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Yamaha or Buffet



Today I'm going to compare these 2 very well-known clarinet brands. There has always been a war between the two and a constant struggle to decide which one is the best and everyone seems to have different opinions and experiences with them. I know Yamaha very well but have very little experience with Buffet but I have done plenty of research over the years for both of them.


Here are my pros and cons:



+ Consistent quality

+ Good sound overall

+ Good quality with decent price

+ Better build, lasts longer without repairs

+ Good pitch, very consistent

+ Even student clarinets have decent materials and good build

- Might never reach as deep and full sound as the best Buffets

- The sound is so stable and consistant it's harder to play jazz where you need diversity



+ Very rich and deep sound once you find a decent instrument

+ Sound isn't as stable but it has diversity in itself

+ Very popular nowadays among professional players

+/- Much more complex model chart, there is plenty to choose from.

- Pitch isn't that good, you have to constantly work around it

- Quality varies a lot, hard to find a very good instrument

- Cheaper materials and poor build especially in student models


There are also some differences on how the sound is generated and these things depend on your personal taste. I have tried Buffet couple of times and I didn't like it so I have played with Yamaha clarinets since 2002. I'm also recommending them for my students because the Yamaha student instruments are very well made. Down here are the clarinets I have played with:


Yamaha YCL-450 - Wooden Intermediate model 


Featuring a bell shape and barrel design similar to that of the V Series, the YCL-450 offers a surprisingly 'professional' sound with an easy response. The new bell design gives improved intonation and projection, especially in the all-important lower register, while the new barrel enhances the 450's response, flexibility and tonal focus.


- Silver-plated keys

- Adjustable thumb-rest

Retail price around 1 100 euros


Yamaha YCL-CSV - Wooden custom-built professional model


The CSV has slightly smaller tonehole sizes, taper and undercuts than the SEV, resulting in a clearer, more focused sound with excellent projection.The sound is well-centered and extremely flexible, providing a wide pallet of tonal colors.


- New bell desing

- Select grenadilla

- Tapered tone holes with hand-tapered undercut

Retail price around 2 300 euros


Yamaha YCL-CSGIIIH - Wooden custom-built professional model with Hamilton-plating


The CSG is an entirely new kind of clarinet. Yamaha reanalyzed and reevaluated literally every single design specification until they had created an instrument that harks back to the tonal purity and natural resonance of aged grenadilla wood. There's less metal used on the CSG, so the whole body reverberates with sound, while the new bore, barrel, and bell shapes offer a tone of breathtaking richness and depth. The sound is warm yet has a clear focused center surrounded by a wealth of overtones, resulting in extraordinary beauty and expressivity. And the tone projects with remarkable ease in even the largest concert halls. There's never been a clarinet like this before.


- New low E/F pitch correction key

- New alternate Ab/Eb lever

- Hamilton-plated keys

- New bore desing

- New bell desing

- Select grenadilla

Retail price around 4 000 euros



Hopefully this helped you understand the differences between Yamaha and Buffet. Have fun and good luck finding the perfect instrument for you!


- Sinna

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