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Woodwind Instrument Maintenance. By Keren & Michael Barr North Georgia Band Instrument Service. General Woodwind Maintenance. Moisture is the most destructive thing to a woodwind instrument Woodwinds MUST be swabbed each time the instrument is played regardless of time. Woodwind Swabs.

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woodwind instrument maintenance

Woodwind Instrument Maintenance

By Keren & Michael Barr

North Georgia Band Instrument Service

general woodwind maintenance
General Woodwind Maintenance
  • Moisture is the most destructive thing to a woodwind instrument
  • Woodwinds MUST be swabbed each time the instrument is played regardless of time
woodwind swabs
Woodwind Swabs
  • Use an instrument-specific swab
    • Using a swab that is too large can damage the bore of the instrument or get stuck
  • Do not leave a “leave in the horn” type swab in the horn!
    • Typically made of nylon or some type of polymer – NON-ABSORBENT!
woodwind maintenance
Woodwind Maintenance
  • Gently wipe down the finish of the instrument with a finish-specific cloth once per week
    • Pledge furniture polish is an excellent cleaner for lacquered instruments
  • NEVER use alcohol to clean a plastic instrument or mouthpiece
woodwind maintenance5
Woodwind Maintenance
  • Apply key oil lightly at all key pivot points monthly
  • Saliva is FAR more destructive to woodwind bores and pads than light rain
    • Dry thoroughly after exposure to rain
woodwind maintenance6
Woodwind Maintenance
  • Do not use excessive cork grease on tenon and neck corks
    • Consider switching to paraffin wax instead of grease – less damaging to corks
  • Thoroughly rinse mouth between eating and playing a horn!
  • DO NOT store anything other than the instrument and its mouthpiece in an instrument case!
woodwind maintenance7
Woodwind Maintenance
  • Check the instrument case monthly to ensure that the latches, hinges and handle(s) are in proper working order
  • DO NOT turn screws on an instrument unless you know what that screw does!
  • Have your instrument serviced yearly by a qualified band instrument repair technician
flute maintenance
Flute Maintenance
  • Keep tenons and sockets clean with alcohol
  • Check the seal and position of the head cork often
    • Use suction test
flute maintenance9
Flute Maintenance
  • Do not attempt to polish a silver flute yourself – polishing cloths and silver polishing chemicals will damage the pads
  • A standard (non-silver) cleaning cloth can be used to remove fingerprints, oil and dirt from the instrument
    • Cloth MUST be kept clean – silk is excellent for this purpose
clarinet oboe maintenance
Clarinet/Oboe Maintenance
  • Keep tenons well lubricated
  • Watch for bridge mechanism(s) during assembly
  • Check weekly for loose socket and bell rings
    • DO NOT play an instrument with loose rings
clarinet oboe maintenance11
Clarinet/Oboe Maintenance
  • On wooden instruments have the bore checked yearly for cracks, leaks and proper lubrication
    • Have cracks addressed IMMEDIATELY – do not play a cracked instrument
  • Do not expose wooden instruments to extreme temperature / humidity changes
saxophone maintenance
Saxophone Maintenance
  • Keep neck tenon and socket clean
  • Keep neck cork well-lubricated
  • Check guard screws weekly
  • Always use a neckstrap with all saxophones to prevent damage to the bottom bow
bassoon maintenance
Bassoon Maintenance
  • When assembling the instrument be careful not to damage the whisper key pad and bridge
  • Keep tenon and bocal corks / threads well lubricated
  • Check guard and bracket screws weekly
mouthpieces and reeds
Mouthpieces and Reeds
  • Discard any mouthpiece or reed with a chip or crack
  • Clean mouthpieces weekly with soap, water and a mouthpiece-specific brush
  • DO NOT leave ligatures and reeds on a mouthpiece
  • Check metal ligatures weekly for signs of damage