Peter Eaton clarinets are instruments of the highest possible quality with superb intonation and a truly exceptional range of dynamics and tone colours.
Peter Eaton clarinets have featured on hundreds of CDs, film and TV soundtracks. In the hands of illustrious soloists, orchestral principals and session musicians they are some of the most recorded clarinets in the world. Please see the players' page to read what these world-class musicians have to say about them.
Design improvements include the re-positioning of tone holes to gain vital acoustical advantages. All tone holes are hand-undercut to the appropriate degree to give best possible intonation, response and evenness of sound. The breadth and flexibility of sound around the break on Peter Eaton clarinets is not matched by any other maker, allowing these notes to be integrated into musical phrases with much greater ease and effectiveness.
The substantial bell and barrel on Peter Eaton clarinets give greater sonority throughout the full range of the instrument.
Each clarinet is hand made in England by our small team of highly skilled craftsmen led by Peter Eaton and Graham Pinder. Production methods include the use of computer-controlled equipment alongside the best of traditional handcrafting techniques.
Every clarinet is meticulously hand finished and fine tuned by Peter Eaton, with assistance from his wife Joanna, who is also a professional clarinettist. We take immense trouble with our fine tuning and voicing, aspects given scant attention from most other makers.
The wood for all Peter Eaton clarinets is selected from stocks of exceptionally mature, naturally seasoned African blackwood of the highest quality. Upper and lower joints are carefully matched.|
The nickel silver keywork is of outstanding quality and is heavily silver plated. Our key layouts minimise the difference in feel between Bb and A clarinets.
Following extensive tests, a unique type of clarinet pad has been developed, which is exclusive to Peter Eaton clarinets. The outer rim is of synthetic material, which gives a perfect seal on the tone hole. In the centre is a hard, highly reflective resonator, unlike that used in commercially available reflector pads. This resonator has a truly remarkable impact on the resonance and musical qualities of the whole instrument. Made in our own workshops, this is the ideal pad for the lower joint.
A measure of the success of our clarinets is to be seen in the ever-increasing number of leading musicians, both in Britain and abroad, playing Peter Eaton clarinets.
Extensive research has led to the development of two unique and innovative designs, the Elite and the International.
Quality speaks for itself.
The International, our small bore clarinet, provides greater flexibility of sound and improved intonation compared with other small bore instruments. The tone quality is much more warm and rich with greater potential volume, without any loss of quality at lower dynamic levels. In combining the best qualities of both English and French traditions, we believe we have created a truly international instrument.
Although supplied with your choice of one of our internationally renowned Peter Eaton mouthpieces, excellent intonation will also be achieved with most small bore mouthpieces. Two barrels of different length are provided with each instrument, which are compatible with both B-flat and A clarinets. When using a pair in the orchestra, you simply change mouthpiece and barrel, rather than just the mouthpiece. Our bells are also interchangeable between B-flat and A.
Our large bore clarinet, the Elite, retains the best qualities of traditional English instruments, their incomparable flexibility of tone and capacity to reflect the personality of the player. Added to these are the superb intonation and evenness of sound required by the professional player of today.
The Elite must be played with a special large bore mouthpiece. You can select one from our wide range of internationally renowned mouthpieces. An alternative is to ask for one of your own mouthpieces to be re-bored. As with the International, two barrels are provided with each clarinet, which are compatible with B-flat and A.
Elite or International: what's the difference?
The large bore Elite clarinet was our first model. This was a development from traditional English instruments but with greatly improved intonation, evenness of sound, flexibility and dynamic range. Peter Eaton Elite clarinets have been used with great success by a significant number of leading British artists since 1982.
The Elite clarinet must be played with a mouthpiece with a very large cylindrical bore. This means that the Elite clarinet cannot be tested by a player using a standard French type mouthpiece, with its small conical bore. Some players become attached to a particular mouthpiece and can find it disconcerting to have to change mouthpiece before being able to try the Elite.
In developing the International model in 1992, we resolved that problem. This is a clarinet with the wonderful qualities of the Elite but which can be played with a standard French mouthpiece or with any of our own internationally renowned small bore mouthpieces. The International has proved highly successful and has been taken up by leading players around the world who would otherwise have continued to use French instruments.
The few remaining differences between the two models result mainly from the very different mouthpiece bores. The International model has a slightly brighter sound and is a little more centred. The Elite has a very broad, vocal quality, offering unrestricted freedom of expression and the widest dynamic range of any clarinet ever made.
When compared with French instruments, both models have a more flexible, warm and resonant sound, with a greater dynamic range, offering unrivalled potential for nuance and expression. The intonation on both the Elite and the International is of the highest possible standard.