|Break-in for Wooden Clarinets|
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The Clarinet Center, Penticton, BC, Canada
This section pertains only to those of you who have wooden clarinets.
Cracks in clarinets are something that most players dread. There is one main reason why clarinets crack and that is because the bore: (A) of the instrument swells faster than the outside (B).
There are two causes for this happening:
There is no guarantee, however cautious you are, that the instrument will not crack; however, some advice for breaking- in a clarinet would be:
After you have broken your clarinet in, it is best not to go more than a few days without playing it. Even if you are on holiday, play every few days for a short while, not just for your sake, but for the sake of the instrument.
I am not convinced that oiling the wood lessens the chance of cracking, however, a light oiling of the wood on the bore only should not do any harm.
Inspect your clarinet from time to time to see if cracks have occurred. They most frequently occur in the upper part of the upper joint in the area of the trill keys and the A key. Should you notice a crack in your clarinet, stop playing immediately. Mark the crack with a pencil from beginning to end and then take it to a reputable repairman for repair.
Should your clarinet crack immediately before or during a concert, it is possible in many cases to put tape over the length of the crack to seal it temporarily so that you can get through. Of course, by playing after noticing the crack, you run the risk of it opening more which would then increase the cost to repair it.
Rings should be tight. If they are loose, they should be tightened by shimming them. Be sure to replace them the correct way. There is a top and bottom.
© Peter Spriggs. Reprinted by permission.
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