Jun 9, 2016

Simba Clarinet Review

I'll start by saying I'm definitely not a serious clarinet player - (if you're not a consistent follower of this blog, I love playing guitar and was ranked among best in state playing trumpet in high school; I casually experiment with mandolin, tin whistle, and a few others) but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to get a cheap starter clarinet a year or two ago.

For $25 used it wasn't a bad deal at all; new for over $100 is likely a waste of money for a subpar instrument.  Long story short, it looks like a clarinet and sounds like a clarinet for a very low price, but it of mediocre construction and feel and won't encourage a serious student long-term.

Pics and more details after the break:

Here are the essentials; it looks like a clarinet, feels like a clarinet is generally supposed to, makes sounds like a clarinet should, and comes in a decent case to keep it in its general clarinet-like shape.
In short, it has everything a professional clarinet has - except quality.

Here's what else it doesn't do; it doesn't feel like a high end instrument, it doesn't play particularly easily, it doesn't seal perfectly, and it doesn't make really orchestra-worthy sounds.

While I'm not qualified to say a whole lot more in depth, especially as this was bought used, the Simba clarinet appears to be exactly what you would expect from a mass-produced clarinet that goes for around $100 new.  It is nothing to marvel at, except perhaps that the intricacy of a clarinet was assembled correctly overseas for such a low cost.  The sound isn't great but isn't going to handicap a beginner, and while the feel is far from perfect, it manages.  

*approaches soapbox*
The trend of ever cheaper, more mass-produced instruments imported from around the world has been the lament of many a cork-sniffing musician.  But while there is something special about an instrument handcrafted by a skilled musician, never before have so many decent-quality instruments at such incredibly low costs have been available to musicians of all skill levels, and the ability of nearly anyone to afford a functioning beginner's instrument is nothing for experts to lampoon.

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