Best Intermediate Clarinets

There comes a time in the life of a clarinet student when they outgrow their instrument and it is time to start practicing with more advanced instruments. Intermediate clarinets allow you to enjoy a fuller sound with powerful resonation. Handling an intermediate clarinet may require more work that the beginner one due to the increase in features but you do get the hang of it.

Clarinets are musical instruments that belong to the woodwind family. Children as young as 7 years can learn how to play one. If you have outgrown your beginner clarinet and are in search of something more powerful, than you may want to have a look at our best intermediate clarinets.

Best Intermediate Clarinets – Comparison Table

ModelNotesMaterial Availability
Yamaha YCL140B FlatGrenadilla woodCheck Price
Buffet Crampon E12 France intermediate BbB FlatGrenadilla woodCheck Price
Yamaha YCL650B FlatGrenadilla woodCheck Price
Buffet E13B FlatGrenadilla woodCheck Price
Jean Paul USA CL-400 IntermediateB FlatGrenadilla woodCheck Price

Reviews of Best Intermediate Clarinets

Yamaha YCL140 – Best Overall Intermediate Clarinet

The Yamaha YCL140 is a wooden intermediate clarinet that is ideal for those who have outgrown their beginner clarinet and are in search for an instrument that offers a more focused and pure sound. Like most Yamaha instruments, the device boasts of an excellent build quality. It comes with tone holes feature tapered undercuts and this gives the Yamaha stability to prevent annoying sound squeaks. The clarinet comes with a resonance chamber within the bell that allows for low-note consistency and aids in projection.

The Yamaha YCL140 body is made from grenadilla wood and this makes quite durable while enhancing its aesthetic appeal. The clarinet keys are silver-plated which makes them long lasting. The clarinet comes with cleaning accessories, 4C mouthpiece, ligature and durable lightweight case.

What we liked:

  • Resonance chamber aids in low note consistency
  • Made from durable Grenadilla wood
  • Silver plated keys for added durability
  • Excellent build quality

What we did not like:

  • The case not that high quality


View price here


Buffet Crampon E12 France intermediate Bb – Best for accurate intonation

The Buffet Crampon is a tough and reliable clarinet that is easy to play with accurate intonation. Like other Buffet instruments you should expect some versatile pitch range and exceptional sound quality. The clarinet is made from grenadilla wood with silver plated keys. This adds to an overall feel of class and exquisiteness. It is happens to be one the lightest clarinets in the market.

The Buffet is capable of producing professional sound quality for an intermediate package. It is multicolored which adds to its overall appeal. The clarinet leaves up to high standards of development having had its quality controls carried out by German teams in Markneukirchen.

What we liked:

  • High quality sounds
  • Made from classy grenadilla wood
  • Lightweight ergonomic backpack that is fitted with extra side pockets
  • Leather pads guarantee airtightness

What we did not like:

  • The keys are a bit tight and are in need of adjustment


View price here


Yamaha YCL650 – Best elegant design

The Yamaha YCL650 is an entry-level clarinet that is used for students to enter into professional instruments. Intermediate and expert students can use it. The YCL650 is made from grenadilla wood with silver plated keys and this contributes to its classy and elegant design. The clarinet also comes with adjustable thumb rest and high-quality pisoni pads which makes it a very enjoyable and comfortable clarinet to play.

The Yamaha YCL650 comes with a 65mm barrel which has been specifically designed for consistent intonation and for a more focused sound. You also have steel-alloy needle springs for fast key action. During purchase the clarinet comes with a quality moulded hard-case with fabric outer cover, cleaning accessories, ligature, and mouthpiece.

What we liked:

  • High-quality pisoni pads
  • Adjustable thumb rest
  • Made from grenadilla wood
  • Elegant design

What we did not like:

  • You may need to make some adjustments to the corks to get a proper seal


View price here


Buffet E13 – Best expert clarinet

This happens to be one of Buffet best-selling clarinets. As a student it will help you bridge the gap between beginner and intermediate clarinet training. Expert students and advanced professionals can also use it. The clarinet builds upon Buffet long lasting 190 years’ experience in building high-quality musical instruments. The clarinet is made from grenadilla wood with silver plated keys. This gives it a classy and elegant look.

