Holiday Clarinet Specials!

Happy holidays from the clarinet department at MMI! If you are looking to buy that talented student or special someone a clarinet this holiday season we have the deals for you! We have a limited selection of open box inventory at a fantastic price! The professional model instruments have been set-up by our expert repair technicians and play tested for fine tuning by our clarinet specialist. A value of $450 and at NO COST to you. You can rest assure that you have a truly wonderful instrument.

Buffet E11 Bb Clarinet- $1000/$970

Buffet R13 silver-plated keys Bb Clarinet - $3512/$3410

Buffet Tradition nickel-plated keys Bb Clarinet - $3502/$3400

Buffet R13 Prestige Bb Clarinet -  $5047/$4900
Buffet RC Prestige Bb Clarinet - $5047/$4900
Buffet Legende Bb Clarinet - $5356/$5200

Buffet R13 nickel-plated keys A Clarinet - $3399/$3300

Buffet Festival A Clarinet - $4326/$4200

Yamaha CSGII Bb Clarinet - $3142/$3050

Selmer Presence Bb Clarinet - $2914/$2800

Guide to Choosing the Right Clarinet

Choosing the Right Clarinet & Clarinet Brands Explained

We stock a wide variety of clarinet brands appropriate for absolute beginners through the most consummate professionals. We’ve created this guide to the clarinets we carry to help you make an informed decision on what instrument is right for you. As always, if you have any questions feel free to call our clarinet specialists at 612-331-4717.

Materials:

Clarinets are typically made from a variety of synthetics or wood (grenadilla). Synthetic clarinets are more resistant to physical damage and change little in different seasons or climates. All other things being equal, synthetic instruments will not produce as warm a tone as a wood clarinet. Wood instruments sound better/warmer but need much more care than the synthetic version to avoid cracks. Wood can very slightly, expand or contract throughout the life of the instrument, causing occasional key fitting problems that will need to be corrected by a repair technician.

Beginner Clarinets:

When searching for a beginner clarinet for a young player, we suggest a synthetic instrument like the Buffet Prodige or Yamaha YCL-255. These are inexpensive, yet have a strong reputation for playing well and holding up to some level of mistreatment. For a slightly older or more careful student, the Buffet E11/E12, Yamaha 450 or Leblanc Serenade are intermediate or semi-professional models that are considered good wood instruments.

We suggest: Don’t skimp on the mouthpiece! The mouthpiece is the most important part of the clarinet for beginners. The included mouthpieces that come with most new instruments (“Stock” mouthpieces) are usually poor quality, making it difficult to produce a good tone with good intonation. Many students give up on music too early because they’re using equipment that makes progressing difficult.

Vandoren makes fine mouthpieces that are priced around $100. The Vandoren B45 and 5RV Lyre are good models to start with and are worth every penny in the early stages of musical development. We also carry Clark Fobes and Brad Behn student mouthpieces that are hand-crafted and are affordably priced between $35-40. For more information, see our online Mouthpiece and Ligature guide.***

Intermediate Clarinets:

If you’ve been playing between 3-5 years the basic synthetic instrument may be hindering your technical abilities, not letting you develop your sound and expressiveness. The current industry standards for intermediate clarinets are Buffet E11 or E12F and the Yamaha YCL-450 or YCL-650. We strongly believe that for new purchases these models are the right way to go. The only other option we suggest is finding an used professional model clarinet that is in good condition. When approaching the purchase of used clarinets it’s best to go with a reputable brand like Buffet, Selmer or Yamaha otherwise you could end up with an instrument with cheap parts that plays poorly. For clarinets, age does play a factor, especially when looking for a good intermediate model. Older clarinets may have cracks, a blown out bore or were poorly maintained. These are factors to be mindful of when buying instruments online without trying them first. If you decide to buy a cracked clarinet have it looked at by a professional repair tech to make sure the crack was fixed properly. Check our Used Instruments page to see what we have available, or call our clarinet specialists to get more information on current inventory.

Professional Clarinets:

After some years of private lessons most mature and dedicated players will start to outgrow their student instrument or intermediate instrument. This happens sometimes in early to late high school years or when a player’s performance opportunities increase. A private teacher or our clarinet specialists can help determine if a student is ready for a professional instrument.

The current industry standard professional model clarinets are the Buffet R13, Selmer Presence or Yamaha CSVR. We also regularly stock other high-end clarinets for trial as well.

