How to take care of your wooden clarinet - a detailed guide
How to take care of your wooden clarinet
How to assemble your clarinet
- Assemble the barrel and the top joint: hold the top joint in your left hand taking care not to apply any excessive force to the keys.
- Assemble the bottom joint and the bell. Take care not to apply any excessive force to the keys.
- Put the top and the bottom joint together: hold the top joint in your left hand and the bottom joint in your right hand. Line up the corresponding keys.
- Put the mouthpiece on the instrument. Then fix the ligature and a dampened reed onto the mouthpiece. Take care not to damage the reed or the tip of the mouthpiece with the ligature.
- After every playing session, put the mouthpiece cap on to protect the reed and the mouthpiece.
Maintenance of the clarinet
- To prevent corrosion, wipe the keywork with a dry polishing cloth after use.
- Always use the case supplied with the instrument. Too tight or too loose a case may cause bending of keys. When buying a replacement case, seek expert advice.
- Under no circumstances use oil, solvents or anti-corrosive products.
- The pitch of a wind instrument is greatly affected by temperature.
- Most wooden clarinets are designed to reach their pitch when played for a few minutes in a room of average temperature (20°c).
When barrel – top Joint is pulled out:
- The pitch of the instrument generally lowers, but especially the notes in the upper part of the top joint.
When the top joint – bottom joint are pulled out:
- The pitch of the instrument generally lowers, but especially the notes in the upper part of the bottom joint.
To prevent cracks on the body
- In the case of a new instrument, do not play it continuously for more than 30 minutes daily during the first month.
- Avoid any rapid change of temperature and humidity. For instance, do not leave the instrument in the heat of the sun, out-door in winter, or near an air-conditioner, or heater.
- Apply cork grease on the joint cork. Before putting the instrument in the case, dry the bore completely with your pull-through (swab).
- No bore oil, etc… needs to be used to prevent cracks in a new instrument. Observing theses precautions is sufficient.
Note: Should any wooden instrument crack, it will never affect the intonation and tone quality if the instrument is properly repaired.
Use of swab
- While playing the instrument, use a swab frequently (every 10-15 minutes). If water collects in the tone holes, bubbling and swelling of pads with consequent leakage will badly affect performance. If so, dry pads with cigarette paper.
Note: pass a swab through the barrel towards the bell. It may otherwise be caught by a tube protruding inwardly in the upper part of the top joint.
- When the swab is soiled, replace it with a new one. If a soiled or fluffy one resulting from over washing is used, dust may collect in the tone holes.
- Do not put a wet swab in the case together with the instrument. The wet swab may cause rust on the springs and the discoloration of the keywork.