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 Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: DAVE 
Date:   2018-08-05 20:03

So my new job will have me playing outside in the freezing cold and I've been given some really nice gloves that will supposedly cover the holes and allow for the clarinet to work. Problem is, my fingers are rather large and I'm thinking to remove the sliver keys to aid in playing. I'll be playing slow hymns and can easily manage without them.

Many years ago I remember hearing that people would routinely remove the LH sliver key and plug the tone hole. So my question is: what's the best way to plug the holes and with what material?

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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-08-05 20:46

A friend has done this using the small plastic cap from the end of the body of a cheap ball pen.

Tony F.

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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: GBK 
Date:   2018-08-05 20:46

Before removing the sliver key and plugging the hole, try wedging a thin piece cork (the same width as the sliver key) underneath it, to prevent it from accidentally being opened.

I do that for my R13 Eb (97xxx), but strangely not for my Selmer Series 9 Eb (from 1966), since the key spacing seems a bit wider apart.


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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-08-05 21:46

I just had someone here with a problem of accidentally hitting one of those. He didn't want to have the spring there, but was afraid to lose parts, so removing the spring, post and/or screw wasn't a good option.

I ended up plugging the tone hole with a cork plug (which is what I'd suggest regardless), but under the tone hole rim, and left the key in place. In addition I put a too thick bumper under the touchpiece, like a wedge, but glued so it can't fall off.

If like him you also want a backup plug, but the key touchpiece itself is bothering you by rubbing against your finger, not just worried about opening it by accident, you can plug and put tape over it too.

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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-08-05 22:13

For plugging the holes you may also use ....if I get this right.....artist's gum (?). The gray stuff used to CLEANLY erase pencil from art sketches. It makes a perfect seal and leaves no residue.

...........Paul Aviles

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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: Chris_C 2017
Date:   2018-08-05 22:32

I have fairly broad fingers, so accidentally brushing the sliver keys (result: squeak) has always been a problem. I understand Artie Shaw always had the LH sliver key removed, so I reckoned "if it's good enough for Artie Shaw it's good enough for me". On my Bb I had the key removed (and it lives in the case in case I sell it) and plugged with cork and wax. On my alto and my Eb I just did the "cork under the key" as suggested above - works fine.

On learning it was semi-respectable to disable this key several of my clarinet-playing friends have done likewise - especially since it's so easy.


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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-08-06 01:57

I've only removed the LH3 sliver key on my bass and basset horn as it's not a nice shape and I keep clipping it. I plugged up the toneholes with cork pads - one right inside the tonehole so it seals it and another to sit slightly proud of the tonehole bedplace crown to protect it from damage and coloured them in with a black permanent marker to make them less conspicuous.

I also removed the springs and pillars and screwed blanking pillars in (old pillars filed down flat and with a slot cut across them) to prevent anything getting into the pillar holes and kept the key and pillars in the case compartment if I do need to refit them.

On other clarinets I plugged the tonehole up by pushing a cork pad right into it, but then refitted the key so it won't matter if it gets nudged as the tonehole is completely sealed. I've done this for other players who don't use that key and don't want it to cause any grief if they do catch it by accident. Especially on Eb clarinets where finger space is at a premium.


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 Re: Removing the Sliver Keys
Author: DAVE 
Date:   2018-08-06 04:25

Thanks everybody for the suggestions. I think I'll first try GBK's suggestion. Seems the least invasive and easiest.


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