Yamaha is one of the most recognized music instrument brands in the world. The brand is known for producing high quality items that last a lifetime. It is common to find that the keyboard or clarinet being used by an orchestra or matching band is from Yamaha.
The company not only offers high-end clarinets but you will find some budget friendly ones ideal for use by students and beginners. One key benefit of purchasing a Yamaha branded product is that you are assured it has passed the necessary standard tests. Most of the Yamaha clarinets have sturdy body construction and are heavily nickel-plated. In this review, we check out some of the best Yamaha clarinets of all time.
Best Yamaha Clarinet – Comparison Table
|Yamaha YCL-255 Bb clarinet||ABS||B Flat||Check Price|
|Yamaha YCL 650||Granadilla wood||B Flat||Check Price|
|Yamaha YCL CSVR Professional Bb Clarinet||Granadilla wood||B Flat||Check Price|
|Yamaha YCL 450||Granadilla wood||B Flat||Check Price|
Reviews for Best Yamaha Clarinet
Yamaha YCL-255 Bb clarinet – Best all-round clarinet
The Yamaha is an intermediate clarinet that is designed to mimic some of the best clarinets in the market. It is made from an ABS resin body that makes it affordable and durable. The keys are nickel plated and this leads to a warm sound. The clarinet is designed with quality in mind so you should expect it to last a lifetime.
The Yamaha YCL 255 comes with a 65mm barrel and an adjustable thumb rest. You also have a strap ring for ease of playing and comfort. The YCL 255 is suitable for all music levels – student, intermediate and professional. This is because it offers precise playability, and excellent positioning. The instrument is suitable for a wide variety of hands.
The clarinet mimics a wooden instrument in terms of quality. It features silver soldered ring and firm screws for the perfect body construction. To aid in projection the clarinet bell is equipped with a resonance chamber. This also helps in the intonation of lower tones. The Yamaha also comes with a durable Valentino pad that gives it an excellent finish. It also makes the instrument less sensitive to temperature changes while making it easy to repair. Overall, this is a great all round musical instrument.
What we liked:
- Sturdy body construction
- Adjustable thumb rest
- Produces a warm lovely sound
- Made from high-quality materials
- Suitable for students, intermediate and professional players
What we did not like:
- Not so great for professionals
Yamaha YCL 650 – Best Cylindrical bore clarinet
The Yamaha YCL 650 is an ideal professional clarinet that is made from granadilla wood with silver plated key work. This enables the clarinet to produce a consistent and precise intonation. The clarinet features a cylindrical bore design that makes it ideal for free blowing. It also makes playing the instrument a breeze.
The Yamaha is music teacher’s favorite instrument as it produces a very consistent tone. The clarinet comes with an excellent finish that gives it a distinctive look. During purchase you will get a case, Yamaha 4C mouthpiece and Yamaha care accessories.
What we liked:
- Made from durable granadilla wood
- Excellent finish
- Produces a consistent tone with precise intonation
- Cylindrical bore design for easy blowing
What we did not like:
- Requires more maintenance
Yamaha YCL CSVR Professional Bb Clarinet – Best Granadilla Clarinet
The Yamaha YCL CSVR follows the company’s pattern of producing outstanding, durable and high quality instruments. The YCL CSVR represents this quality production that is backed by Yamaha’s expert craftsmanship. The YCL CSVR is made from durable pads that offer that consist of a precise seal in between the pads and tone holes. This helps provide the perfect response throughout the clarinet.
To ensure you get a rich and well balanced response the barrel is custom made. This feature also helps in projection of good tonal colors that will help a student progress as they play. The YCL CSVR features redesigned 17 keys that offer you comfortable hand placement and unbeatable ergonomics. The silver plated keys are also made to be thick and this offers you a dark resonant sound quality.
The clarinet is made from granadilla wood construction with exceling blue steel springs. The CSVR also comes with durable leather pads which makes handling it comfortable. Included in the purchase is the mega ligature, 4CM mouthpiece and durable cap design. You will also have a microfiber cleaning swap and polishing cleaning cloth.
