Best Vintage Clarinets

Vintage clarinets vary in prices and one of the biggest determinants is the brand. These units do sound better than the new models because of the care and attention to detail during their manufacture.

Older clarinets have been established to appreciate in value over time, but most of them might not be in their best playable condition. And as such a few repairs that might cost you a pretty penny might be necessary. There are a couple of older models that can be used for playing jazz or in a band, the likes of the Selmer centered tone, the Buffet R-13, and the Leblanc.

Vintage clarinets are not only meant for professionals and you can, therefore, find some good intermediate models such as the Yamaha intermediate model known to offer good tone and intonation. The excerpt below has, therefore, consolidated some of the best vintage clarinets, to help you make an informed choice.

Best Vintage Clarinets- Comparison Table

Vintage Clarinet model MaterialAvailability
Selmer Bundy Resonite Clarinet & Case 0261MetalCheck Price Here
Selmer Wooden Bb Student Clarinet With MouthpieceWoodCheck Price Here
Vintage Emil Lyon Wooden ClarinetWoodCheck Price Here
Woodwind Bb ARMSTRONG CLARINET 4001Plastic with a wood grain finishCheck Price Here
Noblet Paris clarinetWoodCheck Price Here
Antique/Vintage Andre Chabot Clarinet in Original Case With ExtrasWoodCheck Price Here

Selmer Bundy Resonite Clarinet & Case 0261 (Best clarinet for Student clarinet players)

The Selmer Bundy resonate clarinet is a vintage unit, it does have a few scratches on it, but which doesn’t affect its functionality. The pads and corks of the unit have been serviced by a professional repairman thus it is ready to play upon purchase.

Key Features

  • Made of metal
  • Mouthpiece style
  • Bundy mouthpiece with ligature
  • Silver metal cap
  • Bundy case

Upon purchase, you will be provided with a Bundy case, a Bundy mouthpiece that comes complete with ligature, a silver metal cap, and a folio lyre.

Selmer Bundy Resonite clarinets can be a perfect companion if well maintained. Over the years the Bundy clarinets were preferred for band programs and were also used by beginner and intermediate players across the globe. They are known to produce a super sound and are especially easy to play. Notable is that for as much as the Bundy clarinet works for beginner and intermediate players, they will likely experience limitations as they progress and might, therefore, have to invest in a more advanced unit.

What we liked

  • Has already been repaired
  • Easy to play
  • Produces good sounds
  • Can be used by beginner and intermediate players

What we didn’t like

  • Has small scratches
  • Requires proper care and maintenance


Despite being a vintage unit, the Selmer Bundy Resonite Clarinet has been cleaned up and repaired ready for its next user. It is not exactly brilliant and will, therefore, suffice for use by beginner and intermediate players.


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Selmer Wooden Bb Student Clarinet with Mouthpiece (Best clarinet for beginning band students)

The Selmer wooden Bb Student Clarinet was made using specially seasoned and treated wood, and can, therefore, be expected to deliver a rich and warm clarinet sound.

Key Features

  • Silver-plated forged nickel keys
  • Clear centered tone
  • Wood grained resonant
  • Hard rubber mouthpiece
  • Double-wall case

The Selmer wooden BB clarinet has an attractive black color, it is a wood-grained resonant ABS construction which indicates that hard work went into the construction of the instrument. Despite being used, the clarinet does have a glossy finish and the nickel-plated keys have been well adjusted. The clarinet has been established to produce a bright sound, and which is also loud enough and easy to play for new players.

The clarinet can be used by the student band players but you must know that this unit is only good for the first year and might need replacing with time. So to be on the safe side, the user should upgrade to a professional or intermediate clarinet after the first year so that they don’t end up spending all their money making repairs on the clarinet.

What we liked

What we didn’t like

  • Can only be used by student players
  • Must be up graded after a year


The Selmer wooden BB clarinet is a good unit to invest in for the beginner student, however, they might need a replacement after the first year.


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Vintage Emil Lyon Wooden Clarinet (Best customizable wood clarinet)

Besides being used the Vintage Emil Lyon Wooden Clarinet is in overall good condition, and to prove its authenticity each piece of the clarinet features the famous insignia Emil Lyon Clarinet but the mouth piece.

