Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet Review

Have you finally learned the basics of playing the clarinet and want to get a more advanced model? If yes, you should not overlook Yamaha YCL-650 Bb.

The first clarinet that I ever played was a plastic one. I got the opportunity to play it in school at a young age. This made me develop more interest in playing musical instruments. By the time I was joining high school, I had saved enough to buy one. After researching so many models, I came across Yamaha YCL-650 Bb. Before I bought it, I tested it and was impressed with the quality of sound it produced. This is everything you should know regarding the clarinet.

Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet Breakdown and Review

Before buying a clarinet, you should find out the materials used in its making since this can determine how the musical instrument is likely to play. Clarinets are made from materials such as metal, plastic, hard rubber, ivory, or wood. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb is made from unstained Grenadilla wood, which is quality material.

You don’t need so much cash to buy a wooden clarinet. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb is an affordable model that you can enjoy playing for years. It also comes in a bell design that enhances intonation. The bell contains a resonance chamber that offers deep tones and great projection. The clarinet is mostly handcrafted and hand-finished.

Another key feature that makes this clarinet stand out among conventional models is the adjustable thumb rest. Though this makes it more accommodating, it does not use a strap ring. The mouthpiece of this clarinet is made from hard rubber, which enhances the tone.

Since this mouthpiece is pretty standard, you should consider buying specialized mouthpieces separately. Though it comes with one reed, you can always buy others later. The barrel of this clarinet is around 65 mm, and it leads to a warm and deep resonance.

This clarinet also comes with tapered tone holes that deliver great tonal balance. When it comes to the keys, Yamaha YCL-650 Bb has silver-plated ones that are always responsive and do not bend. It also features deluxe double skin pads.

Once you purchase this clarinet, you will receive a wooden case and a care kit which are nice accessories to have. Your purchase is also accompanied by a 5-year warranty for your peace of mind. This can help you get most of the major parts repaired without costing you extra cash.

What we liked

  • The natural finish is quite attractive
  • Delivers warm tone
  • It is easy and comfortable to play
  • This model is built to last
  • It is reasonably priced
  • The clarinet comes with a 5-year warranty

What we didn’t like

  • It comes with a standard mouthpiece that is not the best


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Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet specifications

Material Unstained Grenadilla wood
Barrel size 65 mm
Keys Silver-plated
Weight 5.1 pounds
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Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet features


Clarinet manufacturers first used European Boxwood before switching to exotic hardwoods in the making of clarinets. Once you start searching for a clarinet, you will come across some made using stained Blackwood and others made from unstained Blackwood. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb falls under the second category.

It is made from unstained Grenadilla wood. Staining Blackwood hides the natural beauty of the wood. Since Yamaha YCL-650 Bb is unstained, it is quite attractive. The natural wood of this clarinet is brown and contains some red streaks.

The body does not also contain any rough edges, while the fittings and pillars are well fitted and made. Most people warm to this clarinet immediately after they open the casing. Due to the solid construction of this clarinet, you can rely on it for many years and even pass it down to someone else after some time.

Bell design and reed

Unlike most regular clarinets, this model also comes in a unique bell design. This features a resonance chamber that gives it full response and enhances intonation. The bell contains a rounded groove cut into one of the ends. It mostly comes into play on low notes and allows consistency. This can help you play the clarinet more confidently.

Yamaha YCL-650 Bb also comes with a single reed. Every time you blow air through the opening of this clarinet, the reed vibrates to produce the instrument’s sound. This clarinet works well with the mouthpiece it comes with. This clarinet’s mouthpiece and reed characteristics determine how easy it is to play.


You can tell that the manufacturer was keen on detail when creating this model. The clarinet includes a 65 mm barrel design that offers quick response and a focused tone. The barrel is the part of the musical instrument that you can extend to fine-tune the clarinet. You don’t have to use a lot of effort with this clarinet to produce a consistent tone.

Thumb rest

If you are planning to use the clarinet with others, you should choose one that comes with an adjustable thumb rest. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb can be an ideal model since it comes with this feature.

You can custom-fit this model to achieve a more comfortable playing experience. It fits well in most hands. Unfortunately, Yamaha YCL-650 Bb does not come with a strap ring. It, however, includes needle springs that offer fast key action.


Yamaha YCL-650 Bb is equipped with silver-plated keys. The keys always respond well during playing and do not bend. Master artisans have regulated the sculpted keys of this clarinet for great balance. The keys remain comfortable even when you play for long and offer accurate playing. Apart from that, the keys of this clarinet are also easy to clean.

For this clarinet to give you service, the keys should be polished from time to time. You can do this with the help of a repair shop. Yamaha makes use of a pin and socket arrangement for some of this clarinet’s keys.

This is not the best arrangement since it may need some padding material to prevent rattling. Despite this, the arrangement minimizes key bounce that is common with the stepped design used in other clarinets. Instead of using nylon pins, Yamaha YCL-650 Bb makes use of metal pins. Though these pins can get rattle after some time, they will not break easily while playing.


Pads are key features in a clarinet that cover the holes. These often come in different types. A good clarinet should come with pads that can seal the hole with minimal noise when closed. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb does not disappoint since it features Lucien deluxe double skin pads.


This clarinet also comes with a small case that makes it highly portable. It is also lightweight and easy to move with during gigs. You can even fit this clarinet in average size backpack or bag.

The wooden case of this clarinet comes with a cover that can protect it from harsh weather conditions while on the road. Some users are, however, not impressed with the size of the case since it does not offer extra space for anything else.

Who is it best suited for?

If you are working with a very tight budget and need a quality clarinet that you can rely on, you should consider Yamaha YCL-650 Bb. This is suitable for a casual pro or dedicated amateur looking to enhance their skills in playing the clarinet.

You can get it when you want to transition from using a plastic clarinet to a wooden one. It is also suitable for a musician such as a saxophonist looking to get an affordable clarinet.

Are there alternatives to Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet?

If you feel that this clarinet is not the right model for you, you should check its alternatives. Some of them include Buffet Crampon E13, Mendini MCT-30, and Yamaha YCL-255 Bb. You should compare their features before making the purchase.

Features of alternative clarinets

Model Buffet Crampon E13 Mendini MCT-30 Yamaha YCL-255 Bb
Barrel length 65 mm 65 mm 65 mm
Body Stained grenadilla Solid Rosewood ABS resin
Keys Nickel plated Silver plated Nickel plated
Thumb rest Adjustable Adjustable Adjustable
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Verdict: So should you buy Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet?

Yes. This is a high-quality clarinet that you should consider buying. It is worth it since it has all the right features you need to boost your performance. It even competes with some of the expensive models available in the market today and can last for years. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb can save you money and still give you a great clarinet playing experience.


Is Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet easy to assemble?

Not for everyone. Some people have problems trying to put it together since the lid to the case does not stay open during this process.

Is Yamaha a great brand?

Yes. This manufacturer has an excellent reputation for developing quality musical instruments, including clarinets. The brand produces easy-to-play clarinets that produce excellent sound.

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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