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Clarinet beginner here. Most Boehm clarinets have 17 keys, but you can get 18 keys for not much more money, and there are a few very expensive clarinets with 19 keys.

What do the extra keys do, and are they useful at a beginner to intermediate level?

Key 18 is apparently a left hand Eb lever, but which Eb? Do you get an extra semitone below the lowest E on a normal clarinet? Key 19 I have no idea except that it's an extra key for the right hand pinky.

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  • I'm pretty sure you can find fingering charts online for R-13, R-14, etc. models . – Carl Witthoft Mar 8 at 18:57
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The 18th key is usually a left hand Eb/Ab lever. This is an alternative to the right hand Eb/Ab lever and makes fingering combinations involving both fourth fingers much easier. It's become standard on higher quality instruments.

The 19th key is normally found only on so-called 'full-boehm' clarinets that have some other extra keywork as well. This gives you an extra note, the low Eb, which is sometimes useful for transposing A-clarinet parts. For most players the advantages don't outweigh the extra cost, weight and complication.
In the case of the 'Tosca' clarinet you've linked to, the extra key has a different function: it opens a hole to improve the pitch of the lowest F which is often flat.

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  • Eb/Ab or Eb/Bb? – John R. Strohm Mar 7 at 4:20
  • @JohnR.Strohm Eb/(low)Ab. The Bb/Eb key for LH3 is standard on all instruments. – PiedPiper Mar 7 at 8:55
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Here's a description from someone who appears to know his clarinet variants:

Chris: Yes, R14 is forked Eb/Bb, R15 is articulated G#, and R16 is both. There are additional designations for extra keys - a modern R13 Prestige would be R13 1/2 since it has a 5th LH key for alternative G#/Eb. Full Boehm with low Eb was R16 3/4. So maybe R1 was a tube with holes and no keywork at all

Another responder in that thread posted a nice link to an old Buffet Catalog page, shown here:
enter image description here

I recall fondly :-) how hugely expensive those prices seemed back then.

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