You’ve managed to pick up the basic techniques in clarinet and have advanced to the intermediate pieces, however, you are struggling to get a decent sound out of your clarinet. Why is this exactly?
Well, when you begin playing the clarinet, the chances are that you have an instrument that is made from cheaper materials or is specifically designed for beginners and therefore may not have the durability for more difficult pieces.
That being said, finding an intermediate clarinet needn’t be a stressful task and we’ve picked out the top 5 models for you to look through before deciding which one is best for you.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best intermediate clarinets on the market now as well as giving you an exclusive buyers guide telling you everything you need to know when researching and concluding with an FAQ where we answer the internet’s burning questions when it comes to intermediate clarinets.
Don’t have time to read the full article? Read our top pick here:
Jean Paul USA Intermediate Clarinet CL-400
When researching for an intermediate clarinet, there are none better than the Jean Paul USA CL-400 model. Beautifully crafted and made from resin, the CL-400 is a natural step up from the beginner clarinets which are usually made from high-grade plastic.
The CL-400 comes with everything you need to advance your skills and maintain your clarinet so it remains in pristine condition.
So what makes this our top pick? The CL-400 is made for intermediate players meaning that the sounds produced from the new pieces you play will sound perfect.
With silver-plated keys, the CL-400 assists in making a warmer sound meaning it is ideal for trickier classical pieces that you may have had difficulty playing with a beginner’s clarinet.
OUR TOP PICK
The Jean Paul USA Intermediate Clarinet is the perfect instrument for those looking to advance in their musical career.
Specifically designed for the intermediate player, the CL-400 model is the perfect clarinet for the pieces that may have been too difficult to play on a beginner’s clarinet.
Made from resin to reflect the feel of a wooden clarinet, the CL-400 will mark a beautiful step up for any beginner clarinetist wanting to further their skills.
Equipped with a beautiful, sturdy case to keep your clarinet nice and secure, the CL-400 comes with an array of equipment including a Rico reed to ensure you can make the most of your clarinet from the get go.
The CL-400 holds 4.6 stars from over 800 views with many students favoring the instrument when they are ready to move up in their grades.
The ABS body of the clarinet is weighty compared to a beginner’s plastic clarinet but this only enhances the clarity of sound when performing.
Donning a Rico H ligature, the clarinet comes with quality accessories to ensure that you will get the most efficient performance out of it immediately.
- Specifically made for intermediate players
- Crafted from high quality resin to resemble an advanced clarinet
- Comes with an accessory kit and case to make sure your clarinet stays in excellent condition
- High price point
Our second pick is from Eastar and is their Wind Band clarinet. Complete with a 4C mouthpiece, the Wind Band model is great for producing crisp notes, ideal for jazz students in particular.
Made with the intermediate player in mind, there are similarities in design such as the ligature and silver material used to manufacture the keys for familiarity combined with the more advanced Balkanite body which is donned by more advanced players.
This combination makes it the perfect transition instrument when wanting to eventually become an advanced or professional player.
With an average of 4.5 stars from over 300 reviews, the Wind Band model has everything you need to improve your skills and keep your clarinet safe including a hard case for extra security.
Many clarinetists have commented on the improvement in sound almost immediately after playing when compared to their beginner instruments.
- Comes with a hard case and other accessories to maintain the instrument
- Great for those wanting to improve their skills
- Balkanite body resembles a the wooden professional clarinet body
- High price point
Our third pick is the Mendini Rosewood model. The deep red rosewood is the reason for the clarinet’s deep red exterior and it comes with silver-plated keys for extra strength.
A popular choice among band and orchestra members, Cecilio has always been a brand relied upon by those who are professional musicians thanks to their quality and durable designs.
The Mendini model comes with a 1 year warranty as well as a case and accessories so you can start playing those advanced pieces as soon as you receive it.
The 4C mouthpiece means that the sound produced by the instrument is crisp and sharp, making it the perfect instrument for people who are part of a band or orchestra.
With 4.4 stars from over 1,500 reviews, the Mendini is the most popular instrument on our list in terms of how many reviews it has received.
The color of the clarinet may not be the standard black as is expected of a clarinet but the exposed wood aesthetic doesn’t make it stand out in a negative way because of the subdued tone of the red.
A great instrument for students who are starting their music career in bands and orchestras, the Mendini can be relied upon to help students transition from beginner to advanced clarinetist with ease.
- Made from quality materials
- Perfect for those in bands or orchestra
- Comes with a 1 year warranty
- High price point
Our penultimate pick is the Hisonic Signature Series 2610 which is a nice and simple model for those who want to improve their skills.
Made from high quality ebonite, the 2610 model comes with a hard case as well as a cloth and cork grease so you can easily maintain your instrument.
An ideal model for those in a jazz or marching band thanks to the easiness to hold the instrument without worrying about it dropping.
The case is plush lined meaning minimal damage and scratches to your instrument which is hugely important when performing as the clarinet has to look impeccable.
The Hisonic Signature Series 2610 also has 4.4 stars from over 400 reviews from buyers who are pleased with the instrument's reliability and quality.
The 1 year free warranty is a huge positive for the purchase as well. The rich tone produced by the 2610 is beautiful and ideal for those who are in bands and orchestras as they can assist in enriching their performance.
