Among all woodwind instruments, the clarinet is perhaps one of the most commonly played. It is also popular with beginners and students who are looking for a chance to play in an orchestra or a school band. One of the desirable characteristics of a clarinet is its deep and earthy tones.

Parents of clarinet beginners typically find themselves in a dilemma when buying a clarinet for their child. There is always the option of buying brand new or used as well as choosing which kind of clarinet best fits the interests of the player.

Should you buy a student clarinet?

A student clarinet is one that is made of plastic and is not built for long-term use. It is also relatively inexpensive and is a perfect option for parents who are unsure if their child will continue playing the clarinet seriously. Clarinet instruments are traditionally fashioned from hardwood which is why a student clarinet does not produce the characteristic sound of a wood clarinet. For a student who is dedicated to music and would like to enhance their clarinet playing skills, a good-quality instrument is a better option.

What to look for in a good-quality used clarinet

If you are buying a used clarinet for the first time, you need to look for the following:

  • Clarinet keys should cover the holes completely. Even so, the keys should not stick. If you are buying a used instrument, look for one with keys that aren’t too worn.
  • Clarinet joints need to be smooth and should also connect together completely.
  • The clarinet bell should not show any signs of chips or cracks both inside and outside. If the bell has any chips or cracks, it will impact or potentially distort the sound coming from the instrument.

In general, buying a used clarinet requires that you diligently look for signs of wear and tear.

Buying new vs buying used

Some parents are not comfortable purchasing a used musical instrument and prefer to buy a brand-new clarinet instead. While this may appear to be the ideal scenario, it is not often the most practical especially for those who are on a budget.

If your child is already showing signs of pursuing music seriously, starting off with a used instrument can also be an excellent choice. One great place to find a used clarinet for sale is from a local music store with ties to a school. It is likely that a graduating senior student is ready to sell a clarinet, or perhaps the school has several that are up for sale or replacement. These are examples of starting points to finding a quality used clarinet.

Keep in mind that you need to use due diligence in buying a clarinet that is passing from the hands of a previous owner to another. If it will cost you more to have some of the parts replaced, another option you can consider is renting an instrument instead.