The Bb/Eb,side key problem

Dear Sherman

Apologies if this is a simple question with an obvious answer. I have problems with frequent ‘bubbles’ in the d sharp/e flat pad (i.e. lowest right hand side key). I spend far too much time with cigarette papers and blowing into this pad, only for the bubble to return soon after. Is this only avoidable by drying my mouth more effectively before playing? I don’t think I’m a very wet player! I play an R13, though suspect this is extraneous information.

Many thanks.


Dear P:
The question is simple, but the answer may help you and many others who may have the same problem, especially with this particular side key. It has nothing to do with drying your mouth and little to do with your mouth as such, but your breath.
The water,the bubbling, is caused by the condensation within the clarinet as your breath passes through the clarinet.
There are several very good fixes for this other then using papers and such to absorb the gathering of the “water”, however the best is to have a cork pad installed in that side key. I have them in all the keys in the upper joint of my clarinet. That is the same material you have in your register key, which is installed there at the factory .
Funny thing is that once the condensation is noticed, it reappears even after you absorb it with papers. More properly, first, absorb , then swab out the clarinet, and even open the key and look inside, for there may be a few drops still lurking. awaiting more hot breath to usher them into your eb key. And, one more thing: Open the side key and tilt the clarinet to the side and give it a couple of bumps on your leg, which will also assure you. (This is something that takes much longer to explain than to do.)
There is one extreme action: put a little dab of vaseline on the inside of your clarinet just above the tone hole which may serve to divert any stream of condensation. But a cork pad is the best solution, though not a lifetime warranty.

One other point which may be of service

G: When you put your clarinet away, always make sure you swab it first ad then leav a cigarette paper in the pad that has been leaking, which will absorb any spot of moisture that has gathered there. And one caution: Do not use those long brush which one is supposed to leave inside the bor i order to mop moisture. They are as good for helping moisture to accumulate  as well as perhaps absorbing it. Good luck and keep practicing.

stay well,



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