For all clarinets:
1. After playing, it is imperative that you swab your instrument with a good quality, absorbent swab. Remove the mouthpiece, and drop the weighted end through the bell so it comes out of the barrel and pull through gradually. Repeat this process until the excess moisture is removed.
2. Disassemble the instrument by reversing the assembly process. Always remember that if an instrument or its components aren’t in your hands or on a sturdy instrument stand, it should be in its case. As you disassemble the instrument, put the components in the case.
3. Wipe off excess cork grease from the joints with a cotton bud or cloth after use. This prevents the plush interior of the case from ending up on your joint and down your instrument, and also ensures that you don’t blow cork grease through the instrument and onto the pads.
4. Remove the reed from the mouthpiece and place it in a plastic sleeve or reed case. Swab the mouthpiece.
5. Always keep your swab in the outer pocket where possible to avoid build-up of mould and bacteria inside the case and in the instrument.
For wooden clarinets (it is important to condition the wood correctly to prolong the life of the instrument and prevent cracking):
• For the first week of ownership, it is recommended that the instrument be played for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. After 20 minutes, swab thoroughly and allow the instrument to return to room temperature before playing again.
• Increase the playing time by 5 minutes per day in the first week, for example; Monday – 20mins, Tues – 25mins, Wed – 30mins, etc. By the second week, you will be up to an hour of playing time. For week two, increase the playing time by 15 minutes per session.
• By week three the wood will be conditioned for regular use. Be aware if joints become tight or do not fit together entirely. If the joints become stuck together, do NOT force them apart. Allow the instrument to contract by letting it return to room temperature. The wood should contract enough to get the joints apart. In any case, it is important to take your instrument to a Yamaha Service Centre to have the joints shaved. You may have to return to get the joints attended to a couple of times, but realise that once wood is removed from an instrument it cannot be replaced!
• Have a technician examine the wood of your instrument every 6 months during the warranty period for cracks, dryness, or swelling. As with all instruments, it is a good idea to get them serviced every 12 to 18 months.