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 Alto Clarinet Repair Question
Author: NOLA Ken 
Date:   2019-06-05 01:54

I have a Leblanc alto clarinet (Model 420 per one tech) that I bought a couple of years ago. Since then I've had it overhauled once and had it to two other techs trying to get it straightened out. I rather like it when I can get it to play properly, which is rarely despite the work that's been done on it. I traced one of the problems to two set screws on the lower stack that are so loose that they jump out of adjustment after only a few minutes of playing. I'm looking for suggestions on how to deal with this particular problem.

I bought a tube of Permatex Low Strength Threadlock Purple from one of the instrument parts companies thinking that it might do the trick. But since I have no experience with this product I find myself hesitant to use it for fear of gluing the set screw permanently in place. Will this stuff tighten up the screws while still allowing me to make some adjustments over the long term? Any other suggestions?

BTW, I've been through the mouthpiece thing and that's not the problem. I have a drawer full of them, including some great vintage pieces and a couple from the best of the contemporary masters. The mouthpiece is not the problem.

Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Repair Question
Author: Steven Ocone 
Date:   2019-06-05 02:33

The Threadlock compound should be fine. Mine says "removable" on the bottle and is blue. I think it is Loctite 242.

Steve Ocone

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Repair Question
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-06-05 04:52

Low strength thread locker is excellent for this. There are a few companies making them but usually purple is the weak type that is good for small screws. That's what I would usually use. For Loctite it's 222. I also have 242 (blue) and use that mostly for larger screws (or rarely if I want more strength).

The weak thread locker absolutely won't glue it permanently. Even with much stronger glue (e.g. super glue) you can heat it and it would release. With weak thread locker a good screwdriver and some force is usually enough.

Once it's dry, it has some degree of adjustment. That is, if you thread it out completely and back in a few times, it might lose most or eventually all the thread locking and you'd have to add more. You can feel it is less resistant when you first move it, but it's pretty snug and you can adjust it. In a way it's better to adjust it this way, since adjusting while the thread locker isn't dry might mean the screw is still too loose and can move.

I suggest to adjust while still wet, check when dry and if it's not adjusted then correct it (only a tiny but should be necessary). This should hold very well. If you are concerned you can add a bit more and try to let it wick in there, so there is some "non-broken" thread locker too.

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Repair Question
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-06-05 16:36

Don't apply the thread lock directly from the bottle when the screws are still in situ as it can go everywhere. Put a few drops of it on something (eg. a small plastic bag), und the adjusting screws enough to expose the threads and then apply it to the screw threads with a needle or tooth pick for better precision and get good coverage. Then screw the adjusters back in and regulate it.


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