Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stuck Swab?

Have you ever gotten your swab stuck in the piccolo?  Hopefully, the answer is "no."  Don't let this happen to you!  Piccolos can be a bit of a challenge and can fall victim to the "stuck swab" because of their bore.  The piccolo has a conical bore that tapers down from the top to the bottom.  So, the top is the larger part of the bore, and the bottom is smaller.  To swab your piccolo correctly and prevent getting the swab stuck, you'll want to follow a few simple rules:

1) Always use a piccolo swab.  Do not substitute a flute swab, any other instrument swab, or any type of random cloth.  It is best to use a silk piccolo swab.

2) Thread a small amount of swab material through the "needle eye" of the swab stick.  About two inches max should do.  Do not pull an excessive amount through the eye of the stick.  Also, do not twirl the swab around the stick (this will cause the swab to become bunched).

3) Drop the swab "stick first" through the top of the piccolo (where the bore is larger).  Pull downward until the entire swab goes through the piccolo from top to bottom.

4) Repeat as needed, and you are done!

In the event that your swab becomes stuck, you may risk damaging the piccolo if you try to remove it yourself.  Contact your repair person ASAP, and don't be embarrassed, because it can happen!  The trick is prevention.  Swab properly, and you should be set.

Proper amount of swab to thread
Drop down through top
Pull downward to bottom
Pull swab all the way through
Top of piccolo has larger bore than bottom
Bottom of piccolo
Comparison between top (L) and bottom (R)
Do not twirl swab around stick!
Bunched up swab

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