Caring for Your Clarinet

The following information is to help you look after your instrument. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further advice. If any damage occurs to your instrument please DO NOT attempt ‘D.I.Y.’ as instrument repair is a highly skilled job and you could easily worsen the situation.

1. Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling your clarinet.

2. When assembling your instrument avoid placing the mechanism under stress. To assemble your clarinet use a turning and pushing motion – never force it by trying to ‘jam’ the joints together. The mechanism is delicate and can easily become bent. There is a ‘bridge mechanism’ on the top joint of the clarinet that has to be raised before fitting onto the bottom joint. Closing the lower ring on the top joint raises this mechanism. It is essential that you understand this procedure, as the mechanism will get bent very quickly if you do not raise it before pushing the two joints together.

3. The cork joints on your clarinet have to be kept slightly greasy. This prevents them from drying out which can cause the cork to split and it also eases assembly. A small smear of grease (supplied with your clarinet) should be applied to the corks twice a week for the first few weeks. After that apply grease whenever the corks feel dry. Apply grease after playing so that it can soak into the cork whilst the clarinet is in the case.

4. Carefully wipe the keys of the clarinet with a soft cloth or duster after you have finished playing. To clean the inside of the instrument, use the special ‘pull-through’ supplied with your instrument. This weighted cloth will remove moisture from the inside of the clarinet, helping to prolong the life of the pads. Take the mouthpiece off and drop the cloth through the instrument a couple of times.

5. Always put the cap on the mouthpiece when it is not in use to protect its tip and face and also slightly loosen the ligature if leaving the reed on the mouthpiece.

6. Reeds have a limited life and should be frequently replaced even if they do not break. Bacteria from your saliva causes discolouration – do not wait until the reed is black! Ask your teacher or contact us if you need advice.

7. Pack your instrument away in its case, or place it on a clarinet stand when not in use. Don’t leave your instrument lying on the floor after or during practice, they are easily breakable!

8. Cases have special pouches and pockets for accessories like reeds, pencils and music. Cramming them into the case could damage the mechanism of your instrument.

9. Always clean your instrument thoroughly after use. Avoid touching the pads when cleaning, as when damp, pads are more susceptive to damage.

10. NEVER attempt to adjust the settings on your clarinet. Regulating a clarinet correctly is a skill and bad jobs can easily worsen the situation.

11. Sources of heat such as a radiator or direct sunlight can damage your instrument. So can cold or damp. Be careful where you store it!

12. We recommend having your instrument serviced by a technician once every year.

Enjoy your playing!

REMEMBER – if you need further advice, we are only a phone call away! 0161 445 4466

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