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 Stuffy second space "A"
Author: marcia 
Date:   2021-10-05 04:21

A few months ago my Bb went to the repair shop to deal with a crack in the upper joint. This required removing the top two trill keys. My repair guy said that one of those two tone holes had a bit of debris (he said likely from the swab) in it so he cleaned it out for me. Recently I have noticed my second space "A" sounding a bit stuffy and also bit flat. Could this be caused by debris in the "A" tone hole? My "A" clarinet does not suffer this malady. I do have a small brush to clean out the tone hole, but of course that requires removing the "A" and "Ab" keys. I am hesitant to do so for fear I'd screw uo somehow! I have removed the register key on occasion, but that is the extent of my key removal experience. Comments...........

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 Re: Stuffy second space "A"
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-10-05 05:05

Your intuition is spot on: both holes probably have some gunk. Removing these 2 keys is not a big deal - you may follow this:

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 Re: Stuffy second space "A"
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-10-05 05:08

Another possibility is a ruptured membrane of the respective bladder-pad, in which case you would also need to remove the said key(s).

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 Re: Stuffy second space "A"
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-10-05 05:40

I'm thinking though that the pads put in there may be a little too thick. That would fill the space and cause flatness and stuffiness. It would be ironic that the tech cleared the chimneys and then put in thick pads but it's not unheard of.

Look at how much side of the pads you see compared with, say, the side key pads (if they are original). Might be worth a look by someone else or just pointing out the shortfall to the original repair person and let him re-adjust the pad heights.

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

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 Re: Stuffy second space "A"
Author: marcia 
Date:   2021-10-05 06:17

Thanks for the replies, and the link. I do have an old plastic instrument. Have been contemplating having a practise run with it.

Paul, the chimneys that were cleared a while ago are not the ones in question here.

Okay, time to get brave!

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 Re: Stuffy second space "A"
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2021-10-05 06:32

Checking minor things like pad heights is a valuable skill to attain. $75 to fix something so simple? No question to an answer like that. And what if something happens in a performance just before a solo? I remember taking out my swab too quickly during a performance and the A clarinet flipped over and landing on the mouthpiece causing a big chip on it. Quickly changing to my spare mouthpiece, and I didn't have to miss a beat!
Check the 'A' and 'Ab' springs before taking them off. They may have to be hooked back on later to work properly.

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 Re: Stuffy second space "A"
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-10-06 16:38

Check the throat A pad opens by 2mm and that should give it clarity. If not, then the venting will need to be increased by thinning down the cork stopper glued to the underside of the throat A touchpiece.

Only things can get a bit tight for space between the throat A key and the LH1 ring key vent for open G. If all the pads are too thick, venting for bot open G and throat A will be compromised. You need to have the thinnest possible pad (within reason) installed in the LH1 ring key vent and with the venting set to a minimum of 2mm (to 2.5mm maximum) for a clear open G. Then you have to be sure the throat A key will open by 2mm, only making sure the throat A key touch doesn't clatter against the LH1 ring key pad cup.

If it does, then the keywork will need to be adjusted so both pads will open fully and no keys clatter against each other. Some clarinets are better than others here and Buffets are definitely not the best as they use a standard pad cup on the LH1 vent instead of a domed, flat or completely smooth topped pad cup.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

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