Clarinets are versatile musical instruments suitable for use in various settings, from solo music performances to orchestras, chamber groups, the Dixieland bands, and even marching bands. So, if you are in your college or high school marching band or are looking for the ideal clarinet for your child’s marching band, this guide offers the right direction.
Remember that because the marching bands move from the band room to the bus and the football stadium, the clarinet you settle on should offer reliable performance, with no cracking. The clarinet also needs to be weather-resistant, and it should also stand up to some heavy use without getting damaged. You also need to think about the clarinet’s response, the material, intonation, and the build of the mouthpiece.
Below is a list of the best clarinets for the marching bands.
|Best clarinets for the marching bands||Best Features or Use of Clarinet||Keys/ Play Type||Price|
|Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet||Best overall clarinet for marching bands||Bb clarinet||Check Price|
|Jean-Paul USA CL-300||Best 17-Key Clarinet||17-key Bb clarinet||Check Price|
|Mendini MCT-E+SD+PB Black B Flat Clarinet||Best Clarinet for beginners||B-flat clarinet||Check Price|
|Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case||Best Clarinet for bright tones||Bb orchestra clarinet||Check Price|
|Yamaha YCL-20||Most Durable Clarinet for Marching Bands||Bb clarinet||Check Price|
|Selmer Bundy Resonite||Best Response Clarinet for Marching Bands||G4, A4, G#4, and the Bb4||Check Price|
|Leblanc Vito Student Model V7214WC Bb Clarinet||Best Students’ Clarinet||B-flat clarinet||Check Price|
Best clarinets for the marching bands
Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet – Best overall clarinet for marching bands
First on our list is this Yamaha Bb clarinet. It is the ideal clarinet for intermediate players and even beginners, and it’s easy to work on thanks to the Bb keys, which also makes it a great option for marching bands.
Besides the keys’ ease of use, the clarinet boasts great sound, with warm tones that sound as good as the perfect wooden instrument. Thanks to the ABS resin build, it is durable and strong, which makes it last longer. Its matte finish also gives it a nice vintage look. So, if you are looking for an affordable Bb clarinet for your marching band, then this would be the perfect option for you.
- Durable ABS build, and nickel-plated keys
- 65mm barrel ensures a focused tone
- It comes with a mouthpiece
- It’s modeled after the professional Yamaha clarinets
- It has a slight glitch, and it’s only ideal for beginners and intermediate clarinet players.
- It’s not the most durable clarinet
Jean-Paul USA CL-300 – Best 17-Key Clarinet
Suppose you are looking for a durable clarinet that will be worth the money in the end. In that case, you need an instrument made of materials other than plastic, and this ebonite clarinet is a great alternative for you. It boasts excellent sound, and it’s recommended over plastic. This Bb clarinet features a high-quality and well-made 17-key system that is versatile and the perfect option for beginners and intermediates in marching bands.
The nickel-plated keys are lightweight, and they ensure that you enjoy a focused and clear tone. This is enhanced by the beautiful body material made of ebonite. And for easy transportation, it comes in a carrying case perfectly contoured to protect the clarinet.
- High-quality Bb clarinet
- Durable ebonite build
- Smooth response and playability
- Boasts a 17-key Boehm key system
- It comes with a durable and contoured carrying case
- Ease to use
- The adjustment is complicated, and it can be very frustrating to kids
- The tenons can be a little hard
Mendini MCT-E+SD+PB Black B Flat Clarinet – Best Clarinet for beginners
The Mendini Bb Clarinet is a high-quality clarinet ideal for beginners, especially students in the marching band and orchestras. It comes with a mouthpiece and pocketbook, as well as a case and a stand, and the price is just right for beginners. It is a B-flat clarinet made of plastic, and hobbyists can also use it. It is also quite lightweight, easily adjustable, and playing on it is easy.
It is elegantly designed with smooth and sleek nickel-plated keys, along with high-grade and durable plastic that makes it worth the money. It is also quite eye-catchy, and overall a high-quality, well-built clarinet.
- It boasts a high-quality build for the body.
- The nickel-plated, inline trill keys are durable, strong, and promise great sound.
- The adjustable thumb rest makes it easy to play on
- It comes with a 1-year warranty
- A classic musical instrument by a reputable clarinetist
- A perfect option for the marching bands
- The parts of the clarinet all meet the highest standards of quality
- It comes in a hard case, with all accessories you need
- It also features unscrew caps, screw caps backing on, and extended legs
- Overall ease of use
- Only suitable for beginners
- Not recommended for pros or even intermediate players
- Made of cheap plastic
Hisonic Signature Series 2610 Bb Orchestra Clarinet with Case – Best Clarinet for bright tones
With an ebonite body, a bright tone, and nickel-silver plated keys, this Hisonic Bb orchestra clarinet could be the very best investment you make if you are looking for a clarinet for marching bands. It features Prestini pads that are durable, easy to play on, and made in the USA. It is an elegant Bb soprano clarinet that is affordable and pretty much the standard clarinet for the marching band and jazz bands, and orchestras. The clarinet comes with a clarinet swab and cork grease.
- It’s made of durable ebonite that also enhances the sound quality of the clarinet.
- It boasts a protective plush lining on the case
- It comes with a mouthpiece with a reed protector
- Bb soprano is ideal for the marching bands
- It is affordable
- High-quality B-Flat clarinet
- It will not last too long or as long as expected
- The latches’ case is poorly designed
Yamaha YCL-20 – Most Durable Clarinet for Marching Bands
Yamaha is a renowned brand known for high-quality musical instruments. This Yamaha YCL-20 that was recently redesigned is one of the best clarinets on the market today for marching bands.