As with intermediate instruments, it is imperative that you give a professional instrument a thorough evaluation before committing to a purchase. Our trial policy is easy and flexible so you’ll know you’re making the right decision.

Professional Clarinet Features and Options:

Most professional clarinets are made from Grenadilla wood. However, Buffet also offers a GreenLine series which follow the same manufacturing process as the 100% Grenadilla instruments but with the addition of carbon fibers. GreenLine clarinets can withstand variations in atmospheric conditions (temperature, humidity). The risk of cracking is therefore eliminated. Created in 1994, the GreenLine series of instruments has taken advantage of the excess wood remaining from the clarinet manufacturing process. This process of combining Grenadilla powder with carbon fibers produces a clarinet that is greatly resistant to environmental change.

Other woods for making clarinets include Honduran rosewood and cocobolo but these more exotic woods are used more rarely due to diminishing supplies. Clarinets using these exotic woods are usually more expensive to purchase and provide specific sound qualities for professionals that desire them. Beware! These exotic woods can crack more readily than Grenadilla.

Some professional models incorporate extra keywork. There are alternate keys (ways to finger) for B, C, and C# but there is only one Eb/Ab key on the right hand side so some professional models will have an added left hand (LH) Eb/Ab lever operated with the left pinky finger. This extra key gives the player the option to decide which pinky finger they want to use on difficult musical passages. The Eb/Ab key can be helpful but most clarinetists play without one just fine. Some professional clarinets have a low F correction key. The low F on clarinet tends to be sharp and the low F correction was added to help fix the problem by bringing the note down in pitch.

Testing Clarinets:

Choosing a new intermediate or professional level instrument can be a daunting task but enlisting the help of a private teacher or knowledgeable sales person can make things easier. Always bring your mouthpiece, reeds, and the instrument you’re currently playing when trying new instruments. Playing your own instrument first will give you a baseline and a better idea of what you like and don’t like in a new instrument. Using your current mouthpiece setup will add some familiarity to this process and give you a better sense of the differences between your clarinet and the clarinets you’re testing. The biggest things to look/listen for are how the instrument feels in your hands and how it feels to play it. Switching back and forth from your clarinet to the new instrument will help you feel the different resistance levels as the air moves through each one. Make sure to use a tuner when testing to check intonation. Play a familiar passage of music and some basic scales the same way on each instrument. Resist the temptation to “show off” or play music that is so technically challenging that you are not really testing the instrument but your own abilities.

Tips from our Techs--Humidity Issues

 

Tip from head repair technician, Eric Anderson

Summer is that time of year when humidity increases and the wood body of instruments begins to expand.  This happens along the width and length of the wood grain affecting both the fit of keys, levers, and tenons.   When the wood expands in the summer months, woodwind instruments often don't fit together without a struggle, if they even fit together at all! We find that this issue is most prevalent during the first year of a new instrument's life, and especially prevalent in newer clarinets.

If this happens with your instrument to the point where abnormal force is required to take it apart, it's best to have an experienced repair technician take care of it.  A technician will be able to adjust the fit of the tenon cork, the exposed wood on the tenon, or sometimes both.  Ignoring the problem and blowing warm, humid air down your instrument will only make it worse!

The humidity will also make keys fit looser, but don't worry!  We never fit keys too tightly in the summertime because they will most likely expand in the fall/winter and potentially bind once the humidity drops.  Loose key fittings won't harm your instrument, they only cause them to be slightly noisier.  If you can live with the loose key fitting in the summer, great!  It should return to normal in the fall/winter.  If it is an issue for you, we can certainly fix it, and if we do, don't forget to come back to get the fit readjusted after the humidity changes.

If you ever experience issues with your instrument and don't know what to do, remember we are only a phone call away and are happy to help!!

Introducing our newest repair technician, Brian!

We are happy to announce that we have a new team member!  Brian DeGayner has joined MMI in the repair department.  He graduated from Southeast Technical in Red Wing with a diploma in band instrument repair in 2016. Prior to joining the repair team at MMI, Brian worked for Twin Cities Instrument Repair in Edina, focusing on flute and double reeds. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, and attends state and regional conferences. Brian spends most of his free time outdoors, or playing in local orchestras.

We asked Brian a few questions to get to know him better!

What got you started in repair? 

"After a few years of playing horn, I realized my love for working with my hands could be applicable to the industry. After talking with Greg Beckwith, I dropped everything and went to Southeast Tech in Red Wing."

What groups were you playing in prior to going to school for repair?

