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Clarinet Rental Guide

When a young musician first joins a band program, renting an instrument is almost always the most economical option for parents. Not only does a good rental program come with a variety of benefits and perks, it also takes away the obstacle of a big up-front payment, and renting can make it easy to own the clarinet or even upgrade to a more advanced model when the time is right. The clarinet is a great instrument for beginning band students and we’re here to help you with everything you need to rent a clarinet.

The Advantages of Renting a Clarinet

While the best advice a beginning clarinetist can receive is to stick with the program, that’s no guarantee the clarinet will be right for everybody. Renting allows you to try out band at a minimum of expense, and it keeps open the option of changing instruments if something else seems like a better fit. You’ll also appreciate a rented clarinet for bearing the wear-and-tear that goes with learning how to maintain and handle an instrument. As part of a good rental program, you can expect to receive plenty of support that will help you out should something go wrong with the clarinet, or when the time comes to step up from beginner to intermediate and even the professional level.

What to Look For in a Rental Package

Maintenance & Replacement Plan

This service will give you the resources to keep the clarinet playing its best, as well as assisting with replacement if it’s lost or stolen.

Upgrade Provisions

It’s not unusual for a student to advance beyond the beginner level before the first rental term is up, so look to rent a clarinet that provides an upgrade path to intermediate and professional clarinets.

Rent-to-Own and Buyouts

As an alternative to upgrading, you may have the option to apply a portion of your rental fees toward the purchase of the clarinet if you wish to keep it.

Easy Return and Exchange Options

Children have a tendency to change their minds, so make sure your chosen rental program lets you return or exchange your rental anytime.

Repair and Adjustments

Most rental providers have official service shop networks or even their own in-house repair sites, so you can get repairs when you need them.

Care Tips for your Rented Clarinet

Here are some basic, but important, guidelines for taking care of the clarinet and keeping it in great shape for the duration of your rental.

Keep Track of your Cleaning Supplies

Clarinets require frequent cleaning to avoid the buildup of saliva and bacteria in the instrument. Make sure you have the following items to keep your instrument clean

  • Cork Grease – greasing the corks of your clarinet will decrease your chance of damage while assembling the instrument
  • Silk Swab – to clean inside the instrument
  • Mouthpiece Brush – since this is where your mouth contacts the instrument, keeping it clean is vital
  • Polish Cloth – removing excess fingerprints and smudges will keep the instrument’s exterior clean

Immediately After Playing

Always remove the reed, and store it in a reed case. Give the clarinet a quick but thorough cleaning to remove any saliva and warm air that’s built up inside, and wipe off all the exterior surfaces. Be sure to remove the mouthpiece and clean it individually, as well. Then, put the clarinet into its case to protect it. Whenever the clarinet is in its case, the mouthpiece should be capped.

On a Regular Basis

Deeper cleanings should be done frequently; every few days for a clarinet that is constantly played, or after every use otherwise.

Take the clarinet apart to clean each component, and dry the tenons while it’s disassembled. Your instrument should come with a swab, designed to be passed cloth-first from barrel to bell through the clarinet body. Pull the swab through several times, until the inside of the clarinet is clean. You can also use the swab to clean the insides of the clarinet’s joints. Wait for the swab to dry before putting it back into the case.

Wipe down the ligature and keys to remove any lingering fingerprints. Use a gentle polishing cloth – no need for metal polish or any other abrasives. A handy tool for keys and especially tone holes is a dusting stick, which is a long wire with a miniature broom on one end and a pick on the other. You can use the pick end to clear away dirt from beneath and between keys, and the broom end to brush off any dust.

Once in a While

Apply oil to the key mechanisms to keep them moving freely. Remember that a little goes a long way, and always clean up any stray drips.

Using your fingers, rub a modest amount of cork grease onto the corks. It’s important not to do this too often as that can weaken the corks, so check their dryness and wear, and apply when necessary.