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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to All,
Really enjoying all the posts.
I have a YCL255 student clarinet ( plastic ), play for 11/2 hours daily. When finished I remove the reed, place it in the ‘humid’ container, remove the m/p with barrel ( not disconnected ) and swab.
Swab the assembled clarinet a number of times, place paper under the keys, reposition as required, swab again with a second cloth then store it vertically under a cotton shroud.

**** I only break the clarinet, m/p and barrel once a week, removing minimum moisture.

I have been ’ learning ‘ for 12 months and followed this routine, religiously, but in another 12 months play to upgrade to a far better quality wood clarinet.
Sorry to be so long winded, I have two question :

1) Currently, rather than play for 11/2 hours I want to play for two of 1 hour sessions ( more for convenience and lip relief ).
I plan to swab after the first session, do I need to used the paper under the keys or can I leave this to the last session.

2) Will breaking the clarinet weekly pose problems in the long term, bearing in mind I eventually will have a better quality wooden clarinet.

I am trying to establish a more appropriate ( if required ) care / cleaning routine for the clarinet.

Regards
John
 

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In general, wood requires more care. I have to say that your current routine seems a little excessive for a plastic clarinet. I'm not sure what you mean by 'paper'. Are you storing the clarinet with paper under the pads?

Anyway, here are some answers.

1 - I would recommend swabbing after both sessions. Not sure what you mean about paper. Are you concerned about developing sticky pads?

2 - I would say that breaking a clarinet at any interval will pose a problem! :) Jokes aside, I assume you mean disassembling the clarinet when you say 'breaking'. Every time I finish playing, I swab the inside and then use the swab to remove old grease and excess moisture from the tenons of the disassembled instrument to ensure it's fully dry. After this, I often grease the joints. My current clarinet is freshly overhauled, so the corks are still absorbing grease.

Personally, I store my clarinet like you do - fully assembled and under a cotton cover. This is mostly because my clarinet is very hardworking - at times, I'll have to put it through 4 or even 5 wet/dry cold/warm cycles a day. I swab each time.

Manufacturers typically recommend that the best place for a clarinet is its case. This allows the wood to cool down slowly.
 

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your corks will not last if you leave your clarinet assembled for even a week at a time. they need to return to shape after dissasambly. this is esp tru for a wood clarinet the joints may swell up or shrink if left assembled. wood has amind of its own. i use a plastic horn for casual play and leave it assembled most of the time. i dont care what happens to it but my wood ones always get put away
 

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I agree with the others saying take it apart every day. My clarinet is a very nice Buffet that I got new in 1964. It still sounds wonderful. When it is not being played, it’s in the case. Take everything apart, including the mouthpiece and barrel.

If you are going to play 2 1-hour sessions, it’s OK to leave it out between sessions. Swab or not as you see fit. When I was playing shows, the horn stayed on the stand between the 1st and 2nd show.

I agree with @Jazz House that you should wipe out the sockets, and keep excess cork grease off the cork.

I also think you should forget about the paper under the pads. Good luck!
 

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your corks will not last if you leave your clarinet assembled for even a week at a time. they need to return to shape after dissasambly. this is esp tru for a wood clarinet the joints may swell up or shrink if left assembled. wood has amind of its own. i use a plastic horn for casual play and leave it assembled most of the time. i dont care what happens to it but my wood ones always get put away
I agree with the others saying take it apart every day. My clarinet is a very nice Buffet that I got new in 1964. It still sounds wonderful. When it is not being played, it’s in the case. Take everything apart, including the mouthpiece and barrel.
I don't think this (keeping your clarinet assembled) is a real concern, especially for a plastic clarinet. I've been doing this for years (swabbing my clarinet, but mostly leaving it assembled between playing sessions), and haven't had any issues.

The worst that could happen is that the tenon corks compress, but they are pretty easy and inexpensive to replace. I bought a set of 20 bulk tenon corks from MusicMedic about 3-4 years ago, and, while I used a couple on some clarinet overhauls, I haven't had to replace any on the clarinets that I've kept assembled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi to All,
Many thanks for the replies.
The paper I refer too is a slip of thin paper under the keys, this absorbs quite a lot of moisture, saliva, and I assume prolongs the pads. I have heard the term ‘wet mouth’, not to be confused with gutter mouth.
I will be mindful of disassembling the clarinet, allowing the cork to return to original shape.
Just trying to develop a good cleaning routine before the next purchase.
Regards
John
 

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Just to be clear about the corks, I don’t think it’s a problem with a clarinet made from a synthetic material (ABS, hard rubber, whatever). Even if they compress, they are easily expanded with warmth. But you mentioned a wood clarinet, and there are other issues besides cork involved. As mentioned, wood shrinks and expands, and it is porous so absorption of cork grease can be a problem.

If you are intending to get a wood clarinet, I would treat your current horn as if it were wood, just so you have a routine that will appropriate.
 

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When you upgrade to a wood clarinet you will need to 'break' it and wipe out all moisture inside the tenons after every session. Wood is porous and will absorb moisture which makes it swell. Also, leaving it put together all the time will compress the tenon corks and eventually they won't seal perfectly.

