To get the most out of your clarinet, good cleaning and proper maintenance is very important. By taking the clarinet apart regularly and cleaning each piece with cleaning cloths, oil and a little water, the instrument will last much longer and will sound great.
Part 1 of 2: Cleaning the Clarinet After Playing
Step 1. Take the clarinet apart
Manipulate each piece with your fingertips to prevent the oils from your hands from transferring to the wood of the clarinet. Be very careful not to bend the keys while taking the clarinet apart. Put each piece in a safe place where it won't get damaged.
Step 2. Remove the reed after playing and store it in a reed holder to dry
Put the rest of the clarinet in a safe place that is neither too hot nor too cold. Don't stand it on the tips unless you have a clarinet stand (which holds the clarinet upright and can usually be bent and tucked into the bell).
Step 3. Use a polishing cloth to clean the fingerprints from the clamp and keys
Cleaning with a microfiber cloth will prevent acids and oils from damaging the instrument. Gently put the washcloth back in the case. Do not use any type of metal polish or other substance on the instrument, except key oil and cork grease. Pay close attention to the tuning holes that you plug with your fingers, as they often collect debris and grime.
Step 4. Clean the mouthpiece with a small brush
A dirty mouthpiece can become unhealthy and negatively affect your health if it is ignored for too long. A dirty mouthpiece can also shrink, negatively affecting the tuning of the instrument. Use the brush and warm water to gently remove the accumulated sediment on the nozzle and dry it with a microfiber cloth.
Step 5. Clean each part of the clarinet with the cleaning cloth
To remove the moisture from inside the clarinet, use the cleaning cloth, dropping the weight of the cloth and string through the clarinet from the bell to the mouthpiece and pulling it. If the cloth gets stuck, please pull harder, don't worry, it won't damage the clarinet. You may have to repeat this process several times.
Take the pieces apart and dry the dowels (these are the places where the joints fit together). Then let the cleaning cloth dry before storing it in the case, otherwise the keys will fade
Step 6. Put the clarinet back in its case
After cleaning, always place the clarinet in its case to protect it from damage. Avoid storing anything other than the clarinet in the case, as papers and pencils can damage the wood once the case is closed. Once the clarinet is safe at home, leave the lid of the case open for an hour to allow the clarinet to dry naturally.
If your pencil case isn't big enough to hold all of your cleaning supplies, you can get a pencil case to store the canes, washcloths, and other cleaning supplies you need
Part 2 of 2: Holding the Clarinet
Step 1. Begin assembling the new clarinet
There are seven different pieces on the clarinet, each with its own vital impact on the sound of the instrument. Assembling these pieces is essential for proper maintenance. Understanding how to properly assemble the clarinet will ensure that the instrument is not damaged while you play it. Follow these steps as you treat each piece of the clarinet carefully, working from the bottom to the top of the clarinet.
- Attach the hood to the lower body.
- Attach the upper body to the lower one.
- Line up the bridge key.
- Attach the keg.
- Attach the mouthpiece.
- Place the reed carefully and secure it with the clamp.
Step 2. Grease the corks of the spikes
Grease the corks by rubbing them with your fingers. It is not necessary to do this every time you put the clarinet together, as too much fat will weaken the corks and make them more prone to cracking and breaking. Grease the dowel corks if the instrument is difficult to assemble so the joints will fit smoothly. You may need to grease them more often during the dry winter months.
Step 3. Soak the reed in a glass of water before playing
The reed has the greatest impact on the tuning of the clarinet and is essential to the sound of the clarinet. Be especially careful when handling the rod, as it is very fragile. Soak the cane for two to three minutes before each session.
Another way to soak the reed is to place it in your mouth for a few minutes, using the saliva to moisten it before playing
Step 4. Change the reed periodically
Buy more than one rod to always have a backup. You will know if a reed needs to be replaced if the clarinet sounds out of tune. Replace the reed if it is cracked or broken. Another sign that it needs to be changed is when the reed turns green. Before replacing the reed, soak the new reed for two to three minutes.
Step 5. Oil the inside of the clarinet every 12 to 18 months
Purchase oil from a music store to make sure it is the right type of oil for your clarinet. Apply a small amount of oil to a cotton cloth and pull it through the assembled clarinet. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then remove any excess oil that has not been absorbed by the clarinet wood. This will ensure that the clarinet maintains its natural humidity, especially if you travel to areas with different humidity.
Step 6. Be careful when transporting the clarinet in its case
Although a clarinet case is intended to protect you, you should be cautious when transporting your instrument. Avoid hitting the case against the walls or dropping it. Since most clarinets are made of wood, even a slight mistake when carrying it can cause serious damage to the instrument. When driving, make sure the case is in a safe and secure place and that it does not slip during sharp turns.
- Buy a clarinet stand. These are really great when you have to put the clarinet aside, as you won't be afraid of it falling over and breaking. You won't have to hold it if you want to clean it, just put it on the stand and get to work! Some clarinet stands are foldable and can be slid into the bell, which is even better.
- Regular cleaning, scrubbing, dusting, and oiling will make the instrument last longer, but obsessive polishing and dusting will wear down the finish of the keys.
- Be very careful when handling the rod. The reeds are as thin as paper and very easy to break or chip. When they start to turn gray, it's time to buy new ones.
- If the cleaning cloth gets stuck, don't try to force it out. Take the clarinet to a nearby music store and get professional help.
- Do not use any type of metal polish on the clarinet.
- Woodwind instruments cannot get wet. With just a little water, the pads that cover the holes will absorb moisture and become large and puffy. This will prevent them from covering the holes properly.