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 Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: saxbear 
Date:   2018-08-17 18:48

I just wanna start out with, please don't judge me on this thread; I recognize how dumb I was and am now just looking for solutions.

So while I was breaking in my new R13, I did the usual 15 minutes a day for the first 2 weeks, then 1/2 an hour a day in 15-minute segments, then, figuring that no cracks would come, 1+ hours a day for the 4th week. I was fortunate, if stupid, and no cracks did come. I've ramped practice down to 30-45 minutes a day, and have been swabbing after each practice session since the start. However, I'm wondering if the tone could've changed due to overuse.

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2018-08-17 19:16

Let me assure you that you did nothing wrong and that playing your new clarinet to often will not ruin it.

In fact, I argue that you should do the opposite and play it as much as you can. Why? Because in most cases if a clarinet is going to crack it is going to crack and there is nothing you can do about it. Playing it less will only delay cracking. Right now (I assume) that you have a warranty on it. If you play it as much as possible right now and it doesn't crack then you can be sure that it is not likely to crack in the future. But if it does crack then you would know that it would've cracked eventually and at least you can get it replaced on warranty. And if you are worried about the bore changing I can assure you that any changes in the bore would happen over time regardless. Both cracks and warping are caused by pre-existing stresses in the wood which can't really be removed by playing less often.

Of course this is all from my personal experience fixing instruments. There's no set guidelines for breaking in an instrument and everyone has different opinions.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-08-17 19:16

saxbear wrote:

> I'm wondering if the tone
> could've changed due to overuse.

No. If the tone has changed, it wasn't because of overuse.

Sometimes pad coverage needs some tweaking after a few weeks on a new instrument. If the change is for the worse, take it to whoever you bought it from and ask to have it readjusted.

Karl

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: William 
Date:   2018-08-17 21:59

Breaking in is a myth....it is unnecessary to the health of you new instrument. Its best just to play it normally from the start and make the necessary adjustments all new clarinets need after they settle in. No amount of "break in " process will prevent the natural changes that occur in any new instrument. And nothing you can do will prevent a clarinet from cracking except not exposing it to extreme sudden temperature changes and swabbing after every use. Oiling the bore once a year may also be advised, although I never do it and have never had any of my 7 pro level clarinets crack. New clarinets are a blessing and should be enjoyed...play happily without fear.

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2018-08-18 01:44

Of course all posts made here are opinions, so mine is no different in that.

However I think it is wrong to suggest that a sensible "breaking in" period is a myth.

Many experienced makers and players do support the principle of playing in a new instrument, so to disagree with them suggests that the poster has some privileged information that the makers don't have, in which case it would be nice to hear what that information is.

Yes, my opinion, based on 64 years of owning and playing clarinets, plus 25 years as a professional repairer and 10 years assisting a maker of hand crafted professional clarinets, is that sensible breaking in is indeed a good idea.



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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-08-18 01:53

Caroline Smale wrote:

> Yes, my opinion, based on 64 years of owning and playing
> clarinets, plus 25 years as a professional repairer and 10
> years assisting a maker of hand crafted professional clarinets,
> is that sensible breaking in is indeed a good idea.
>

Yes, but to the point of the OP's original question, is he likely in your opinion to have done any damage to the instrument with the playing schedule he followed?

Karl

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-08-18 07:48

Since we're sharing opinions, from what the techs I've talked with have said, unless you're totally negligent or are affirmatively trying to crack your horn, cracks are more because of the particular piece of wood than because you played it for an hour and a half running after breaking it in for a month. And some oboists say that the horns that crack and get pinned properly actually sound better that the ones that never crack. Never had an instrument crack, so I don't know. I think Caroline makes sense, because you're taking a length of wooden tube that was never subjected to much abuse, and drastically altering it's temperature and humidity for however long you play it, and again after you stop. That can change the bore and the tone holes in non-constructive ways. The transmitted wisdom is that if you gradually let the wood get used to that, the changes are less drastic. Again, I don't know for sure, but I'm playing 35 year old horns from a company (B&H) reputed to have made them out of properly aged billets, and they take pretty much whatever I throw at them without any audible effect. I played these and have played others when they were new, and I didn't get that feeling of stability. It sounds to me like you're (OP) perfectly well on track, and it's really hard to resist playing new horns a lot, but the breaking in thing is supported by the instrument makers I've talked with, so I don't think there's any certainty that it isn't true.

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2018-08-18 17:29

I totally agee that the breaking in of a clarinet is way over stressed. I'm not suggesting you take it out of the case on day one and play it in practice, rehearsal and performance on day one but I believe after a few days to a week of moderate playing it's good to go. It's more important to swab, keep it from going from one extreme temperture to another to quickly and just using common sense. I've owned three Bb, two A two Eb and three bass clarinets in my school and professional career and NEVER had a single crack in my 51 plus professional career. Common sense is all you need, and a little bit of luck.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Say I messed up breaking in a clarinet
Author: Mrdi 
Date:   2018-08-20 21:53

If it's not cracked you didn't mess up.
Continue on.

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