Purchasing the Buffet E13 allows you to benefit from blue-steel springs that give way to fast key action and excellent accuracy of tone. You also benefit from undercut tone holes. Some changes have been made to the E13 like introduction of leather pads as standard and an inherited bell that leads to superior RC, this helps to brighten the sound and allows for greater projection. Included in the purchase is a ligature, Buffet crampon mouthpiece, cleaning accessories and a host of traditional buffet leather case.

What we liked:

  • Expert craftsmanship in its design
  • Made from grenadilla wood that gives it an elegant design
  • Silver plated keys that are capable of withstanding tear
  • Blue-steel springs

What we did not like:

  • A bit pricy


View price here


Jean Paul USA CL-400 Intermediate– Best Budget-friendly Clarinet

The Jean Paul comes with a Boehm 17 key system. It is built upon an ABS resin construction, with matte finish for that elegant design that evokes memories of wood. The keys are silver plated which enables them produce a warm and softer sound.

The Jean Paul is an excellent clarinet with two barrels – one long another short. This gives students great flexibility as to which one to play. Due to the resin body design the clarinet is one of the most affordable in the market while still retaining its classy appeal. It hits the right balance between price and functionality without compromising on features. The sound quality is phenomenal and the woody body work makes it quite appealing. You may need to adjust the keys, but this should not be such a problem once you have learned how to adjust them.

What we liked:

  • Silver plated keys for warmer and softer sound
  • Key of BB with Boehm 17 key system
  • Professional Jean Paul carrying case
  • Elegant ABS resin body construction with matte finish

What we did not like:

  • You will need to adjust the keys


View price here


Buying Guide for the Best Intermediate Clarinets

Once you have gotten a bit comfortable with your beginner clarinet it is time to move on to an intermediate one. Unlike the beginner ones, these are designed to last longer and produce a better quality sound. If you are devoted to your craft then you need the best intermediate clarinet in the market. Here are some key factors to put into consideration during your purchase.

Types of Clarinet

When you start off with a clarinet you will begin with the Bb one. As you improve on your skill you discover there are a variety of clarinets in the market like bass and Eb. When it comes to the type of clarinet it is important to know that you will outgrow each stage you are in. This means it is good to weigh your options based on how long you will be needing the equipment. If you are planning on doing this long term than go the extra mile to add some extra cash to get something that is durable and that will sustain you through beginner, intermediary and expert stage. Go for brands that well established and that have more features. This gives you more room to grow.

Body materials

Clarinets are built with different materials and this is reflected in the price. Materials used influence the kind of sound produced so it is important to consider it. Most entry-level intermediate clarinets are made from plastic with some from ebonite. Beginner clarinets use ABS plastic which is cheap but also happens to be durable. Ebonite is some sort of hard rubber that is made from sulfur and raw rubber. It is used in clarinets as it mimics wood. Professional clarinets are made with mainly grenadilla wood but you may find others been made from boxwood, African blackwood, and rosewood. This however, does not mean you will not find some high-quality ebonite clarinets. If you are beginner we recommend you start out with a plastic or ebonite clarinet as it is low cost and can withstand some drops and weather changes. As you get more proficient with the instrument you can gravitate to wood which is more expensive and requires extra care as it cracks.


You are going to be using your keys a lot for playing. Most of the beginner clarinet keys are nickel plated while the more professional ones tend to be silver plated. Since the intermediate clarinet is in between you can find some with either materials. Nickel plated keys are cheaper and more durable while the silver plated ones are shinier and give your clarinet a classy look. However, they do require additional work for maintenance. Most expensive keys tend to use gold.

Purpose of clarinet

It is equally important you consider where you are going to be playing the instrument. If you are going to be joining a matching band or be playing mainly for outdoor concerts than purchasing a nickel or plastic plated clarinet will be more ideal. This is because the materials are able to withstand weather elements better. If you are going to be playing mostly indoors than the priority should be the clarity of the sound. Wooden clarinets are able to do this better and you can also go for those with some kind of key work.

