You are now the owner of a Peter Eaton clarinet, one of the finest clarinets made. It is essential that you "play in" this instrument with great care, to maintain its fine musical qualities for many years.
For the first six weeks of use, do not play the instrument for more than an hour at a time. If you bought your clarinet in autumn or winter then extend this period all the way through to spring. You could play two separate hours in one day if you allow a few hours rest between the sessions. Every time you take the instrument out of the case, it is vital that you warm the top end of the upper joint in your hands, also allowing as long as possible for the instrument to reach room temperature. If you care for your new clarinet in this way, you will have no significant problems.
Keep the instrument away from all sources of heat at all times.
Wipe out thoroughly after every use, even if you leave the instrument for only a few minutes. This is particularly important in winter. It is essential to inspect all tone holes to make sure that they are dry. The small holes at the top of the upper joint are particularly important. Use an absorbent, lint-free material for your pull-through (swab). We strongly recommend the new microfibre cloths, like the one provided with your clarinet. Remember to wash it regularly. Dry the mouthpiece with a clean paper tissue, gently pushing a corner through the tone chamber until it starts to emerge out of the bore. Very carefully remove any deposits on the beak with your fingernail or a reed, touching the facing as little as possible. The same tissue can then be used to wipe inside the barrel and inside the socket of the lower joint. Swab each joint separately, leaving the swab inside the bore while you check the tone holes. If there is moisture in a tone hole, use a cigarette paper or tissue to mop up the moisture; then remove the swab.
At the end of a playing session, when it is thoroughly dry, put the clarinet straight back into its case to retain the warmth and allow it to cool slowly.
When assembling the clarinet, take care not to knock the ends of the joints and barrel (socket) against each other, to avoid damage to the end coating.
The correspondence (the link between top and bottom joints) needs to be adjusted carefully to allow correct operation of the ring keys.
The clarinet has been tuned with the barrel (socket) pulled out by 1 mm. Optimum intonation will be achieved if, as far as circumstances allow, the instrument is set up in this way, whichever barrel is used.
It is vital that the tone holes and speaker tube (register tube) are kept clean. Dirt and grease from the pull-through will inevitably build up at the bottom of the tone holes, where they meet the bore. This will have a serious effect on intonation and response if not corrected. The speaker tube can be cleaned with a pipe cleaner, the tone holes with a cotton bud, perhaps moistened with a suitable solvent. Most of the keys will have to be removed to clean the holes so, if there is uncertainty about this, let us see the instrument once a year to attend to this and any other matters that might arise.
Do not leave the clarinet fitted together for long periods. This will compress the corks, they will lose flexibility and the joints may become unstable.
Oil the keywork regularly to keep wear and noise to a minimum. We recommend motor oil, not the thin oils usually sold for this purpose. We do not recommend that the bore of the instrument be oiled.
To preserve the appearance of the keys, wipe them with a clean, soft cloth after use. Again, a microfibre cloth is ideal for this. A silicon cloth, available from us or from field sports shops, can be used to give a protective coating. This is especially useful for those players who tend to wear the silver plating.
If there is a tendency for water to gather in the speaker tube or in any of the tone holes, apply a light smear of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to the sides of the hole with a pipe cleaner.
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