How to Find the Best EB Clarinet: Why I Love the Buffet E11 Eb

Have you listened to The Rite of Spring and fallen in love with the Eb clarinet solo? You may want to try the instrument yourself, but you should know how to find the best Eb clarinet.

Then, you can set yourself up for success when learning the instrument. Consider what goes into choosing a good model and what models are out there for you to compare.

How to Find the Best Eb Clarinet

Knowing how to find the best Eb clarinet can make a huge difference in your journey learning the instrument. Whether you’ve played the Eb clarinet or want to switch from Bb, you need a good model.

Now, you can use a lot of the same tricks you would use when shopping for a Bb clarinet. But there are some differences, so you’ll need to think about the Eb clarinet specifically.

Consider some of the following steps to help you find the best Eb clarinet for you.

Consider Your Bb Clarinet

Most people who shop for an Eb clarinet already have and play the Bb clarinet. So take a look at your Bb model and consider the brand and model name or number.

You can also consider if your clarinet is plastic or wood and what other specs it has. Then, think about if you like that setup or not, and that can help you narrow your search for an Eb clarinet.

For example, some companies make the same models for the different clarinet sizes. So if you like it in one size, you may like it in another size, and you can know to test that model. Or you can avoid it if you aren’t the biggest fan of it.

Know Your Level

You should also think about your level of clarinet playing, regardless of the clarinet type. If you’ve only played for a year or two or if you don’t play very often, you may want to get a more basic Eb clarinet.

On the other hand, you may be in college as a music major or a professional. In those cases, you may want to spend a bit more on an advanced Eb clarinet model to support you as you grow in school or your career.

There are Eb clarinets for every budget and level. While that can make it hard to find the best one, you can use your own experience to narrow your search for something that suits your needs.

Think About Your Budget

Of course, you shouldn’t buy a new instrument without considering the financial side. I’d love to buy dozens of instruments and probably would if I had all of the money in the world.

But I don’t have a ton of money to just drop on some new music gear. If you’re like me, you need to think about what you’re willing to spend on a good Eb clarinet.

You should prepare to spend something, but you can find affordable models. So consider your level as well as the balance in your bank account. Then, you can set a range for your budget so that you can test out a few Eb clarinets.

Start with Reputable Brands

Once you have your budget and an idea of what you want out of an Eb clarinet, you can start shopping. However, you can find some cheap, low-quality models on the market.

They aren’t as common among Eb clarinets as other instruments, but you should still try to find models from good companies. At the very least, look for models that have good reviews from customers.

Then, you can increase the chances that you’ll like the instrument. If you can’t afford any of the good models yet, you can take time to save up so that you don’t have to buy another Eb clarinet in a year when the one you buy now inevitably breaks.

Choose Good Music

Another essential part of how to find the best Eb clarinet is to choose music to use to test instruments. You should find music that covers the entire range regarding pitch, dynamics, and speed.

If you’re a more advanced player, you might select the famous Eb clarinet solo from The Rite of Spring. Or if you’re relatively new to the clarinet, you may choose a short etude or exercise.

Either way, you can choose a few different excerpts to use in your testing. Then, you’ll be able to figure out if there are any aspects of a clarinet you don’t like before you spend a ton of money on it.

Practice Your Current Clarinet

After you select some music for testing, break out your current clarinet for a good practice session. If you have an Eb clarinet to play, that’s great, but this also works on the Bb clarinet.

Use this session to give yourself a baseline that you can compare potential Eb clarinets against. And if it’s been a while since you took your clarinet to a repair tech, schedule an appointment.

Then, you can make sure your current model is in the best possible shape. That’s particularly important if you have an Eb clarinet already because you may discover you don’t need to upgrade quite yet.

eb clarinet

Set Up A Trial

You’ve looked over your current clarinet, chosen music, and set a budget. Now, you’re ready to schedule a time to try some Eb clarinets, either at home or a local music store.

Or you might choose to buy an Eb clarinet with the option to return it if you don’t like it. Either way, you want to make sure you have time to test a few instruments until you find the one for you.

If you go somewhere for a trial, bring your music if you haven’t memorized it. Otherwise, have your music on hand for when a shipment of Eb clarinets gets to you, and take your time testing them out.

Record Yourself

As you test the Eb clarinets, use your phone or another device to record the audio. Then, you can listen back and see if you missed anything when you were playing the instruments.

