Beginner clarinets usually range in cost from $500 to $1100. Intermediate, or step-up clarinets usually range in cost $1,300 to $2,800 and entry level pro clarinets (still largely played by advanced students) around $2000 and up.
There are several things that determine the overall cost of a clarinet:
- Material - Most student clarinets are made of ABS resin bodies and nickel keys. Intermediate clarinets will have a grenadilla (african blackwood) body, and keys that are generally made of a "nickel/silver" alloy and then plated with nickel or silver .
- Condition - New or used, as well as any needed maintenance can determine the cost of a clarinet.
- Brand/Manufacturer - Not all clarinets are built the same. Unfortunately, some clarinet manufacturers use low quality materials, which most of the time results in an instrument that cannot be fixed.
- Case - Quality clarinet cases and case cover combinations can range from $40 to $150 and should be considered when looking at the whole cost of the instrument.
- Features - The quality cut of grenadilla wood, advanced bore metrics, nickel or silver plated keys, are features found on many intermediate clarinets that can determine the cost.
- Mouthpiece - A student clarinet will come with an inexpensive plastic mouthpiece that has a larger airflow which is easier for a student to play. A hard rubber mouthpiece is usually suggested for intermediate and professional clarinets. A hard rubber mouthpiece will result in a more professional sound, maintain accuracy and consistency in focusing air into the instrument.
- Service - Some organizations offer service after the sale, including maintenance of the instrument, school delivery and support of the school and community.
In most cases, saying "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is" can be applied to musical instruments. In other words, "you get what you pay for". While there are many deals available to musicians of all levels, there are instruments that are poorly manufactured and not appropriate for making music or bringing to a band class. It is wise to ask from a private instructor, music educator or reputable music store for guidance in selecting the best instrument for your musical needs.