Author Topic: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope  (Read 119 times)

Offline windydankoff

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I easily found three leaks in two clarinets, that I could not locate with a leak light. I used a modified stethoscope.

You need the type of stethoscope that reduces to a single tube. I found this one on eBay for $5. I cut off the diaphragm device and inserted a smaller tube as a probe. As you approach a pinpoint leak, you hear a soft breeze. When you aim right at it, it sounds like a windstorm!

Pressure is applied by mouth, with fingers down, and a cork plug in the bottom. You must use normal finger pressure, as if you are playing the instrument.

A blow tube, shown in the photo, makes it less awkward than using your mouth directly on the joint.  The blow tube adapter is a cork plug with a hole, into which I hot-glued a plastic tube.

 I'm sure others have thought of this, but to my surprise, I found no references to it.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 09:19:22 PM by windydankoff »
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Offline modernicus

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2019, 02:13:02 PM »
I've never heard of it before, but it's ingenious Windy!
If you ain't got 'em, that's why you need 'em...

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2019, 05:22:48 PM »
I suggest every self-reliant instrument owner should go over the horn once in a while with one of these, as a maintenance procedure. We can blame lots of problems on ourselves when it's really a pinpoint leak never suspected. Just really critical not to press the keys too hard.

The tube/plug for the top is optional, but does make it easier. It can be smaller tube than shown.
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
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Offline philpedler

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 04:13:39 PM »
Wow, why didn't I ever think of this! Can't wait to get my stethoscope!

Offline shmuelyosef

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2019, 10:50:44 AM »
Seems like a pretty good test...I have just used feelers for awhile and with those I can find leaks on clarinets that seem to play perfectly. I used to use cigarette paper, but now use ultra-thin mylar.

I have tried a number of leak lights and, while they work great on saxophones, I haven't had much success with clarinets.
Clarinet: Selmer Centered Tone (1 ea 6-ring and 7-ring), Selmer Series 9, Yamaha Custom CS 853, Leblanc Vito V40, B&H 1-10, Leblanc VSP, plus the middle school for sale list (all fully overhauled)
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2019, 02:32:54 PM »
Seems like a pretty good test...I have just used feelers for awhile and with those I can find leaks on clarinets that seem to play perfectly. I used to use cigarette paper, but now use ultra-thin mylar.

I have tried a number of leak lights and, while they work great on saxophones, I haven't had much success with clarinets.
If you get a string of small LED lights then  you can bend the wire to any which angle, making them very easy to use on clarinets.

The LEDs are so small that you can successfully use them on very small bore instruments, such as Eb clarinet or even the upper joint of an oboe.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2019, 09:30:40 AM »
Yes, I've use a battery-powered LED string, but the light of a leak is often obstructed by the keywork. And it's tedious. Feelers are good too. Dental floss works well. But the initial survey is easiest for me using the stethoscope.
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2019, 08:49:31 PM »
I asked our buddy Phil Pedler if he got his stethoscope yet, and he replied

   "I used that on a horn for a customer and it
    really, really helped. Thanks for that valuable tip!"

Hard to believe it isn't standard practice.
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
C & G CLARINETS refined to concert standards
Thanks to The Clarinet Pages