Recording is also useful if you can only test one or two models at a time. You can listen back to the first recording when you get a new Eb clarinet to try at a different time.

Even if you can test multiple clarinets at once, you can use the recordings to hear what a listener might hear. If you have to focus a lot on playing, you may not actually know how good or bad a clarinet sounds.

Get A Trusted Opinion

You may also want to bring a clarinet teacher or player that you trust to your trial. They can listen as you play and give you feedback on how an instrument sounds.

The player may also be able to play the instrument for you so that you can hear how it sounds live. A teacher or player can also help with a blindfolded test so that you don’t let any preconceived notions of a brand affect your choice.

Sometimes, you may adjust your opinion based on the reputation of a certain model. While that model may be the right choice for you, a blind test can help confirm that.

Keep Testing

Some players may get lucky and find their ideal Eb clarinet during their first trial or with their first order. However, you may need to spend more time looking around for a good model.

Don’t force yourself to settle for a clarinet you don’t love just because you have it in your hands. Take time to research more brands and models in your price range that you can test.

You can even swap out mouthpieces and reeds with the same clarinet during a trial. The right combination of accessories could make a huge difference and turn an average model into your perfect match.

Look At Used Models

If you still can’t find anything you like, open your search to used Eb clarinets. You can get on marketplaces like Facebook or eBay, or you can ask a clarinet teacher if they or their students have a model to sell.

Then, you’ll be able to run the model through the same series of tests as new models. In some cases, you might like a used instrument better than a new one, and you can save money.

Just make sure the owner has taken good care of the Eb clarinet. That way, you won’t have to spend a ton of money to get it in playing condition after you spend money to buy it.

Best Eb Clarinets

You know how to find the best Eb clarinet, and you have a process to follow when testing instruments. But which Eb clarinets are worth your time?

I looked for clarinets from different brands and at various price points. Then, I considered the brand reputation and reviews from customers to narrow down a list of the best Eb clarinets on the market.

Here are some models you should consider trying.

Yinfente Professional

Yinfente Professional Clarinet Ebonite Wood Eb Flat Clarinet

Despite its name, the Yinfente Professional Eb clarinet is quite affordable. It’s an ebonite model, so you don’t have to worry about wood cracking in extreme temperatures.

The clarinet uses nickel-plated keys, and the trill keys are inline with other keys. It comes with one barrel as well as a mouthpiece and ligature, so all you need is a good reed.

Accessories include cork grease and a cleaning cloth, so you can do basic daily maintenance. Then, you can keep the clarinet in good condition for a decent amount of time.


  • Easy to play
  • Durable
  • Good materials
  • Affordable
  • Comes with accessories


  • Not actually professional

Yinfente Intermediate

Yinfente Intermediate Eb key Clarinet Rosewood Solid wood Clarinet Silver Plate Eb Key 17 key Case

The Yinfente Intermediate model is actually a bit more advanced than the professional model. It’s a rosewood instrument that comes with two barrels, a mouthpiece, and a ligature.

You can use it to get a warm, rich tone like on a more expensive Eb clarinet. It also comes with a cleaning cloth that you can use to wipe down the instrument after a practice session.

This model even comes with reeds that you can use to test it and play it. Then, you can make sure this is the right model for you before you spend more money on another option.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to play
  • Good materials
  • Durable
  • Comes with accessories


  • The wood can crack

Yamaha YCL-681

Yamaha YCL-681

If you have some more money to spend, you may want to get the Yamaha YCL-681. The Eb clarinet is grenadilla wood, which is the standard wood for a lot of woodwind instruments.

There’s a one-piece body, and it has silver-plated keys that look good and are easy to use. You’ll get a mouthpiece, barrel, and bell along with the body of the Eb clarinet.

Like other Yamaha models, this one comes with a five-year warranty. If something goes wrong with the instrument (aside from normal wear and tear), you can contact Yamaha to see if the problem qualifies for a replacement.


  • Great for advanced players
  • Nice sound
  • Fantastic materials
  • Durable
  • Long warranty


Buffet E11

Buffet E11

Don’t confuse it with the same model in Bb, the Buffet E11 is also an Eb clarinet model. It’s an excellent option for advancing students who need a good instrument without spending too much money.

This model is grenadilla wood and has nickel-plated keys, so it’s easy to play and sounds great. You’ll receive plenty of accessories, such as a mouthpiece, ligature, and care supplies.

That way, you can start playing the clarinet when you receive it as long as you have some reeds. Plus, you can enjoy the benefits of a pro model without quite as high of a price tag.


