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

Daily care

  • 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.

Pitch

  • 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).

Pitch adjustment

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.

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