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Clarinet/notes that don't sound


I have two clarinets, one wood and one plastic, and they were not played for about a couple years.  I got them out again, yet I am finding that notes often don't play. They will play in a scale (usually), but in a song, a few of them don't play.  However, if I play them again, they'll play, and I'm having to blow harder.   I am getting air through them and am playing them, but it gets frustrating when notes don't play.  Also, I'm getting squawks.  What is causing the notes not to play and what can I do about it?

Thanks, Joel

  It sounds like you have a leak or tear on 1 or more of the pads.  The pads have a skin that is really thin and under that there is a felt type material.  If that is exposed it can make notes not play or play every now and then.  If you take i part of the body and cover ALL the holes, place the open end on your leg(skin) and suction through the other end it should produce good suction.  If it doesn't then there is a pad issue(no big deal).  Ultimately, I'd recommend taking it to a certified repair tech.  Not playing the horns for a while can cause the pads to rot or shrink so they may need an overhaul.  I hope this helps.




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Guy Percy


I can answer basic playing questions and I can answer questions about repair/maintenance.


I have taught middle school band and orchestra for 17 years. I also own a band instrument repair business.

BM Jazz Performance BA Music Ed MA Music(composition emphasis).

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