HELP: swab stuck in tenor joint

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Home Forums Instruments and Tools Instrument Questions HELP: swab stuck in tenor joint

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    STUCK SWAB: I AM SURE THIS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE PAST, BUT…I just got the silk swab stuck in the tenor joint my new Moosman 222CL while swabbing out after a lengthy rehearsal. It has a reverse pull through cord at the back end to pull back out, BUT that string is in too far and totally out of reach. It is really stuck solid. I had this happen to a FOX 601 about 15 years ago, but that was a cotton swab and had to ultimately send it back to the factory to remove the swab. I am not even sure how I did this this time, but was moving fast and suspect the swab somehow wrapped upon it self in some manner. I live in rural Maine and do not have easy access to any repair personnel. I SEEK ANY ADVICE YOU MAY HAVE.

    Joshua Luty

    I’m sure someone can come up with a more immediate solution, but usually it’s recommended you leave the bassoon for a day or so and allow the swab to hopefully dry and perhaps get a tad smaller. It might work on your next attempt, but probably not. After that, if you don’t have any repair personnel nearby then I would recommend getting a swab extractor for bassoon; Forrests sells one. It’s basically just a narrow drill bit on a really long rod – if you’re handy I suppose you could make something up if you have an emergency, but don’t go ramming through your wing joint lining – proceed with extreme caution always, and that same caution should help with your next swab out, too. :-) Good luck.

    William Safford

    If I were in your shoes, I would do one thing: put down the tenor joint. Just walk away from it, and stop doing anything further to try to extract the swab. (That will prevent repeating history vis-à-vis your 601.)

    Then, I would do one of two things:

    – Road trip to the nearest reputable repairman (Boston, or wherever),


    – ship the tenor joint (overnight if necessary) to a reputable repairman. Even in a rural area, you’re not far from a post office or shipping center.

    I once had a swab break and get stuck inside a tenor joint. I drove straight to the local repairman. The first question out of his mouth: “What did you do to try to extract it?” My answer: “Nothing. I drove straight here.” He liked that answer. Two minutes later, the joint was returned to me deswabbed and undamaged.

    Best wishes!

    Trent Jacobs

    I like William’s answer to this a lot. You can learn how to properly extract a swab from a bassoon. However, you don’t want to be learning on your own bassoon with an actually stuck swab with cobbled together tools. Find a repair guy. There’s gotta be a musical instrument shop that has done this with clarinets before.

    Difficult access to a repair person is still access. It’s worth it for your $25,000+ bassoon to have it fixed right.

    Steve Harriswangler

    Yes, find a good repair guy, I’ve removed quite a few and the worst are the ones that were worked on by the owner. I had a horn that the owner scratched ithe wing up a bit with a steel rod. Chip Owen had a story about a dude using a drill that tore a hole through the wall of the wing joint. Leave it alone, let it dry, find a guy. (Gal works too, but guy rhymes), the drying makes the swab smaller and easier to extract for the repair person.


    Not that it will help, but in my opinion a reverse pull cord should be long enough to still be
    well outside one end of the joint until the swab itself can at least be firmly be gripped at
    the other end. Better still, the swab should be completely pulled through before the cord
    disappeares at the other end.
    I feel that the usefulness of a reverse pull cord is seriously limited if this is not the case.

    Oliver Ludlow

    Good luck with it!

    William Safford

    JOOC, what was the end result of your stuck swab, Possanna?

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