Best Clarinets for Marching band

Marching bands can be quite entertaining to watch as they stroll the streets in their matching uniforms playing great orchestras. You will find the clarinet as part of their musical instrument and this adds to the variety of tones that are played. The marching band may be part of a high school team, college, police band or you can find them playing during national events like the presidential inauguration or the opening of a major football game.

That being said, it is imperative that you go for the very best clarinet if you want to grow your professional music career. A clarinet for a marching band is one that plays in tune. If you are experiencing challenges identifying one for your band, than read on as this review will offer you top suggestions on the best clarinets for marching band.

Best Clarinets for Marcing band – Comparison Table

ModelNoteMaterial Availability
Yamaha YCL 250B FlatABS resinCheck Price
Mendini MCT-E+SD+PBB FlatPlasticCheck Price
Aileen Lexington Bb FlatB FlatBakelite bodyCheck Price
Ridenour Lyrique 576-eboniteCheck Price
Jean Paul USA CL-300B FlatNickelCheck Price
Yamaha YCL 255B FlatABS ResinCheck Price

Reviews of the Best Clarinets for Marching band

Yamaha YCL 250 – Best for Students

The YCL 250 is an all-rounder, you will find it been used by professional players, students and you can use it for your marching band. This clarinet comes with an elegant matte antique finish that is supported by a ABS resin body. Some superbly designed keys that will keep dust and clogs away support this.

The Yamaha YCL 250 plays on the B flat note and this helps you in intonation of lower notes and projection. You will notice that while the clarinet is made from plastic it still retains an elegant look that is reminiscent of some of the more expensive pieces. This is largely due to its matte finish.

What we liked:

  • Aids in projection and boosts intonation of lower notes
  • Elegant design courtesy of matte finish
  • Made from high quality materials
  • Great for students

What we did not like:

  • The price is a bit high


View price here


Mendini MCT-E+SD+PB – Best for full instrument starter kit

On the surface of it, this may seem like a very complicated clarinet but it is actually designed for students and marching bands. The instrument comes with a full starter kit that includes cork grease, case, box of reeds (2.5”), mouthpiece, gloves, cleaning cloth, stand and pocketbook. This is quite a handful and will get you started in your music career.

The Mendini is a lightweight and this makes it ideal for carrying around during matches. It also comes in an elegant design that is smooth and sleek. It is constructed from high-grade plastic with cast topped with matching nickel-plated keys. This makes it quite eye catching wherever you are playing. You should note that all the Mendini instruments are expertly inspected for quality and this means you are purchasing a highly durable instrument. The mendini is available in a variety of colors that include green, black, pink, blue among others. The instrument comes with inline thrill keys complete with a thumb rest. This allows for its adjustment to your preferred position.

What we liked:

  • Great number of accessories
  • Elegant design with multiple colors
  • High quality instrument made from high grade plastic
  • Nickel plated keys

What we did not like:

  • Looks complicated to play


View price here


Aileen Lexington Bb Flat – Best 17 Key clarinet

The Aileen is an awesome 17 key clarinet that is suitable for students and professionals. It features a natural wooden grain finish that is accompanied by nickel plated keys. This makes the Aileen to be quite appealing. The sound quality is superb with the instrument mainly playing the B flat tone. For a beginner you will find the 17 keys quite easy to play.

The Aileen features a stainless steel spring needle which helps prevent the instrument from leaking. It also comes with a replaceable mouthpiece. The instrument comes with a number of accessories like cork grease, premium hard foam shell case, screwdriver, pair of gloves, and cleaning cloth.

What we liked:

  • 17 key clarinet ideal for students
  • Bakelite body with great wooden finish
  • Comes with a number of accessories
  • Stainless steel spring

What we did not like:

  • Not so great carrying case


View price here


Ridenour Lyrique 576 – Best Clarinet mouthpiece

Tom Ridenour is a company that has built for itself a reputation for constructing high quality clarinets and mouthpieces. The Ridenour Lyrique 576 is no exception when it comes to quality. It is made from premium ebonite which is some sort of hard rubber. On the surface the instrument feels a lot more superior than wood or plastic. Due to its construction the instrument is capable of offering a balanced tone no matter the environment and this makes it an excellent choice for marching bands.

