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. Do not eat or drink directly before practise and make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling your clarinet.

2. When assembling your instrument avoid placing the clarinet mechanism under any undue stress. To assemble your clarinet use a turning and pushing movement – never force it by trying to ‘jam’ the joints together. The mechanism is very delicate and can easily become bent.

3. N.B. 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. Please listen carefully to your teacher’s directions and if in doubt do not hesitate to contact us.

4. 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 very small smear of grease (supplied with your clarinet) should be applied to these corks about twice a week for the first few weeks and thereafter whenever the corks feel dry. The cork grease should be applied after playing so that it can soak into the cork whilst the clarinet is in the case.

5. After use, carefully wipe the keys of the clarinet with a soft cloth or duster. To clean the inside of the instrument, use the special ‘pull-through’ supplied with your clarinet. This is a weighted cloth that 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. The ‘pull-through’ should be washed from time to time.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Do not leave your instrument lying on the floor after or during practice. It is better to pack the instrument away in a case or use an instrument stand to avoid accidental damage.

9. Never cram anything else into the case, like music, as this could cause pressure and result in damage to the mechanism of your instrument.

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

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

12. Do not store your instrument against a source of heat such as a radiator or direct sunlight for example. Do not leave your instrument in a car overnight or anywhere else cold or damp.

13. As a general rule, have your instrument serviced by a technician once a year.

14. Enjoy your playing!

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

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