June 15, 2024

I’ve been playing the clarinet on and off for seven years. I own a student Buffet B10 but I feel the tone quality and the feel of the keys have its limitations. I’m renting a wood selmer 10. The feel of it and the tone quality sounds much better than my plastic clarinet. Selmer has a richer tone and I feel comfortable with the keys. I’m thinking of getting a better wood clarinet. I’m deciding between a Buffet E13 or R13, considered Buffet makes the best clarinets. However, I still had some doubts since I did not have the best experience with my B10. I know it would be best to try them out, but I’d like to know if anyone can give me any suggestions of which brand or model I should go for. I also like to know which actually might sound better, the R13 or the Selmer 10. Or if there’s any great selmer model I could look for.

I basically play classical, but I also like to play some Jazz.

12 thoughts on “R13, E13, Selmer, or others? Suggestions in picking the right clarinet…

  1. Go try out a bunch. I personally like Buffet clarinets. However, I know a great clarinet player, Guido Fazio, who just got a LeBlanc one that comes with two different barrels and two different bells, which really change the way the horn sounds. It is a great playing clarinet.

    1. I have been playing on an old Bundy Clarinet (30 years old) for 2 and a half years now. However, I recently “upgraded” to a Selmer Soloist. I LOVE IT. It fits in my hand like a glove and plays like an extension of my arm.

      It is definitely recommended that you try out as many horns as possible, but when you’re playing don’t worry about the brand of the instrument. I closed my eyes when playing to eliminate biased, and that’s when I came upon the Selmer. In the process, I also tried out an r13 not knowing what it was and I thought it sounded worse than the Bundy. I’m not trying to attack Buffet, because I’ve heard some other people make it play beautifully it just wasn’t for me. I think it also had to do with the relationship between the different clarinets, being that Bundy and Selmer have a history of working together to make products, and Buffet also makes a whole line of Clarinets. The finger placement on the Bundy and the Selmer are very similar and I would imagine that the same would be true for the Buffet.

      I guess it all boils down to what you are comfortable with, and how it responds to your playing style.

  2. Ericdano is correct. Go to a music store and play as many as they will let you play. I’ve been playing since ’88, and I still play on the same Selmer Signet 100 student model. I have played many other brands and intermediate and pro model horns, but non of them played as well as my Signet. I have done my own repair and tuneup of this horn, so that may have something to do with it. But in your case, just moving to a wood clarinet will make a world of difference.

    1. I also have a Selmer Signet 100. I have no clue what its worth, but I have really enjoyed mine as well. What is the serial # on yours. Mine is 93059.

      1. I bought my Selmer Signet 100 series for $500 used, and at the music store they had an identical one brand new for like $2,000. I have throughly enjoyed it, but recently tried out a Tosca Buffet and it was the most amazing clarinet to ever come to my mouth, and I am going to purchase it soon. Really going back to the original question, it depends on your own personal preference to what clarinet feels good to you or not, whether it be wood or plastic, though I would recommend moving to a wood one since you seem to be an intermediate player, in the meanwhile you can invest in a good mouthpiece (I would suggest a Vandorren B12) a new ligature (I also would suggest the cloth kind or leather), and some nice new reeds (Vandorrens) and get rid of the mildewy, chipped ones, that should do a world of good for your tone quality.

  3. You can improve sound greatly by reed and Mouthpiece combinations then barrel which will be needed with a new clarinet.

    People play buffet for many reasons but if they want to play in an orchestra the conductor wants them to use all the same instrument for tuning purposes. In the US that means Buffet.

    I have a mid 85’s R13 worth $800 now. It is great with good intonation and good resistance. But, it needed a good technictian to correct the problems from the factory. Also, the upper tenon tends to crack. When you go to sell it you will lose 50% of it’s value if the tenon is not the original.

    I have a 1990 Concerto. Needed to change barrel for a fuller sound. great intonation. It did not crack.

    I have Selmer 10G that I paid $500 for and it plays as well as the R13 without a cracking problem.

    I could go on but these are my favorites. (LEBLANC LL can be purchased for $300 sound great with good intonation).

  4. What is your budget? I personally love the Selmer Paris Signature Clarinet… great, butter-like action, smooth keys, even response in chalemeau, clarion, and even the altissimo registers. But it costs $4450. And I’ve had some iffy experiences with Selmer horns.