The company personally hand finishes each of their instruments and this means quality is not compromised in anyway. The Ridenour offers you great intonation and this makes it quite consistent during play. It is also budget-friendly hence making the it the perfect choice for students.

What we liked:

  • Power forged keys
  • ABS body
  • Ridenour thumb saddle
  • Standard thumb rest and handmade mouthpiece

What we did not like:

  • Does not come with many accessories


View price here


Jean Paul USA CL-300 – Best versatile Clarinet for students and marching bands

The Jean Paul CL 300 is one of the most versatile clarinets in the market due to its 17 key system and high quality construction. The clarinet is inexpensive thus making it ideal for students and matching bands. It is made from an ebonite construction which makes it sound better while still giving it that premium feel you often find in wooden instruments. The clarinet is also more durable than plastic.

The 17 key system offers a lot of versatility to both students and marching bands. You can use the clarinet as a beginner and intermediate. The clarinet is easy to learn and operate which reduces your learning curve a lot. The Jean Paul also comes with an exquisite carrying case for easy transportation. You will also find included in the accessories cork grease, one rico reed 2.5 and cleaning cloth.

What we liked:

  • Affordable
  • 17 key system makes it highly versatile
  • Robust contoured carrying case
  • Nickel plated keys are easy to clean

What we did not like:

  • Only one color


View price here


Yamaha YCL 255 – Best for warm tones

The Yamaha YCL 255 is another favorite clarinet for both students and marching bands. It can be used as a beginner or intermediate level clarinet. The keys on this piece are well designed so that it produces some warm tones while being easy to play. You will notice that your tones are almost similar to those of a wooden instrument.

The YCL 255 is made from durable ABS resin which helps it withstand wear and tear over time. To give it that vintage look, the clarinet has a matte finish. The YCL is an affordable clarinet which makes it highly sort after by students and bands.

What we liked:

  • Made from durable ABS resin
  • Suitable for beginner and intermediate players
  • High quality design
  • Matte finish
  • Affordable

What we did not like:

  • Available in one color -Negro


View price here


Buying Guide for the Best Clarinets for Marching band

Marching bands will come in handy when you are looking for some entertainment during events. The clarinet is part of the instruments used by these marching bands. You will find some nice and affordable beginner and intermediate clarinets for your marching band. The instrument does not necessarily have to be expensive but it should be able to produce a complementing tone to match the other instruments. Here are some key factors to look out for when purchasing a clarinet for a marching band.

Clarinet body materials

Clarinets are designed from a variety of materials that includes plastic, wood and ebonite. Plastic is the most used for making beginner clarinets. It comes with the benefit of being highly durable and can survive plenty of wear and tear. It does not require the kind of maintenance that you find in wooden clarinets. Wood is a preferred choice for premium clarinets. You will find grenadilla being the most used variety though other woods like M’pingo or African blackwood can also be used. This helps give the clarinet its characteristic sound hence its preference by professional players. However, wood comes with the additional cost of maintenance and care. This is because it susceptible to damage due to fluctuating climates. Hybrid clarinets use a combination of various materials, for example the Greenline clarinet from Buffet Crampon uses a mix of grenadilla wood and synthetic materials like resin to create a product that is both tolerant to weather changes but also eliminates the risks of cracking and maintenance.

Temperature changes

Humidity fluctuations are not your clarinet best friend. This means you will need to be extra careful how you handle your instrument to prevent it from cracking. In this regards, there some things you can do to maintain the quality of your clarinet. Do not expose your clarinet to extreme temperatures or blow warm air into a clarinet that is cool. When storing your clarinet indoors keep it away from air vents that blow cold/hot air.

