Help! The joints of my new wooden clarinet are too tight!
Sax & Woodwind ...and Brass
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Help! The joints of my new wooden clarinet are too tight!

Two things contribute to tight tenon joints. The first is the climatic conditions we experience here in Australia. The second is the warm and moist air pumped through the clarinet during playing, especially when the clarinet is new.

Wooden clarinets are generally manufactured from Grenadilla wood that has been aged for a number of years. The aging process stabilises the dimensions of the wood so that it will remain in tune. However it may not counteract entirely the effects of humidity levels. 

The result is that the wood can swell outwards, causing the tenons (joints) to become tight, and sometimes even too tight to pull apart. This problem can be more significant in rainy or humid areas, or areas where there are extremes of humidity and dryness.

Firstly, do not worry. If you can, simply give the instrument a bit of time to settle down. If after a few days the tenons are still tight, just let us know. If the joints are too tight to pull apart, bring the instrument to us, don't risk damaging the keywork by trying to force the tenons apart. We can rectify the problem with the correct factory tools in about half an hour while you have a cup of coffee next door at the cafe. Rarely you may need to leave the instrument with us for a day or so if they are particularly tight.

If you have bought the clarinet from us, this service is covered under warranty. The main things to remember are:

  • This is a common issue with new wooden instruments in Australia

  • It can be easily rectified by shaving the problem tenons with the correct tools

  • If the tenons are too tight to pull apart - don't! Let our technician do the work.

  • The wood WILL acclimatise allowing you to play to your heart's content.

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