Age of use

You will also need to consider who you are purchasing the clarinet for. For a younger player you do not want to start them off with something they are going to be struggling with to maintain. This means getting them a clarinet that is made from plastic or ebonite. For younger players you may want to get them something that is lighter. In this regards, the e-flat or c-clarinet will be more ideal as they tend to be smaller than the b-flat clarinets. Also, go for one with an adjustable thumb for rest.

Brand names

Various brand names produce clarinets. Some of the more popular ones include Yamaha, Selmer, Buffet Crampon, among others. The benefits of purchasing from a well known brand name is that they produce musical instruments for all categories of users. Also, since the brand is well known it means you can trust the body work and quality of materials used. The instruments also go through some quality control to ensure quality is not compromised. However, be prepared to pay extra for established brands. If price is a factor during purchase you can go for the budget brands. These tend to be mass produced hence it can be hard to know where it was produced. The advantages of purchasing one is that is pocket friendly and this allows you to learn to play the instrument until you become proficient to purchase a more expensive piece.

Adjustable thumb rest

This is a great feature that allows you to adjust the height of the thumb position. This does come in handy when you have a larger or smaller hand.


It is important to consider the kind of accessories your clarinet comes with. Most will offer you a carrying case, basic care kits, mouthpiece among others. Look for one with items that you will actually need.

Bore Size

When used in reference to clarinets the bore size refers to the opening of the top upper joint. It is measured in millimeters with most clarinets having one of between 14.75mm to 15mm. The bore size will cause some slight difference in range with a larger bore size causing you to play a more sharper note. These kind of instruments are mostly used by jazz players. For an intermediate clarinet you can go with one with a bore size of 14.75mm.

Barrel length

The barrel length is not so much a consideration for those who are getting themselves a beginner clarinet but if you are playing intermediate and expert you will need to factor it. The average barrel size for most Bb clarinets is 66mm. If you desire to play sharp then you should consider purchasing a clarinet with a longer barrel size while for those doing flat a shorter one is recommended. If you are unsure as to which one is better for you, go with a clarinet with a shorter 1mm barrel. Longer barrels tend to be problematic to shorten.


Clarinets need to be kept moisture free for them to operate optimally. This necessitates regular cleaning to ensure they are dry. To reduce cases of damage you should keep your clarinet in the clarinet case it come with. Most of the clarinets will come with their own set of mouthpiece but you can always upgrade should you find them of inferior quality. You can stock a variety of mouthpieces to meet your individual tastes. When it comes to the weight of the clarinet, wooden instruments tend to be heavier than their plastic counterparts.

Carrying case

This is going to be your clarinet home whenever you are on the move. The carrying case needs to be lightweight and water proof. Storage space differs so it is important to get one that offers you enough space to store extra accessories like your multiple reeds, cleaning kit, repair kit among others.


While this does not affect the kind of sound the clarinet will produce it does matter as you are going to be using your clarinet often. Some clarinets come with cool colors while others will come with a matte finish that gives them a classy appearance. Whatever, the case choose a clarinet that fits your unique preferences. If you do not like a shiny instrument go for one that is made from plastic with an additional matte finish. Wooden clarinets tend to have a more classy appearance to them but they also tend to be pricier. Your budget should determine the kind of clarinet you are going for.


Which is the best material for producing intermediate clarinets?

ABS plastic tend to be the most commonly used type of material as it durable and cheap. Higher end models tend to be made from grenadilla wood, which gives them a classy look

Which keys are better for a clarinet – nickel or silver plated?

Nickel plated keys tend to cheaper and more durable than their silver plated counterpart. However, for intermediate clarinets you will find instruments using either


The Yamaha YCL140 takes the top slot as the best intermediate clarinet. We loved its sturdy and high quality construction. Since the clarinet is backed by a reputable brand you can be assured that it will not break down occasionally. Choosing the right clarinet for an intermediary student should not be that hard once you have identified your budget, materials to be used and brand to go with.

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