Best Clarinets for College Students

Are you a college student looking to purchase a clarinet that suits your needs? We have reviewed and broken down some of the best and easiest to play clarinets for beginners and intermediate students in college.

Even after having played the clarinet for a good two decades, I still get overly indecisive when I need to buy a new one. As a pro clarinetist, I have found that there are several brands recommended for beginners that I can still play and produce great sounds with little effort. Being in college perhaps means that you have been playing or practicing for some time, meaning that you may be having trouble choosing between a beginner and intermediate clarinet. This article reviews several beginner and intermediate clarinets that are fit for college students who have a level of experience or who are just beginning to learn their craft. Here goes.

The Best Clarinets for College Students Comparison Table

Clarinet Model Body Material Keys Price
Yamaha YCL-255 Student Clarinet ABS ResinSilver-plated nickelBuy Here
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student ClarinetEboniteSilver-plated nickelBuy Here
Jupiter CL-700N Bb Clarinet ABS ResinSilver-plated nickelBuy Here
Mendini by Cecilio Bb Clarinet ABS ResinSilver-plated nickelBuy Here
Selmer USA CL211 Bb Wood Clarinet Grenadilla wood and rubberSilver-plated nickelBuy Here

The Best Clarinets for College Students Products Review

Yamaha YCL-255 Student Clarinet – Best suited for entry-level players

Yamaha has been around for a good deal of time, and they have managed to produce some incredible instruments for beginners, intermediates, and pros. This particular beginner clarinet lives up to expectations and does not disappoint.

Key features

  • Made using ABS resin
  • Keys are made using silver-plated nickel
  • Adjustable built-in thumb rest
  • Light bell
  • 65mm barrel

One of the reasons why the Yamaha YCL-255 Student Clarinet is an exceptional musical instrument is the fact that it is an extremely high-quality gadget that is ideal for beginners and intermediates. Its body is made using ABS resin which is a great material for instruments that are used very often. ABS resin ages very slowly, meaning that the clarinet will last a good deal of time before you need to replace it because of wear and tear.

When it comes to performance, this clarinet delivers good quality tones that are warm and clear. If you have experience with clarinets, you will notice that its sound quality and warmth closely mimics that of wooden clarinets. The keys are also made to support great performance, featuring nickel metal which is then coated with silver. Additionally, this clarinet is fitted with a newly redesigned bell that is quite light, a characteristic that enhances the warmth and consistency of tones.

For comfort and durability, the keys and rods on this clarinet have Valentino pads which are sturdy and durable, and which do a good job at sealing all parts to prevent air leaks. Other impressive features include a built-in thumb rest which is adjustable to increase the comfort of the user, a long barrel that supports warmer tones, and a resonance chamber that is great for intonation.

One of the main downsides of this instrument is that it is very expensive, but the good thing is that it can also be played by intermediates, eliminating the need for you to replace it too soon.

What we liked;

  • Very sturdy build
  • Comes with an adjustable built-in thumb rest
  • Fitted with Valentino pads for good sealing
  • Produces warm and clear tones

What we did not like;

  • This clarinet is expensive


If you are looking for a high-quality build, great usability, and a good level of longevity, this is easily the best device for you. Be ready, however, to part with a considerably large sum of money.


View price here


Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet – For high quality sound on a budget

If you are looking for a clarinet that produces high quality sound but are on a budget, this is likely the best fit for you. It is built to perform well, has a sturdy body, and is very affordable.

Key features

  • Made using ebonite
  • Comes with silver plated nickel keys
  • Has a Boehm 17-key system
  • Comes with a contoured carrying case
  • Comes with a 2.5-inch Rico reed

The Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet is one of the most recommended pieces for students and beginners. I have, on multiple occasions, used it to teach some of my students. It is a great piece that is inexpensive, but that also cuts back on the luxury and sturdiness you can expect from other clarinets like the Yamaha YCL-255 Student Clarinet.

For a sturdy body, this clarinet is made using ebonite, a hard material obtained from processing natural rubber. While it is not a luxurious material, it is very sturdy and can handle a good deal of pressure as well as lengthy use. In addition, it has the capacity to deliver clear warm tones, ones that are ideal for beginners and intermediates.

The Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet boasts a good bore that enhances sound projection and resonance. It, however, misses a few key features such as a covered thumb rest. This would, in essence, cause some level of discomfort and fatigue if the clarinet is played too long. Another main downside to this clarinet is that the keys have the tendency to bend a little too easily, so care must be taken to make sure that they do not bend or break while using the instrument.

When you purchase this clarinet, you will also get a soft case with which to carry it, a 2.5-inch Rico reed, cork grease, and a cleaning cloth.

What we liked;

  • It has a considerably strong build
  • Great for students
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with a carry case and other accessories

What we did not like;

  • Its thumb rest is not covered


Being on a budget does not mean that you have to pick an instrument that is not suitable for you. The Jean Paul USA CL-300 is an incredible choice and it comes with many perks and good qualities for its price point.


View price here


Jupiter CL-700N Bb Clarinet – Delivers premium build and excellent sound

If you are looking to purchase an instrument that delivers high quality build and a good tone of sound, you might want to consider getting this clarinet.

Key features

  • Made using ABS resin
  • Has silver-plated nickel keys
  • 65mm barrel
  • Comes with a hard shell carrying case
  • Comes with a full set of accessories

As a company, Jupiter has been around for close to 35 years now, and they have managed to make some of the best clarinets for beginners and intermediates. The Jupiter CL-700 Bb clarinet is one such instrument, making it an easy favorite among clarinet enthusiasts. One of the best things about this clarinet is that it features a very sturdy body which is made using ABS resin. This material can handle a lot of use and pressure, and it does not wear too quickly or easily, giving users longevity.

Apart from delivering sturdiness, this material also supports warm tones that have lots of clarity. It is great for students as it allows them to hear the sounds they are producing as they play. For easy use, depending on the size of the user’s hands, this gadget comes with a G/C key riser that makes it convenient for players to reach all the keys with ease.

One of the main downsides to this instrument is the fact that it is a heavy device. Beginners may find it a little too tiring, especially when playing over long periods of time. It, however, is not an aspect that will affect playing too much, but it will take some getting used to. Additionally, this gadget is very expensive. It is considered at least 5 times more expensive than the average beginner clarinet. Its high quality sound and build, however, make up for this aspect as you will be able to use it for a considerable length of time before you feel the need to upgrade it.

What we liked;

  • It is a strong and durable clarinet
  • Produces high quality sound and warm tones
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediates
  • Comes with a G/C key riser

What we did not like;

  • This instrument is a bit heavy
  • It is very expensive


Even though a pricey gadget, this device makes a great choice for anyone looking to start their clarinet journey with a high quality piece. It should definitely be one of your considerations if the price is not much of an issue.


View price here


Mendini by Cecilio Bb Clarinet – Provides excellent quality at an affordable price

This is easily one of my favorite student clarinets. It is a sturdy device that is affordable and that produces high quality sound. It is also very easy to play, a characteristic that allows players to advance quite fast at their craft.

Key features

  • Made using ABS resin
  • Nickel plated keys
  • Comes with an adjustable thumb rest
  • Comes with a pack of 10 reeds and a folding stand
  • Specially designed for beginners

One of the reasons why this clarinet is an ideal piece for college students is the fact that it is designed and built to help students learn and progress steadily in their craft. Made by Cecilio, a leading producer of beginner instruments, this clarinet seeks to deliver great sound and great playability even for hobbyists.

The body is made using ABS resin which is a strong and durable material which is highly resistant to wear. It is also hardly affected by drastic temperature changes, meaning that you do not have to worry about sound quality during extreme weather. Apart from this, ABS resin is known to support good resonance which sees to it that a learner can easily pick and identify different sounds with ease.

Even though it is considered an affordable clarinet, the Mendini by Cecilio Bb Clarinet offers some premium-grade features. For instance, it is one of the few beginner clarinets that come with in-line trill keys. This means that tones can be flattened and raised rapidly for a clean trill effect. In addition, this instrument comes with a full set of accessories which include but are not limited to two barrels for tuning, a box of reeds, two mouthpieces, and others.

One of the main downsides is that the corks on it are a little too tight, making assembly and disassembly a little difficult. Also, its blue color is not a favorite for many people, but there are other color options from which to choose.

