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Protect Bridge Keys

One of the first lessons taught the beginning clarinet player is how to put the clarinet together and take it apart without bending the- bridge keys. These are the keys which bridge the key system from upper to lower joint. One key on the upper joint rides above the companion key on the lower joint. The thing to watch is that the key on the upper joint is lifted so when the two joints are pushed together with a rotating motion the bridge keys do not snag each other and become bent. Be sure the D-A key on the upper joint is depressed. See Fig. 36 for location of this key. This raises the bridge key on the upper joint. Then be sure you do not press any key on the lower joint which raises the bridge key on the lower joint. If you observe these precautions you will have no trouble snagging the two bridge keys and damaging them.

On Conn Bb soprano clarinets with the 17-key 6-ring and the 17-key 7-ring key systems, there is a bridge key protector which prevents any of this trouble. This protector is a ramp on the lower joint which automatically lifts the upper bridge key and prevents it from snagging the lower bridge key. See Fig. 40, which explains how this works.

On the bass and alto clarinets there are two bridge keys where upper and lower joints are connected and another bridge key where the bell joins the lower branch. While these latter are bridge keys, they are usually referred to as the C key and D key respectively. See Fig. 41 on how to grasp both branches to avoid snagging the bridge keys. Note that you depress the spatule of the A key in addition to the D-A key. The depression of these two keys lifts' both bridge keys on the upper joint. Then grasp the lower joint below the group of spatule keys played with the right little finger. This permits the lower bridge keys to stay down so they will not snag the upper bridge keys. Also in Fig. 42 note how heel of hand depresses D key so spatule is raised to clear C key. With these keys clearing each other, the joints can be be put together or pulled apart with a rotating motion.