When you are on a budget and you want to get a clarinet, your options are pretty much limited. You either go for a Yamaha, Vito or Leblanc. These three companies are the go to choice in this range. Interestingly enough, even though they we are talking about what is essentially an entry level class, the prices are still high enough where you could get a top tier electric guitar for the same amount.
Vito Bass clarinet is one of the three most popular clarinets in this segment of the market. It’s more or less the same thing as the Yamaha YCL-220, and there is an ongoing debate which one came from which.
What we are interested in today is whether or not Vito’s clarinet is good enough to be recommended, or should you save money for something better.
Is it good enough to be recommended?
The market for bass clarinets is not that diverse to begin with, so when your choices are limited to several models, things become interesting to say the least.
Average beginner or intermediate players who don’t have a lot of money to spend on the high end models are left with a tough choice. One option is the Vito Bass Clarinet, and it’s often times what people go to. Is it objectively better than the other models in this class? Let’s find out.
Vito Bass Clarinet is a one piece design that features a Resotone body. The main material you will see on this clarinet is ABS plastic with wood finish. That is pretty much standard from Vito at this point.
This clarinet comes with a 24mm bore and has an additional low Eb note added to the scale.
The keys are nickel plated and that low Eb note is mounted on the body. Overall the build quality is what you would expect from a clarinet in this price range.
It’s neither great nor bad. Vito Bass Clarinet is a pretty simple model that gets the job done.
Just like it is the case with most other clarinets in this segment, you will get a very sloppy performance straight out the box.
If you want to have a usable instrument, you will need to take to a woodwind specialist for a proper tuneup. The tolerances are simply all over the place and there are too many places that leak air. One you get this done, which is really ridiculous considering how much you’re expected to pay for this clarinet, you will have something you can work with.
The tone itself is pretty balanced and has some finesse. It’s not going to be something you would want to use in a serious ensemble, but then again it wasn’t designed for that purpose. The playability is there, although the keys need some breaking in before you can count on any form of accuracy.
What we like
The performance of Vito Bass Clarinet can be defined as consistent. Quality of tone is there, and it will get you through your beginner/intermediate days of being a clarinet player.
What we don’t like
The biggest issue is the use of ABS in an instrument which costs this much. On top of that, the setup of the clarinet you get when you pull it out of the box could have been much better. You would still need to take it for repair, but it wouldn’t be as serious.
Finally, it may be concluded…
Being a clarinet player is an expensive hobby these days. Vito Bass Clarinet is one of the best options you have in this range at the moment, but it’s definitely not a perfect instrument. As a matter of fact, you should check out its most immediate competition.
Differences between them might be minor, but each of them have their own character in terms of playability and overall fit. As for Vito Bass Clarinet, it’s as good as any if you can get over the flaws we have mentioned above.