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TheIntern55's avatar

How do I clean this old clarinet (See details)?

Asked by TheIntern55 (4260points) June 4th, 2011

I am in band. I play the clarinet and am currently renting an instrument. Today, I bought an old clarinet for $35. The reason it was that cheap, however, was because it is so dirty. Some of the pads are stuck together and some of the metal keys are bent. Any advice on how to fix this up?

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6 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

You could show it to someone who works with musical instruments and hear his opinion.

Or ask your band leader .. he/she might know something.

gasman's avatar

What you describe sounds like a total overhaul—normally done by a professional shop. Prepare to pay hundreds. To DIY you’ll need to carefully disassemble everything, clean & polish & lube and—at minimum—replace most or all of the pads and probably most of the corks. You might be able to bend metal parts back into alignment yourself. Also check online for products & services for woodwind repair. Good luck! I just bought a used plastic clarinet for $60 at a swap meet that played right out of the case.

Blueroses's avatar

As the others said, you need to have a professional evaluate the instrument. I played clarinet for several years in school and I know the abuse a student instrument endures goes beyond dirt and a few sticky pads. If it’s that dirty, there is likely some structural cracking and damage that cleaning isn’t going to fix.

Take it to a shop that rents and repairs student instruments and they should give you a free estimate for what it needs but I would bet what you have is a $35 art piece – hang it on your wall.

You don’t need to throw hundreds into an instrument that will never sound as good as one that was well cared-for. Check e-bay and Overstock. I picked up a brand new student clarinet for $80 online and I’ve seen them even lower priced at Hastings Music and at Costco. You can always upgrade to a higher quality if you become serious about playing, but an entry-level clarinet will get you through student band.

mcsnazzy's avatar

Hey, I’ve been playing clarinet in a band for 3 years now. Co clean it, you can buy small cleaning kits that are really cheap. They come with a stick that looks like lip balm. Caution…do not try it as lip balm. Its cork grease. they also come with this cloth. It has a strign at one end. You put the string down the main shafte and pull it. The cloth will be pulled through and the gunk on the inside will go away. you can take a q-tip for the rest. Wet it slightly and rub it in the dirty areas to take away the dirt. For sticky pads, you can take a piece of paper, instert it under the pad, ,press, and then pull out while still applying pressure to the pad. sometimes this helps. this is what i know from school but if you really want to know, go to your local music shop and ask them the best way to clean it.

Blueroses's avatar

Yep, @mcsnazzy That’s really good advice for maintaining your instrument. @TheIntern55 is talking more of a restoration job. Look at the words “some of the metal keys are bent”.

TheIntern55's avatar

Thank you all so much, I’m having my band teacher look at it and then I’ll send it to the place that I currently rent from.

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