Take care when assembling the instrument, as damage often occurs to instruments during assembly.

Clarinets should be assembled holding the A ring, so that the link cork is not damaged or knocked off during assembly. Push the parts firmly together with a twist. Apply grease to cork joints when they become stiff.

It shouldn't be a great effort to assemble the instrument. If you're struggling, something is wrong!

Instruments should be returned to their cases after playing!


Don't use polish!

If the instrument body is dusty, brush it down with a new 5cm paintbrush. (Be careful not to dislodge springs.)

CLEANING - bore (inside the instrument

  • Swab out the bore of the instrument after playing, using a lint-free cloth or chamois leather pullthrough. Make sure new pullthroughs are fully unfolded.
  • Don't use fluffy wire brushes, which leave material depositis in thoe bore and on the surface of pads.< /span>
  • "Padsavers" drive moisture on to pads instead of taking it away from them, and also leave deposits.
  • Well made pullthroughs are best for cleaning.

CLEANING- keywork

Clean the mechanism after use with a clean, lint-free cloth.

You can clean silver plated keywork with a silver polishing cloth. These are impregnated with an anti-tarnishing agent. Don't use polish!


Cork grease is used for two reasons.

  1. It helps the joints slip together easily, and
  2. it protects the cork from rotting.
Don't use petroleum jelly on clarinets as it does not protect the cork and can react with glue or oil on the instrument.

Apply a small amount of cork grease to the cork and rub it in with a finger. It should leave a slippery surface sot that the joints will fit together smoothly. If the grease is really sticky, it may be better to stop  using it, and find a different brand.

Here at MARSHALL McGURK we make our own special cork grease. Please enquire for more information.

Apply cork grease in small amounts, and only as and when required. If there's too much cork grease it can build up and get transferred to the mechanism, pad surfaces, and case.

Wipe off cork grease if a build-up appears. If a joint becomes too stiff or too loose, see a repairer to have it corrected. 
There are various corks on the mechanism of the clarinet. These are there for a purpose! It can be tempting to pick away at them when not playing, but don't! It may make the keys become noisy or may even prevent the clarinet from playing at all.


When cleaning a sticky pad, make sure that the pad surface is dry. Yamaha powder papers can be used to prevent pads from sticking. Apply light pressure to the pad, but do not pull the paper through. Puff or blow away excess powder. As an alternative, you can apply graphite to tone hole surfaces.


Instrument mechanisms need to be oiled like any other machinery. Usually, you'll have this done by your repairer as part of an annual service.

If you want to apply the oil yourself, take great care as some oils can rot corks, caused glued parts to become unstuck, and react with some cork greases to solidify. Only apply tiny amounts of oil with a pin.


Oiling the bore of wooden instruments is a controversial subject. I see no reason why instruments should not have their bores oiled whn necessary.

As it's difficult to oil the bore of an instrument while it's assmbled, it's better to have this job carried out by a repairer.


Don't store music books and sheets of music inside instrument cases, unless there's a specific compartment. It can damage the mechanism.

Keep loose objects in the case to a minimum. Severe damage can be incurred if objects, (e.g., reed cutters, pencil, empty reed cases) are compressed against an instrument body when closing the lid. Don't let empty reed cases gather!

Instrument cases should be secure and in good condition. You can oil clasps, hinges and handles occasionally to prolong effective operation.

Cases in poor condition should be repaired or replaced, before the unthinkable happens, and the instrument falls out on a hard surface!

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