K & M Clarinet Stand
Hands down the most important accessory for any clarinetist is a quality clarinet stand. The light-weight, K&M stand stand folds up quickly, fits snugly inside of the clarinet’s bell, and is very affordable. Whether your clarnet’s worth $600 or $6000 this is an absolute no-brainer, and every clarinetist should have one. In fact, I have five!
Fobes Debut Mouthpiece
For aspiring young clarinetists, the first and perhaps most important upgrade (after a stand and some private lessons!) is a good quality mouthpiece. But you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg! Thanks to modern manufacturers, including Fobes, Behn, and others, a good quality, hand-finished mouthpiece can now be had for about the same price as a quality box of reeds. Amazing.
D’Addario Mouthpiece Patches
Mouthpiece patches are kind of like screen protectors, but for your mouthpiece! Not only do they protect from scratches, but they also make the surface less slippery, and reduce the vibrations that come into contact with your teeth. Some players prefer thin, clear patches so they can still feel some vibrations. But others (like me) prefer the thicker black option. Many brands are available, and although it is “just” a piece of plastic, it’s worth investing in a good brand that won’t wear out after two weeks. These are the ones I use, and each one lasts well over a year if you take care of it.
Match Pitch Barrel
The barrel also has a significant impact on the clarinet sound. The revolutionary Match Pitch Barrel is a 3D-printed marvel. It’s adjustable in length between 63 and 67 mm, features easy-to-use color coded dots, and is virtually unbreakable. Perfect for the marching clarinetists or musicians who double and don’t have time to warm up the horn!
Pereira 3D Ligature
Speaking of 3D-printed clarinet items, the new Pereira 3D Ligature is an affordable and fun stocking stuffer that offers amazing performance for the price. I like to put mine on sideways so it maintains full contact with the reed, but the “classic” way of installation works great too. The material is flexible and holds the mouthpiece very snugly, which is important when changing instruments, but can make it a bit tricky to change reeds. It also includes a 3D printed cap and is available in 8 unique and fun colors. My personal favorite is crystal (as seen above).
Invented by a biomedical researcher at the University of Alberta, Reedjuvinate humidifies and sterilizes your reeds with Listerine so they last longer and you’ll get sick less. The unique case comes in black or orange, features a lanyard for easy mobility, and a magnet for storage on the side of a music stand. Holds up to 6 b-flat clarinet reeds, or 3 bass clarinet reeds. (Don’t forget to also grab some Original Listerine!)
Speaking of preventing sickness, here’s another way to stay well! Often undiscussed, or dismissed as myth, playing wind instruments can lead to upper respiratory function issues such as saxophone lung. Why risk it? I wash my mouthpieces monthly with this handy solution. A concentrated bottle will last almost for a single player. As a bonus get your students or kids in on the cleaning for a fun lesson on maintenance!
D’Addario Multi-Instrument Reed Storage Case
Not a fan of Listerine-tasting reeds? Want more exact control over your reed’s humidity? The D’Addario Multi Instrument Reed Storage case features replaceable, Boveda humidity control packs to dial in the exact humidity you want with no fuss or unwanted taste. Holds up to 8 reeds for e-flat, b-flat, alto, or bass clarinet.
So you’ve got your reeds in a great case, now it’s time to adjust them to your liking! The Reed Geek is a popular tool that allows players to refine their reeds on the go. It’s small enough to fit in any clarinet case, and includes a small black carry pouch so it doesn’t get lost or damage your clarinet. I keep one of these in my music workshop bag and it’s a godsend for warped reeds. A must-have for every clarinetist.
Legere European Signature Reeds
Sometimes even the most well-adjusted reed falls victim to bad weather, or breaks! Maybe you’re tired of dealing with cane reeds all together? You’re not alone. Players all around the world are using synthetic reeds with great success, and some even say it’s the future of clarinet playing. No matter where you stand, it’s time to at least try synthetic reeds. Although pricey, a single reed can outlast 2 or 3 boxes of cane reeds (3 to 9 months) with proper care. It’s best to purchase at least two and rotate them for best results.
MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone
Ribbon microphones work especially well for clarinet because they help create a warm, dark tone. Don’t be fooled by the relatively price of this mic compared to other ribbon microphones, MXL offers incredible bang for your buck! In fact, the Clarineat Podcast is recorded every week using an MXL 770 condenser microphone that’s just $70. This mic works great for clarinet too, actually if you’re looking to capture a more bright, crisp sound. (Please note that you must have an audio interface–see below–to use this mic, and it should NEVER be used with phantom power.)
Focusrite Scarlett Solo
If you want to use a quality mic such as the one above, you’ll need an interface with a good quality preamp. The Scarlett solo is perhaps the best value on the market today for the aspiring clarinetists who wishes to make high quality recordings at home. Plug in any dynamic, condenser, or ribbon mic to the XLR jack, install the software, and you’re ready to record! Need more inputs? Focusrite offers many more versatile options. In fact, did you know that the Clarineat podcast is produced using a Focusrite 18i6 interface?
Shure MV5 Portable Microphone
Want a more portable, all-in-one recording solution to use while practicing away from home? The Shure MV5 packs a serious punch and is a fantastic value for any musician. It features a fully-featured app that allows you to adjust the mic’s settings, and is perfectly suited for recording in virtually any setting. It includes a carry bag, can be used with Apple or Android (or PC) devices. Want something even smaller and even more portable? Try the Shure MV88. This is the exact version of this mic I own. It plugs right in to the phone with no cables required, but it’s slightly over budget at $129.
More and more clarinetists are switching to digital music these days. And many choose to read and annotate their scores on a tablet such as an iPad with the wide variety of music apps that are available today. What could possibly be better than this? How about wireless, hands-free, 100% silent page turning! The future is truly amazing.
From Paper to Pixels
Not sure if making the switch to digital music is for you? Ease into the transistion with the paperback edition of Hugh Sung’s book “Paper to Pixels.” Hugh Sung was not only one of the pioneers of digital music, but he was also a co-inventor of the AirTurn pedal! In this easy-to-understand book Sung explains how to get started with digital music, and why it’s the perfect time to do so.
Clarinet Manual: How to Buy, Set Up and Maintain a Boehm System Clarinet
Speaking of books, here’s one every clarinetist should have in their library. This amazing, hardcover book walks you through all you need to know about clarinet maintenance for a Boehm system clarinet. Furthermore, it’s the gift that keeps on giving since it can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs!
Key Signature Dice
Make practicing scales a heck of a lot more interesting with a set of key signature dice. This fantastic product features 8 dice: flat keys, sharp keys, keys up to 3 sharps/flats, keys over 4 sharps/flats (and then each in both treble and bass clef). A perfect accessory for any musician, and especially fun for music teachers! I never leave home without my set when I’m teaching and students are always impressed.
D’Addario 2-Way Humidification System
Why should reeds have all the fun? The D’Addario 2-Way Humidification system takes all the guesswork out of humidification by ensuring 45-50 percent moisture levels and no other maintenance. Although this kit is technically meant for acoustic guitar cases, I find that they fit perfectly into clarinet cases as well (see above). This set comes with 3 humidity packs and two classy black sleeves that don’t look out of place beside even the most gorgeous wooden instruments.
Keeping the inside of your clarinet case organized can be a real challenge. Grid-It is a patented, infinitely customizable storange solution that was invented for keeping numerous small items in one place. I use mine (pictured) to keep track of my Ton Kooiman Thumb Rests, D’Addario Multi-Instrument Reed Storage Case, Etymotic Music Pro earplugs, and more. Grit-it is available in many sizes and colors to suit almost anyone.
Clarineat Podcast Apparel
Trying to shop for the clarinetist who has everything? Well, I can (almost) guarantee they don’t have a cool shirt from the Clarineat online store! Available in men’s and women’s sizes there’s sure to be something of interest. The profits from apparel sales go directly towards helping me produce the podcast, and as a special thank you for reading this post you’ll save 10% on any apparel purchase until December 31, 2017.