How to Find the Best E Flat Clarinet

Have you ever wanted to learn another instrument but don’t want to stray too far from the clarinet? Consider how to find the best E flat clarinet.

It’s a smaller member of the clarinet family, so it has a lot of similarities. But there are enough differences to keep you on your toes as you learn the instrument.

How to Find the Best E Flat Clarinet

If you want to expand your skills as a clarinetist, you can learn more than the instrument in Bb. The Eb clarinet is an excellent option, especially for smaller players.

You don’t have to worry about as much weight as if you were to play the bass clarinet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put some thought into selecting the right model.

Consider the following factors to decide how to find the best E flat clarinet for you.

Know Your Goals

One of the most important factors is your goals as a clarinet player. If you want to make music your career, especially as a performer, you’ll need as good of an Eb clarinet as you can find.

However, if you’d prefer to keep performing as a hobby, you can get away without spending as much money. Either way, you can start on a more affordable model and upgrade later.

Then, you’ll be able to start learning how to play the Eb clarinet. But you won’t have to risk a ton of money without knowing for sure that you’ll want to continue playing it.

Think about Your Bb Clarinet

While some people may play the Eb clarinet first, most musicians should start on the Bb clarinet. Assuming you already play it, take a look at the Bb clarinet you own and use.

Consider the model number and the brand that made the clarinet, as well as the materials. Some clarinet makers use the same models for all different sizes of clarinets.

So if you really like your Bb clarinet, you can get the same or a similar Eb model. Then, you’ll have a good chance of liking the clarinet your purchase.

Set a Budget

As you shop around for the right Eb clarinet, take a look at the prices. Consider how much you can afford to spend on an instrument, and compare that to the prices of available models.

Then, you can narrow your search to Eb clarinets in your budget. If you’re new to the instrument, you might want to keep your budget small, to around $2,000 or so.

On the other hand, if you have an Eb clarinet and need an upgrade, prepare to spend closer to $4,000 or $5,000. That way, you’ll have more models to try and compare to find one you love.

Compare Materials

You should also think about the different materials that makers use to manufacture Eb clarinets. Like other types of clarinets, some cheaper models use plastic.

However, with Eb clarinets, wood models are more common, even for beginners. Grenadilla, also known as African blackwood, is the most common clarinet wood.

But you can also find rosewood clarinets, which offer a different look at sound. Don’t be afraid to try clarinets that use different materials to get the sound you want.

Consider the Mouthpiece

One of the benefits of playing any clarinet (including Eb) is that you can customize the instrument. So if you find a model you kind of like but don’t love, swap out the mouthpiece.

You may be able to get more control or a warmer tone with a different mouthpiece design. Then, you won’t have to compromise on your purchase or spend a ton of extra money.

Unfortunately, your Bb clarinet mouthpiece is too big. But you can compare a few different Eb mouthpieces with the same clarinet body to find a combination that works for you.

Don’t Forget Reeds

Maybe you have a great Eb clarinet and mouthpiece setup, but you still don’t like how it sounds. Instead of spending time trying models that you may not enjoy, consider what reed you’re using.

The right Eb clarinet reed can make a huge difference in the sound and response of the instrument. In some cases, it may make a big enough difference, and you might choose an instrument you wouldn’t have bought otherwise.

Now, if you hate the sound, a new reed probably won’t help. However, it can be worth trying a new reed if you like some parts of the clarinet but not everything.

Select Testing Repertoire

You might luck out and love the first Eb clarinet you try. However, you will probably need to try at least a couple of different models or combinations of clarinets and accessories.

To help control that testing process, you should keep the music you use the same. You can play simple things, like scales, and you can play more complex solos.

That way, you’ll get an idea of how the clarinet sounds throughout its range. Keeping the testing music the same will reduce the number of factors that could affect your decision, so you can focus more on the sound and response of each model.

Choose repertoire that goes low and high, soft and loud, and fast and slow. Then, you shouldn’t have to worry about not liking the clarinet after you buy it.

Test Multiple Models

Once you select the music to use, you can try a few Eb clarinets. Ideally, you would be able to try a few back to back so that you can easily compare them.

However, you can still try them on different occasions. If that’s the case, be sure to take written notes of your thoughts regarding each instrument as well as audio recordings.

After you try a few Eb clarinets, you can review those notes and recordings to see if any model sticks out. You might be able to either eliminate models or settle on one after a few tests.

