Phil's New-Clarinet Tweaking Service



My services are available when I am not in Indonesia. My trips are usually February-March and September-October every year.


This Tweaking Service is a new idea I am just testing out for a limited time. This is primarily for new or ‘newish’ Chinese-made hard rubber clarinets.

Because of my recent experience tweaking the Berkeley A clarinet, I would like to try tweaking a few other new clarinets— mainly Chinese-made hard rubber clarinets that are being sold everywhere and in large volumes. I'm doing this in order to be able to review as many models as possible and give up-to-date information to parents. (For examples, see my reveiws of the Allora Bb clarinet and the Berkeley A clarinet review. If your new Chinese clarinet has any similar issues, it could qualify for tweaking. Skilled tweaking could transform an unplayable clarinet into an excellent clarinet. In most cases, these new clarinets have not been play-tested in the USA before being sold by on-line large-volume dealers. If the tester at the factory in China didn't notice something, you could get stuck with an unplayable instrument. Perhaps it just needs a pad adjusted, a thicker cork under a key, or a spring bent slightly.

To qualify your clarinet should have cost more than $140 when you purchased it new. A lot of qualifying Bb clarinets are running $160-200+. The clarinet should not have been used longer than one school year. 

This service will cost $30 (plus all shipping) for the first people who send me new/newish clarinets I haven't yet reviewed. In particular, I hope someone will send me a new Hutchen (from Hyson.com), and a Berkeley Bb. Please help me find out which new models are the best!

Use the question form on the front page of this site to contact me.





Phil's Spa Treatments for clarinets:

I no longer actively recondition clarinets for models that I have already reviewed. I am still interested in reconditioning clarinets I haven't reviewed. My turn-around time for reconditioning is about two months. I also am happy to recondition clarinets that I reconditioned and sold in the past.

My Spa Treatments include this: The clarinet is fully disassembled, all corks and pads are removed, everything is cleaned, shined, oiled (wood and keys, with differing oils). Normally I include some small repair of chips and cracks in the cost. Your clarinet will be fitted with new Valentino synthetic (green back) pads and corks. Key travel and height will be adjusted. I play and thoroughly test each clarinet I recondition, and I do this more than once. The price does not include charges for soldering broken keys or re-plating worn keys. (I have another repair service do that for me.) The price includes replacing broken springs. If there are broken pieces or cracked joints, the price might be a bit more. The one thing I do not do is to fill the maker's logo/stamps with gold crayon or paint. Normal turn-around time:  It often takes me from two weeks to a month. You pay shipping both directions. 

Because of heavy work requirements, I pulled back from reconditioning clarinet models that have been previously reviewed at this site.  
If you see that your model of clarinet has already been reviewed here, please take a look at our list of Recommended Clarinet Tech Services.
If you have a wooden clarinet brand NOT reviewed on this site, the price for complete reconditioning it is $134 plus shipping both ways. 

I only accept a few clarinets in the grayed out categories below. If you something in this area, please correspond with me using the question form on the first page or via the clarinetpages.info forum.

Any other wooden, plastic, or hard rubber clarinet (excluding plateau models): $174. But see the special price below if your clarinet make and model have not yet been reviewed by me.
Plateau model clarinets are $184. (Plateau clarinets do not have the rings for the fingers. They were made for children with small hands, like the one pictured on this page. These also have 7 more pads than normal clarinets.)
Metal clarinets: I would rather not recondition them unless it is one of the special models. I would be happy to do a Penzel-Mueller double walled clarinet! I have a friend who has that as his specialty. I can connect you to him.


SHIPPING to me: If you send a clarinet for any kind of reconditioning, save money by not shipping the case. [Update 2017: If you have one of those canvas style zippered cases that weigh almost nothing, please use the case.] If you are in the USA, a medium sized flat-rate Priority Mail box can be used, and will cost $11 to send to me. I prefer that you not use Styrofoam peanuts. Instead wrap each joint of the clarinet separately in bubble wrap so that they don't rattle around. Using the bubble wrap with large bubbles, it is enough to go around about twice, putting the bubbles toward the inside. For the small-bubble wrap, go around three times. Please do not use tape on the bubble wrap. Just make sure the parts can't bump against each other. Because I am giving out our P.O. Box address, it is no longer recommended that you send to me with Signature Confirmation. But I will return your clarinet using Signature Confirmation ($2.90) unless your address is a P.O. Box. When paying me, I appreciate it when people add $2.90 to your shipping cost— which is the cost of Signature Confirmation.


The Priority Mail Regional Rate Box A is often a few cents less to ship than the other medium sized Priority Mail boxes. Get my address by sending me a note via the Question form below. When packing in smaller boxes, the right hand joint will go in catty-corner. Put extra padding around that tenon joint, as that is the one part that could be damaged if the box is dropped. In my opinion, bubble wrap is the best packing material for clarinets.

What parts to send: It is good to send me all the parts of the clarinet, including the mouthpiece, barrel and bell. This will allow me to re-cork the mouthpiece (if desired by you), and make sure it fits nicely into the barrel. And I use the barrel and bell to make sure the respective corks fit snugly, but not too tightly. I don't need for you to send me the ligature and the mouthpiece cap. 

Payment methods: I prefer to be paid via Paypal, and it is fine to wait until I am finished and ready to send your clarinet back. By that time you will have gotten my e-mail address, and you will use that address for sending payment via Paypal. On your Paypal page, use the Send Money tab. That's where you will use my e-mail address, enter the amount, and check “Services.” Or, a check can be included with your package. If by check, remember to get a good estimate of the return shipping cost.

Address: To get my postal address, please fill out the Question form below. 



[Jul2011] I waited for over two years before I receiving my first opportunity to give a Spa Treatment to one of the instruments that I previously reconditioned. How did my work hold up? Two years ago, friends from our church bought a Normandy for their daughter. She started on it in 6th grade and gained first chair in the middle school band in her first semester of 7th grade. (Alas, she played second chair for the second semester.) Band at her school meets every day, and her father told me that she practised at home “more than just a couple of days a week.” I was pleased to see that after two years, the clarinet was still in good playable condition. (This is partly due to the good sturdy Noblet key work.) All the pads were still seating very well. When I took the keys off in order to oil the wood, I found that I could simply wipe the dirt off of the pads. The pictures show the pads before I wiped the dirt away. The Valentino cork tenon joints were also holding up well. After two years of frequent use, they were not as tight as when I sold the instrument, but still tight enough that I didn't replace them. I estimate that Valentino synthetic pads and corks last more than twice as long as their traditional equivalents.  
[May2012] Annemarie sent her Noblet 27 clarinet in for a spa treatment, and that is only the second one I have done for my clarinets. Annemarie is a first section player who practices at home and plays 5-6 days per week in regular band and pep band. The clarinet pads still seated perfectly and they were still very clean looking. I decided to replace only one. One tenon joint cork was just barely hanging on. And the wood needed to be treated. 

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