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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000269.txt from 2004/08

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] Ligature
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 09:26:28 -0400

Rose Harrison wrote,
>Also, I was taught to put my clarinet together
>upper/lower first, then bell, barrel, and lastly
>mouthpiece. I have noticed that the "official"
>way is lower/bell, then upper/barrel, then
>upper/lower and last the mouthpiece. Does it
>make that much difference? Or was I just taught

I prefer to stack a clarinet from the bell upwards, because then I can set
the assembled sections upright on a peg while I set up the reed and
mouthpiece. When the bell and the two sections are assembled, I put the
mouthpiece onto the barrel, then put on the reed and ligature, then put the
whole barrel-mouthpiece assembly on the assembled sections, because that
way, I can grip the barrel only, without pushing the ligature and reed out
of position.

Re. Tony Pay's suggestion, to put some sort of lever on the back of the
mouthpiece in order to insert it or lift it off without moving the reed:
Several people have had good construction suggestions, but with any such
device, a student would have to be taught to be very careful to lift or
push *straight up* or *straight down*, not at an angle. I can imagine a
strong student breaking the mouthpiece tenon otherwise, if s/he lifted the
mouthpiece halfway (or more) out and then forced it, with pressure at an
angle. Old clarinets for sale sometimes include a mouthpiece with a broken
tenon, an accident that seems to happen fairly often. Probably the
mouthpiece got dropped, but maybe not -- maybe somebody was too vigorous
about rocking it back and forth to insert or remove it. Adding a lever --
adding to the strength of the fingers -- would increase that risk. I think
I'd opt for sanding down the cork and greasing it well. Thinner cork will
need to be replaced more often as it packs down with age, but replacing a
cork is easy and cheap -- especially compared to replacing a mouthpiece!

Ormondtoby Montoya wrote,
>>Equally as important, pay attention to the latches
>>on your case. Don't pick up the case with the
>>latches open. :-)

What he said! Also, on most most clarinet cases, it's fairly easy to tell
which side is up, but some common cases are terribly easy to open upside
down by mistake. The most common models of hard plastic Selmer Signet and
Bundy soprano clarinet cases from the 1980s and 1990s don't have flat
bottoms. The top and bottom are contoured at the same angles, and open
right along the center of the front and side walls. The tops and bottoms
have identical circular labels. Even the rocker latches look nearly
identical on top and bottom. As a result, it's terribly easy to open one
of those cases upside down, whereupon the clarinet sections go tumbling
down onto the lid, and as often as not roll from there onto the floor.
It's a good idea to put a "This side up!" label on the top of the case, as
I've found out the hard way. I notice that clarinets I've bought in such
cases often have a decal or a sticker on the top -- no doubt other people
have had the same problem!

The Selmer and Bundy cases are otherwise quite good. They're sturdy
without being overly large or heavy. I've bought several of them, empty,
at flea markets (where they go for only about $2 if the lining is in nasty
condition) in order to re-line them or gut them and alter the insides, to
fit vintage or antique clarinets that I bought without cases or with
inadequate cases that I wanted to retire. (I do save any inadequate but
original vintage and antique cases, however, with notes inside telling what
instruments came in them, so that I can sell an old instrument with a good,
protective case, but also give the new owner the original case, if it had
one. Original equipment matters to collectors.)

After a couple of accidental upside-down openings (on a carpeted floor,
luckily!), I removed the labels on my refurbished Bundy and Selmer cases,
since the clarinets I was putting in them didn't belong with those labels
anyway. On my computer, I printed out some circular labels that I
laminated with plastic, to glue in where the old labels used to be. The
label for a case bottom has a picture of a clarinet with a red circle
around it and a red line, bisecting the circle diagonally across the
clarinet, the international "Don't!" sign, to warn me never to open the
case with that side up. The top of the case has a label encircled in
green, with a picture of a clarinet and the opening bars of K622.

Lelia Loban
America can do better: Kerry and Edwards in 2004!

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