If you’re a clarinet player, you know the importance of keeping your instrument clean and well-maintained. A clean clarinet not only sounds better but also lasts longer.
However, cleaning a clarinet can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to it.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to clean your clarinet properly.
The first step to clean your clarinet is to disassemble it into its five separate pieces. This includes the mouthpiece, barrel, upper joint, lower joint, and bell. Once you’ve taken it apart, you can start cleaning each piece individually. It’s essential to clean your clarinet after every use to prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, and moisture that can affect the sound quality and longevity of your instrument.
Before you start cleaning, make sure you have all the necessary supplies, including a cleaning cloth, swab, cork grease, and bore oil. Cleaning your clarinet may seem like a daunting task, but it’s relatively easy once you get the hang of it.
By following these simple steps, you can keep your clarinet in top shape and enjoy playing beautiful music for years to come.
Gather the Necessary Supplies
Before you start cleaning your clarinet, you need to gather all the necessary supplies. Here are the supplies you will need:
- Hot water (but not boiling)
- Sanitizing spray
- Mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide
- Clarinet swab
- Mouthpiece brush
- Cotton swab
- Dish soap/liquid hand soap
- Polishing cloth
- Cork grease
- Cleaning paper
- Key brush
- Key oil
- Bore oil
Make sure you have all of these supplies before you start cleaning your clarinet. You don’t want to start cleaning and then realize you are missing an important tool or cleaning agent.
It’s also important to note that you should use the proper cleaning products for your clarinet. For example, you should purchase oil from a music store to make sure it is the proper type of oil for your clarinet. Using the wrong products can damage your clarinet and affect its sound.
Once you have all of the necessary supplies, you are ready to start cleaning your clarinet. Follow the steps carefully to ensure you clean your clarinet properly and maintain its quality.
Disassemble the Clarinet
Before you start cleaning your clarinet, you need to disassemble it into its five separate pieces. This will make it easier to clean each piece thoroughly. Follow these steps:
Hold the lower joint with your left hand and the bell with your right hand. Twist the bell counterclockwise to remove it from the lower joint. Then, twist the barrel counterclockwise to remove it from the lower joint.
Hold the upper joint with your left hand and the barrel with your right hand. Twist the barrel clockwise to remove it from the upper joint. Then, remove the ligature and reed from the mouthpiece. Finally, twist the mouthpiece clockwise to remove it from the upper joint.
Hold the barrel with your left hand and the bell with your right hand. Twist the bell clockwise to attach it to the barrel.
Hold the bell with your left hand and the lower joint with your right hand. Twist the lower joint clockwise to attach it to the bell.
Hold the mouthpiece with your left hand and the ligature with your right hand. Loosen the screws on the ligature and remove the reed. Then, remove the ligature from the mouthpiece.
Now that your clarinet is disassembled, you can begin cleaning each piece thoroughly.
Clean the Body of the Clarinet
After you have cleaned the mouthpiece and the reed, it is time to clean the body of the clarinet. This is an important step to ensure that your clarinet functions properly and sounds its best. Cleaning the body of the clarinet involves cleaning both the inside and outside of the instrument.
Cleaning the Inside of the Body
The inside of the body of the clarinet can be cleaned using a swab. A swab is a long piece of cloth or string that is used to remove moisture and debris from the inside of the instrument. To clean the inside of the body of the clarinet, follow these steps:
- Take the swab and insert it into the top of the clarinet.
- Gently push the swab through the body of the instrument, being careful not to force it.
- Once the swab has come out of the bottom of the clarinet, gently pull it back up through the instrument.
- Repeat this process until the inside of the body is clean and dry.
Cleaning the Outside of the Body
The outside of the body of the clarinet can be cleaned using a soft cloth. To clean the outside of the body of the clarinet, follow these steps:
- Dampen a soft cloth with water.
- Gently wipe down the outside of the body of the clarinet, being careful not to get any water inside the instrument.
- Once you have wiped down the outside of the body, use a dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture.
It is important to clean the body of the clarinet regularly to keep it in good condition. By following these steps, you can ensure that your clarinet stays clean and functions properly.
Clean the Keys and Pads
When it comes to cleaning your clarinet, the keys and pads are two of the most important components to focus on. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure they are properly cleaned:
Cleaning the Keys
The keys on your clarinet can become dirty and sticky over time, which can affect the sound and playability of your instrument. To clean the keys, you will need a soft cloth, key oil, and cleaning paper.
- Apply a drop of key oil to the small gap between the ball and hinge for each key.
- Work the key a few times so the oil will spread out to lubricate and protect the key hinge.
- Place a piece of cleaning paper between the keypad and the hole and press it several times, moving the paper each time, until the key no longer leaves a mark on the paper.
- Repeat this process for each key on your clarinet.
Cleaning the Pads
The pads on your clarinet can also become dirty and sticky over time, which can affect the sound and playability of your instrument. To clean the pads, you will need a soft cloth and cleaning paper.
- Place cleaning paper between the tone holes and the pad.
- Press the key down gently and pull the paper out.
- Repeat this process for each pad on your clarinet.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your clarinet keys and pads are properly cleaned and maintained, which will help to prolong the life of your instrument and ensure that it always sounds its best.
Reassemble the Clarinet
Now that you have cleaned all the parts of your clarinet, it’s time to reassemble it. Follow these steps:
- Start by putting the barrel back onto the top of the lower joint. Make sure the keys line up and the cork is in good condition.
- Next, attach the bell to the bottom of the lower joint. Again, make sure the keys line up and the cork is in good condition.
- Now it’s time to attach the upper joint to the lower joint. Line up the keys and gently twist them together.
- Finally, attach the mouthpiece to the top of the upper joint. Make sure the ligature is in place and secure.
Once your clarinet is fully assembled, play a few notes to make sure everything is working correctly. If you notice any issues, disassemble the clarinet and check for any loose or misaligned parts. It’s important to keep your clarinet in good condition to ensure it continues to produce beautiful music for years to come.
Cleaning and maintaining your clarinet is crucial for keeping it in good condition and ensuring it produces the best sound possible. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily clean and maintain your clarinet on a regular basis, preventing damage and prolonging its lifespan.
Remember to disassemble your clarinet into its separate parts before cleaning and to use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe down the exterior. Use a swab to remove moisture from the interior of the instrument and clean the mouthpiece and reed separately. Be sure to inspect the pads, tone holes, and corks regularly for any signs of wear or damage.
Additionally, it’s important to store your clarinet properly in a case when not in use and to avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or humidity. By taking good care of your clarinet, you can enjoy playing it for years to come.