Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet Review?

When looking for a clarinet a wooden or a plastic body might be the primary considerations but also the clarinet’s acoustical design will play a big role in its functionality.

The Leblanc CL502 clarinets are so good that you can barely find a used one in the markets, also finding a new one has proved a tad bit difficult. I love wood clarinets and have been looking to upgrade to a better student clarinet, the initial clarinet that I used, had its body made of ABS resin, the reason why I now feel I should transition to the wood clarinet.

I have been eyeing the Leblanc CL502 and believe that it will play well because the beginner plastic clarinet that I have been using has been restricting my play through the sluggish key work and the many sharp notes.

I, therefore, decided to break into the features of the Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood clarinet to understand how it functions, and whether it is durable and reliable before I make the final decision. Join me as I share my findings below.

Leblanc Cl502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet Review

The Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet is ready when you are ready, all thanks to the lightweight carry case that has incorporated two kinds of straps, the shoulder strap, and the back strap. The lightweight carry case cannot however, be fully relied upon to protect the clarinet from external elements, safe storage should, therefore, be provided for the clarinet even though it is in its case.

The Leblanc CL502 first became available in the markets in 2019 and has been configured to play the B flat key. To make it easy for clarinetists to exploit its full potential, the clarinet features an additional left-hand EB lever perfect for alternate fingering. The clarinet has also incorporated two barrels the standard and the shorter. The latter has been incorporated to keep the beginner player from playing too far below the standard pitches.

And with the barrels in two different lengths tuning is automatically simplified as the shorter barrel will give the user a higher pitch when compared to the longer one. Apart from being highly functional, the Leblanc CL502 has been finished with colors that only enhance its overall aesthetics. The combination of a dark black matte body and the 18 silver keys and 6 rings makes for a professional outlook not to forget the manufacturer’s label on the bell of the clarinet that additionally enhances the clarinet’s overall aesthetics.

All the features of the Leblanc CL502 have been made with precision beginning from the step-up Debut mouthpiece by Clark Forbes that enables accurate note playing, it also plays louder and enables free blowing. The debut Bb clarinet mouthpiece was introduced to the Forbes range back in 1993 and since then it has been the best student mouthpiece in the market.

What we liked

  • Features a professional black and silver finish
  • The shorter barrel helps the player achieve the right tone
  • The left EB enables alternate fingering
  • The Clark Forbes mouthpiece enables accurate playing

What we didn’t like

  • Not easily available
  • Retails at a higher price


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Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet specifications

Model Leblanc 502CL Student Bb Wood Clarinet
Instrument Key B-Flat
Material Type Wood
Silver Plated Keys 18 keys, 6 rings
Barrels 2 standard and shorter tuning options
Brand Selmer
Mouthpiece Step up Debut by Clark Forbes
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Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet Features

Grenadilla wood body– the Leblanc CL502 wood clarinet is made from the dense granadilla hardwood that also goes by the name Mpingo or Blackwood. The grenadilla hardwood has been established to be extremely heavy and hard; it additionally rates high in strength, stiffness, and is resistant to shock. Features that make it the best wood for making a student the clarinet.

Undercut Tone Holes– the incorporation of the undercut tone holes in the Leblanc CL502 helps the student or intermediate player with tone production. So what happens is that the undercut hole will assume a cylindrical shape on the outer part but on the inside, it opens into a conical shape. The above genius design enables the clarinet to play in tune better, while also preventing it from playing slightly above or below the note.

In general, the tone holes help in tone production by shortening the vibrating length of the tube and in the case of the clarinet, they are small enough to be covered by the player’s fingertips.

Adjustable thumb rest – given that the clarinet will largely use the upper part of an individual’s body, it is important for the person to hold and position the clarinet properly. The above is the reason why the Leblanc clarinet comes equipped with an adjustable thumb rest which facilitates the positioning of the clarinet to the body.

Clarinet players need to understand that as they play their favorite instrument, they support a 2 pound instrument using their right-hand thumb, which could in turn develop into cumulative static loading of the arm. The posture will consequently cause discomfort or even develop into debilitating overuse injuries, and the development of pain throughout the right upper limb.

If you, therefore, play the clarinet and have been experiencing pain it is wise to invest in the padded thumb rest cushion.

Who is it best suited for?

The Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet is best suited for use by beginner players and it can also be used by the intermediate clarinet players.

Are there alternatives to the Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet?

Yes there are alternatives to the Leblanc CL502 that you can adopt and which will offer almost the same tone production qualities but with a slightly different build material. The alternatives are the B Flat Clarinet Student Bb clarinet, there is also the Mendini by Cecelio Bb Clarinet and the Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet.

Features of the alternative Clarinets

Model B-Flat Clarinet Student Bb Clarinet Mendini by Cecelio Bb Clarinet Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Style French Mouthpiece Student
Finish type Matte Matte Matte
Material Wood, Nickel, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Plastic Nickel
Weight 3.69 pounds 3.61 pounds 3.95 pounds
Package dimensions 15.07 x 8.98 x 4.88 inches 14 x 10 x 4 inches 6 x 15 x 9.5 inches
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Verdict: So should you buy the Leblanc CL502 clarinet?

Yes, you should buy the Leblanc CL502 clarinet because its overall construction has been intent in helping players achieve the best tones. For example, the incorporated Clark Forbes mouthpiece enables accurate note playing, and also facilitates free blowing. The clarinet also features the undercut tone holes that assist players with tone production. In essence, the Leblanc CL502 is an all-round durably built wooden clarinet that can propel students to their next playing level.


Is the Leblanc CL502 Student Bb Wood Clarinet durable?

Yes, the Leblanc CL502 features a Grenadilla wood body, known to be high in strength, stiffness and is shock resistant.

Is it easy to use the Leblanc CL502 Bb Wood Clarinet?

Yes it is fairly easy to use the Leblanc CL502 Bb wood clarinet because the clarinets construction, and the incorporated features like the adjustable thumb rest facilitate ease of use.

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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