What we liked:
- Made from classy granadilla wood construction
- Features durable pads
- Custom barrel design
- Thicker silver-plating keys
What we did not like:
- A bit expensive
Yamaha YCL 450 – Best Intermediate clarinet
Wooden clarinets tend to be preferred by professionals as they produce the best sound quality. If you are in search for a long lasting wooden clarinet then the YCL 450 is your perfect choice. The clarinet is made from granadilla wood which makes it quite good looking. It also offers great playability with elegant quick key action. The keys are nickel plated which a good material for a clarinet as it does not tarnish easily.
The YCL 450 was designed as an intermediate clarinet and this enables it to satisfy the needs of the expert player. The clarinet is accompanied with a unique bell shape which leads to improved sound projection and improved intonation. The barrel is also adapted for enhancing the degree of response and produces a more focused tone. The barrel design is quite similar to what you will find in other professional Yamaha clarinets.
The clarinet comes with a extended 5-year warranty which is the companies guarantee that the product will stand the test of time. Included in the purchase is the Yamaha carrying case and 4C mouthpiece.
What we liked:
- High-quality granadilla body
- Nickel plated keys
- Extended 5-year warranty
- Innovative barrel design for focused tone response
What we did not like:
- Wood requires more maintenance
Buying Guide for Best Yamaha Clarinet
Yamaha has been in the industry for longtime producing high quality musical instruments. When you purchase on their products you are assured that you are purchasing something that will last you a lifetime. Their clarinets are no different and are made from a variety of materials like wood, plastic or ebonite. Here are some factors to consider when purchasing a clarinet:
When you are moving to professional level playing you often know what you expect from a clarinet. This means you are very particular about the sound clarity. A great sound is as result of various factors like consistency, tone, intonation and projection. When you go to the market you will notice that the sound varies; some clarinets will offer a warm, thick and full tone while others have a clear and cutting tone. If you are experienced you will notice the differences. You should also note that players also influence the sound quality as they play the instruments differently. A good place to start when you are choosing a right clarinet is reviews and YouTube videos. Here you can listen to the tone clarity as it is being played and decide whether you like it.
Ease of use
This is particularly important when you are starting out. Playing a clarinet can be complicated if you are playing a difficult instrument. As a player you need to feel you have complete control of the instrument. This will require practice and patience. As you grow in your experience level you will be able to tell the difference between various instruments. For some players the best option is to actually borrow or rent a clarinet play it for a while before settling on a particular model.
Manufacturers make clarinets differently. This means you can find two instruments that are made from the same materials but they play differently. Top brands tend to focus on standards and therefore produce high quality instruments. Yamaha is one of these top brands that is known for producing high quality clarinets. While you check out the brand also note the durability, ease of use and sound quality.
While sound quality is important aesthetics do matter. If you are going to be using your clarinet all through your musical career than it makes sense to identify a piece that looks great. There is no standard for this quality as personal preference often rules but go with something you are going to be proud off 10 years later.
Clarinets are made from different materials with wood and plastic being the most common ones. The type you go with is largely determined by your experience level. Plastic clarinets tend to be the most available as they are easy to produce and maintain. This makes them more ideal for student and beginner players. You will notice the tone produced being a bit different than that for the wooden clarinet. The plastic clarinets are durable and this makes them ideal for a young player. Wooden clarinets have better tone and resonance and are often used by professional players. However, you will need to take care of them more as they are susceptible to cracks and warping.
Types of clarinet
Clarinets can be classified into five main types. The most commonly used are the Bb and A soprano clarinets. The soprano clarinet has a long thin body which is easily recognizable on site. The Bb clarinet is the most widely used clarinet and is used for the production of a variety of musical types like swing, jazz and Mozart. You will find it being used for orchestras, marching bands and Mozart. If you are a beginner it is most likely that the first instrument you will play will be the Bb clarinet.
