It takes a great amount of dedication and admiration in order to successfully learn how to play the clarinet, but to achieve the perfect sound quality; you should know how to assemble the clarinet. To store it correctly, on the other hand, you should learn how to disassemble the clarinet.
Without doubt, the clarinet is one of the most compact wind instruments in the industry today. It is divided into seven different parts, namely, the bell, upper joint, lower joint, barrel, mouthpiece, ligature, and reed. The reed is directly attached to the mouthpiece via the ligature. The other parts of the clarinet, on the other hand, connect using a corked tenon that goes into a socket. It is very important to ensure that these parts fit perfectly into each other.
If you tighten them too much, it becomes very difficult to disassemble the clarinet and this can damage the keys on your clarinet. If the parts are too loose, your clarinet can wiggle when you are playing and fall apart, causing permanent damage.
In this write-up, we will go over the main steps you need to successfully assemble your clarinet and disassemble it once you are done playing.
How to assemble your clarinet
The following steps should help you assemble your clarinet in a seamless manner;
Step One: Identify the main parts of the clarinet and ensure that they are intact
Place the case on a flat surface, then open it to ensure that the parts of your clarinet are present before officially starting off the assembly process. Also, ensure that the parts of your clarinet are
Step Two: Start from the bottom part of your clarinet
In order to successfully assemble your clarinet without causing any damage, start from the bottom then carefully work your way towards the top part.
To do this, begin by attaching the bell and the lower joint together. When doing this, do not grip any keys too hard to avoid bending and breaking them before the assembly process is complete.
Step Three: Go ahead and line up the joints on your clarinet
Here, all you need to do is to attach the upper joint of the clarinet to the lower joint. Unfortunately, this may be the most difficult part of the assembly process. In fact, it gets even more complicated if you are a beginner. When you line up the keys from the start, the two joints may not fit together correctly. So, you need to be extra cautious when going over this step.
To prevent any accidental damages, you need to put the joints together off-center. Once the joints are well aligned, you should gently push down the keys on the upper joint as you slowly turn the lower joint until they are lined up as they should be. Do not use excess pressure when lining up the upper and lower joints to avoid damaging your clarinet keys.
Step Four: Attach the Barrel to the Upper Joint
At this point, attach the wider side of the barrel to the upper joint of your clarinet. If you want an aesthetically pleasing presentation, consider lining up the logos in a parallel manner. To do this successfully, begin by pushing the barrel all the way in, but position it later on when it is time to tune your clarinet.
Step Five: Attach the Mouthpiece to the Clarinet then add the Reed
Start by taking off the mouthpiece cap then leave the ligature off until it is time to put the reed on. To attach the reed to the clarinet, place it on your mouth to moisten it. When doing this, ensure that the entire reed is well moistened, including the thin tip.
Remember, both the mouthpiece and the reed are very fragile parts of the clarinet. Once you knock them in a hard surface, they easily crack and chip, so you won’t be able to use them anymore. That said, try and be a little bit more careful when handling them to avoid any damages on your musical instrument.
Once the reed is moistened, loosen the screws found on the ligature before slipping it over the mouthpiece, then slide the reed between the ligature and the mouthpiece. Do not touch the tip of the reed when lining it up to the mouthpiece. When the read is aligned, tighten the screws found on the ligature. Make sure they aren’t too tight or too loose for better tone production.
How to Disassemble your Clarinet
Once you have finished playing, it is important to disassemble your clarinet so that you can put it back in its case safely for storage. The disassembly process is much easier than the assembly process. Here is how to go about it;
Step One: Start by removing the Reed
To do this, place your thumb on the stock of the reed before unscrewing the ligature. Once you have managed to loosen up the screws, slip the rid off then take it off without touching its tip. Most clarinet professionals recommend that you dry the reed a little by wiping off excess moisture and setting it down with its flat side up before putting it in its case. Once the reed is dry, place it in a reed case then into the storage box.
Step Two: Remove the Mouthpiece from your Clarinet
Start by removing the ligature to avoid bending it when removing the mouthpiece. Once you are done, grip the mouthpiece gently using one hand. Use your other hand to grip in between the upper joint and the barrel then twist it back and forth until it seamlessly comes off your clarinet.
Once you have successfully taken off the mouthpiece from the clarinet, clean it up using a swab and a string until it is completely dry. Afterward, replace the mouthpiece cap and the ligature then place it into the clarinet’s case.
Step Three: Clean your Clarinet
Swab out your entire clarinet and ensure to remove all the water inside your clarinet. To do this, insert the string end of the swab through the bell until you see it come out of the barrel. Once you have done this, pull out the swab from your clarinet and allow it to dry for about 3 minutes. If it is not completely dry, repeat the cleaning process at least twice before continuing with the disassembly process.
Step Four: Remove the Barrel and the Upper Joint
Twist the barrel back and forth as you grip the upper joint in order to remove the barrel. When doing this, avoid damaging the keys. Once the barrel is off, clean it off again to remove any moisture before placing it back into the case.
To remove the upper joint, hold the part above the keys using one hand then place the other hand at the bottom of the lower joint. Twist it gently as you pull upwards to separate the two pieces from each other. Once they detach from each other, place them into the case.
Step Five: Disconnect the Bell and Lower Joint
Finish up by disconnecting the lower joint and the bell using the same twisting motion that you used for the rest of the parts. When doing this, avoid damaging the bridge keys. Once you are done, place these parts into the clarinet case for storage.
When assembling or disassembling your clarinet, be as careful as you can to avoid damaging the keys. Once you have placed all pieces back into the case, properly close the case to prevent any accidents in the long run.
Is it bad to leave my clarinet assembled?
Yes, it is. Moisture tends to accumulate on the crevices of the clarinet, and this leads to swelling of the tenons and mold growth.
Can I leave the reed on the mouthpiece when disassembling my clarinet?
No, you cannot. Doing this will damage both the reed and the mouthpiece.