What we liked;

  • Strong body material
  • Excellent for beginners and intermediates
  • It is an affordable clarinet
  • Comes with a full set of accessories
  • Produces high sound quality

What we did not like;

  • The corks are a little too tight
  • The color may be a little off for some people


When it comes to delivering good performance for college students looking to grow their skill, this clarinet does not shy away. While the corks could use a little getting used to, they may not affect your performances too significantly once you start using the clarinet often.


View price here


Selmer USA CL211 Bb Wood Clarinet – Produces incredibly warm and clear tones

One of the aspects that set this clarinet apart from the rest on our list of clarinets is the fact that it is made from wood. This alone allows it to produce very clear and warm tones that are difficult to produce with clarinets made using other types of material.

Key features

  • Made using Granadilla wood
  • Fitted with a hard rubber mouthpiece
  • Has silver-plated nickel keys
  • Designed and built for beginners and intermediates
  • Has a strong sturdy build
  • Adjustable thumb rest

The Selmer USA CL211 Bb Wood Clarinet has got to be one of the most unique pieces on our list. Selmer, as a company, has been around for more than 120 years, and some of its pieces are still played today in many orchestras throughout the globe. The pieces boast exceptional build quality and rich sound which stands out in any musical piece.

One of the reasons why this clarinet makes a great fit for college students is the fact that it delivers incredibly rich and warm tones that are full of clarity. This quality makes learning a lot easier and more enjoyable. Granadilla wood is known to produce great resonance that enhances the sound played by the instrument.

Even though it is not as durable as ebony and ABS resin clarinets, this wooden model is able to deliver a good amount of longevity. It is possible to have it for years without needing to place it. However, extra care needs to be taken to make sure that it maintains its luster, strength, and overall structural integrity. Unlike many resin models, however, this particular one is a lot lighter, allowing its users to play for long periods of time without tiring too quickly.

For added comfort, this clarinet also comes with an adjustable thumb rest which ensures minimal fatigue when playing. Other impressive features include a smaller than usual bore which also enhances the quality of sound produced. In addition, it features undercut tone holes as well as steel springs, all of which add to the general quality of the clarinet.

Apart from the material, another aspect to consider before buying this model is its price. It comes at a pretty hefty price point, but it is well worth it, especially considering the kind of quality and experience you will achieve with it.

What we liked;

  • Wooden body which produces high quality sound
  • Easy to learn with
  • Great for beginners and intermediates
  • Comes with adjustable thumb rest
  • Has a beautiful look

What we did not like;

  • You must take extra care not to damage it
  • It is an expensive clarinet


Even though quite pricey, wooden clarinets have the capacity to deliver unrivaled sound. If you can, try and get yourself this instrument for a better learning experience.


View price here


Buying a Clarinet as a College Student – What to consider


When choosing a clarinet with which to learn your skill, try as best as you can to pick one that is easy to play. While this may not be easy to do as a beginner with little experience, there are several ways to know how easy or hard it is to play a particular model. For instance, clarinets that are difficult to assemble and disassemble will be hard to play.


This quality is largely affected by the build material as well as the quality of build. ABS resin and ebony clarinets have the capacity to handle loads of pressure, so they last longer. With wooden clarinets, you have to take care of them a lot more as they are more susceptible to breakage over time.

Sound quality

This is perhaps the most important feature of all. Even as a beginner, it is important that you pick an instrument that delivers warm and clear tones, as well as good resonance. You need to master all tones and know how each one is produced.


Even though some beginner clarinets are very expensive, they may not be worth the money. Make sure that you can get good quality build and sound without having to break the bank.


Playing the clarinet is an incredible skill, and to enjoy your learning experience as a college student, you must pick an instrument that will enable you to learn with little trouble. Try picking one of the reviewed pieces in this article if you can for a great experience.


Does the Selmer USA CL211 Bb Wood Clarinet come with a carry case?

Yes, this clarinet comes with a case to store and carry the instrument in.

What size reeds does the Yamaha YCL-255 Student Clarinet need?

You can use size 1.5 or 2.0 reeds with this clarinet as a beginner.

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