These are questions that are often raised. We hope you'll find the answers helpful. If you want to know something that isn't answered here, please contact us. If you like this site, recommend it to a friend!
Can I teach myself the Clarinéo?
A special beginner's 'First Steps' pack with DVD, tutor book and a backing tracks CD will give you a good grounding in correct single reed instrument technique. After this you can use any conventional clarinet tutor book.
Would a clarinet teacher be able to give me lessons on the Clarinéo?
Certainly. The method of tone production is the same as for a clarinet and the basic fingering is similar. Even if you use the First Steps pack, it's helpful to take some top-up lessons with a good clarinet teacher.
How long would it take me to play tunes people can recognize?
This varies with the learner's natural aptitude and time spent practising, but on average one can start to play simple 5 or 6-note tunes well within a month. But don't expect instant results. As with learning any serious and worthwhile instrument it takes time and practice to achieve a pleasant tone and finger control.
What reeds does the Clarinéo use?
E-flat clarinet reeds. The Clarinéo comes with three reeds: two plastic reeds – one easy blowing for beginners and the other harder to play but with a better tone suitable when you have gained more control. The third reed is a standard E flat clarinet reed made from bamboo cane. These cane reeds can be bought from most shops that sell woodwind instruments
Remember to ask for E-flat clarinet reeds. Not just "E-flat reeds" or "clarinet reeds" but both together: E-flat clarinet reeds.
What if it goes wrong?
Conventional clarinets need expert (and, often, expensive) repair. The Clarinéo has been designed with replaceable keys. Spares are reasonably priced and are available from your local music shop
I would like my child to play a musical instrument but I am worried about her giving up.
Then the Clarinéo is THE instrument for you:
It is reasonably priced, it never needs an overhaul and there is a considerable saving on repair bills.
Progress is faster and that’s encouraging.
It makes a proper grown up sound. That's also encouraging!
It will be easy for her to learn the clarinet or saxophone if she wants to later on.
I have retired and am thinking of taking up a musical instrument. Is the Clarinéo suitable for me?
Yes! Although primarily designed for young physiques its characteristics make it more suitable than any wind instrument for all beginners. It’s also particularly suitable for social music making. Apart from being light to play and take around with you, it is in the key of C, so you can play a range of ensemble music; for example, flute, violin or recorder music. You can even play songs or hymns and be in the right key.
I am a professional clarinettist and, at the moment, play C clarinet parts found in orchestral music by transposing the music up a tone on my B-flat clarinet. I am considering buying a C clarinet. The Clarinéo is much cheaper than C clarinets – but is it musically up to the job?
The late Ted Planas was the acoustic designer of the Clarinéo. Most clarinet players from symphony orchestras entrusted their clarinets to him when they needed serious alterations such as retuning, or modifications to the internal bore or keywork. He was the acknowledged master of woodwind acoustics and mechanisms, in theory and in practice.
Ted based the acoustics of the Clarinéo on an 1820 clarinet. It thus has a smaller internal bore than modern C clarinets (approximately equivalent to that of an E-flat clarinet).
The Clarinéo is moulded in two tranverse halves, which are then ultrasonically welded to form the body. This production method lets undercutting of tones holes and flaring of the bore be moulded into the instrument. As you know, these features are vital for optimum tuning of the clarinet between the three registers. The consequence is that intonation and ease of speaking is at least as good, if not superior, to that of modern C clarinets costing four times as much. Since its sound is that of the clarinets of the late Classical and early Romantic eras there is a strong case for playing orchestral C clarinet parts on the Clarinéo. Despite there being no duplicate keys you can still play smoothly and quickly by sliding the left little finger (pinky) across C#/F# and B/E; and the right little finger between C/F and Eb/Ab, a similar technique to the saxophone. However, rarely-met fast trills and tremolos between those pairs of notes are not possible. Incidentally, if you play an E-flat clarinet, your E-flat mouthpiece (or any make of E-flat clarinet mouthpiece) will fit the Clarinéo.