In the register hole is a small tube
which extends into the bore of the instrument. The pad seat on this tube
is usually somewhat sharp and the pad will become cut more readily than
the other pads. Many players substitute a cork in this pad cup. The cork
will not cut easily and covers just as well as a regular pad if fit
properly. Nearly all oboes use cork as standard in this small register
hole pad cup.
To quiet the noise where the two parts
of the side lever keys are joined, a small piece of "gold beater skin" is
used. When this wears out, you can supply a new piece by taking the skin
off an old pad.
On all model clarinets except the
articulated models the ring on the upper end of the lower joint is held by
a metal strap screwed securely to the body. In dry weather the wood may
shrink away from this retaining ring; but you won't notice it as you will
on models where the retaining ring is not held by this strap, for on the
latter models you can tell when the ring is loose. On the models with the
strap, the strap holds the ring solidly so it doesn't seem to be loose.
However, shrinking leaves the wood of the tenon receiver without
reinforcement. If you try to force the upper joint tenon into a lower
joint receiver when it is in this condition, you are liable to split the
wood in the tenon receiver. In dry weather examine this tenon receiver
carefully and be sure the cork on the tenon fits easily into the tenon
Don't tinker with the mechanism. If it
doesn't work properly and you can't locate the trouble by applying the
foregoing simple methods, take it to an experienced repairman. If you
begin adjusting a key here and changing another there, the first thing you
know you will have the entire mechanism out of adjustment and in the end
you'll have a major repair job.
Don't lay a clarinet down on its side.
Stand the Bb soprano clarinet upright on a peg. Use appropriate holder or
regular instrument stand to hold alto or bass clarinet. The keys are
delicate and the instrument will not stand the abuse of your laying it
down on its keys. This also puts a strain on the middle tenon, which is
the thinnest and most easily damaged tenon on the instrument. Further,
laying a clarinet down causes the water in the instrument to run out into
holes on the underside, damaging the pads. If a clarinet peg or instrument
holder is not permitted in the concert band or symphony orchestra
(although we can't understand why some directors ban them) and you must
lay your clarinet down, lay it so the fewest tone holes are on the
In summer the air contains more
moisture than at any other season. It is then particularly that you should
do everything you can to keep your instrument dry. This is the season you
will have trouble with swelled tenons. Carry a piece of camphor in your
case to help absorb moisture. In winter the humidity in the air decreases.
Furthermore, overheated, dry rooms increase the dryness. It is during this
season you will notice loose rings and posts. This dryness plus quick
changes from warm to cold increases the danger of cracking. Be on your
guard against quick changes of temperature and supply a little moisture by
carrying a humidifier in your case.
When the mouthpiece is not in use, the
ligature should be loosened. Constant tight pressure of the ligature may
warp the facing and may even cause a constriction in the mouthpiece
chamber in time. Rubber and plastics are subject to "cold flow" and
constant ligature pressure may cause them to change shape. Also always put
cap on to protect reed and tip of mouthpiece.
If you have difficulty getting your
clarinet in pitch you'd better investigate the matter of barrel joints. If
your instrument is very sharp with A-440 don't use too much pull on
mouthpiece or barrel — get a longer barrel joint. If your instrument is
flat with A-440 get a shorter joint. Conn furnishes several lengths of
barrel joints to meet varying tuning conditions.