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 Register key clicking noise
Author: DG74 
Date:   2017-09-10 03:07


A question for all you repair experts out there...

A few days ago I noticed my register key was making a clicking sound, quite a loud one at that. The key itself looks fine, opens and closes without difficulty, and is not wobbling at its attachments to the posts.

I took it off and put it back on a couple of times, but it didn't really help. I think the issue is coming from the straight spring that runs down the back of the key. When I take my screwdriver and press down on the spring, it seems to get rid of the sound.

When I take the key off the spring itself looks just fine, not bent that I can see.

Any thoughts on what is wrong and how to fix it? Of course, I'll get it to a technician as soon as I can, but I was wondering about an easy fix I could try.

For now, I have taken a small amount of synthetic cork with adhesive on one side, and placed that on top of the key cork; this helps a little. The key is opening less and thus less noise.

This problem has also made the transition across the break a little uneven; normally I transition across the break effortlessly. The sudden difficulty over the break is actually how I discovered the problem.

Any thoughts are appreciated!

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 Re: Register key clicking noise
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2017-09-10 03:59

Where the small leaf spring under the register key slides against the clarinet body some makers put a small groove, and in some cases this groove has a sliver of metal in it to provide a smooth surface for the spring to slide along. Sometimes the groove is just left as unlined wood or plastic and sometimes there is no groove and the spring just slides along the clarinet body. Depends on the maker.

The end of the spring is generally, but not always turned up slightly so that it doesn't dig into the bottom of the groove. It's important that there be some lubrication under the spring, otherwise over time the spring can dig a small ridge in the groove or even actually wear through the thickness of the spring.

If you remove the key carefully examine the point where the spring contacts the clarinet body to see if there is a step there, and also examine the end of the spring for evidence of wear. In extreme cases I've seen the end of the spring is worn away to the point where the upcurved tip breaks off. A tiny spot of grease under the spring prevents this problem.

If you find the spring damaged then it will need replacement. If there is a step in the groove it can be removed, but if you're not sure how to do it then leave it to a tech.

This can also be caused by a lack of lubrication between the pivot rod and the key, so check that as well.

Tony F.

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 Re: Register key clicking noise
Author: DG74 
Date:   2017-09-10 04:41

Thank you, Tony, that's very helpful!

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 Re: Register key clicking noise
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-10 06:09

More often than not I see flat springs installed burr side down, so that will wear out the saddle set into the wood for the tip to run in. They're made by being stamped out from sheet metal, so one side will always have a burr along the edges and the other side will have slightly rounded edges. The burr side should be the top side (facing the underside of the key) when fitted.

So either remove the spring and carefully bed it to form the curve in the opposite direction (might be risky on blued steel or phosphor bronze flat springs) or file the tip smooth and slightly rounded and burnish it to a bright shine to make it run smoothly in the saddle.

If the saddle has been worn by the spring, then that will need to be addressed - might not be easy if it's a piece of steel rod set into or threaded into the wood if it can't be removed. If it's a piece of thin sheet metal glued into the spring slot, remove it and flip it over or replace it with a new piece of flat spring cut to the same length and shaped the same as the original. Also applying a drop of heavy key oil or cork grease will help the spring tip run on the saddle smoothly.


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 Re: Register key clicking noise
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-09-10 07:26

Not mentioned yet so it probably isn't the problem, but I'm throwing it out there anyway. It you have a cork octave key pad that is old and dried out it could be a tad bit noisy.

As for the spring you can try cork grease between the wood and the metal spring. If you are the daring try sanding the end of the spring with maybe 400 grit sandpaper or a jewelers file, and or bend the tip just a shade using pliers so the spring doesn't dig into the wood. Some horns don't have that metal plate between the spring and the wood. Don't bend it much, just a tad. This should solve all of your problems for the next 10 years. Where do you get a jewelers file? Harbor Freight sells them got about $5. They have sandpaper too for about the same price. They have pliers too, yes for about the same price! If you are lazy like me they have a mini electric file set for $31. I have all of these above.

Get the cork pads at JL Smith. My guess is they are $5 too!

I think this is an easy repair and everyone should attempt this repair. If you screw something up send it to me and I will fix it for free. But try it first :}

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist

Post Edited (2017-09-10 07:30)

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 Re: Register key clicking noise
Author: Clarineteer 
Date:   2017-09-10 14:41

Also make sure there is not excessive lateral play of the key itself which also causes clicking. Swedge it properly if this turns out to be the case.

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 Re: Register key clicking noise
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-10 16:16

The speaker key will need some lateral play between the pillars to ensure it will still function with changes of humidity.


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