Stick With Reputable Brands

Best E Flat Clarinet

When testing Eb clarinets, try to stick to well-known brands like Yamaha and Buffet. Those companies have a long history of making excellent clarinets of all sizes, so you can know you’ll get a good quality model.

Buying a cheap model may sound good now. But you have to think about how long the instrument will last. If it’s suspiciously cheap, there’s a good chance the clarinet won’t stay in playing condition for very long.

Looking at Eb clarinets from reputable brands can take away the stress of finding a good clarinet. Then, you can focus on other factors, like the tone quality and the response.

Check the Used Market

Many musicians will start their search for the best Eb clarinet with new models. And a lot of times, you will find a good option directly from the manufacturer or an authorized dealer.

However, you may want to also look at used Eb clarinets for sale. You may be able to save money but still, get an excellent instrument as long as the seller took good care of it.

If you go for a used clarinet, make sure you can test it before you buy it or that the seller accepts returns. You should still prioritize getting the right Eb clarinet for you.

Look Into Renting

Another option you can try to save money on the best Eb clarinet is to rent one. This is great for students and anyone else on a strict budget because you can either pay a low monthly fee or nothing at all.

If you’re in school, ask your band or orchestra director if they have an Eb clarinet you can borrow. And if you have a private teacher, you can also ask them about borrowing an instrument.

Then, you’ll have more time than in a regular trial to test out that particular model. When you have the money and are ready to buy, you may know exactly which model to get.

Best E Flat Clarinets

Even if you know how to find the best E flat clarinet, you need to know where to start. While there aren’t as many Eb models as Bb models, there is a selection out there.

To help with your search, I found some of the best Eb clarinets on the market. I looked for models with a good reputation or good reviews.

Also, in my search, I looked for models at a variety of price points and that used different materials. Give the following options a try when searching for your perfect Eb clarinet.

Yinfente Ebonite Eb Clarinet

Yinfente Ebonite Eb Clarinet

The Yinfente Ebonite Eb Clarinet is one of the most affordable models you’ll find. It uses a material called ebonite, which isn’t actually ebony wood.

Because of that, this clarinet isn’t as expensive as some other options. And you don’t have to worry about the wood cracking when playing it in extreme temperatures.

You’ll get a one-piece body as well as a bell, barrel, and a mouthpiece. Playing this model can help you get a sweet sound, so it’s great for a lot of different settings.


  • Easy to play
  • Affordable
  • Less risk of cracking
  • Comes with accessories
  • Great for beginners


  • Not super well-known

Yinfente Rosewood Eb Clarinet

Yinfente Rosewood Eb Clarinet

If you want a rosewood model, give the Yinfente Rosewood Eb Clarinet a try. The company hand-selects rosewood to use for instruments, which means the wood is great for playing music.

This is an excellent model for players on a budget who want something a bit more advanced. You can get a professional, clear tone, and it’s easy to play.

It even comes with two barrels to help you refine your tone. And you don’t have to buy a separate mouthpiece if you like the one that you get with the clarinet.


  • Advanced
  • Affordable
  • Easy to play
  • Plenty of accessories
  • Good quality


  • Not the most popular brand

Yamaha YCL-681

Yamaha YCL-681

The Yamaha YCL-681 is an excellent professional Eb clarinet. It features a grenadilla bell, body, and barrel, which is pretty standard among Eb clarinets.

You also get a mouthpiece, so all you need to start playing is a reed. This model is of excellent quality, and you can use it to play for a long time.

Everything comes in a convenient case that you can use for storage and transportation. And you get a five-year warranty in case anything breaks.


  • Easy to play
  • Excellent quality
  • Comes with a mouthpiece
  • Long warranty
  • Looks and sounds good


  • A bit expensive
  • Not available on Amazon

Buffet E11 Eb Clarinet

Buffet E11 Eb Clarinet

Don’t confuse it with its larger cousin. The Buffet E11 Eb clarinet is its own model despite the share model number. It’s an intermediate model with a lot of professional features.

Grenadilla wood gives the clarinet a warm tone, so it’s great for advancing players. Buffet makes this model in France, and it’s excellent quality.

You’ll receive a mouthpiece, ligature, and cap as well as a case to store everything. While this model isn’t cheap, it’s not as expensive as some options.