Key work

The key work are the metallic parts of the clarinet. The main materials used for the keys include nickel, silver and gold. Nickel is the most affordable and most used key work. It is used in most beginner clarinets due to its low maintenance. Silver is another option due to its nice polish while gold is the least used option due to its cost.

Clarinet bore

The clarinet bore refers to the inside width of the instrument. If you closely observe the clarinet you will notice that it maintains a cylindrical shape all through the body. The question now becomes should you go with a wider or shorter one. The width of the bore will influence your sound projection and ease of playing. This makes it an important factor in your choices as you are going to be playing it for long. A smaller bore means you are able to project the sound more easily and this leads to a more focused sound while a larger bore means you have less projection hence more flexibility. If you are starting out to play it is recommended that you go with a smaller bore.

Other parts of the clarinet

A typical clarinet comes with different parts put together. This influences the sound you are playing and ease of playing the instrument. The first part that you encounter is the mouthpiece. As the name suggests this is the place where you blow air to produce the sound you desire. Most of the beginner clarinets will come with a rubber mouthpiece but this is a part that you can easily replace should you not like what comes with your instrument. Close to the mouthpiece is the ligature which is a piece of equipment that holds the reed in place. Most of the ligature are made from metal. After the mouthpiece comes the barrel. When purchasing a clarinet you will notice that it is described in millimeters. Most barrels are size 65mm. The barrel is responsible for adjustment of the intonation and for some models you get two barrels so as to change you tone as you wish. The upper/lower joints will encompass your key work and tone holes for the instrument. It also influences how the instrument feels on your hand. The last part of the clarinet is the bell which is a part that flares out on the bottom.


If you are going to be using your clarinet a lot than it does make sense you go with something that is lightweight. For a beginner the E and C Flat clarinets are the better option. They tend to be smaller than the more popular B Flat clarinet. However, the latter is more versatile and you will find yourself playing it a lot through your musical career. You can also opt for a clarinet that is made from plastic as it is lighter than those made from wood. Also, go for one with an adjustable thumb as for extra comfort.

Brand names

Like most other items in the market, the brand name can greatly determine the quality of the clarinet you are purchasing. Brands like Selmer, Buffet Crampon, Yamaha and Jean Paul have established themselves over the years as dependable brands when it comes to the manufacture of musical instruments. Since they are known for establishing quality controls you are assured of purchasing a product that will last you a lifetime. The brands also tend to have quite a variety of musical instruments which gives you more options. On the downside, some of the clarinets from these brands tend to be pricier than the non-branded ones. A budget brand is one that is not well known but they do come in handy when you are looking for a clarinet for a beginner. The products tend to be mass produced and it can be hard tracing the origins of the instrument. On the downside, the budget brands tend to suffer from quality and the product may not last that long.

Student or professional

Lastly, it is imperative that you know who is going to be using the instrument and how they are going to be playing it. A student clarinet does not need to be very expensive and can be made from nickel or plastic while for a professional wood may be the most common material. You should also determine where you are going to be playing the clarinet – indoors or outdoors. This will determine the kind of maintenance that is required.


Should I go for a clarinet with nickel, silver or gold plating?

Nickel key work tends to be the most common and the cheapest. You will find this in most beginner clarinets. Other clarinets use a mixture of nickel and silver while the most expensive ones may use gold

Is a clarinet with a larger bore better than a smaller one?

The bore size does affect the sound of your clarinet. When you have a clarinet with a small bore the sound is more easier to project hence more focused while that of a wide bore offers you less projection but more flexibility.


Matching bands do offer quite a show as they play beautiful tunes in matching uniforms. Getting yourself a clarinet for your band should not be such a challenge as most of the beginner and intermediate clarinets will do the job. However, since you are going to be playing outdoors it is vital that you take care of your clarinet from weather elements. Our Overall winner for Best clarinet for Marching band is the Yamaha YCL 250. We found the instrument to be affordable, durable hence making it ideal for bands and students.

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.

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