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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000255.txt from 2002/05

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Pinky key improvements?
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 14:35:25 -0400

On Fri, 10 May 2002 13:11:23 -0400, said:

> Claudia Zornow says (Hi Claudia!):
> > A clarinetist friend of mine has short pinkies which occasionally
> > "lock up" and, as a result, he has some trouble with passages that
> > use the right-hand pinky keys a lot. He wonders if any work has
> > been done with modifying these keys, perhaps adding extensions, and
> > where one might find places where such work is done.
> Interesting that Claudia brought this up at this time. I had an e-mail
> yesterday, asking if I did any Pinky key extension work (hi Mike! no I
> haven't, yet!)
> Also, I did some work on a clarinet, where I routinely MISS the left
> hand C/F key. This is the key that I have the most trouble with on my
> own clarinets (is it the key, or my left pinky?)
> What I am planning to do on my Bb/A is to build up the surface of the
> C/F lever 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch with cocrk, and see if my accuracy
> gets better.

Well, I've never used cocrk, but I have used a rapid-setting epoxy resin
to alter key geometry on my period and semi-period basset clarinets.
This alteration is sufficiently firm that I've left it in place; it
doesn't look ugly on the instrument since it's a sort of palish yellow,
like the colour of body, and not too dissimilar to the brass keywork.

An advantage of this method is that the modification can be done in
situ, so you have a clearer idea of whether you're getting what you want
as you progressively mould the epoxy into place.

You have to develop a technique, but essentially you mix the epoxy, and
scoop it up as it starts to get really viscous, which is after about 5
minutes. At that point, you can apply a dollop to the key, and keep it
there by rotating the clarinet joint in space until the epoxy ceases to
'drip' under gravity. Then, wetting your fingers, you can shape it as
it hardens.

The whole thing is playable after about an hour. You can paint the
surface with clear nail varnish if you want.

Another advantage is that although it's stuck firmly, you can prise it
off the key by applying torque, say with a pair of pliers. Any
remaining bits can then be cut off easily with a sharp knife.

I used a brand of epoxy called Araldite, which also comes in a clear
form. Those who want to do this unobtrusively to keys on a modern
instrument could paint the epoxy silver; while those who are 'surface
romantic appeal' freaks could hand the modified keys over to a
technician and get him/her to copy the modifications in metal and
replate them for a few hundred dollars.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

... A little nookie never hurt anyone!


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