This clarinet is recommended to marching bands by the band directors, especially because it offers great intonation. It is also very durable, which makes it a great option for marching bands because the bands are mostly outdoors, and the element would affect the durability of the bands. It’s built of ABS resin, a pretty strong form of plastic. The keys are also durable and ensure the most comfortable level of playability, thanks to the fact that they are nickel-plated. These keys can stand up to a lot of harsh or rough treatment.
The response of the clarinet’s keys is also impeccable and pretty much offers a uniform response through the clarinet’s range. The response is also quite easy, and it produces a great tone. The best part is that it is affordable and worth your money.
- Excellent intonation
- Good quality sound
- Uniform response throughout the range of the clarinet
- It’s a great Bb clarinet
- The keys are soft and offer great playability
- It’s not as shiny as advertised
- You may have to replace the pads and the corks
Selmer Bundy Resonite – Best Response Clarinet for Marching Bands
Like the other clarinets used by marching bands, this Selmer Bundy clarinet is durable and made of plastic, and it might be the best option for you if you are looking for a budget-friendly option. It’s made of durable plastic and boasts a high response rate. Its keyword is also impressively made for fast response, and it’s quite durable.
While some people notice that the throat tone notes are rather sharp – G4, A4, G#4, and the Bb4. But you also get to adjust the clarinet’s intonation, with just a slight alteration of the fingerings. It’s also affordable, and it would be a great option for you.
- Easy to play on
- Excellent sound and intonation
- High response rate
- Slightly expensive
Leblanc Vito Student Model V7214WC Bb Clarinet – Best Students’ Clarinet
Vito clarinets remain the standard instruments for bands, and this Vito 7214, like the 7212 and the 7242, are the top-recommended options on the market today. The clarinet is made of durable plastic called resonate that ensures the best use of the clarinet outdoors on marching bands.
It boasts great quality intonation, especially on its throat notes, and it also offers great keywork. The keys on the clarinet are also easy to play on.
The clarinet also features a P.R.A.G that ensures alignment of the body joints. And the medium to large size of the clarinet gives a more controlled sound. There is also the mouthpiece that promotes more of a centered tone and the best embouchure habits. The only catch is that it doesn’t have an extra bell ring that you would need for an extra level of resonance. It comes in a durable wooden case.
- Affordable B-flat clarinet
- High-quality mouthpiece for a centered tone
- Great sound overall
- Reliable and controlled sound
- Good alignment of the body parts
- No bell rings incorporated
Buying guide for the best clarinets for the marching bands
Tone and Quality of the clarinet
When it comes down to choosing the right clarinet, your top priority will always be the playability of the clarinet. It must play in tune, always. It must also match the intonation for the rest of the clarinets, the woodwinds, and the rest of the ensemble. All these elements ensure that you all sound great while playing as part of the group.
The clarinet should have a great response with no stuffiness in the sound to enjoy all these. And if you are just starting, you may have to get the band director to test the intonation of the clarinet. Above all these, your clarinet must have a great intonation.
Build and materials
The best clarinet for the marching band is built to last long, and it should be able to withstand extremes in temperature, snow, and rain. So, you should choose the plastic clarinet over the wooden clarinets. Keep in mind that while the wooden clarinets offer great sound overall, it is extremely sensitive to exposure to the elements. And sudden or extreme changes in humidity or temperature would cause the cracking of the wooden clarinet. But plastic will withstand extremes, whether rain, very low or high temperatures, and also changes in humidity.
In terms of the keywork, the keys need to be made of durable materials, so most of the keys are silver or nickel-plated. The pads should be durable as well.
Everyone in the marching band should have a clarinet made of the same kind of mouthpiece. Similar mouthpieces are essential for the consistency of the embouchure. The mouthpieces chosen should also be made of good quality materials to ensure great sound. Brands like Vandoren offer the best mouthpieces, affordably. The B45, M13, and M15 are great options, ensuring great response and tune.
Note that the bore is the hole that runs to the bottom of the clarinet’s bell from the mouthpiece’s tip. On the other hand, the tone holes are the holes that cover the keys. And the bore is the section fixed on the mouthpiece, and it vibrates the air in the instrument as you blow in it. The reeds wear out fast, and you’d have to replace them often.
Type of clarinets
There are two main types of clarinets, the soprano, and bass clarinets. The soprano clarinets are the A, Bb, and Eb. Generally, the Bb clarinets are ideal for students because they are affordable and also because these clarinets are the easiest to work with and learn.
On the other hand, the bass clarinets are not only quite pricey, but they are also high-rated professional pieces that go for anything from $6000 to $10,000.
- Which fingers are key when playing the clarinet?
When it comes to playing the clarinet on marching bands, you should know that you’d have to apply a significant amount of pressure on the right thumb despite the instrument being relatively lightweight.
- What’s the trick for playing the clarinet with ease when marching?
Well, the small size of the mouthpiece and the reed make the clarinet challenging to play with, and you have to keep your upper body still at all times. Even so, it is not the best option for the field visuals.
- Why choose a Bb Clarinet?
This is the ideal beginner instrument, and it comes in just the right size, and it’s well intonated to enhance stability. It is also the most affordable clarinet.
If you are looking for the best clarinet for the marching band, any options listed above would be a great option for you. They are within an affordable price range and work well enough.