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 moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2019-03-13 19:35

I get a lot of moisture between the barrel and the top joint (also between barrel and mp), so that I need to swab three or four times during rehearsals or concerts. Once it's cleared, the clarinet (Buffet E13) sings again. Is there anything I can do to prevent or at least alleviate this? It's especially bad after a long period of staccato... Other than this, I really like my clarinet!

Many thanks for any helpful answers!

Maruja

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-13 19:44

I highly recommend swabbing regularly during play. Also, if you put your clarinet down for a few hours between sessions, you should immediately take it apart after each time you play. Moisture will build up particularly between the upper joints (and even between the bottom joint and barrel), but it should have no deleterious affects on the sound whatsoever (timbre, pitch etc). But once you reach the end of a playing session, taking it apart is paramount for the longevity of the corks (preventing "wobble" between parts).





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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-13 20:00

Maruja wrote:

> Once it's cleared,
> the clarinet (Buffet E13) sings again.

This suggests that the water is causing some bad effect on the way the clarinet sounds. What happens because of the moisture buildup?

Karl

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2019-03-13 20:27

I do take it apart and clear off all the moisture, then start again. What happens is that a little puddle forms on the upper (black) part of the tenon - not on the cork. The effect? A fuzziness, a lack of clarity. It doesn't matter much in band rehearsal but I have an exam coming up and I want the clarinet to sound its best.

The trouble is that after about twenty minutes, the moisture has built up again and the clarinet needs to be taken apart (the top part at least). This isn't always very convenient...

Thanks for your interest!
Maruja

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-13 21:02

Maruja wrote:

> The effect? A
> fuzziness, a lack of clarity. It doesn't matter much in band
> rehearsal but I have an exam coming up and I want the clarinet
> to sound its best.
>

I can't hear you play, so I have to guess at what the problem really is, but my knee-jerk reaction is that the moisture around the upper joints may not be the cause of your "fuzziness." Moisture building up on the back (the flat side) of your reed may be. It could be more pronounced if the reed isn't sitting flat against at least the upper end of the mouthpiece table (just under the window) so that water runs into any opening there.

Are you by any chance using synthetic reeds? I ask because they seem (at least in my experience) to send water running down into the mouthpiece and then the rest of the clarinet much more quickly and in greater amounts than cane.

Neither of those explains why you find that the fuzziness goes away after you swab and wipe the sockets out. Moisture buildup in those areas comes with playing a woodwind, and there is really no way to avoid it. Frequent swabbing may help keep the water from running farther down the bore and filling tone holes. So, at best you may just have to deal with frequent swabbing.

One other possibility, I suppose, is that your tenons are shorter than the sockets they go into by enough that there's a larger than usual empty space between the tenon end and the socket bottom. If that's the case, maybe accumulated water in that space starts vibrating. I've never experienced it, but I guess it could happen in theory.

Karl

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2019-03-13 21:36

Thank you Karl. Are you saying then that moisture on the reed might be to blame? - that is easier to fix with a quick wipe. I don't use synthetic any more,because as you say, the reeds seem to get wetter than cane. I assumed it was because the plastic doesn't absorb any moisture while cane does.

I will try drying the reed more often to see if that makes a difference. I have done it in the past by sticking some paper between it and the mp to let it absorb some moisture. This works but sometimes the paper disintegrates, which isn't great!

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-13 21:45

I would think a quick "sip" on the mouthpiece every now and then should prevent any excess moisture build up that might cause a "frying pan" sort of sound.


For the record in the last 2 1/2 years of using Legere reeds exclusively, I have not found any consequence to the moisture either around the reed or down the clarinet. It has been identical to cane in my experience.




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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-13 22:09

It's normal for water to collect in the sockets on all instruments (and in toneholes) - it's all part of the territory and the joy of playing woodwind instruments and you'll just have to live with it and deal with it as you see fit.

Only I strongly advise you use a piece of kitchen towel to dry the sockets instead of using your pullthough as that'll only get covered in grease which in turn will build up in the toneholes making your top joint notes stuffy over time.

So keep a sheet of kitchen towel folded and rolled up and use that for drying the sockets and your pullthrough to dry the bore - then replace it when it looks skanky (and also wash your pullthrough on a regular basis too). Use your pullthrough forst from bell to barrel, then take the joints apart and dry the sockets.

Chris.

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-13 22:40

Good advice Chris!


Build up is easy to address on tone holes we can see all the time (Q-tip), however the keyed tone holes require one to have the keys off just for inspection.






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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Slowoldman 
Date:   2019-03-13 23:51

What are people using to remove the (calcium and other) deposits from the tone holes? Water? Lemon juice (like with mouthpieces)?

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-14 00:02

The imbedded white discoloration around the mouthpiece where the lips touch can be addressed with either a 1:4 solution of lemon juice or white vinegar. I don't see that sort of issue with tone holes.


