Taking preventive measures like cleaning your clarinet after use help prevent major repairs. If you are a professional musician, trips to the repair shop are inevitable, as clarinets become worn due to daily and continuous usage. The following is a guide on different clarinet repairs and repair services offered by Lisa’s Clarinet Shop.
Dirty tone holes. It is important to clean dust and dirt particles in the tone holes and inner tubing of the clarinet. If not cleaned properly, dirt can collect over a period of time that can make the clarinet unplayable. Simply take a cotton swab over the tone holes of the instrument to clean it. Cleaning the inner tubing of the clarinet involves taking the clarinet apart with a screwdriver. It is important to work on a flat surface and place the clarinet parts on a towel, so you do not lose them when doing this type of self-repair. If you are uncomfortable with taking your clarinet apart, bring your clarinet to the woodwind technician so they can do it for you.
Noisy keys. Clicking sounds can occur if a cork bumper has fallen off. This creates either a clicking metal-on-metal or metal-on-wood sound. For example, the clicking sound can happen on key 3 and key 4 when the cork bumper cork falls off from overuse. Noisy keys can also happen when the skin of the pins which connect key ‘e’ and key ‘f#’ are worn. This type of repair can be completed by a woodwind technician.
Old Clarinet Pads. A good way to figure out if you need to get your clarinet pads replaced is to do a visual inspection. If the clarinet pads are discolored, tattered, or old, it is time to replace them. Another way to check if you need to change your clarinet pads is to do the suction test for the top and bottom joint. If the clarinet is not sealing properly, that means that it is leaking air and needs to be brought to the woodwind technician.
Loose Tenon Rings. The tenon rings on the clarinet are circular pieces of metal that surround the wood at the barrel, lower joint, and bell of the clarinet. If the rings become loose and can be removed, the clarinet is in danger of cracking. An easy self-repair is to add a paper shim between the ring and the wood to keep the rings from coming off.
Loose Binding Tenons. When the binding tenons become loose, it can make it difficult to assemble and disassemble the clarinet. This makes the clarinet more vulnerable to cracking. You can use the Valentino synthetic cork strips to replace the cork. Be sure to clean the old glue from the old cork with lighter fluid before applying the new cork around the tenon. With a knife or razor blade, remove the excess cork, and be sure to apply cork grease around the tenon. If the cork strips are unavailable to you, a temporary solution would be to apply plumber’s tape on top of the old cork until you are able to schedule an appointment with a woodwind technician to get it replaced.
Overhaul. The best time to overhaul the instrument is when it is brand new. This will allow you to adjust the clarinet to your needs. One advantage to buying a SeriO clarinet, or any other clarinet from Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, is that the instrument comes freshly overhauled, and tailored to your needs. When your instrument is in need of multiple repairs, this is also a good time to get your clarinet overhauled, to make sure it is in top playing condition.
Other Repairs. Repairs that involve the clarinet thumb rest, bent keys, springs, and stuck swabs are best handled by professional woodwind technicians that have specialized equipment for these types of repairs.
If you are looking to save money through self-repair, purchasing a toolkit for the clarinet is always a good investment. Too scared to take your clarinet apart? Sending your instrument to a woodwind technician is always your best bet!