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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000130.txt from 2002/02

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: [kl] Kooiman thumb rest (was: Stiff Finger joint)
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 13:39:51 -0500

on 2/5/2002 4:08 PM, CBA wrote:

>The other thing that has helped me a great deal is the
>Kooiman thumbrest. I have gotten the "Etude" (cheaper,
>less than $30 model thumbrest from Kooiman) for my Bb
>and A clarinets, and my oboe. The more expensive model
>is over $100, and I cannot see playing that and then
>paying for the thumbrest to be installed. The Etude
>can be installed with the holes that are already in
>the instrument thumbrest position.
Sorry to be so late replying to this thread. As a Kooiman user, I'd like
to report my experience here. I put the regular (expensive) Kooiman on a
clarinet to try it out. I set the pad to rest between the joints of my
right thumb, and it wasn't significantly better then the regular thumb
rest. I was about to remove it when I saw a physical therapist who had
worked with me in the past. She helped me to properly position the
Kooiman so that it rested just behind the 2nd joint of my thumb. This was
much more successful, and I had the thumb rest put on both my Bb and A
clarinets. See below for more about the process.

The point is that the Etude may be cheaper, but it is less flexible in
terms of placement on your thumb, and in general is in the wrong place to
give maximum benefit.

>Having the pressure taken off the first joint of the
>thumb, and distributed to the first and second allows
>me more mobility without pain. I don't have one of
>these on the Eb clarinet, because I don't need the
>weight distribution on the smaller instrument (another
>reason for Eb for someone with small hands.)
Just a note from hearsay - I've heard some players like the Etude on
their Eb's because it allows a "wider" grip on the instrument - keeps the
fingers from being quite so cramped.

>A few words of caution: the holes for the Etude don't
>always match up to the holes of the Bb/A clarinet or
>oboe, so you might need to fill the holes with wood
>filler and re-drill, like you have to with the more
>expensive Kooiman. Of course, the $80 or so you save
>from the difference in the more expensive thumbrest
>should help pay for a repairman doing that. The other
>thing is that when installing the Etude thumbrest, DO
>NOT use the screws that come with it. they are very
>short, and the threading is different than the screws
>that are already in the instrument. Use the screws
>that are already holding the thumbrest that the
>instrument came with, and it will save you a lot of
>grief with stripped screw holes.

When my repair tech installed the Kooiman, he also replaced the screws on
the regular model with longer sturdier screws. He drilled the holes with
a electric variable speed drill controlled by foot pedal. It's the most
nervous I've ever been about any work done to my instruments.

BTW, for orchestral players, it is probably necessary to have two thumb
rests. As it is sold, you get two plates to install on the clarinet(s)
and one thumb rest, which you can switch between the clarinets. But some
changes are too fast for that to work. We did Walton Facade a few weeks
ago, and the switches were too fast to manage, so I had to use another Bb
clarinet. Next week is Dvorak 7, and I'm afraid the problem is going to
be the same. Mahler Symphonies are likely to pose the same problem.



David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony


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