Wood Clarinets produce a darker and richer sound, they can be tuned precisely, and come equipped with an adjustable thumb rest. They are also famous for offering a greater intonation between notes.
The reason why I love jazz is because it enables meaningful expressiveness in music. So as an aspiring instrumentalist I discovered that I could use the clarinet in jazz music. I then invested in a clarinet made from plastic only to realize that it was a beginner clarinet. This then raised my curiosity as I was now determined to find out which material made the best clarinets for professionals.
What Type of Woods Are Used To Make Clarinets
Back in the day, clarinets were made out of boxwood, though there are some clarinets that were made from the Cocus wood, a rare type of wood mostly found in Jamaica. The concept of making clarinets trickled to the French and they began making their clarinets using ebony, a rare type of heavy dark wood mostly found in Africa. Eventually, clarinet makers settled with the African Blackwood to use in making clarinets and which was not very different from ebony but a little bit light in weight and delicate.
In modern times, however, clarinet’s bodies are normally made from the African Blackwood, and under this genus, there are various types of trees, some of which are the Mozambique ebony, the East African Ebony, the Black Cocus, and the Grenadilla. The African Black Wood is characteristic heavy, and dark thus giving the clarinets its dark color.
What Are The Advantages Of A Wooden Clarinet?
When played wooden clarinets offer a superb tone quality, one that adds a rich and warm tone to an ensemble. Clarinets that are however made from a higher quality wood preferably one that is aged even sound better. The reason for the above is that, as the clarinet ages, the tone also improves.
Clarinets made of wood can also be tuned precisely, wooden clarinets are also the best as they can last longer at least 10 years. They are however not the easiest to care for, because wood is generally sensitive to environmental temperature and humidity.
How to Care For a Wooden Clarinet
- The first thing that you should always do with your wood clarinet whenever you are not using it, is to disassemble it and put it back in its original case. The one that you bought it with and don’t forget to swab.
- Secondly, you should not expose your clarinet to environments with extreme and rapid temperatures. The best optimal temperature that your wood clarinet should be exposed to is between 65 and 75ᵒ. Also before playing your clarinet, check its temperature if it’s cold to the touch then it is best left alone.
- And if you plan on using the clarinet for a music session ensure that you maintain a consistent relative humidity more so, in between the playing sessions. And if you are able to ascertain the environmental conditions of your clarinet then the best humidity for wood clarinets ranges between 45% and 55%.
Notable is that there are for achieving the best humidity conditions for your clarinet, you can either use the in-room systems or utilize the in-case systems.
- Your clarinet should also be cleaned occasionally and you can, therefore, use a lint-free or a microfiber cloth to clean it. The reason for the above is to get rid of the acids and oils that are normally left of the keys by the fingers. What’s more is that when you clean the keys of your clarinet with the proposed clothing, it will not tarnish or wear out prematurely.
- The bore of your clarinet also requires to be oiled, and you should, therefore, do it as described by a professional.
What Other Materials Are Clarinets Made Of?
There are other budget-friendly clarinets made from artificial resins, and there are also other types of clarinets that are made from silver or brass. A greater majority of the clarinets used by professional musicians are made from African hardwood, others are made from Grenadilla or the African Blackwood. Other types of woods that could be used in the absence of the ones mentioned above are such as cocolob, the Honduran rosewood, or boxwood.
What Is The Difference Between Wood And Plastic Clarinet?
For one, when compared to the plastic clarinets, wood clarinets are much harder to play and that is why the plastic clarinets are normally used by beginner players. While the wood clarinets are preferred for use by the more advanced players.
Wood clarinets also produce a darker and richer sound when compared to plastic clarinets. The plastic clarinets on the other hand produce a minor shrill and have a fake-sounding quality on the eventual sound produced.
Wood clarinets need special care when compared to plastic clarinets that can survive the drops, bumps, and other constant wear and tear practices that they are exposed to by the beginner students.
Wood clarinets get better with time, so as the wood ages so does the tone become even deeper, plastic clarinet,s on the other hand, remain the same even with time.
What You Should Consider When Deciding Between Wooden and Plastic Clarinet?
When deciding between wooden and plastic clarinets, you should consider your level of expertise, whether you are a beginner, intermediate player, or professional player. The latter is best suited with the wood clarinets.
What Are The Best Brands For A Wooden Clarinet?
The best brands to settle for when purchasing wooden clarinets are such as Cecilio, Selmer, Yamaha, and Jean-Paul.
There are various types of woods that are used to make clarinets but the most common one is the African Blackwood and which can be derived from different types of trees. Wooden clarinets are delicate and require precise care processes to help enhance their shelf life. Additionally, exposing your clarinet to varying environmental temperatures will shorten its shelf life and so will failure to properly clean and store it in its respective casing.
Do wooden clarinets last longer?
Yes, wooden clarinets can last for up to 10 years.
Are wooden clarinets harder to play?
Wooden clarinets are harder to play for the new users but they do get used to with time.
Are wooden clarinets of the same size?
No, clarinets come in different sizes and have different pitch ranges.
How long does it take to make a wooden clarinet?
Wooden clarinets might take a longer or shorter time to be made and this is dependent on the time that the log will take to be seasoned.
How much is a wooden Clarinet?
The entry-level professional clarinets retail at $2000.