How to Identify Leaking Pads on Your Woodwind Instrument

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Identify leaking pads on your woodwind instrument easily with this step by step guide.
Check for clarinet or flute air leaks by taking the instrument apart, cupping the ends of the instrument, closing all finger and pad openings, and blowing air through. The instrument’s pads and springs should resist heavy air flow. If you feel or hear even the slightest of leaks and are not sure, have a friend help you by putting their hand away from your clarinet and feeling.


How to Identify Leaking Pads on Your Woodwind Instrument

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Identify leaking pads on your woodwind instrument easily with this step by step guide.
Check for clarinet or flute air leaks by taking the instrument apart, cupping the ends of the instrument, closing all finger and pad openings, and blowing air through. The instrument’s pads and springs should resist heavy air flow. If you feel or hear even the slightest of leaks and are not sure, have a friend help you by putting their hand away from your clarinet and feeling.


Check for clarinet or flute air leaks by taking the instrument apart, cupping the ends of the instrument, closing all finger and pad openings, and blowing air through. The instrument's pads and springs should resist heavy air flow. If you feel or hear even the slightest of leaks and are not sure, have a friend help you by putting their hand away from your clarinet and feeling.


Check for sax leaks by creating a light on a string and feeding it through the sax horn down. This method must be done in the dark. Make sure to have all the pads down and then check. If there is light, there is a leak.


Note that if a large amount of air or light leaks through, it may not be a leak, but rather an adjustment problem. A spring is not taut enough or something is bent enough to create a problem. With woodwinds, cork placement means everything, so there is always a chance some cork is just worn and isn't doing its job any more.


Pay attention (for flutes) to whether any of your notes aren't playing correctly. Test them out by pressing on the keys hard and seeing if they work then. If they do you most likely have a pad leak! (If not it may be a spring or screw problem.) If a particular note/notes buzzes, this means a pad has come loose and needs to be replaced.


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