Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet review

Have you been thinking of buying an intermediate clarinet? If yes, you probably have a lot of options to pick from. Consider getting Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet.

Though I have always had a great interest in learning how to play musical instruments, I could not afford most of them. I had to rent a used clarinet and paid a small monthly fee for it. The problem with the model that I rented was that it always sounded off-key. After some time of renting it, I realized that there was no way that I could grow with the poor-quality clarinet. I, therefore, started saving for a better one. When it was time for me to get one, I came across the Yamaha YCL-400AD clarinet. I decided to do in-depth research on it before buying it. This is everything I discovered regarding the intermediate clarinet.

Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet review and breakdown

One of the famous companies known for producing exquisite musical instruments is Yamaha. Once you start searching for a clarinet from this brand, you will come across different models. Yamaha YCL-400AD is one of the popular choices that experienced players go for. Many people choose this clarinet since it incorporates the unique qualities of professional clarinets.

It is a quality clarinet that is made from hardwood referred to as grenadilla. This material is resistant to changes in both humidity and temperature. It also gives it excellent tonal quality. Unlike clarinets that produce poor sound, you will enjoy playing this model. It can help you take your performance to the next level.

Apart from that, the clarinet comes with nickel-plated keys and straight tone holes. The manufacturer also equips it with blue steel springs, which lead to smooth, fast action. It also comes with three traditional reeds, a stock 4C mouthpiece, and a mouthpiece cap. It is a durable clarinet that you can rely on for a long time.

This clarinet also has a bell that contains a resonance chamber and uses blue steel springs. Such features enhance its performance. When you purchase this clarinet, you will also get a case for storing it.

What we liked

  • It is well constructed
  • The keys enhance durability
  • It has a nice feel
  • It produces a focused tone
  • The clarinet comes with a great case

What we didn’t like

  • It contains a fixed thumbrest


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Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet review specifications

Material Grenadilla body
Barrel length 65 mm
Thumb rest Fixed
Keys Nickel-plated
Tone holes Straight with tapered undercuts
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Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet features


This is a well-made clarinet that comes in a grenadilla wood body. This is a high-quality material that enables the clarinet to withstand temperature changes. Even if you expose this clarinet to water, it is less likely to change shape.

Due to the construction of this clarinet, it also delivers excellent tonal quality. It sounds good and also feels great. The material used to make this clarinet is also dense and durable. Note that grenadilla wood is a bit delicate. This makes Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet more sensitive to damage compared to plastic clarinets. You should, therefore, handle it with care.


One of the common issues that most clarinet users report is broken or bent keys. You should take your time to choose a good model that will not lead to such issues. Yamaha YCL-400AD is different from conventional clarinets since it is equipped with nickel-plated keys.

These lead to enhanced durability and prevent you from such problems. The manufacturer uses a technique known as power forging to ensure that the keys of this clarinet have the right strength level. These keys are shaped by pressure instead of cast. Apart from that, the keys also offer a more focused and clear tone.

If you experience an allergic reaction to silver keys, you should consider this clarinet since it does not have the same effect. Since the keys of this clarinet have an ergonomic shape, they can give you a comfortable playing experience.

Nickel is a good material used to make the keys of this clarinet since it is durable and glides well. Most users also reveal that the keys of this clarinet do not tarnish easily.

Tone holes

This clarinet offers great intonation because it features straight tone holes that contain tapered undercuts. This means that the tone holes of the clarinet are tapered to reach the bore. This affects how the air transitions from the bore to the tone holes.

The clarinet can deliver a stellar response. The tone holes also make the sound of this musical instrument more stable and minimize annoying squeaks.

Mouthpiece and reeds

Choosing a clarinet with a good mouthpiece should be every buyer’s priority. Like most Yamaha clarinets, the YCL-400AD model comes with a stock 4C mouthpiece. This means that the clarinet features a narrow-sized tip opening which leads to a clear tone and easy response.

Yamaha YCL-400AD also contains Vandoren three traditional reeds that are famous for their excellent response. These reeds make the clarinet suit players with different styles. They can work well in different playing environments. If you are not satisfied with the mouthpiece and reeds that this clarinet comes with, feel free to upgrade them.

This clarinet also comes with a plastic mouthpiece cap. This cap is designed to protect the reed and mouthpiece of the clarinet when you are not using it. It can prevent the mouthpiece from getting damaged since it goes over the ligature and mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece is chipped, the cap becomes useless.


This represents the feature that secures the reed onto the clarinet’s mouthpiece. It presses the reed against the mouthpiece while at the same time giving the reed room to produce sound and vibrate. Yamaha YCL-400AD is equipped with a nickel-plated ligature. You have to use the ligature of this musical instrument correctly to create an ideal sound.

Bell design

Rather than getting an out-of-tune clarinet, you should consider this model since it can improve your playing performance. It features a bell with a resonance chamber that enhances intonation in low notes. This helps in projection and leads to consistency during playing.

Blue steel springs

This clarinet feels better than other models since the manufacturer has upgraded its spring material. The model features blue steel springs that enhance the feel of the key and give them a lighter touch. These blue steel springs allow a fast key action and lead to more accuracy during playing.

Fixed thumbrest

The problem with this clarinet is that it has a fixed thumbrest. The fixed thumbrest could cause discomfort or pain when playing the musical instrument. Maintaining proper positioning when using Yamaha YCL-400AD is not easy due to the fixed thumbrest. This clarinet does not offer room for people with different hand sizes. Most users wish that it came with an adjustable thumbrest.


We mentioned that the manufacturer accompanies this clarinet with a case. This is not only functional but also visually appealing. It is made with a latching mechanism and has a button design that makes it secure and attractive.

Most users also like the interior part of the casing since it offers ample space for storing different items and contains a fabric lining that has a soft texture. This can protect the clarinet when you are not using it and also help you move it around easily during gigs.

Who is it best suited for?

Yamaha YCL-400AD is a clarinet that suits intermediate players. If you already have experience playing the clarinet and want to upgrade to a better model, you should consider this clarinet. If you are a beginner, you would be better off with a plastic clarinet.

Are there alternatives to Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet?

Yes. Since this clarinet is not suitable for everyone, the market offers alternatives that different customers can check out. Some of the alternatives to this clarinet include Yamaha YCL-450, Backun Beta clarinet, and Yamaha YCL-550AL. Take some time to compare these clarinets against Yamaha YCL-400AD before picking any model.

Features of alternative clarinets

Name Yamaha YCL-450 Backun Beta clarinet Yamaha YCL-550AL
Body Grenadilla wood Grenadilla wood Grenadilla wood
Bore Machined Backun bore Machined
Thumbrest Fixed Adjustable Adjustable
Keys Nickel Silver Nickel
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Verdict: So, should you buy Yamaha YCL-400AD Clarinet?

Yes. Though this clarinet has some flaws, such as a fixed thumb rest, it is worth considering since it can help you step up your performance. It is durable, has a clear tone and great sound quality. Most users are impressed with the responsiveness of this clarinet. Feel free to replace some of the parts you are not satisfied with.


Is Yamaha YCL-400AD a professional clarinet?

No. Though this clarinet has distinct qualities available in professional clarinets, it is an intermediate model.

What type of pad does the Yamaha YCL-400AD clarinet have?

This clarinet features Lucien deluxe double skin pad. Though these last for long, you should replace them after using the clarinet for years.

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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