    Buffet is certainly the best though… I love the R13 especially. You can now pick up an R13 Professional Bb for $2780. I have tried this horn several times and was very pleased with its dark, centered sound. Great horn for mellow jazz and of course, classical.

    I’d recommend the R13 over the Selmer 10… seems to me it’s a better “value.” Plus Buffet is the best!

  5. I play a Selmer Paris Recital that I love, and a 1927 K Series selmer, I do have a 2 month old R13 for sale, I just don’t play it.


  6. I’m new to this site so please excuse my tardy reply.

    I notice from your opening post that you are currently renting a Selmer 10 and have been very happy with the sound and feel of it. That’s the key! As the old saying goes, “don’t fix what ain’t broke.”

    I will now admit to you that I play a Selmer Series 10G, in the “Y” serial number range, and have always been VERY happy with it. I feel it plays as well as the Buffet R13 and, being a Selmer, is built like a tank. I think the Selmer 10s are also of the best values out there, especially if you play jazz. I’ll bet you could pick up a great one for around $500. And you’re already having good luck with a Selmer 10, right?

    So it’s settled: you’re getting the Selmer Series 10G. I’ll be over next week to check it out. (Just kidding.)

    By the way, I’m not taking ANYTHING away from Buffet, especially the R13. That is a great clarinet – maybe the greatest. To me this is a little like deciding whether to ask out the high-fashion model on the cover of Vogue (R13) versus the girl next door (10G). Nobody’s knocking the high fashion model, but remember: that girl next door might just turn out to be Sandra Bullock! And in your case, it sounds like maybe she is!

  7. I put cork pads on top,
    leather pads on bottom with resonators

    I have the following
    Leblanc LL sound not as full
    intonation good ($300)

    Selmer 10s sound great keys feel good and generally are silver ($700)
    Selmer 10g x series sound great
    keys feel good silver ($700)

    buffet r13 serial no 114xxx
    nice ringing tone great intonation keys are nickel ($700)

    Buffet r13 serial 272xxx problems with all buffet cracking on top tenon but great sound great intonation, but nickle keys ($800)

    Leblanc concerto, nice sound but not as good as buffet or selmer keys are silver and have a nice feel to them ($600)

    selmer solist surprising nice sound, nickel keys, intonation good ($200)

    Selmer Recital you must get used to the resistance and find the correct mouthpiece and reed set up. Than it is simply wonderful. $1100

    Selmer 10g, 10s and buffet r13 all competitive horns, Selmer Recital a sound all it’s own

  8. I agree with many of the previous statements about going to a store and trying out clarinets. but to just try and point you in the right direction, in general in my experience and in the experience of my friends who are professionals. The Buffet R13 is by far the best clarinet for classical music while either a selmer 9 or 10 series would be best for jazz. In terms of accessories i find for a mouth piece i prefer the vandoren m30 or the selmer paris crystal mouthpiece. for reeds i’d either buy vandoren v12, or vandoren 56 in whatever strength you use. For ligature i use the vandoren optimum ligature and the oleg olegature (gold chain ligature), and for the barrel i believe the Buffet Chadash barrel is by far the best.

  9. I was in the same boat as you about 9 years ago. I had a 12-year-old Buffet R13 that was ready to be traded in for a newer model. None of the local music stores carry all of the top-line models, so trying them out was impossible.

    I went to my state band directors convention to see the vendors. I paid to go to the annual convention just so I could try out all the top model clarinets from Selmer, Yamaha, Buffet, and LeBlanc. What a great idea!!! I was able to take the clarinets and go to different areas of the convention center (tiled bathroom, carpeted office, empty performing hall) and play test.

    At first I tuned several notes: open G, C above, C below, low E, double G. The LeBlanc had the best tuning consistencies. Then I tested the flexibility of response with the low C, add register for G, and remove index for high E. Again, the LeBlance had the best flexibility.

    Then a general play test proved the LeBlanc had the best spring action and consistency of sound. What struck me most about the LeBlanc was the fluidity of sound between notes. It’s a very sonorous instrument.

    I’ve had my LeBlanc Concerto since 2000 and I have one complaint that the low E is sharp. Other than that, I LOVE this horn! My set up is a Johnston mouthpiece, Vandoren V12 reeds, and an Eddie Daniels Rovner. I am a classically trained musician who started jazz a few years ago and the Concerto allows for both genres. I am known for my tone quality which I could not get on another horn. I can bend notes and stretch intonations while maintaining a thick sound. No need to use a thin reed on this horn for jazz!

    Hope this helps!

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