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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000009.txt from 2003/06

Subj: [kl] "Blow-out", was: Buffet
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2003 13:06:29 -0400

In a message dated 6/1/2003 1:19:04 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> I would like it if someone could explain whatever exactly is
> meant by "blown out".>>

Blown out is a generic term used to describe an instrument that has had significant wear and tear that renders it less than acceptable when playing in a demanding situation.

As such, it is a meaningless term.

Wear is inevitable and can come in many forms and in many different areas of the instrument.

In my view of the world, the quality of the wood, and the condition of the bore is paramount. Almost all else can be fixed.

When I assess an older instrument I look at the condition of the bore first - AFTER I remove the crud. A rough, grainy, distorted bore just means trouble. If the previous owner(s) put the instrument away wet many time, there may be areas of dry rot, especially around tone holes or say the thumb key insert.

Year of rough swabbing may have rounded tone hole edges unacceptably. Or an instrument may have sat unused for years and the bore dimensions have altered due to shrinkage.

All of these different conditions may result in a clarinet playing stuffy, or "too loose" or out of tune. Conditins which may all be lumped together under the description of "Blown out".

Some of this may be reversed. I use several techniques to accomplish this.

One is oil immersion, which we have discussed in detail on this list in the past. I don't want to start the oil vs. non-oil debate, we have done it to death. Many clarinet do not need to be oiled. But if you're working with a 60 year old clarinet that has sat in a closet for the last 30, a thorough soaking in oil works wonders. I mean a two week soak. If you don't believe me try it yourself.

A second technique I use is to replace the barrel. In many cases, it's the barrel that has had the most wear, both in terms of moisture and wear from swabbing. A real "focusing" of tone can often be achieved here. Also, I believe that we have learned a lot about controlling tuning through barrel bore dimensions.

A third area, and this should be caught be any competent tech is pad heights. In any old clarinet, the key corks will have shrunk, allowing pads to open too far, with the resultant intonation problems and an uneven feel of resistance to the instrument.

Anyway, that's my $.10 woth on "blow-out".

Walter Grabner
mouthpieces, repairs, and restorations

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