I ran into a first this week: a customer who managed to spill a can of soda across BOTH his A and Bb clarinets: it was a pitiful sight! They had sluggish keys, pads stuck to tone holes, and a nice glaze on the wood bodies. I started by disassembling and cleaning all surfaces with a Q-tip: tone-holes, keys, rods, screws, body and (especially) pads. I then dried affected parts with a soft cloth, oiled the screws and rods, and reassembled. One pad's leather actually tore loose, from the adhesive qualities of the soda, and had to be replaced! Some welcome income, but a sorry sight and one that I hope I won't be dealing with again soon....
Now, why do I bring this up? Well, soda (and other sweetened drinks) aren't just rough on the outside of your horn, they're rough on the inside, too! I used to see student instruments with sticky pads, and my boss explained that they were the victims of soda or juice consumed directly before playing, which ended up condensing on the pads. Much better to stick with water, or at least rinse your mouth after consuming a sweetened drink and BEFORE you pick up that horn! And for goodness sake, please keep that container away from your case. A word to the wise....
The Licorice Shtick Blog is the creation of the Vintage Clarinet Doctor, a Winston Salem, NC based woodwind instrument repair shop specializing in vintage and antique clarinets, saxophones, and the occasional flute.