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Clarinets

The clarinet was invented in the late 1600s by Johann Christoph Denner of Nuremberg, Germany. Denner experimented for many years with the ancient chalumeau instrument and finally managed to build a similar-looking instrument that could play in both the upper and lower registers. The new instrument quickly became popular and was included in orchestra arrangements by Vivaldi and Handel in the 1740s. As the music for the clarinet became more challenging, musicians began to dedicate themselves to playing the instrument.

Clarinets are typically found in orchestras, concert bands, and marching bands. Jazz ensembles also include clarinets. The clarinet attained some prominence during the Big Band era of music, played by musicians such as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. Today, most musicians prefer to play on new clarinet models manufactured by Buffet Crampton, Le Blanc, Selmer, or Yamaha.

Vintage clarinets are considered harder to play by musicians. Often, the tone of these instruments is not up to today's standards. However, collectors can find many fine vintage instruments that will produce a good-quality tone. Although the clarinet was invented in Germany, many of the prominent manufacturers were French, including Malerne, Thibouville and Couesnon.


Quick Facts

  • All-metal clarinets were popular in America during the Jazz Age. The first metal clarinet was the C.G. Conn Wonder, which was first sold in 1895. Metal clarinets were not produced after 1965
  • A clarinet owned by Benny Goodman was sold by Sotheby's auction house in 2011 for $16,250
  • A LeBlanc Pete Fountain model clarinet with an autographed photo from the famous clarinetist sold at auction in 2015 for $800

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage STAG Paris France Clarinet in Case
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage STAG Paris France Clarinet in Case
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
19th C. European Wooden Clarinets, Brass Keys (3)
Mar 01, 8:00 AM MST
19th C. European Wooden Clarinets, Brass Keys (3)
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $500- $750
$2500 Bids
Bundy Resonite Selmer Clarinet
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Bundy Resonite Selmer Clarinet
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
HARMONY 4001 CLARINET YAMAHA MOUTH PC ARMSTRONG CS
Apr 14, 10:00 AM EDT
HARMONY 4001 CLARINET YAMAHA MOUTH PC ARMSTRONG CS
by Imperial Auction
Est: $100- $200
$100 Bids
KLARINETTE CLEMENS MEINEL Wernitzgrün, 20. Jh.
Mar 08, 10:00 AM CET
KLARINETTE CLEMENS MEINEL Wernitzgrün, 20. Jh.
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €150- €300
€1500 Bids
KLARINETTE GEBRÜDER MÖNNING Markneukirchen, um 1930
Mar 08, 10:00 AM CET
KLARINETTE GEBRÜDER MÖNNING Markneukirchen, um 1930
by Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf
Est: €180- €360
€1800 Bids
VITO LEBLANC CLARINET WITH CASE
Mar 13, 3:00 PM EDT
VITO LEBLANC CLARINET WITH CASE
by Austin York LLC
Est: $40- $80
$200 Bids
Stained boxwood clarinet, Louis Auguste Giboreau, …
Mar 11, 9:00 PM CET
Stained boxwood clarinet, Louis Auguste Giboreau, …
by Venduehuis Dickhaut Maastricht
Est: €300- €500
€1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Clarinets


Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Venduehuis Dickhaut Maastricht

Venduehuis Dickhaut Maastricht

Artemis Gallery

Artemis Gallery