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Can the Yamaha YCL-255S Bb clarinet play altissimo?

I’m a high school student buying a new clarinet and I found the Yamaha YCL-255S at an affordable price. My high school music requires me to play a lot of high notes including some of the altissimo register. I’ve heard that this model is meant for beginners and intermediate and was just wondering if this clarinet is able to play the said high notes/altissimo notes? I’ve had another clarinet before that was just barely able to play anything higher than a C (above the staff)

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
If the instrument is in good shape, your reed matches your mouthpiece and you have a decent mouthpiece to put it on, the main limiting factor in range is the player.

While I have no first hand knowledge of this model, most of the Yamaha offerings are capable of full range playing and I would have no concerns about limited range. Reed and mouthpiece are more likely to be the limiting factor of the equation - after player ability.
Put a lot of thought into your reed and mouthpiece. Look up various mouthpiece tip opening charts and relate it to what you have... there aren't really hard and fast answers at the end of the day, but you'll start to notice real trends.

In general, it works like this... a softer reed vibrates a larger distance. So you need to match it with a large tip opening. A hard reed, conversely, will vibrate a short distance and should be paired with a small tip opening.

This is where most developing players get it wrong. They are told "harder is better" regarding the reed, without realizing that most student and intermediate mouthpieces (hello B45) are quite open. So if you get an open mouthpiece with a hard reed, you're stabbing yourself in the foot.

For me that means about a #3.5+ to #4 reed on an M13 (1.05mm), a #3.5 reed on an M30 (1.15mm), and a #3 reed on a B45 (1.25mm).

For all three of these setups, going any harder would probably be a bad idea, for me. Now, the softer/open setup will be a little louder, more freeblowing, and more flexible. The closer/harder setup will have a rounder, fuller sound, offer a little more to push against, and will be more intonationally stable.

I also find that a closer/harder setup makes it easier to develop the altissimo notes flexibly and in-tune. The intonational stability in the harder setup makes it easier to choose the right fingerings to use for certain notes and get good feedback from the instrument about what you're putting into it.
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