Clarinet for son

My son needs a clarinet. he is showing some promise and so we have to get him a decent one.
the 2 I have my eye on are:
Buffet B12
Yamah YCL250

The Buffet I can get (I think) for around £280. The Yamaha for £370. Both are really expensive.

My question is: why are all the sites online charging the same price give or take a pound or 2 - is there no competition in this market?


  • cmh4135
    cmh4135 Posts: 199 Forumite
    You will rarely find much fluctuation in price for good instruments - the market is limited and the models rarely change.

    Not sure where in the country you are but you may find that you can pick up a second hand instrument but I would only do this from a reputable dealer if you don't know what you are looking for. You could also look online at some of the larger dealers - Myatts and Howarths, both based in London have very good sites - they will occassionally have second hand student instruments.

    Of the two you are looking as I would go for the Yamaha, although I always prefer Buffet instruments above the student level.

    PM me if I can help.
  • System
    System Posts: 178,093 Community Admin
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Check with your son's school. The music teacher may be able to recommend a dealer.

    When my daughter took up clarinet we got hers from a shop that specialised in instruments for school. They also operated a buy back scheme as well (not so important for clarinet but a must for budding violinists)
  • torbrex
    torbrex Posts: 71,340 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post Rampant Recycler Hung up my suit!
    I saw a clarinet in a pawn shop at the weekend, I did not look too closely at it so I could not tell you the make but it looked in good condition and full size and was priced at £90.
    This was in Dundee, it may not help you for locality but it may be worth a look in your own area.
  • I think you can buy through your son's school and get the VAT refunded provided that he has at least one year of full-time education left. His music teacher should know about this and any other schemes that may be available to you - it's worth asking.
    Try looking here and for more info and then check with your local LEA.
    Given the current squeeze on budgets, I suspect that these schemes may not have long to live or may even have died already.
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  • id choose the Yamaha over the Buffet froma personal point of view as the sound etc is much better on the Yamaha.
    However, if you are not sure whether he will continue it or get bored of learning then id go for the buffet. perfectly adequate for a student beginner.
    yes, do ask your tutor for a dealer/seller/2nd hand shop which may have some at a better price. advertise in the local paper and look out in a freeads paper and the like. I sold a Yamaha one second hand for around £200 some years ago
  • Hi there!

    My son plays the trombone and i was recently in a similar situation. He had played a Jupiter in primary school, but as he was moving up to high school he had to give it back to the primary school.
    We went round the music shops where he had a play on nearly all of them and we narrowed it down from there.
    Luckily they had a second hand one in Forsyths, Manchester, which sounded amazing compared to the cheaper ones, so we picked that.
    We then agreed a price with the shop and spoke to the school, who purchased it for us and we paid them....less the VAT.
    There are other payment options available but this was cheaper for us, even though it was a lot to fork out for at the start, we saved almost £200.
    Speak to the SA in the shops, we found them really helpful. and the most helpful store got our business!!
  • ALI1973
    ALI1973 Posts: 288 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    If your child is having clarinet lessons through his school, you should be able to take advantage of the Assisted Purchase Scheme, which works as others have said here, the school make the purchase on your behalf and therefore, you save the VAT.

    You will need to speak to your child's music teacher in the first instance. I have used this scheme to purchase my own children's instruments, and I even got a better deal as the company gave special offers to the school also.
  • I agree that speaking to your son's music teacher would be the best place to start. Quite apart from knowing about any good and reputable local instrument dealers, (or indeed anyone who is wanting to sell a good instrument second hand) they will be able to advise on the best instrument to get for him, which can be quite important.

    You don't mention how old he is - a good wooden clarinet is quite a bit heavier than the usual standard "student" instrument and can take a fair bit more effort to play - some people & teachers have views on when it is the best time to start playing such an instrument, as playing the clarinet can have quite an effect on the teeth, especially if he is practising / playing a lot. The greater weight can also place a strain on the hands, especially the right hand thumb. (I have a quite distorted right thumb joint and nail as a result!)

    My own personal choice would be a B&H Emporer, but they are only available second hand now, as they are no longer made. However, a second hand instrument can often be much better for a young / inexperienced player in any event. New instruments (especially wooden ones, which sound a lot nicer) need a fair bit of "blowing in" and care. (oiling, adjustments for tuning, etc.) A second hand instrument has already had the TLC it needed, provided you get it from somewhere reputable.

    If you get a second hand instrument, you should make sure he gets to play it in the shop, so that he knows it "fits" the way he plays and the shape of his hands, etc. Also make sure it has had a "service," the pads have ideally been replaced fairly recently and it is generally in sound condition. Unless you know about instruments yourself, the best thing to do is go to a reputable local music shop. Some teachers will offer to come along to help.

    Quite a few music shops will let you "hire" an instrument for a while to see how he gets on with it, often with the charge then deducted from the price if he decides he likes that one. Or at least they did all those years ago when I got mine.

    Great instrument for him to learn to play - very versatile and enjoyable to play (and listen to!)
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