The insidious build up associated with tone holes is a tan, hard, papery looking substance which can look like it has always been there. It builds up on the undercutting and can be a little hard to dislodge. Its presence does lower the pitch of the effected tone hole.





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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2019-03-14 02:05

Thank you for everyone's input - much appreciated. Currently, I use a little muslin cloth for drying the socket - they are sold for flutes, but I like them. As they are quite expensive, I have also been using a baby's muslin cloth.

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: GBK 
Date:   2019-03-14 02:20
Attachment:  5156Hz1DIOL.jpg (34k)

One roll is less than $3 and will last you a lifetime. Cut them in 6" strips as needed. Perfect for drying tenons and pads.

...GBK

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2019-03-14 21:01

Which roll are you talking about GBK? Kitchen roll?

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-14 21:06

The imbedded clickable link points to the blue paper shop towels that a lot of us use for various projects.


Funny thing about that is that I misplace the roll that I get for some clarinet related project, then wind up buying another. So it costs me $3 every time I think of a use, and somewhere in my apartment there are at least four rolls of this stuff lying in wait.



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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-14 21:52

I use the little microfiber cloths that they give you at the ophthalmologist when you get glasses (or the ones that come with sunglasses) to wipe the sockets and tenons before I stow my clarinet.

I wash all my swabs and the little microfiber cloths in a fine-mesh 'lingerie' bag; you can get nice ones cheap from Amazon (so you don't have to go to a department store lingerie department (awkward!)

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: GBK 
Date:   2019-03-15 06:43

Maruja said:

> Which roll are you talking about GBK? Kitchen roll?


Yes, it's the same size as a roll of regular paper towels.


...GBK

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-15 23:26

As for water lodged in toneholes and wet pads, blot them with absorbent paper and something that won't tear nor stick to the pads or toneholes. Shake and blow out the majority of the water and then blot the pads by closing them against the paper and don't drag the paper from under pads closed as that can tear the paper or scuff the pad. Only remove the paper once the pad is off the tonehole again and no damage will be done.

You can't expect any kind of paper to wick moisture from toneholes unless the paper is pushed into them, so dislodge as much water by shaking the joint and blowing the water out - close off the tenon with your right hand and close the toneholes with your left hand fingers in the normal manner, then blow into the top joint and open each key in turn to blow the water out. Then blot and dry the water from the pads, toneholes and surrounding areas that are wet.

Chris.

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: kilo 
Date:   2019-03-16 12:27

Karl said:

>One other possibility, I suppose, is that your tenons are shorter than the sockets they go >into by enough that there's a larger than usual empty space between the tenon end and the >socket bottom.

This was my first thought and it would be relatively easy to measure the tenon length and socket depth to find out. A technician could fashion a washer of the correct size to fill this space without affecting diameter of the bore or increasing the length of the barrel/upper joint connection.

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-16 14:50

But how does that space create any audible problem? For example (for various reasons) I have a 62mm Moenig barrel that spends a goodly amount of time pulled out to the bottom line of the tenon cork. I have no ill effects from this other than wondering why I have a 62mm barrel (I do have my reasons).




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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-16 17:49



Paul Aviles wrote:

> But how does that space create any audible problem?

Don't know if it would. It was a long shot idea, but if enough water were collecting in such spaces, it might start to vibrate with the air column. The reason people use tuning rings is to eliminate most of the gap when a barrel needs to be pulled out a great distance, so I imagine there must be a body of conventional wisdom that says those spaces *can* cause discernible problems (YMMD).

Karl

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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-17 01:10

Well if you broaden the definition to discernible problems, there is a tendency for the pitch to be more even and predictable using tuning rings. Well at least this is what I experience when it becomes necessary to pull out in between the top and bottom joints. All I contend is that there are no odd, watery sounds associated with gaps of any (reasonable) size within the interior of the bore.




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



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 Re: moisture between barrel and top joint
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-17 03:47

Gaps and steps aren't inherently bad...most barrels (particularly aftermarket) have purposeful steps and tapers. The steps add a reflection point in the tube that helps 'lock' (term used loosely) the modes to a particular length (from the step to the end of the clarinet, for example). A gap does the same thing but it is variable because the width of a gap is less controlled than the location of a diameter step.

Sometimes a gap works really well, and sometimes (particularly at the middle joint) it causes some problems. Most of the engineered steps (i.e. with Moennig tapers and the whole community of similar approaches) are at the Barrel--UJ (Upper Joint) connection which is where the tuning is usually done and so it is somewhat compatible. A reasonable tradition in selection is to have the mouthpiece bore a little larger or equal to the top bore of the barrel (not smaller!) and then use a barrel that is smaller bore at the bottom than the bore at the top of the UJ.

Most mouthpiece fall in a narrow range of output bores, which are generally larger than most modern clarinet designs, but larger bore vintage (and modern) clarinets can often be matched in bore to the barrel to positive effect.

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