Intermediate Clarinet Pic

The 'Intermediate' Clarinet Myth

In prior years, it has been difficult for me to recommend "step-up" or "intermediate" clarinets to my students looking to upgrade from their plastic instruments. This was the result of a couple of different factors.

First, so-called intermediate clarinets often carry the wrong balance of features versus price. Yes, they are often made from wood rather than plastic, which makes them appear more similar to their professional counterparts on first glance. But in actuality, they tend to lack many of the finer elements of bore design, tone hole finishing, and pad choice found on professional instruments, paired with a shortened crack warranty. This results in instruments which inherit all of the higher costs of creating an instrument out of wood, but few of the benefits.

Luckily, with growing competition in the market, there are now many more options for students who are looking to upgrade without breaking the bank. New York Clarinet Workshop is proud to offer several models which we feel are better categorized as entry-level professional models, rather than intermediate instruments, yet we are able to do so at a price that is favorable for students with budgetary constraints.

First up is the Rossi Academy, which is priced at $1850 at the time of writing. Some of its standout features include Valentino synthetic pads, silver-plated keys, and two included barrels (65m and 66mm) for added tuning flexibility. Luis Rossi, has been hand making clarinets of the highest quality for decades, and the Rossi Academy represents an opportunity for students to have a truly artisan instrument at an affordable price.

Next we have the Royal Global Classical Limited, which is priced at $2000 at the time of writing. It has a 3 Year Crack Warranty, which is unparalleled at this price tier. For comparison, Buffet offers a 3 year warranty only on their upper level professional instruments such as the Legende, Tosca, and Prestige. Additionally, the Classical Limited comes with two barrels, heavily silver-plated keys and a professional-level poly-cylindrical bore.

Lastly, the Buffet E12F, which is priced at $2120 at the time of writing. Though in the past, Buffets and the other larger manufacturers suffered from some of the issues outlined above. Buffet has stepped up their game with the E12F. It comes standard with premium leather pads, 2 year crack warranty and silver plated keys. Though the Buffets are more 'mass produced' and do require more set up work (free of charge when you buy through NYCW!) compared to the others on this list, there are a few reasons why it might be worth the additional cost. Since Buffets have a large degree of brand recognition, they tend to retain more value, if you want the option of selling it some years down the line. Additionally, in contrast to the other models, the Buffet E12F tends to sound the most like...well Buffets, with their characteristic 'pingy' sound.

If you have more questions or would like to arrange to try any of these instruments, please don't hesitate to contact us!
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