Itasca IL

907 W Irving Park Rd Itasca, IL 60143-2023
Phone: 630-285-1485
Store Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sat: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sun: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Store Services

The Reed March 2015


The Reed March 2015

by Jeff B

Cleaning and care for your woodwind Instrument

Chances are if you’re reading his, you either rent or own a Woodwind Instrument, either for yourself or for your child.  While you or your child is learning to play music probably through their school they might not have learned everything to clean and maintain their instrument and you might be wondering on how to help keep your woodwind instrument in tip-top shape, and fortunately you’ve come to the right blog!

If you want to keep good care of your instrument there are some very easy things you can get and use to make sure it’s always clean and dry. First off you’ll need a swab. A swab is cloth attached to a string with a weight you can fish through the instrument in order to get all the spit out. It’s very important to do this efficiently and slowly to make sure you don’t hurt any part of the Instrument.

If you look down the body of the clarinet or saxophone you can see a tiny piece of metal poking into the body. It’s very important you watch out for this as if it gets caught on it you can damage bend or even break off that piece which can result in a very expensive repair! It’s not something you have to be super concerned about but keep it in mind to always be gentle with your instrument. While student instruments are made to keep up with high energy beginners they can only take so much!

For the flute, I suggest a swab for the body but for the headjoint since it only had one opening you’ll need to get a cleaning rod to help push the swab into it, as it will most likely have the most amount of spit! It’s important to be gentle with the rod and not to jam it in as you can push the head join cork and mess with the intonation of the instrument. I would also suggest a plastic rod because it has a less chance of scratching the metal of the flute itself!

The oboe is a very particular instrument and if you’re lucky enough to play it will need some special care. The bore of the  oboe (the Bore is the size of the inside of the body) is significantly smaller than that of a clarinet so it’s very important you get something especially made for the oboe as it would be very, very easy to get a clarinet or sax swab stuck in the body. Taking special care when pulling it through the body of the instrument as to not damage any of the delicate key mechanisms the oboe has. I would also highly suggest getting a reed case capable of holding 3-4 reeds and rotate through them, it will make the reeds last longer and if you’ve been playing the oboe for a while you’ll probably realize how expensive oboe reeds can get so stretching out their life is very important!

We have a variety of different things available online and in our store, we carry a variety of different swabs as well as some starter and care kits designed to help a beginner or any player clean and maintain their instrument. The clarinet and oboe starter kits come with a swab, a reed holder to keep them from breaking, mouthpiece patches to make it a little more comfortable, cork grease to make the instrument easier to put together a mouthpiece cleaning brush and a thumb rest because sometimes the instrument gets heavy and your thumb needs a little padding! The saxophone ones come with very similar supplies as well as a rod to clean the neck out, but it’s also ok to use the swab for the body on it! Be cautious as sometimes swabs for the saxophone bodies are a little bit too big to fit in the neck and you can get it stuck inside! The Flute care kit comes with similar supplies as well as a thumb saddle to help hold and keep up the instrument with proper technique.

As an added bonus all of the care kits come with a polish cloth to make sure you keep the outside of your instrument clean and shiny!

Also while it’s possible to clean the supplies themselves, wash the cleaning cloth etc, like a toothbrush it tends to get dirty after some time and will have to be replaced. I recommend washing it frequently and replacing them about once a year to make sure you’re always using good clean supplies to keep up your instrument. It’s something I do very frequently with my instruments as I’m very particular of what I put on or around them.  My instruments are like my children and like a child it’s important to take good care of them!

                As always if you have any more questions or want some demonstration on how to clean and maintain your instrument feel free to come in the store or call us up! I’d be happy to help you discover and learn the importance of maintaining your instrument!

                Best Wishes!

                Jeff Bosacki

                WoodWind Expert

                Music and Arts, Itasca Illinois