Plating Problems


I’ve had my R13 for about a year and a half. Recently, I noticed the silver plating coming off of the keys. On the newer instruments, at least, there is a layer of copper over the silver so what I’m seeing is not a dull silver underneath, but a pinkish copper, which is less than attractive. My Buffet warranty, if I ever had one, is either up or does not cover it and I doubt what my dealer could do for me. The plating is coming off on 3 of the rings so far, and getting worse I’m sure. Why it happened is beyond me at this point; it gets moderate wear and I treat it beautifully. It might just be faulty plating, or more likely acidic skin. How can I tell which?

What’s the next step from here? I’d rather not just let it go, or perhaps it isn’t worth it. Do I have the keys replaced? Should have them replated? (This would be where the acidic skin part comes in – I wouldn’t want to ruin another plate job inadvertently.) Should I go with another metal (perhaps gold?) I’m curious as to what I should do.i


questions? Send them to

Dear Acidic:

That is what it is: You have quite probably high acidic content in your fingers which will wreck any finish of any kind on any clarinet. I am one of the few whose fingers always tend to polish the keys. I have never lost finish. If you are one who wears key-finish off, there are precautions that you can take. Take a soft cloth on stage with you and alway wipe the keys softly after you play and also take cigarette papers and carefully dry any tone holes that can have gathered condensation. You have already purchased the R-13, so there is little to do except take precautions.

Good luck


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