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What Is Involved in Clarinet Servicing?

Liz Thomas
Liz Thomas

Clarinet servicing refers to the testing and repair of clarinets. There are many different parts to the clarinet and clarinet servicing ensures that everything is in good working order. Once all the parts are fixed, the instrument is thoroughly cleaned and inspected. The final step is another test to make sure the clarinet has satisfactory sound .

A key component of clarinet servicing is testing the clarinet to diagnose any problems with sound. The causes of some sound issues are known by an experienced technician, and can be easily fixed. The instrument is then disassembled and inspected. There are five pieces to the clarinet, two of which contain the holes, pads and keys.

Man playing a guitar
Man playing a guitar

All of the removable components are taken off the clarinet. Keys and pads are removed and all pins extracted. Dust is wiped off, and the parts are thoroughly and carefully cleaned. A variety of cleaning agents are used that are specific to the type of material the clarinet and its parts are made from. All of the screws and pivot rods that connect the keys are also thoroughly cleaned as well.

Each component is then checked and repaired during clarinet servicing. Old and broken keypads are replaced. Spring tension is adjusted and all of the keys and pads are aligned properly over the holes. Screws and pivot rods are oiled and re-tightened to ensure nothing will seize in the future. Broken or dry cork on the connection ends are replaced or oiled.

Older clarinets made from wood will be treated with bore oil as part of clarinet servicing. These wood clarinets are not as popular as they once were and are considered rare. If the wood is not treated properly or stored in the proper environment, it can warp. Most clarinets are now made of composite or plastic. Composite clarinets are less likely to warp, and do not require oiling.

When the clarinet has been reassembled, the technician will seat the pads. The key pads must sit over the holes perfectly, so that no air escapes when the pads are down. The clarinet is then regulated, a process in which the technician checks that all the pads on the keys close at the same time.

The last step of clarinet servicing is playing the instrument again to test its tone and overall sound. Any necessary adjustments are made until the clarinet plays perfectly. Some shops may also include case cleaning as a part of the process. The technician will often provide any tips on necessary care and cleaning of the clarinet if he or she notices any major problems during servicing.

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