"I have played for several orchestras around Minnesota. Mankato Symphony, St. Andrew’s, Bloomington Symphony, Minneapolis Civic, Wayzata Symphony, and currently St. Paul Civic."

Any favorite pieces? 

"I love Mahler’s symphonies, especially 3, 4, and 5. Ein Heldenleben, Holst’s Jupiter, Sibelius....basically anything horn-heavy. Otherwise, I’m usually partial to playing in small ensembles, such as Daniel Baldwin’s Landscapes for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano, Martinu’s Quartet for Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Snare Drum, or Barber’s Summer Music."

What is your favorite repair to do?

I love a challenge. My favorite work to do is overhauling instruments: breathing new life into an instrument is very rewarding, and hearing an instrument I fixed on stage always makes me smile.

Any hobbies at home?

I would consider myself a maker. I’ve used my machining experience to make plenty of hand tools and a few machines to help with various projects. Currently, I’m refinishing my tool chest, painting models, and working on my jewelry making skills. I wouldn’t mind getting into watch and clock mechanism repair...

You’ve mentioned your love for the outdoors...

I go hiking and camping as much as I can, year round. I am an Eagle Scout (Troop 494, White Bear Lake, 2009), so I basically grew up outdoors. My family moves a lot of timber every year, and I hunt and fish whenever I can.

 

Please join us in welcoming Brian to MMI!  We are so happy to have him part of our team!

Happy National Teacher's Day!

We are so appreciative of all of the teachers that have helped us become who we are, and the teachers we help in the store!

In honor of National Teacher's Day, we are offering free standard shipping through Sunday on any accessory order shipped within the US.
Use code WELOVETEACHERS at the checkout.

From MMI, a HUGE thank you to every teacher, not only on your special day, but always!!

Big Savings on slightly used Buffet clarinets!

For a limited time only, save big on slightly used Buffet Crampon clarinets!

View our used clarinet inventory

  • USED - Buffet Crampon R13 Silver Bb Clarinet S#675010
  • USED - Buffet Crampon RC Bb Clarinet S#669493
  • USED-Buffet Crampon RC Prestige Bb Clarinet S#679961
  • USED-Buffet Crampon RC Prestige Bb Clarinet S#683829
  • USED-Buffet Crampon RC Prestige Bb Clarinet S#686671
  • USED-Buffet Crampon Tosca Bb Clarinet S#692876
  • USED-Buffet Crampon RC Prestige Eb clarinet S#680859
  • USED-Yamaha CSVR A Clarinet S#1692

Holiday Hours

We will have special end of year hours for our physical location in Minneapolis. As usual, our online store is ALWAYS open!

Sat., Dec. 23rd - OPEN 9-3
Sun., Dec. 24th - CLOSED
Mon., Dec. 25th - CLOSED
Tues., Dec. 26th - OPEN with limited staff and no repair staff
Wed. Dec. 27-Sat. Dec. 30th--Normal hours
Sun., Dec. 31st through Wed. Jan 3rd--CLOSED for New Year's and our annual inventory.

Thurs. Jan 4th--Normal business hours resume. Normal business hours are Monday to Friday 9-5 and Saturday 9-3.

Thank you for you understanding and we wish you much peace, joy and success in 2018!!

Happy holidays from all of us at MMI!

Our tree is up, the decorations are hung and we're celebrating the holidays!  From now until December 25th, 2017, we are offering special in-store and online savings.

IN-STORE - Select an ornament from our tree (pictured above) and reveal special savings on accessory purchases and new instruments!

ONLINE - All orders of $75 or more will receive free standard shipping! Purchase a new instrument from us and we'll refund your shipping charges and give you a $100 off!

Thank you for your business and we wish you a very happy holiday season!

Small Business Saturday

Shop small with us!!  Saturday, November 25, 2017 is Small Business Saturday!  We will be offering 10% off on all accessory for IN-STORE purchases.  If you are not able to come in to the store, we will be offering free shipping within the US on all online accessory orders!  Thank you for supporting your small woodwind shop, we greatly appreciate you, our customers!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! Holiday Hours and Savings

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at MMI!!!  We will be closed on Thursday and Friday to celebrate the holiday with our families. We will reopen on Saturday, from 9-3!

Our online store will remain open during this time.  Please shop www.mmimports.com  We will have a special online only deal on Black Friday (10% off all accessories!) and we will be offering free shipping the entire weekend for orders shipped within the US!

Have a wonderful holiday and happy music-making!