I have spent some time this week in the onsite workshop at Dawkes Music chatting with the lovely repair department about how to look after and maintain our instruments. It is quite simple really – the better we look after our instruments the cheaper the repair costs! Sounds good to me!
Abi (the workshop manager) was telling me about the pads that are in all woodwind instruments….
“Most woodwind instrument pads are made of a layer of card, then a disk of felt, then a thin double-layer of skin (or leather). As the instrument is played these pads will absorb the heat and moisture blown down the bore and begin to swell. When stored away, they will shrink back. This repeated process causes the felt to distort and bloat over time and eventually the skin will tear. Once the skin layers have torn through, the pad will ‘leak’ air as the fibres in the exposed felt will not make an air tight seal. With the pads in this condition you would have to force a lot more air down the instrument than normal to achieve the same level of compression. This is a completely normal part of woodwinds, but the lifespan of a pad is completely dependent on how well they are taken care of and maintained by the player. It is crucial to remove as much moisture as possible from the bore of the instrument after playing or before storing away. A pull-through or some kind of swab can be dragged through the bore and will absorb most of the condensation”
People are often asking what the best products are to take care of your instrument so we thought we would let you know a few of our favourites:
A good pull through! This clarinet/flute pull through works for both instruments and is only £4.40!
A pad saver… As Abi was saying pop it in your instrument after you have pulled it through and it will take away all the excess moisture
A Silver/Lacquer cloth. Depending on your instruments finish – keep it lovely and shinny!
BG pad dryer – just pop it over your keys once finished playing and it will help to remove the moisture.
For more information on how to keep your instrument in tip top condition check out these maintenance sheets.