Care Tips and Maintenance Guide for the Clarinet

Buffet Crampon Paris R13 Festival Professional Bb Wood 57

The Clarinet consists of seven (7) parts:

  1. The Bell Section
  2. The Lower Joint
  3. The Upper Joint
  4. The Barrel
  5. The Mouthpiece
  6. The Ligature
  7. The Reed

Special Note: Before assembling the clarinet, rub a small amount of cork grease into the lower joint tenon cork, the upper joint tenon cork, and the mouthpiece tenon cork. Be sure to wipe off excess grease. Be sure NO GREASE gets on the main body of the clarinet.

Care And Maintenance Of The Clarinet


  1. Take the clarinet reed from the reed guard in the case and put the thin end into your mouth and soak it during this entire process of assembling the clarinet.
  2. Take the lower joint of the clarinet at Point “A” with the left hand and the bell section with the right hand. Gently, but firmly, push them together. Usually you can align the various trademarks with the main body of keys.
  3. Take the upper joint #3 (the smaller of the 2 major sections) in the left hand. Hold firmly and make sure the fingers are depressing the 2 “O” rings at Point “B”. Take the lower joint and bell assembly in the right hand at Point “A” and gently but firmly push them together. Be sure you do NOT twist the clarinet when assembling these two joints as it can cause damage to the keys at the center of the clarinet. The bridge keys, Point “X” from the lower and upper joint should align and the bridge key from the upper joint should be on top of the bridge key from the lower joint. Set the clarinet down, carefully in the open case.
  4. Take the mouthpiece in the right hand and the barrel in the left hand. Gently, but firmly push the mouthpiece into the smaller end of the clarinet barrel.
  5. Now you are ready to put the reed on the assembled mouthpiece barrel section. You will need the mouthpiece barrel section, the reed and the ligature in this step. First, slide the ligature over the mouthpiece (large side first) until it is past the tapered portion of the mouthpiece. Now, put the reed on by carefully sliding it in between the ligature and mouthpiece on the flat portion of the mouthpiece. The tip of the reed should be even with the tip of the mouthpiece.  Tighten both screws of the ligature until firm, but not real tight.
  6. Now you are ready to complete the assembly of the clarinet by placing the mouthpiece barrel section onto the main portion of the clarinet. To do this, follow these steps: Hold the barrel mouthpiece section in the right hand by the barrel with the reed facing you. Pick up the clarinet with the left hand at Point “C”. The back of the clarinet should face you and the clarinet should be in a vertical position. align the reed with the only key on the back of the clarinet. Push the mouthpiece barrel section onto the upper joint of the clarinet with a gentle, but firm push. Now you are ready to play the clarinet


When you are finished playing the clarinet, REVERSE the assembly procedures. As you remove each part, a pad saver or swab should be used to remove the moisture from the INSIDE of the instrument. Put each part in the PROPER place in the case. It is much easier to disassemble the clarinet while you are in a sitting position.


  1. Before assembling the clarinet, you should ALWAYS be sure that all the tenon corks are properly and adequately greased.
  2. After playing the clarinet, you should ALWAYS swab out the INSIDE of the clarinet. Special care should be taken to clean all tenon joint parts. The reed should be taken from the mouthpiece and the mouthpiece should also be swabbed out. It is advisable to keep an old reed on the mouthpiece AT ALL TIMES, avoiding any damage to the mouthpiece by the ligature. If you are not going to keep a reed on the mouthpiece, then DO NOT put the ligature on the mouthpiece as it will damage the mouthpiece and cause the clarinet to ‘squeak’.
  3. Carefully, wipe the OUTSIDE of the entire clarinet polishing the keys and black main body to its’ original luster, thus removing any and all fingerprints.

GENERAL Care Tips and Maintenance Guide for the Clarinet

  1. Key oil is needed to oil the hinges and rods of the clarinet. Your child should do this in the presence of their teacher. The clarinet mechanism should be oiled carefully, three times per year.
  2. A pad saver can be left in the main body of a clarinet. Its function is to draw any moisture into itself and away from the pads, thus preserving the pads of the clarinet.
  3. If the pads become sticky, or if the tenons become too loose or tight, please seek the advice of your teacher BEFORE assembling or trying to repair the instrument on your own.
  4. Reeds will eventually become damaged and unplayable. Proper care of the reed is important and will ensure a longer life.  While the reed is in the case, it should be on a flat surface. This can be provided by a reed guard which should be used whenever a reed is not being used.
  5. If you have a Wood Clarinet, oil the outside and inside of the instrument to avoid cracking.

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