My 12-year-old son has been taking clarinet lessons at school for the last 3 years, and really enjoys it. Now that I see he is intent on continuing, I am considering buying a clarinet rather than renting. However, I know nothing about clarinets other than what it looks like. I am planning on talking to his teacher to see what he recommends, but I'd like to ask you guys for your opinions. For obvious reasons, I am not looking for anything expensive. But I also don't want to buy a piece of expensive garbage. He participates in regular band as well as jazz band. What do you suggest? Thanks!
Probably a yamaha, they're good for students, and go up in qualtiy/price. Or see what he's playing now, and if he likes teh feel of it, stay with that model. I started with a armstrong, i think, but they dont make those anymore. His teacher would be good to ask, or even bring along when you go buy.
If he's really serious about continuing I would spend the money ($2500+) buying him a professional clarinet. I got mine at age 12 and so did many other people I know. Buffet is definitely the company to go with. It's expensive but if he's serious and you buy him anything lower than an E11 (I think this is about $1500, I'm not positive) you're going to need to buy him another clarinet soon. Again, if he's serious he'll probably need a professional level by high school so though it's expensive now, I would go for it. Try out several clarinets (including multiple of the same model) because they are not all made equally. I would recommend a Buffet R13 either the regular model or the Greenline. The Greenline is great because the sound quality is just as good but you don't need to worry about the instrument cracking.
Hope this helps.
If you don't plan on spending a lot, even student model Buffet's are great instruments. I march with a B12. I would say that the B12 is probably the best student instrument currently on the market. I would still look into getting an E11. It is a fine intermediate instrument that can easily get a person through highschool, and if he plans on continuing into college, certainly a professional horn would be needed.
B12 - 608.00
E11 - 1,054.00 (With some free stuff.)
another alternitive is to look in antique stores. You never know what you might find, such as a high intermediate or a pro horn simply needing a tune up and some scrubbing to clean!
Also, take how he handles his clarinet now to determine his future one. If he isn't mature enough to handle a pro horn, then don't buy. His private instructor should have much imput and friendly advice.