Whether you’re a professional clarinet player or just a beginner, shopping for the right clarinet certainly isn’t easy. Traditionally, this meant a trip to a music store where you’d be surrounded by a huge variety of instruments and exposed to high pressure sales staff – an overwhelming experience if you’re a newcomer. Even if you’re an old pro and need a specific brand, many of the professional wood types are imports and a store may not even have them in stock. Factor in the high prices and travel times and even the most seasoned of shoppers would be intimidated.
For price comparison and bargain hunting, the internet clarinet marketplace can’t be beat. Whether buying new or used, shopping online gives you the opportunity to find the best price. Buying used clarinets from markets such as eBay, Craigslist or pawn shops can be a great way to find an affordable instrument, but you’re left with the risk of acquiring a poor quality item in need of repair.
Shopping online for a clarinet levels the playing field in both price and choice. Online retailers include websites from brick-and-mortar music stores, online-only music retailers and specialty stores. Many are run by musicians themselves who decided to be a resource for others.
Online clarinet stores also have the advantage of better categorizing and presenting their inventory. You can search for clarinets and accessories based on your playing level, your ideal price range and the type of clarinet you want. And while nothing beats holding the clarinet in your hand (or playing it in person), helpful pictures and policies are in place to guarantee that you get exactly what you pay for.
With so many instrument, hobby and third party websites out there, it can be hard to know where to begin searching for a clarinet online. There are many factors that may come into play, such as site selection, site features, delivery speed and support. Regardless of playing level, budget or location, there are a handful of dependable clarinet retailers offering reasonably priced instruments and great customer support. At TopTenREVIEWS we evaluated a number of the best online clarinet stores according to the following criteria:
If a store doesn’t have what you need, then you’ll hunt elsewhere. The same rule applies to online shopping. A site with a large scope of products will satisfy more customers and in turn have more business. Bigger inventory means better selection and often better prices.
Is the site easy to navigate? A poorly organized store will annoy a buyer and send them searching elsewhere. Does the site run promotions or just offer items at sticker price? A site with deals on hand can make the difference between getting the same clarinet at $1,000 or $500. Overall, a site with a clear layout and easy-to-use navigation features makes for a more enjoyable (not to mention more professional and trustworthy) shopping experience.
Does the site offer more than just instruments? A Clarinetist will need more than simply an instrument. There are cleaning kits, maintenance kits, reeds, stands and metronomes to consider. The best online clarinet stores cater to all the regular needs of musicians.
Payment & Shipping
Long gone are the days when people merely paid by check or money order. Now, credit cards and online payment methods like PayPal are in popular use. Having an array of mailing options across the country is a necessity in dealing with instruments. We ranked sites with multiple shipping options and delivery tracking higher in our lineup. Obviously you don’t want an expensive investment floating around in the mail system.
Support for things that can go wrong (shipping delays, damaged equipment, missing instrument parts, etc.) could be the difference between getting satisfactory service and having lost out on money and time. Is help staff from the company easily reachable? Many sites provide phone numbers and emails to reach them and some have on-site support available at various times of the day.
Do they provide a return policy? The return policy is very important on the off chance the instrument you received was not what you requested or if it arrives damaged.
A well balanced site offers navigable pages, a great selection of instruments and accessories, a variety of payment and shipping options and reliable customer support. A clarinet is a major investment in your musical journey. On our site you’ll find side-by-side comparisons and in-depth reviews of the best clarinet stores. Start by reading our review of Instrumental Savings and the informative articles on clarinet stores featured on this page.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™
TopTenREVIEWS no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in February 2012.
|Instrumental Savings||Musician's Friend||Amazon.com||Bethel Music Center||RDG Woodwinds||Music 123||Sam Ash Direct||KK Music Store||Play Music 123||1Stop Clarinet and Sax Shop|
|Advanced Search Options|
|Repair (cork, pads, tools)|
|Payment and Shipping|
|Check (personal and cashier)|
|Rush (3 Day)|