Key features

  • Emil Lyon inscription
  • Material wood
  • Worn out case
  • Old & used Clarinet

Most importantly is that after purchase, you will have to test it and establish if its suits your application and even it if works. The unit is in good condition but some of the parts might need replacement for it to function as required. You will notice some minor evidence of use among other imperfections but that should not be a cause of concern because the unit is still functional.

Being a wooden clarinet you can expect it to provide better sound and quality, the intonation between notes will also be great for professional play. Wooden clarinet produce a dark and rich sound, they also enable precise tuning and normally have an adjustable thumb rest. Now, given that the Emil Lyon is an old model, you can expect it to offer the above and more.

What we liked

  • The clarinet is not damaged
  • Comes with the carry case
  • The clarinet is in good condition
  • Produces good tones

What we didn’t like

  • Might need refurbishing to be used
  • Has hairline on the bell that might need filling


If you are looking for a vintage clarinet that might need a little touch but will not bloat your bank balance then the Emil Lyon wooden clarinet is the perfect choice.


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Woodwind Bb ARMSTRONG CLARINET 4001 & Fitted Case (Best Robust woodwind clarinet)

The advantage of investing in the Armstrong clarinets is that they don’t come with a hefty price tag but are robust and famous for producing some very nice tones.

Key Features

  • Resilient to wear
  • Armstrong branded carry case
  • Impressive aesthetics
  • Material Plastic

The Armstrong clarinet is a good unit for first timers who are operating with a tight budget. When compared to wood, plastic is a resilient and a durable material. It can survive the drops and bumps of a new student user, among other wear and tear imposed by the young students.

And even better is that the plastic clarinets can be repaired, most importantly is that the plastic clarinets do have a minor shrill and are known for producing a fake sounding quality to the overall sound produced. You must however know that for as much as the unit produces a fake sounding quality, it does not have any negative effect on the beginner as they are working on producing good sound quality.

What we liked 

  • Can withstand the beating of a student
  • Are easy to care for
  • Have an even tone color
  • Retails cheaply

What we didn’t like

  • Can only be used by beginner clarinetist
  • Have an overall fake sounding quality


As you work your way towards becoming a professional clarinetist, the woodwind Bb Armstrong clarinet 4001 is the perfect vintage stepping stone. Sporting a fine plastic finish while boasting durability.


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Though old the Chicago International Musical Instrument Corp might be a used vintage unit but it is still as good as new.

Key Features

  • Dents on the upper side of the case
  • Worn out inner lining
  • Visible rust on the case lock
  • Body material-wood

The clarinet is a product of good care and maintenance this you can tell from its overall outlook as it only has a few visible scuff marks. The keys and rings are still shiny, the bell hasn’t lost its luster and the tone holes and reeds seem pretty solid. The bell is also intact as there are no visible hairs, overall the clarinet is not visibly aged.

The Chicago International Musical Instrument Corp is a rare unit made of wood thus it can be expected to produce some rather good tones and which are accompanied a greater intonation between tones especially when used for professional play. If you wish to produce dark and rich sounds then this is the perfect vintage clarinet.

We cannot yet tell if it needs refurbishing as it is visibly intact, the polish on the wood has retained its luster and the keys do not look aged when compared to other vintage clarinets. If you are therefore, looking for a clarinet with impressive aesthetics this is it.

What we liked

  • The clarinet is not damaged
  • Keys and tone holes are still intact
  • Made of wood material
  • The clarinet is still in good use condition

What we didn’t like

  • Has some dents on the casing
  • The velvet lining of the case is worn out


If you are looking for a reliable intermediate clarinet then Chicago International Musical Instrument Corp will suffice. And given that it is made of wood, you can expect to wow your audience with its magnificent tones.


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Noblet Paris clarinet (Best Clarinet for playing classical or Jazz music)

The Noblet Paris clarinet is a vintage that has managed to retain its attractive aesthetics over the years. The unit comes with all the pieces intact the keys are in good condition and its overall boy has few scratch marks.