  • Easy to play
  • Great for students
  • Same model as a Bb clarinet
  • Comes with accessories
  • Not too expensive


  • Not for beginners
  • Not on Amazon

Buffet R13

Buffet R13



The Buffet R13 is another amazing Eb clarinet, especially for advanced players. Grenadilla wood is the primary material of the one-piece body as well as the bell and barrel.

It also has an adjustable thumb rest, so you can make sure your right hand is comfortable while playing. Since this is a pro model, it’s quite expensive, but it’s not the most costly option out there.

Still, I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners or intermediate players. But it can make for an excellent upgrade if you’re in college for music or want to play clarinet professionally.


  • Easy to play
  • Adjustable to help feel comfortable
  • Great design
  • Sounds nice
  • Suitable for advanced players


  • Pretty expensive
  • Not on Amazon

Buffet Prestige RC

Buffet Prestige RC



If you want something a bit fancier, you may like the Buffet Prestige RC model. This Eb clarinet uses mpingo wood, which is another name for grenadilla.

The silver-plated keys look good and are easy to play, so you can cover the clarinet’s entire range. You’ll also get a mouthpiece and ligature as well as a mouthpiece cap.

This model is best for professionals and potentially students who want to specialize in the Eb clarinet. But you don’t need this model if you plan to play for fun.


  • Great materials
  • Durable
  • Easy to play
  • Looks good
  • For professionals


  • Very expensive
  • Not on Amazon

Buffet Tosca

Buffet Tosca

The Buffet Tosca is another high-end professional Eb clarinet. It uses African blackwood (yet another name for grenadilla), and you can use it when playing solo or in a group.

You’ll receive two barrels with this model, though it doesn’t come with a mouthpiece. But that gives you the chance to experiment with different mouthpieces to find one you love.

It does have an adjustable thumb rest to make playing more comfortable. Plus, you can play it in tune whether the pitch of A is 440 Hz or 442 Hz.


  • Easy to play
  • Adjustable thumb rest
  • Great for professionals
  • Durable
  • Nice materials


  • Very expensive
  • Not on Amazon

FAQs about How to Find the Best Eb Clarinet

Question: How does the Eb clarinet compare to the Bb clarinet?

Answer: The Eb clarinet is smaller and plays a fourth higher than the Bb clarinet. It can fill a similar role to the first Bb clarinet part, but it can have a bit of a brighter sound.
However, the Eb clarinet uses the same fingerings and written range as all other clarinets. That can make switching to it relatively easy if you’ve played the Bb clarinet before.

Question: Why should you play the Eb clarinet?

Answer: You should play the Eb clarinet because it’s fun and can help you improve your clarinet skills overall. A more practical reason is that playing both the Eb and Bb clarinets can help you get more gigs.
Whether you want to play for fun or professionally, you can play a different role when you play the Eb clarinet. You may hear yourself better in an ensemble, and you can stand out in a sea of clarinetists.

Question: Why does having a good Eb clarinet matter?

Answer: Having a good Eb clarinet matters because it’s easy for others to hear, similar to the piccolo. If your Eb clarinet isn’t good, you’ll struggle to make a good sound, and that can affect the entire performance.
You want to make sure that you will sound your best, especially if you want to get more Eb parts in the future. If a director doesn’t like your performance, you may not get to play that instrument again.

Question: Can you start on the Eb clarinet as a beginner?

Answer: You can play the Eb clarinet as a beginner, but I’d recommend starting on the Bb clarinet. Bb clarinets are almost always more affordable and easier to find.
Then, you can learn the basics on the bigger instrument, and you’ll have a bit more flexibility to make mistakes. Eventually, you can add the Eb clarinet to your practice rotation.

Question: Can you teach yourself the Eb clarinet?

Answer: You can teach yourself the Eb clarinet if you already play the Bb clarinet. Because of the similarities, you will mostly need to adjust your hand position and embouchure.
However, you will already know what fingers to use for different notes. That way, you don’t have to learn the Eb clarinet from scratch.

Final Note on How to Find the Best Eb Clarinet

If you want to improve your clarinet skills, you should know how to find the best Eb clarinet. Then, you can learn a new instrument and access more parts in ensembles.

I’d suggest you try the Buffet E11 Eb clarinet to see if it’s a good fit. But clarinets can play differently for different people, so don’t hesitate to try other models to find the clarinet that works for you.

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