There are several preventive measures to avoid frequent visits to the repair technician as mentioned in the “Comprehensive Guide: How to Clean and Maintain a Clarinet.” Following these guidelines makes it possible to maintain the condition of your instrument. Even though we may take all the necessary measures to keep our instruments in good shape, sometimes there are instances when a clarinet pad falls off or the cork is ungluing itself unexpectedly and there is no way to get to the repair shop before that important concert. The following guide discusses common clarinet issues that can be handled through self-repair.
Here are supplies needed to do basic self-repairs that you can order online or purchase in your local hardware store: Micro pad cement, lighter fluid, 220-grit sandpaper, flat pliers with a smooth surface, patches of leather, oversized thumb rest screws, a hair dryer, cotton swabs, contact cement, a feeler gauge, a pad leveling tool and a spring hook.
Dirt collected over a period of time can create problems with playability.
It is important to clean dust and dirt particles in the tone holes and inner tubing that tend to build over time, which can affect the overall playability of the instrument. This repair involves taking the instrument apart and cleaning it with cotton swabs and water. When doing this type of self-repair, work with on a flat surface and place the parts on a towel so that you do not lose them.
Replacing clarinet pads.
If you are not able to get to a woodwind technician, you can do this yourself. You can identify if you need to replace your clarinet pads through visual inspection. If clarinet pads appear to be tattered, discolored, or old, it is usually a good time to replace them. Another way to check to see if the clarinet pads on your instrument need to be changed is by performing the suction test for the clarinet’s top and bottom joint. If the clarinet does not seal properly, this means that there is a pad leaking air. Loose pads can be reinstalled temporarily by heating the key cup with a cigarette lighter and slipping the pad back under the key cup with a pin. Apply light pressure to the pad so that it remains in the key cup until you are able to schedule an appointment with a professional technician.
Loose binding tenons can make it difficult to assemble and disassemble the instrument.
When the binding tenons are loose, the clarinet is more susceptible to cracking. Use Valentino synthetic cork strips to replace the cork, as they are pre-cut and self-adhesive. Be sure to clean the old glue residue from the old cork with lighter fluid before applying the new cork. Remove the protective paper backing and wrap the synthetic cork around the tenon. With a knife or razor blade, remove the excess cork. Since the cork is new, apply some cork grease to prevent the joints from sticking. If these materials are not available, a temporary solution is to use plumbers’ tape and apply it over the existing cork of the binding tenons that are loose. This will be a good temporary repair until you are able to schedule an appointment with a professional technician.
Other repairs like bent keys, springs, adjustments, thumb rests and stuck swabs are better handled by professional woodwind technicians since they require specialized equipment.