I got my Buffet clarinet in 1975 as a college graduation gift. I have never placed paper under the pads. My routine is to take the horn apart, run a dry cloth swab through it a few times, swab the mouthpiece and either put it in the case or inside a cabinet with glass doors which keeps the dust out. In all these years I've only had it repadded once, about 10 years ago. I've taken it in for a check up every few years but keeping it clean and dry is really all you need to do. Early on, I used to keep a separate swab that was saturated with oil, that I used to oil the inside of the bore maybe once or twice a week. I still do it occasionally but I believe the thinking on the necessity of oiling a clarinet has changed in recent years. Either way, my horn is 46 years old. It has no cracks. If you saw it you would think it was brand new except for some light wear on some of the keys. And it sounds beautiful. It is a very fine professional horn that has been well taken care of and never suffered any abuse.

Now I've always been a hit and miss player. When I was a young man I would play for an hour or two a day for months at a time until my enthusiasm waned. Then I'd put it away for months at a time, sometimes years. Over that last two years since I got back into playing I've logged a lot of time on it. Once in a while something goes wrong and I take it to the shop. Usually it's a pad that needs to be replaced. Like I said, I took it in for a complete re-pad about 10 years ago after someone did something and knocked the A/Ab keys sideways. I think it was a family member or the cleaning lady but nobody 'fessed up.

I do go on sometimes. All of this is to say, there's no need to put paper under the pads unless it makes you feel better. There is a great need to make sure you don't leave any moisture inside the tenons of a wood clarinet. It doesn't matter much on a plastic one excepting it may cause the corks to fail sooner if you leave them wet.

Good luck on your ugrade. I know you'll notice a difference if you buy a nice professional horn.
 

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I just got a 1965 Selmer Series 9 I bought at an auction cheap. I’ve been soaking it with bore oil and it keeps taking it in. It was left, and comically, shipped in one piece. I’m going to attempt to repaid it to see how I do.
Water Flooring Floor Wood Automotive exterior
 

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I just got a 1965 Selmer Series 9 I bought at an auction cheap. I’ve been soaking it with bore oil and it keeps taking it in.
I'm playing a Boosey and Hawkes Imperial these days. Got it cheap locally and thought it had a nice tone, so I had it overhauled. My tech told me that it took 10 days to oil it because it just kept drinking it up!
 

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i am hoping to find a bosey and hawks 1010 some day. i want to see if they are as good a jazz horn as people say .
 

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i am hoping to find a bosey and hawks 1010 some day. i want to see if they are as good a jazz horn as people say .
The Imperial 926 is only a little narrower. It plays far more openly than my Backun Beta, which is a great instrument. I find it has less resistance, which makes me a little more comfortable as a sax guy. It's definitely not a refined orchestral sound like an R13, but it's beautiful in its own (different) way. I would also love a 1010, but they're a little hard to come by!
 

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clarinets have a number of myths to deal with

about oil absorption


I've seen that one before. I think there are questions to ask as to whether Michael's experiment actually addresses the real purpose of oiling the bore. I don't think that absorption as such is the goal of bore oiling.
 

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oiling the bore has never been proven to do anything and I have played old clarinets which hadn’t been oiled for years and they didn’t crack, there is a lot or “ religious beliefs” going on on clarinet maintenance .

Another thing which needs debunking is the idea that one can actually blow-out an older clarinet!
 

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well, it is not spread only among clarinet players but also oboe and bassoon players




in my opinion oiling is the same category, almost everybody does it because they have heard that they should do it but nobody really can compare what happens to two identical clarinets (they don’t exist) they would be always individual pieces of wood) and see what happens to one oiled and the other one not oiled.

The experiment above is useful to demonstrate that the wood doesn’t absorb any oil in 7 months and chances are that is will never absorb it. Note that the barrel has been submerged which is something that is not comparable to superficially oiling the bore!

Some repairers also sell the submerging in olil of an entire clarinet claiming this does something, well, we can see that the oil never penetrates the wood in 7 months of submersion.

Submerging clarinets is the clarinet equivalent of cryogenic treatment , claims are made that metals do this that or the other, but science tells us otherwise.
 

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Well, if I ever get back into clarinet I'll be looking for an ebonite or plastic one of high quality. There are a tiny number of manufacturers who are starting to put out high quality plastic/resin/ebonite/whatever you want to call it clarinets. No cracking, no bore oiling (positive or negative), no absorption of cork grease to make it hard to get the cement for a new cork to adhere, no bore oil residue on pads: just strong stable plastic goodness forever.

Or I might go for one of those oldie but goodie double wall metal clarinets.
 

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hard rubber is the way to go on a maintance /worry free clarinet.
All of my clarinets are wood but that's only because, as @turf3 points out above, high quality clarinets have historically been made of wood rather than plastic.

However, if I were buying new, and if it were an option for my preferred clarinet model, I'd go for plastic over wood or ebonite (hard rubber). Two disadvantages of ebonite are that (1) silver-plated keys tarnish quickly due to reaction with the sulfur in the rubber, and (2) the clarinet itself will discolor over time (here are some examples of what I mean on some ebonite clarinets of fairly recent manufacture).

These are admittedly both cosmetic issues, but I don't believe that (synthetic) plastic vs. ebonite makes a discernible difference in sound, so I'd prefer the material that holds up better over time.
 
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