If you are new to the clarinet then knowing how to set it up can be quite confusing. Here are my quick tips for success:
The five parts of the clarinet
The five parts of the clarinet are called the bell, lower joint, upper joint, barrel and mouthpiece. When assembling be careful to not bend the key work. Gently twist the parts together a tiny bit. If you find that the parts don’t go on easily then use a little bit of cork grease on the cork. Rub a little on and you can always blend it in with your finger. You don’t want too much as it will come off the cork and into the joints.
Lower joint / upper joint
There is a bridge key that rests between the lower joint and upper joint. It is really important to ensure that it rests correctly so the clarinet key work doesn’t get damaged. Place your left hand on the holes to raise the bridge key and then it goes on top of the lower joint connector.
Mouthpiece, Ligature, reed and cap
The mouthpiece requires a ligature to hold the reed in place. The hole of the mouthpiece should be facing you and this is where the reed is placed. Ligatures on beginner clarinets tend to be metal and the clasp should be tightened under the heart of the reed. Some of the metal / material ligatures have the clasp tightened up on the outside of the mouthpiece. If in doubt check with your clarinet teacher.
The cap is important for protecting the reed. As a beginner it is quite easy to chip the reed on your clothes or hair so use the cap when you are not playing to make the reed last. Once the reed is chipped too badly it is not playable.
If you want to know more, check out this demonstration video on my YouTube Channel of how to put your clarinet together and how to assembly your reed correctly.
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