Artley clarinets have been around since the early 20th century. Artley student clarinet lines are durable and affordable. The 17S and 18S models are very similar, but they have a few differences that include cost, key size and availability. The 18S is the newer model, but both models can be made from a composite material that will last for years.
The Artley 18S has thicker keys than the 17S, making the keys all the more obvious to finger for the beginning musician. Both of these instruments are B-flat models, or soprano clarinets, considered the "normal" version of the instrument. Other kinds of clarinets include the E-flat, the bass clarinet and the alto clarinet.
The Artley 18S is the newer model student B-flat clarinet for Artley, and it has replaced the 17S in retail stores. The 17S has been discontinued, but it may be available used online or at musical instrument stores that sell previously owned instruments.
The 18S, being the newer model, will fetch a higher price than the 17S. The 18S sells for about $300 to $500 as of 2011, depending on the seller, while the 17S is available for anywhere from $200 to $400.
Both of these models are ideal for beginners, but it's best to consult a professional musical instrument distributor to find which model is best for you. Be prepared to upgrade your instrument as your level of playing increases. Beginners will often find they need to upgrade from their student models. This can be expensive, and some musicians choose only to upgrade their instrument's mouthpiece.
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