A wood clarinet
Looking after a wood clarinet
While most clarinets today are made of synthetic materials, a wood clarinet is considered by many to be the best instrument, both in terms of tonal quality and as a beautiful thing to look at. Many clarinet players will spend their whole career playing on a clarinet made from synthetic materials, but most people who own a wooden instrument will never go back to synthetic.
The wood used to make clarinets is called Grenadilla (sometimes also called Mpingo) and comes from Africa. Not only is this wood beautiful to look at but also keeps the exact shape for the bore and tone holes, which is needed if the clarinet is to play in tune consistently. While buying a clarinet made from wood has many advantages, these clarinets need some extra care to make sure they are not damaged.
As with anything made of wood, extremes of temperature and humidity will affect your clarinet. Try to keep your clarinet away from things like heaters and excessive air-conditioning. If your clarinet does become cold, it is always a good idea not to start playing until it has reached room temperature.
Humidity inside the instrument can also be caused by the condensation in your breath, so make sure to always swab out your clarinet after you use it. Extreme dryness can also be a problem. One hint for clarinet players in cold climates is to keep fresh orange peels in your clarinet cases (though not in direct contact with the instrument). This will help hydrate the wood of your clarinet which can dry out due to indoor heating in winter.
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