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Clarinet Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 2:20:00 PM

Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your clarinet in top condition. Here are some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible!

    1. Assembly:  Make sure that the tenons are properly greased.  Place left hand fingers depressing upper stack key mechanism, thus lifting the 1/1 B flat bridge key.  The left hand thumb should be between the register and trill keys.  The left hand with the upper joint should rotate clock-wise.  The lower joint is held with the right hand.  Close the E/B and C keys with the right hand fingers and rotate counter-clock-wise.  If the instrument is assembled correctly the keys will not be bent, saving unnecessary time and expense of repair. 
    2. Moisture Removal: A crucial part of maintaining your clarinet is removing the water that collects on the inside of the bore.  The best way to remove water is to pull a weighted cleaning rag through each joint individually and then wipe the inside of the tenons.  This should be done after each time you play.  Pad Savers swabs are not recommended because they trap moisture in the bore, causing cracks and rotten wood, ruining your instrument.
    3. Oil the Wood:  Woodwind bore oil applied to the cleaning rag in small doses will oil the wood with each swabbing.  If you prefer not to use this method the wood should be oiled once per month, both inside and out.  This is especially important in the winter.  If the upper joint wood color appears gray the instrument should be soaked in oil by a repair technician.  Grayness indicates rotting has occurred and the wood is too dry.
    4. Avoid Extreme Climate Changes:  Vast differences in temperatures are very hard on wood clarinets.  For this reason wood clarinets should not be used in marching band.  Plastic clarinets are recommended for marching outdoors.
    5. Protect Your Keys:  To avoid bent keys, do not store books or music inside the instrument case, and handle your instrument with care. 
    6. Mouthpieces:  Any chipped mouthpieces should be replaced.  Recommended replacement mouthpieces include:  Hite Premier (if available), Vandoren 5RV, Vandoren B45, Clark Fobes Debut.  Many stock or instrument brand mouthpieces that come with instruments can be extremely hard to play. 

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Tags: clarinet maintenance, clarinet care
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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