What is a Blown-out Clarinet?

Clarinets when used often can become blown out. This can significantly reduce the value and quality of sound produced by the clarinet. Proper care and maintenance are vital to maintaining the longevity of the clarinet.

Blowout refers to a clarinet that has significantly deteriorated over time. The clarinet has changed negatively and can no longer be played professionally. This can be attributed to changes in barrel dimensions, worn-out tone holes, uneven scale, and a change in resulting sound.

Throughout the years, I have always heard of a Blown-out Clarinet. Naturally, I was curious as to what a blown-out clarinet meant. Questions like what does it mean when people say a clarinet is Blown-out? Upon further research, I realized that it is indeed possible to blow out your clarinet. This happens over time and the clarinet can no longer be played professionally. This can be attributed to changes in the clarinet barrel dimension, worn-out tone holes, a change in the resulting sound, or a combination of all factors.

While some people believe that a clarinet can be blown out, others dismiss this theory and refuse to believe it.

Below is a comprehensive article on clarinets, care hacks, and when to replace them.

Do clarinets get blown out?

A clarinet under normal use will naturally wear out over time. Ongoing care can increase the lifespan of clarinet parts. Some quality clarinets can hold up longer than others. Some high-end clarinets can also become ” blown out” after many years of heavy professional use. Some Clarinets can become overly blown-out such that they can no longer be repaired or played professionally.

A clarinet is often described as blown out when the musical qualities changes.

Blowing out can happen over time and you will notice a few symptoms such as;

  • Less resistance
  • A less focused sound
  • Chipped reed; damaged reeds cannot vibrate as quickly as their undamaged counterparts
  • Moldy reed

Clarinets are also very sensitive to temperature and humidity as they are wooden instruments. The metallic parts do not wear out easily but will begin to rust over time. Parts of a clarinet that can wear out easily include;

  • Tone holes
  • Pads; durability largely depends on their materials
  • Springs; likely to bend out of position
  • Expansion of bore likely to wear out the clarinet

What is the lifespan of a clarinet?

It is impossible to accurately predict the lifespan of all clarinets. A quality clarinet retains its value longer when kept under good conditions. A low-quality student clarinet tends to lose its value after 10 years of use. A professional clarinet like the Buffet pre-R-13 can last up to 30 years when properly maintained.

The frequency of use can also affect the lifespan of a clarinet. A low-quality clarinet with about 6 hours of daily use will likely last 10 to 11 years. After using your clarinet for so long, it may not likely blow out but will eventually succumb to wear. For example, clarinet pads can become loose.

While clarinets can last for decades, clarinet mouthpieces don’t last long. Since they are the most fragile parts of your clarinet, they are more difficult to maintain. The tip can begin to crack and the sound quality can be affected.

When should I replace my clarinet?

While a clarinet should be serviced every 12 to 18 months, sometimes the instrument just isn’t worth repairing. While some damages can be corrected and serviced, old worn-out and badly damaged clarinets just aren’t worth repairing.

Some clarinet maintenance hacks include;

  1. Replace torn pads
  2. Clean your mouthpiece occasionally
  3. Grease your cork and change them periodically
  4. Oil clarinet keys twice a year
  5. Use bore oil to absorb moisture inside the clarinet; this prevents it from changing shape due to moisture

Standard clarinet servicing costs $ 180+, while an average cleaning can cost around $40 to 65 dollars.

While it is advised to occasionally overhaul your clarinet, sometimes replacing your clarinet is the best option.

Here are some situations where you seriously need to consider replacing your clarinet.

  1. Your instrument does not play in tune
  2. Your instrument has several cracks
  3. The clarinet does not feel flexible, produces a dull sound, and has less resistance
  4. You simply want to play professionally

How much does a clarinet servicing cost?

Clarinet servicing Estimate prices
Full Repad $ 275- $ 295
Adjustment and budget Repad $ 235-$ 255
Adjustment and partial Repad $ 160- $ 180
Pad replacement with adjustment $ 8.00
Adjustment, no pads $ 50- $ 70
Pad replacement only $ 13
Replace tenon cork $ 25


While some people do not think so, Clarinets can get blown out with frequent use. This can significantly reduce the quality of the sound and tone produced rendering it unfit for professional use. Proper care and maintenance are important for the longevity of your clarinet.

A complete clarinet servicing overhaul is important, but sometimes, it is just not worth it. Clarinet overhauls can be quite costly and your clarinet may be badly damaged beyond repair. Your clarinet can have severe cracks, and dull sounds, the sound may not be in tune with your clarinet, or you simply want to play the clarinet professionally. Sometimes replacing your clarinet can be the best option for you.


My clarinet won’t play. Now what?

When the sound quality on the clarinet is compromised, you can do a clarinet overhaul. This is done by servicing your clarinet professionally. Alternatively, if your clarinet is badly damaged beyond repair, it might be time to replace it with another.

How do I clean my clarinet?

The clarinet is easy to care for. It is important to clean your clarinet between uses to keep the moisture out. You should use a swab with bore oil to absorb moisture inside the clarinet. Clean your clarinet mouthpiece often to prevent black mold from damaging the instrument.

How long should clarinet reeds last?

Clarinet reeds should last you a minimum of 6 months. The best way to use reeds is to have at least 4 reeds and alternate them. Even in this case, changes in temperature and humidity can negatively affect your sound quality.

Charlotte Moore is a Clarinetist by profession and has over time offered lessons on how to play the clarinet among other musical instruments. And while a majority of clarinet players are well versed with the process of settling with a good clarinet among other accompanying features. There is little information about clarinets. The reason why Charlotte prepared comprehensive experts touching on the various facets of the clarinet. The consolidated information will offer more insight on everything clarinets including the best stand to use, and the best plastic clarinet that you can invest in, among other information. Charlotte Moore is a devoted mother of two and a professional clarinet player.

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