  • Good tone
  • Looks good
  • Easy to play
  • Great for advancing players
  • Comes with accessories


  • Not on Amazon

Buffet R13

Buffet R13

The Buffet R13 is a professional Eb clarinet model, so it can be an excellent upgrade from the E11. This model uses grenadilla wood for the body, so it looks and sounds great.

It offers an excellent response, and it comes with most of the things you need to play. However, you will need to supply your own Eb clarinet reeds and mouthpiece.

But that means you can set up your gear exactly how you want. Then, you can make sure to get the sound you need out of your new clarinet.


  • Easy to play
  • Great response
  • Nice sound
  • Good upgrade
  • Suitable for professionals


  • Not available on Amazon

Buffet Prestige RC

Buffet Prestige RC

If you need a professional instrument but don’t like the R13, try the Buffet Prestige RC. This Eb clarinet uses quality materials and a unique manufacturing process to make it look and sound fantastic.

Unfortunately, it is quite a bit more expensive than some other Eb models. But the tone is great, and the mechanics work well, so you can play almost anything on this instrument.

Plus, it comes with a mouthpiece and care accessories, so you can start playing soon. All you need to get separately is a good box of reeds.


  • Great quality
  • Easy to play
  • Good for professionals
  • Comes with accessories
  • Works well


  • Quite expensive
  • Not on Amazon

Buffet Tosca

Buffet Tosca

Unless you’re an Eb clarinet specialist, you might find the Buffet Tosca is too expensive. But it does have quite a few features that make it worth it for serious players.

You can get a good sound on it, and it sounds excellent in chamber groups and large symphonies. Grenadilla makes up the body, which helps you get that warm tone.

Plus, you get two barrels so that you can choose the one you like better. And the keyword is reliable, so you shouldn’t have to worry about needing constant repairs.


  • Easy to play
  • Great for serious players
  • Versatile sound
  • Multiple barrels
  • Reliable mechanism


  • Very expensive
  • Not on Amazon

FAQs About How to Find the Best E Flat Clarinet

Question: What is the Eb Clarinet?

Answer: The Eb clarinet is the smallest common member of the clarinet family. It plays in the key of Eb, so it sounds a minor third higher than the notes you see on the page.
Like the piccolo, the Eb frequently has the melody or descant parts in ensembles. Because of that, you need to have good control over the sound to stay in tune.

Question: How Does the Eb Clarinet Compare to Other Clarinets?

Answer: The most obvious difference is that the Eb clarinet is smaller than other members of the family. However, it reads the same range when you look at an Eb clarinet part on paper.
It sounds a perfect fourth higher than the Bb clarinet and an octave higher than the alto clarinet. Because it’s significantly smaller than other instruments, you’ll need a separate mouthpiece and reeds for it.

Question: Why Does Having a Good Eb Clarinet Matter?

Answer: Having a good Eb clarinet can make getting a good, consistent tone a lot easier. As I mentioned, it’s like the piccolo of the clarinet section, which means people will hear you.
If you have to struggle to get a good tone, you may not find playing the Eb clarinet very fun. And directors may not assign you to play the instrument because they want the whole band to sound good.

Question: Is the Eb Clarinet Hard to Play?

Answer: The Eb clarinet can be very hard to play, especially if you haven’t played other clarinets before. You need to have good control of your lips and airstream to make sure you get a good sound.
It can also help to have smaller hands so that you can place your fingers in the right spots. You can play the Eb clarinet with larger hands, but it might feel awkward.

Question: Where can You Play the Eb Clarinet?

Answer: You can play the Eb clarinet on your own, but it’s also a common member of clarinet choirs. While it’s not as popular in other groups, you may also find parts for it in wind ensemble and orchestra.
The instrument also makes an appearance in the reed books for musicals. So if you want to play in the pit orchestra of a show like Wicked, you may need to play a bit of Eb clarinet.

Question: Can You Start on the Eb Clarinet?

Answer: It’s possible to play the Eb clarinet without learning the Bb clarinet first. However, you may struggle to get a sound on the smaller instrument without learning the basics first.
So give yourself a year or two to learn the Bb clarinet. If you still want to play the Eb clarinet, you can always pick it up later.

Final Note on How to Find the Best E Flat Clarinet

Whether you’re a player, teacher, or ensemble director, you need to know how to find the best E flat clarinet. Then, you can make sure that you or your students have a good instrument to play.

Be sure to compare instruments from Buffet, Yamaha, and other brands. Test a few models to help decide which one meets your needs.

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