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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000407.txt from 2001/02

From: Will Cicola <>
Subj: [kl] Swabbing
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001 21:06:41 -0500

I met a gentleman at a PMEA festival last year who told me to always put the
swab in the bell first and pull through from bell to barrel (after removing
and safely storing hte mouthpiece, of course!). The reason, according to
him, is that the swab will have time to be compressed to the width of the
bore before it has to go past the register tube, and it is much less likely
to get stuck on the register tube this way. Since he was telling me this as
he was using some contraption to remove my swab from where it was stuck on
the register tube after I had pulled through the other way, I decided to
give it a shot. I've been doing it his way ever since and have yet to get it
stuck again. One thing you do need to be careful about with this method,
though, is to make sure you get all the moisture out of the bore. Sometimes
you may need to make another passs through the barrel (and maybe even the
upper joint) to get the moisture that wasn't picked up the first time.

On the other hand, I have heard it said that you should always pull from
barrel to bell so that the moisture must go through the lower joint before
leaving the clarinet, thereby stabilizing the moisture content of the wood.
I don't know how much truth there is to this, but if you want to do it this
way, you should grip the bottom of the cloth part of the swab and pull it
through your clsoed fist a few times so that it will narrow out and be less
likely to catch on the register tube. If you want to get that picky about
your moisture content though, it would be easier just to use a dampit or
some similar device. I don't know if it's possible to damage the register
tube with a swab, but it certainly sounds like the sort of thing that could

>When swabbing, is it better to pull the swab from bottom to top or the other
>way around?

Will Cicola
I don't need a life. I've got orchestra!

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