Buffet Vs Yamaha clarinet- which brand should I get?

Clarinets are amazing instruments that can be used for various styles of music and are produced by many manufacturers. As a musician, it is important to know the different brands in order to pick the one that suits your style.

As a clarinet player, the quality of the music that my clarinet plays has always been important to me. However, this has not always been the case. When I started my musical journey back in elementary school I fell in love with the clarinet. I found the instrument fascinating right from its exquisite design to its melodious tunes. As my skills improved I noticed that the quality of my clarinet played a huge role in influencing the kind of music I played. I sampled various brands to get the one that suits me. In this article, we will take a look at the two most common brands and compare them to give you an in-depth view of the features of each so that you can choose the best brand for you.

What are the differences between Buffet Vs Yamaha clarinets?

Brand Buffet B-12 clarinet Yamaha YCL-255 clarinet
Dimensions (in inches) 15 by 6 by 12 15 by 6 by 12
Body material ABS resin ABS resin
Key material Silver-plated Nickel-plated
Key B flat B flat
Availability Check price here Check price here

Buffet vs. Yamaha clarinets- How do they compare?


For comparison purposes we look are the entry-level or student clarinets produced by both brands.

Yamaha produces its clarinet for ABS resin which is a type of thermoplastic. ABS resin has several properties that make it very well suited to be used on clarinets. It is very rigid which makes it very suitable for students who may be clumsy and not handle the clarinet with care. It also offers good impact resistance and this comes in handy, especially in the hands of students who may drop it often. Finally, it has good scratch and stain resistance hence it will maintain its look for a long time. This material mimics wood well hence it offers excellent sound clarity.

On the other hand, the Buffet clarinet is also made from the same material as the Yamaha clarinet. Since both clarinets are classified as a student or entry-level clarinets using wood would not be best as it would increase the price of the clarinet. Wood has the disadvantage of breaking with ease which might not be a good trait for a clarinet to be used by students who have not learned how to handle their clarinets with care. However, this material produces sound of great clarity hence why it is preferred for making student clarinets.

In this category, there is no clear winner as both brands use the same material to make their clarinets. Although the body build quality might differ the difference is negligible.


The Yamaha has a standard 17-key mechanism, the mechanism incorporates thumb keys which are used by the musician to play at a higher octave that the one that can be achieved when using the normal tone holes. The keys are nickel plated this makes the keys visually pleasing however they are very susceptible to stains and require constant polishing to keep the look great. Being nickel-plated means they also have to be maintained frequently which may be an issue for a beginner or student. The clarinet also incorporates the use of trill keys which are helpful when playing rapidly and they help produce a more natural sound than playing the sound using the six main tone holes.

The keys on the Buffet clarinet are of a superior quality both in the feel and looks of them. Unlike the keys on the Yamaha clarinet, these keys are silver plated which makes it more advantageous. This is because silver stains less easily compared to nickel. The silver keys also don’t need constant polishing to maintain their shiny look. The rings on the six main tone holes are also different in that they have a beveled edge on the inner side of the ring. This helps make a tighter seal with the figures when the musician is playing.

The buffet takes the win in this category as it not only uses superior quality material but also its build quality is good as well.


The type of reed used on any musical instrument plays a major role in the performance of the instrument.

The Yamaha clarinet comes with a standard reed grass reed. The normal dimensions of the reed are 11mm in diameter. The reeds usually have a characteristic side profile that features one side that is significantly thicker than the other. The thinness of the reed depends entirely on the playing style of the musician. Thinner reeds result in a higher pitch and thicker reeds result in a lower pitch. Like most B-flat clarinets it uses a reed that has a rating of between 1.5 and 2. The frequency of vibrations of the reed is highly dependent on how hard or soft the musician blows on the mouthpiece.

Similarly, the Buffet clarinet also uses reeds that have a rating of between 1.5 and 2, just like other B-flat clarinets. The variations to the reed are dependent on the individual musician and the company provides the standard reed size for the instrument.

In this category, there is no better brand as they both offer standard reed sizes and quality.


The Yamaha plays tones that sound lower than the written tone which is characteristic of all B-flat clarinets. This means that the musician has to play on a tone that is higher than the one written. For most clarinets, this is done by manipulating the finger placement on the six main tone holes. If higher frequency tones are produced when the musician has fewer fingers covering the six main tone holes. A lower frequency tone is produced when the musician has more holes covering the six main tonal holes.

Buffet being a B-flat clarinet also plays in a tone that is lower than the written one this means that the musician has to compensate for this by playing a higher tone than the one that is written. B-flat clarinets are the most common clarinets that you will find in many orchestral performances.

Once again there is no clear winner in this category as they are both B-flat clarinets and their construction allows them to produce similar tones.

Buffet vs Yamaha- A comparison overview

Buffet overview

Buffet is a European brand that is well known by professional musicians. Having been regarded highly by professional musicians it has gained a high status in the industry. The B-flat clarinet that we have discussed in this article has been produced paying attention to the highest standards. Being made from ABS resin makes it perfect for beginners as it is more resilient to the mistreatment it might receive from being manhandled by a student. Although it might be a bit more expensive than the Yamaha it is worth every penny as it has excellent build quality. If you are an enthusiastic beginner clarinet player and are looking for a great instrument that will stand out from the crowd the buffet clarinet is the one for you.


  • It has excellent build quality.
  • It produces sound of good clarity.
  • It is a well-known brand.
  • Keys are made of good quality materials hence less maintenance.


  • Its price is higher than most other brands.


View price here


Yamaha overview

This is a well-known brand around the world, it makes a wide array of instruments that fit the needs of various people. From beginners to professionals all their instruments are made with great care. The B-flat clarinet that I have reviewed in this article is a very beginner-friendly clarinet that incorporates a variety of features that make it best suited for beginners. This includes the ABS resin body and the nickel-plated keys. For a beginner who wants a pocket-friendly clarinet that is of good quality, the Yamaha clarinet would suit you best.


  • It is affordable.
  • It is a well-known brand.
  • It has good build quality.
  • It is perfect for beginners.


  • Keys need more maintenance.


View price here


Verdict: So, which one is better? Buffet or Yamaha?

In my honest opinion, the buffet is the brand that you should get your clarinet from. It has good quality features that would make you have an easier time as a beginner from the ABS body to the silver-plated keys which require less maintenance. Even though it comes with a higher price tag it is worth the investment as you will get a good quality instrument that will serve your need for a long time. However, if you do not have the financial ability to buy from Buffet, Yamaha’s clarinet is also of good quality and will serve you well.


Where are Buffet clarinets from?

Buffet is a German-based company.

Can I easily transition from one brand to another?

Yes, different brands might use different materials in the production of their instruments but they operate the same.

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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