- Comes equipped with a plush-lined hard case to ensure the instrument’s security
- Made from high quality ebonite
- Comes with 1 year warranty
- Does not come with instructions on how to assemble the clarinet
Our last pick is the Glory B Flat which comes with a huge accessory kit and protective case.
The accessory kit includes two spare barrels and 11 reeds meaning that you have more than you need to improve your clarinet skills from the moment you receive your new instrument.
The main body is made from ebonite and the keys are made from nickel so you are guaranteed a beautiful and durable instrument that will last years.
The instrument comes tuned already so you don’t have to worry about tuning it initially.
With 4.2 stars from over 900 reviews, the Glory B Flat is the perfect model for those on a strict budget who are eager to venture into intermediate pieces.
The accessory kit also contributes to the clarinet being great for those on a budget as they don’t have to worry about the extra cost for a case, reeds or ligature.
- Great price point
- Comes with a case and accessory kit
- Made with ebonite for the main body and nickel keys
- Does need tuning every few months
Best Intermediate Clarinets Buying Guide
Intermediate clarinets mark that transition between perfecting your basic techniques when you are a learner and becoming an advanced or professional player who can play any and all pieces thrown your way.
The intermediate stage is so important in a clarinetist’s life because they will start to venture into the truly challenging pieces whether as a soloist or in a band.
You want to make sure when you are upgrading your clarinet that you consider the materials used in manufacturing, what kind of music the clarinet is designed for and the budget.
Taking your time when researching an intermediate clarinet is so important because you want to make sure that you can tackle those trickier pieces yet still have an instrument that will last a few years while you get used to advancing your skills.
Materials used in manufacturing
Firstly, the materials used in manufacturing are super important for a variety of reasons. As expected, advanced and professional clarinets are hugely expensive because they are made from the most luxurious wood to enhance a richer sound.
However, for intermediate clarinet players, there are many wood replica materials that improve the sound from beginner to advanced.
The most widely known is ebonite which brings more weight to the instrument physically and helps build a richer sound in general.
The material of the keys is also hugely important as nickel is easier to handle and sensitive to the touch, meaning they won’t get stiff or stuck easily.
Type of music
Some clarinets are designed for a particular style of music so make sure that the clarinet you purchase will enhance your performances.
If your clarinet comes with a 4C mouthpiece, this is particularly great for jazz music or marching bands but if you’re wanting to play more classical music then keep an eye out for a clarinet with a 5C mouthpiece to provide a richer and rounded sound.
Of course, you can always purchase a separate mouthpiece and switch them depending on the style of music you are playing if you are wanting to play any and all types of music.
Usually, this tends to be the case when working on your musical studies but it’s important to have a check just in case.
Lastly, the budget is important to consider and luckily with clarinets, you tend to get more for your buck anyway. The instruments tend to come with a case for extra security as well as the basics you need such as cork grease and a cloth to dab it with.
Some of the models listed in this article even come with an array of spare parts and reeds should you ever need them in case something breaks unexpectedly.
When deciding how much to spend, you should always think about what you want to get out of your clarinet career and whether or not you think it is worth investing into.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good intermediate clarinet?
In terms of which model is the best, the ones we have selected in this article are the best on the market at the moment. In regards to the qualities that these possess, always look for a clarinet that can enhance your performance by providing a richer tone.
Make sure the material is high quality and ensure that it can handle the more difficult pieces that a plastic clarinet cannot cope with.
By the time you are an intermediate player, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a high quality instrument and bad quality instrument meaning that not only have your techniques improved when playing but you’ll also have a better understanding of the clarinet itself.
When purchasing a beginner clarinet, it’s easy to get swept away by the wide variety of bright colors but with intermediate playing comes more serious ventures like bands, orchestras and solo performances so also bear in mind the exterior of the instrument and make sure it gives you that professional look so you are taken seriously when performing.
This is particularly important if you plan on being a professional clarinetist in the future.
What is the difference between a beginner clarinet and an intermediate clarinet?
To answer this question simply, a beginner clarinet can only handle the basic techniques and easier pieces without becoming overwhelmed whereas an intermediate clarinet can allow the player to work on harder pieces and more advanced techniques.
Beginner clarinets tend to be made from high quality plastic whereas intermediate clarinets are made from imitation or real wood to allow for a richer tone.
Plastic clarinets cannot handle trickier sequences and can cause excessive squeaking when pushed to their limits. It’s always important to have the intermediate period between beginner and advanced because an advanced clarinet would be too overwhelming for a beginner to handle initially.
You’ll know when you are at the intermediate level because the new pieces you learn will be difficult to muster on the beginner clarinet. You’ll find that it cannot handle the varied notes and will start to squeak.
With intermediate clarinets, you can be expected to use thicker reeds that you haven’t used before to assist in creating a good sound and plastic clarinets are not good for thicker reeds as they don’t have the strength needed.
Are wooden clarinets better than plastic?
As explained above, wooden clarinets are mainly used by advanced users and are much better than plastic instruments. This is because they can handle difficult pieces and are designed for longer use.
Plastic clarinets don’t have the same durability or reliability as they are not meant to be used for long periods of time.
Plastic clarinets are an easy way for beginners to create the sound and get the basic techniques perfected but once you have mastered this, you’ll be wanting to purchase a better instrument that can handle more.
On an aesthetic level, plastic clarinets don’t look as professional and tidy as wooden clarinets do because they tend to be really shiny or in bright colors.