet main features
The mouthpiece is one of the most vital parts of the clarinet as it is what you blow into. It often comes in different sizes and shapes. When you purchase a clarinet you will be supplied with a standard mouthpiece which you can change as you become more proficient with the instrument. Some models come with two mouthpieces which you can interchange depending on the sound you desire produced. Most of the mouthpieces are made from plastic and cast molded. Plastic is readily available and affordable while requiring little maintenance. Higher priced mouthpieces will often be milled from ebonite which is some sort of hard rubber material. It is quite okay to update your mouthpiece as you become better in your skill level.
The ligature is influences the kind of sound produced significantly. The ligature is the part of the clarinet that holds the mouthpiece to the reed. Ligatures are available in all manner of sizes, shapes and are designed from a variety of materials like metal, leather or plastic. As you play your instrument you will find a time when you need to upgrade your ligature. More expensive models tend to use an innovative fastening system that works wonders at reducing the dampening effect.
The bore is the cylindrical hole that is down the middle of your clarinet. It is responsible for allowing air to travel so that it can produce sound. Basic clarinets tend to have a constant bore all through the clarinet length but pricier models it varies. You can have poly cylindrical bores with varying diameters. Most of the Bb clarinets tend to have a bore diameter of 15mm. Once you are done playing you should remove any moisture inside the bore while if you are using bores made from granadilla wood you will need to oil it after playing.
Clarinets have different key works with most been nickel plated. More expensive models will use silver or gold. Nickel plated key works have the benefit of not tarnishing easily and are easy to maintain. For some players the nickel plated keys can cause them some allergies especially when they play the instrument for a long time. You can also go for silver plated keys which are hard wearing and bright. To maintain the shiny appearance you will need some silver polishing. This is because your hands produce some natural oils which corrodes some of the finishing.
Additional accessories you will need with your clarinet will include pads and springs. More expensive models will come with the blue spring which is known for its quick pressing and releasing of keys. In between the key hole and keys you will find the clarinet pads. These often vary from model to model but for the most part are quite affordable. Beginner clarinets will come with skin pads while the pricier models will have leather pads. When choosing a clarinet go for one that has adjustable thumb rest as this allows you to adjust it as your hands grow.
Recommended clarinet accessories
When purchasing a clarinet you may need some of these accessories to boost your play. Firstly, is a polishing cloth. This is often has some silver polish added to it and this helps keep the key work in good condition. It will also help extend the lifespan of the instrument.
The pull through is a bag that is made from leather or microfiber and is important for removing moisture from your bore. It also helps reduce the chances of bacteria and mold growing inside the bore. The reason for this is that when blowing the clarinet you do pass a lot of moisture inside of it.
Do barrels come in with universal shapes?
Barrels can either be cylindrical, conical, or reverse tapered cone. Each of the shapes produces a separate distinct tone. The lining also differs and you will find some that are vulcanized, synthetic, or rubberized.
Which is the best material for a barrel?
While most barrels in the market are made from plastic the best sounds are made from wooden barrels. However, wooden barrels require more maintenance as they warp easily. Plastic barrels tend to be more durable and affordable and are recommended for students and beginners due to their ease of use.
How do I know I have the right barrel?
The first thing you should check is the manufacturer’s recommendations. This you can find on the clarinet packaging or instruction leaflet. Some companies will allow you to test various barrels while you look for the right one while others do not have a return policy, goods once purchased cannot be returned.
Choosing the right barrel is partly a personal choice as it influences the kind of tone produced by the clarinet. At times finding the right one is not that straightforward and you may need to test different instruments before finding the right one. The barrel shape and linings will have an effect on the kind of sound you get. Look for sellers who give you the chance to test a number of barrels before settling on one. Also, it you can find a seller who offers two barrels for one the better because you can switch in between the two when finding the right tone.