Key Features

  • 68cm length x 8cm diameter on the bell
  • 27 inches length x 3 inches diameter on the bell
  • Clarinet comes inside a case
  • Bell has a few hairs

The beautiful Noble Paris Clarinet has visible wears and scratches but that should not discourage you from purchasing the unit as it remains highly functional. The Noble wooden clarinets are famous for producing rich and big sounds. And if you are not lucky to get the vintage unit, worry not because they are still in production and you can get a modern unit for your performances.

The unit’s keys are pretty solid and the intonation is good. The clarinets ranks among the clarinets that will offer you an exceptional performance without breaking the bank. The intermediate level clarinet is believed to have been made in France, and upon purchase it does come with its original case and hard rubber mouth piece known to produce a more focused sound.

Hard rubber mouthpieces are mostly used when playing classical and jazz music that don’t require too much edge and projection. The hard rubber mouth piece is also perfect for individuals looking for a rounder tone. Apart from the minor repairs that you might discover later the Noble Paris Clarinet is in its best condition ready to impress out of the box.

What we liked

  • Comes equipped with a hard rubber mouth piece
  • Produces rich wonderful sounds
  • Ready for use out of the case
  • It is made of wood

What we didn’t like

  • Best for use only by intermediate players
  • Has some visible scratch marks and hairs on the bell


The Noblet Paris Clarinet is a good intermediate clarinet, made with a hard rubber mouthpiece thus perfect for playing classical or Jazz music.


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Antique/Vintage Andre Chabot Clarinet in Original Case With Extras (Best B-flat Clarinet)

The Andre Chabot is one among many clarinets that has been minimally since its manufacture. Upon purchase you might notice that the unit comes in its original packaging, a feature that confirms its authenticity. You will notice that it has visible signs of cosmetic wear but which do not affects its overall functionality.

Key Features

  • Category-Clarinets
  • Model-B flat clarinet
  • Condition- Not functioning
  • Brand- Andre Chabot

Despite being used the clarinet does come with a few other extras that might cost you a lot more, when compared to other vintage clarinets. You can however be sure that the clarinet is still in its best condition, with the cork still waxed from the last time that it was used.

Important to note is that the clarinet might not work as it should and as such repairs might be necessary. Notable is that there are chances that the repairs might not have a huge impact and might in fact lead to further deterioration of the equipment.

The clarinet is made of wood material thus if you can get it to work, you should expect to produce a good sound quality with the best intonation between notes. What’s more is that the clarinets that are made from wood normally produce a darker and richer sound and the Andre Chabot clarinet is not any different.

And given that the clarinet is made of wood, proper care processes must be instituted for example, the unit should not be exposed to temperature and humidity, high moisture areas might also compromise the units structural integrity.

What we liked

    • Comes in its original case
    • Made of wood thus produces rich and darker tones
  • Keys and holes are still in good condition
  • The incorporated keys are open enough

What we didn’t like

  • The clarinet is best used by students
  • Might need repairs before it works


The Andre Chabot clarinet might need to be repaired before use, however, it is not clear that it will function as good after repairs.


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Buying a Vintage Clarinet-What to look out for?

Always have a budget- vintage clarinets retail at different prices and this is with regard to their current condition. Thus the clarinets that are in good condition will be expensive when compared to those that are blown out. Thus a budget should help you settle with one that resonates with your needs.

Purchase from a reputable seller– Your retailer should have evidence of handling clarinets or else you will end up purchasing an old clarinet instead of a vintage clarinet.

Avoid imitations– if you don’t have any knowledge on clarinets best you join the various clarinet forums and learn how to identify one, so that you don’t waste your hard-earned money on fake clarinets purporting to be vintage.

Choose the famous brand– brands that have been in existence for years will definitely have a few vintage clarinets under their name. While the newer brands will have the old clarinets under their name.

Check for documentation– if a clarinet comes with some kind of documentation then it shows that it is indeed vintage, this should be enough to prove that you are getting an original equipment.

Final Verdict– there are so many vintage clarinets in the markets both physical and online. Thus the key to settling with one is ensuring that you know how to pick a real original clarinet. They units retail at different prices but this will coincide with the overall quality of the unit.


Are there beginner wood clarinets?

Yes, there are wood clarinets for both beginners and professionals.

What is the highest price I can pay for a vintage clarinet?

The most expensive clarinet goes for $35.775

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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