Clarinet Care & Maintenance Tips
Before you Play...
Wash your hands before attempting to play your Clarinet. The dirt and oil can tarnish and damage the keys and pads. Brushing your teeth or washing your mouth out will also help preserve the pads and playability. If wearing jewelry, make sure it doesn't touch the Clarinet. Loose Jewelry can get caught on the instrument, or damage the finish. Be sure to check the instrument for any issues, whether it be dings, dents or dirt. Be aware of your surroundings, even light bumps can do more damage then you'd think.
When assembling or disassembling the Clarinet, do so carefully and without grabbing the keys. The keys can be bent and will no longer function properly. Assembly of the Clarinet should be done from the bell up, and a light twisting motion can be used to attach the various pieces. Make sure joints are properly greased before assembly. For clarinets, be sure to depress the bridge key on the upper joint. *If this is your first time assembling your clarinet, please wait for your teachers instructions before attempting.
- Attach the Bell to the lower joint
- Attach the lower joint to the upper joint. Remember to hold down the bridge key, and then line up the bridge keys together to align
- Attach the Larger end of the barrel to the top of the upper joint
- Moisten your reed to prepare it for playing
- Put together the mouthpiece by laying the Reed on the open hole of the mouthpiece, with the cut facing up and towards the top of the mouthpiece. While holding the reed, slide the ligature over the top and line it up with the mouthpiece grooves with screws up on the reed side. Gently tighten the ligature.
In order to maintain the Clarinet, it is important to properly clean it after each use. Keeping it clean is also important for your health by avoiding the build up of bacteria. Remember to take care when cleaning the keys as they are fragile and can be bent easily. Household cleaners or other liquid cleaners should not be used on Clarinets.
- For Exterior: A microfiber cloth made for instruments gently wiped over the body and ends will clear off any dirt and fingerprints.
- For Interior: A Clarinet swab can be pulled through the assembled Clarinet to clean out moisture and debris. Pull it through multiple times if still dirty.
- For Mouthpiece: Wipe down the mouthpiece after each use. Soap, Warm water and a small brush can be used to stop debris build up.
Keeping your Clarinet clean is vital to its playability and tone. Keeping it safe is equally important as repairs can be costly and time consuming. Here are some tips for keeping your Clarinet in top shape.
- Remove and pat dry reeds when not in use. Reeds can be stored in a reed guard for protection
- Replace reeds every 1 - 2 weeks or as needed. Reeds will loose tone when worn or won't work properly if cracked/brittle.
- Apply cork grease to the tenon, bell, and mouthpiece joints before assembly twice a week (or as needed). This protects the corks from tearing and eases assembly.
- Don't leave your swabs inside of the instrument.
- Vaccumm inside of case to keep debris from scratching or damaging clean instrument.
- Do not leave anything in the case on top of the clarinet. Books and other accessories can crush the keys and cause damage.
- The clarinet should be put in its case whenever not in use, and should not be left anywhere with extreme temperatures or humidity such as a car.
If you experience a problem or situation that is not covered here, have a question anything Clarinet related or you think that your Clarinet needs professional care, please reach out below.