Author Topic: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope  (Read 310 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 »
Windy  ~  BLACK HOLE Clarinets
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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!
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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 or on the quality of the horn, when it's really a pinpoint leak never suspected. Just 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.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 07:44:03 AM by windydankoff »
Windy  ~  BLACK HOLE Clarinets
C CLARINETS & Pruefer Silver Throat
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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.
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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.
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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 leak indication is often obstructed by the keywork. And it's tedious. Feelers are good too. Thin dental floss is good. But the initial search is very quick using the stethoscope.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 07:46:20 AM by windydankoff »
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 CLARINETS & Pruefer Silver Throat
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Thanks to The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 11:48:48 AM »
Here is one way to use this device:
Windy  ~  BLACK HOLE Clarinets
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Accurate wind instrument leak detection using a stethoscope
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 08:22:06 PM »
This is great! So simple as well.
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