Saxophone Forum


by johnsonfromwisconsin
(767 posts)
8 years ago

Ugh, Clarinets!

Apparently, clarinets are supposed to be easier than saxophones to repad, etc in general: No stacks to worry about, pads easier to seat due to size, fewer pads, but here I am kind of struggling with it. For those that don't know, checking a saxophone for leaks involves placing a light behind the pad down the instrument. It does take experience to know how to look and find the very smallest leaks, but it's a very straightforward operation otherwise. With clarinets, the pads are translucent so a light won't work. People recomment feeler guages, using smoke, the suck/blow test, even using liquid in the bore to find leaks. For me, I do the most simple: feeler guages. I have feelers made out of the thin mylar window that comes on envelopes containing bills. I cut a number of these from the envelope to use. I try to adjust pads so the 'grab' on the guage is about even from at least eight different angles. I still can't find all the leaks. Oh, yeah. Working with plastic clarinets is a joy. Apparently I got a little to much direct heat on a tonehole and it warped slightly. I took a rotary tool with a sanding disk (trimmed down to size) to redefine the hole and level the surface, then I buffed around it a little (before leveling the rim again). Clarinets. what a pain!

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  1. by thelittlemarchingone
    (50 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Ugh, Clarinets!

    I know your pain. I'm having a hard time keeping 3 saxophones and 2 clarinets (one plastic, one wood) in perfect working order all the time - One of them always seems to have a leak, or something... But it's mainly the clarinets that trouble me. I've learned from trying to fix them myself that it's not worth damaging it farther. I thank God every day for my repair tech who takes such good care of me, and has the patience to fix my little DIY projects gone wrong...

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    1. by Slausonm
      (51 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Ugh, Clarinets!

      I'm a flute player and can blow sax and clarinet. I also have a degree in instrument repair. The first order of repair and other life threatening changes is "do no harm" . Unless you are confident and competent at repair I wouldn't go about modifying tone holes. I do specialty repairs like making tenons, sockets and tone holes as well as keys and other stuff. Your repairman is likely charging you more for the PITA factor for having to fix repairs that you should not have attempted. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for DIY, just be aware of the cost if you can't DIY and have to send it to your repair person. FYI, IMHO clarinets are really pretty easy to repair.

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      1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Ugh, Clarinets!

        Thanks for chiming in, but no worries. This was a project horn all the way and cost $10 at a garage sale. I'm reasonably confident of the effectiveness of the fix, but no, I'd never try this on a valuable instrument. :)

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