Next in popularity is the A clarinet. This is closely used with the Bb clarinet for classical plays. In fact you will find players carrying both instruments as they transpose different parts of a play.
The Eb clarinet is mostly used for concert bands and orchestras and is a bit difficult to play. The clarinet allows you to hit higher melodies that you would have found hard to do so with the A and Bb clarinet. The high notes on the Eb require advanced fingerings hence the instrument is not often recommended for beginner players. However, it is a great instrument for those players who desire to improve their skill levels.
Bass clarinet is not that common among the various soprano family of clarinets. The instrument produces a sizeable repertoire that can be heard in jazz, orchestras, and even pop music. It is larger than other clarinets and you will find it often being positioned on floors or players using a strap to carry it. The bass clarinet also looks a bit differently from the other clarinets as it has the bell turned upwards. This gives it the appearance of a saxophone. You can play a variety of tones on the instrument like the low Eb or low C. The bass clarinet has a deep and sweet tone.
When selecting a clarinet you will also need to consider the bore size. The bore size defines the inside dimensions of the clarinet. For students smaller bore clarinets are recommended while for those who require flexibility with pitch can opt for the larger bore clarinets. This are most used by jazz players as they allow them to bend notes and produce larger sounds.
The ligature is an important piece of the clarinet as it is responsible for how the reed vibrates. The ligature is used to attach the reed to the mouthpiece. Depending on the type of ligature you will find it influencing the clarinet to produce some rich and full sounds. A good ligature will protect your clarinet from wear and tear.
When purchasing your first clarinet one of the questions you need to answer is whether you have the capacity to maintain it. A young student of less than 10 years may find it hard to maintain a wooden clarinet and the best choice would be to get them a plastic model.
A new clarinet needs to be acclimated to prevent cracks. The rule for taking care of your clarinet is do not leave it in a place where a baby can break it and always keep the clarinet in its case when not in use. Wooden clarinets require more care than the plastic ones as they are prone to cracking. This means some climatic conditions may not be suitable for the instrument. When it is too dry then moisture is pulled from the piece while too much humidity can cause the wood to warp.
When you are playing your wooden instrument in wet conditions it is important to oil it a bit to prevent too much moisture from spoiling the bore. After playing the instrument also ensure you have drained it off any moisture before returning it back to its case. Too much moisture will cause the wood to brittle but it also affects the metallic parts causing rusting and mold growth. If you are playing in a dry environment ensure you carry with you a humidifier. It is important that you go with a clarinet model that offers you cleaning accessories.
Yamaha is a brand that has over the years distinguished itself in offering high quality musical instruments. The brand is synonymous with quality. If you are looking for a clarinet that will last you a lifetime than Yamaha is a brand of choice. The company has clarinets for all budgets. You have student, intermediate and expert clarinets. The price will largely be a factor of the materials used with the plastic ones being more affordable than the wooden ones. Even though the material may be plastic you are still assured that you are purchasing a high quality piece.
Should I go with wood or plastic clarinet?
It will depend on your budget and skill level. Plastic clarinets are the most readily available due to their budget friendly prices. The clarinets are durable and do not require that much maintenance. This has made the plastic clarinet the preferred model for student and beginners who have yet gotten used to playing the instrument. However, as you advance in your skill level you will be particular about the sound quality being produced by your clarinet and you may decide to upgrade to the wooden clarinet.
Which is better – Nickel or silver-plated keys?
Nickel plated keys are more popular than the silver ones as they do not tarnish that easily. The keys when well-polished do look nice. The silver plated keys look great but they do tarnish easily when not maintained.
Can I play my wooden clarinet outside?
The wooden clarinet while producing some amazing sounds is quite complicated to maintain as wood warps and cracks easily. Whenever you play your wooden clarinet you will need to clean it with a dry cloth for moisture. You will also need to use a humidifier to keep your clarinet well moisturized; this prevents it from cracking.