Alto clarinets are wind instruments with a pitch range between soprano and bass clarinets. They are usually distinguished from the other two clarinets by curved necks, metal bells, and an extra key used to reach the E-flat note. Their pitch starts from the G flat key two octaves below the middle C, and peaks at the middle of the second octave above the middle C. They are usually tuned in E flat or F, although those tuned in F are generally considered tenor clarinets.
Types of Alto Clarinets
Kinds of Alto Clarinets include the following:
Wooden alto clarinets
These alto clarinets are made of Grenadilla wood with metal keys and joints. They produce clearer and warmer sounds, but require more maintenance than plastic clarinets. They are easily damaged by moisture and may crack with prolonged use. Plastic alto clarinets
Plastic alto clarinets are made of a black plastic called ABS resin. They are more durable and low-maintenance than wooden alto clarinets. They are also less expensive while offering equal sound quality.
Choosing Alto Clarinets (Buying tips)
Mouthpiece: Choose an alto clarinet with a removable mouthpiece so that you can clean it and replace it with other mouthpieces as necessary. Make sure it feels comfortable in your mouth and is made of moisture-resistant material.
Reed grade: Choose an alto clarinet with a 4 to 5 graded reed for professional use. These reeds are stronger and more resistant to breakage and moisture damage. Beginners can use grade-3 or softer reeds for more comfort and easier control.