Clarinet assembly may seem complicated the first time you open the case, but before you know it, putting your instrument together will be second nature.
With an instrument with small keys such as the clarinet, assembly can easily bend keys and damage the clarinet if you're not careful.
Follow these steps on how to safely put together the parts of the clarinet.
Step 1: Open the case
Open your case on the floor, chair or table rather than your lap. It is more stable because you don't run the risk of spilling fragile parts before you even get started.
Notice that when the clarinet is in the case, the keys face up, and the rods face the back of the case.
Step 2: Pick up the lower joint
Wrap your right hand around the lower joint with your palm facing the keys.
Keep your hand below the rings and the bottom four keys, because there are less places that could get bent at the bottom.
Step 3: Pick up the upper joint
Wrap the left hand around the upper joint with the palm facing the ceiling. The palm comes in contact with the back side of the joint, the side with the register key.
Keep your hand below the A key.
Step 4: Put the upper and lower joints together
With your left middle finger, press the round metal key (sometimes called the "pancake key") on the front part of the upper joint.
This will raise the bridge key and get it ready to connect over the lower joint, like this:
Resting the cork end of the lower joint on your leg as you sit, place the upper joint into the lower joint with small twisting and pushing motions until the keys line up.
The bridge key should line up with the matching parts on the bottom joint.
Step 5: Put on the bell
Wrap your right hand around the bottom of the lower joint, as in Step 2.
With the bell in the left hand, twist and push it onto the lower joint as in Step 4.
Step 6: Put on the barrel and mouthpiece
Hold what you've put together at the top of the upper joint (above the keys) with your right hand.
Twist and push the barrel onto the upper joint, and then the mouthpiece on top of that.
If you have a logo on the barrel, line it up with the logo on the front of the upper joint. Instrument manufacturers sometimes design the bore (the inside of the clarinet) with that alignment in mind as the most resonant.
You're almost ready to play.