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I've been wanting to get a professional clarinet but they cost too much. I've been using the same Palatino clarinet for over 10 years now, so does a intermediate Allora make any real difference compared to a Palatino student clarinet?

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The only way to really know if it's right for you, is to go to a shop - and try a few things. Clarinet's aren't like computers, you can't buy one based on it's 'specs' in the same way - you're much better going to a shop with a budget, trying a few different instruments and brands, and seeing what suits you.

I've had a Google of 'Palatino' - I'd never heard of one, and it looks like a 'Made in China' special. In which case - I'd fully recommend looking into a 'known brand' clarinet - they're almost invariably much better instruments.

After 10 years, I'd suggest you may also be interested in buying a wooden clarinet, rather than another plastic one. They need looking after properly, but there's normally a dramatic tone difference - you really need to try one to see what I mean!

Finally - I'm a big believer in buying instruments second hand - they're like cars: loose a chunk of their value when they're no longer brand new, but are built to last for years. The ideal would be if you could find a local shop which has a good range of second hand instruments, but failing that maybe have a wary look around the internet. Clarinets are also generally very repairable - I always think: If I buy a £1,000 clarinet for £500, and then spend £100 at a repair shop on it, I've still made a saving.

Without a budget it would be difficult to recommend (I'm also assuming you're US based, whereas I'm in the UK.) - however, I'd look at Buffet clarinet's if you're budget would allow - see if you can find a reasonable, second hand, mid-range wooden clarinet (E13 and similar models). They're solid clarinets, and there's normally a good few about second hand, from school kids who've lost interest and the like!

So, in summary, YES, I think it's totally worthwhile upgrading after 10 years, although I'd recommend trying what you're buying first, and buying second-hand if that's a possibility!

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