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From Steve Prescott
Instrument Rep. Tech/Clarinetist

(Please use this for educational purposes or self use only.)

When you assemble the instrument (specifically the 2 keyed joints), make sure the posts holding the lower ring key (lower keyed joint) and the D/A ring key (upper joint) are in a straight line. Check to see if the D/A ring key pad and the lower ring key pad (top most pad on upper joint) are closing together. Use a piece of cassette tape or a piece of cigarette paper to check the regulation between these two pads.

If the two pads do not close evenly the following procedure can be used to adjust the regulation.

Tools Needed:

Safety glasses
2 Screwdrivers (small, large)
Smooth jaw pliers (to align bridge)
Pad "slick" or "stay"
Feeler gauge (piece of cassette tape)

Basics for all clarinet regulations:

  • All pads are level and seated.
  • The clarinet is assembled properly, with the upper and lower ring key posts in line with each other.
  • All corks are the proper thickness.
  • Bridge is not bent out of alignment.
  • The feeler gauge is inserted between the pad and the tone hole at the 6:00 position. The key is closed with normal playing pressure.

Procedure Outline:

  1. Throat G# to A
  2. Ring height
  3. Lower ring key to D/A ring key (bridge)
  4. E/B to F/C
  5. Play the instrument

Procedure in detail:
(#'s below refer to #'s above)

  1. There should be slight lost motion between the throat A key and the G# key. In other words, the A key will travel slightly when opened before it makes contact with the regulation screw attached to the G# key. Turn this screw counter clockwise to achieve lost motion. Use the feeler gauge to make certain both the throat A and the throat G# are closing. Insert the feeler under the A key pad, allow the key to close on the feeler and remove the feeler, noting the drag. The same is done for the G#. The drag should feel the same for both keys.

  2. The rings on the clarinet that surround the raised tone holes (chimneys) should be slightly higher (.5mm) than the surface of the chimneys when the key is in the closed position. If the ring is too high, insert the pad slick between the pad of the key and its tone hole and flex downward on the ring. If you are adjusting the lower rings, make sure you flex all three at once. If the ring is too low (the chimney is sticking up past the ring when the key is closed), hold the ring(s) up while flexing the pad cup downward. If the Thumb ring key is too high, hold the arm extending off of the back of the F#/B ring key down while flexing the thumb ring key down. If the ring is too low, pry the thumb ring key up carefully. Ring height is subjective, varying from player to player.

  3. The bridge mechanism must be in for this step. The bridge arm and foot must be parallel with the hinge rods they extend from. To adjust the bridge so that the D/A ring key and the lower ring key close together, insert the feeler under the pad of the D/A ring key and close the key from the lower ring key. Note the drag (if any) while pulling the feeler out. Insert the feeler under the pad of the lower ring key, close the key and note the drag. Both keys should have equal drag. If the D/A ring key pad has more drag than the lower ring key pad, flex the upper bridge upward. Check the drag again as above. If the lower ring key has more drag, hold the D/A ring key pad cup down firmly against the tone hole while flexing the upper bridge downward.

  4. Insert the feeler under the pad of the E/B key and close the key from the left E/B touchpiece (lever). Pull the feeler out, noting the drag. Insert the feeler under the pad of the F/C key and again close the key from the left E/B touchpiece and pull the feeler out, noting the drag. The drag should be equal between the two keys. If the drag of the F/C key is heavier, push down firmly on the right hand F/C touchpiece, flexing it past the point where the pad hits the tone hole. If the drag is heavier under the E/B key, close the E/B key from the pad cup and flex the crow's foot upward.

  5. Play the instrument.

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