Outside Horn

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Frequently Asked Questions...

How do I know when to replace my clarinet?

I've had mine for four years now. It's still completely fine but I'm going to high school next year, so should I get a new one now?
Is four years a typical lifespan (LOL) for a clarinet?

Best Answer...


My main player soprano clarinet was made in 1926 by C. G. Conn out of a block of beautiful rosewood you just can't get anymore by people who made instruments by hand with real silver parts. It's better than anything you can buy now for under $4,000 and is almost 100 years old; most of my other instruments aren't exactly that old but the best amongst them aren't new either. They also aren't beginner level instruments that weren't intended for serious playing - they're top quality pieces of craftsman's skill. The lifespan of a musical instrument that was well made and well taken care of is generations.

If your clarinet is the usual beginner's model most folks start out on, then 4 years is a decent time to start looking for an intermediate level instrument such as the Buffet E-11 or, if you're a particularly serious player, an advanced model such as the R-13. An E-11 level would last through HS, into college, and is even good for some levels of professional playing. An R-13 should last through anything you'd ever want to do including playing in a major symphony and should last a lifetime and more.

You keep your beginner's model in good working order to use for such things as a marching band/outside horn and as a backup for emergencies.