How to make your own clarinet thumb cushion

Sometimes clarinet can be a pain in the…thumb!

If your right thumb is sore from playing clarinet, you can use a thumb cushion on the thumb rest to alleviate some of the pain. (Note: If the weight of the instrument is causing pain or discomfort, you should consider using a neck strap).

Although clarinet thumb rests are inexpensive and can be found online and in most music stores, you probably already have the materials to make your own! Here are a few options you can use to cushion your thumb:

  • pencil grip – choose between foam and rubber grips, select your favorite color, and cut to size
  • rubber tubing – found at hardware stores, medical supply centers, and other locations
  • blister cushions – cut to shape and size to place on bottom of thumb rest (useful if your clarinet’s thumb rest does not come with a cushion, or if it has fallen off)
  • bandages – instead of using cushions on the clarinet, some people use bandages on the right thumb

If you are still experiencing pain, there are also several options for more ergonomic thumb and hand placement. You could also consider having the thumb rest position altered to adapt to your natural hand position.

Do you use a thumb cushion? If so, what kind works best for you?

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