How to care for my clarinet

How to care for my clarinet

If you care for your clarinet it will last for a very long time. Here are a few tips to ensure you get good value out of your instrument and investment:

  • Don’t drink (other than water) or eat while or just prior to playing. Food particles, sugars from drinks etc, are very prone to affecting pad action and causing sticking pads. Aim to rinse your mouth with water before playing.
  • Keep an eye on the state of your mouthpiece and reed. Never use a chipped / split reed. If your mouthpiece looks like it might need a wash, it most certainly will!  Your mouthpiece connects to you and comes into contact with a great deal of saliva, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. A simple wash in warm water (not hot) with a mild washing up liquid and a good rinse to finish is perfect.
  • Always store reeds in a reed holder – don’t leave them on the mouthpiece.
  • Try and assemble your clarinet the same way every time…consistency = reliable results.
  • If tenon corks feel tight and resistant, apply a little cork grease. Don’t overgrease – this can sometimes result in the glue which holds the cork dissolving.
  • Always twist joints when assembling.
  • Keep an eye on the bridge key connection during assembly.
  • After playing, clean internals of clarinet removing moisture with a pull-through.  This will prevent excessive bacteria forming.
  • If your pull through gets stuck…take it to a repairer to remove.
  • After playing, aim to give the exterior a light clean with a polishing cloth to remove any acids contained in perspiration. Never use a liquid polish on your clarinet.
  • Avoid excessive temperatures – car boots, direct sunlight etc.
  • While your clarinet is not being played, it is safest in its case – not on your bed.
  • If annual servicing is carried out, oiling of mechanism is not necessary. This can produce unnecessary problems if not performed correctly.
  • Never use excessive force or pressure with your clarinet – if it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not, always ask advice.