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Gokhan Ozkok Ney Workshop: NEY CARE


The ney is an instrument with a very long lifespan if it is looked after properly and kept safe. There are still neys today which date back around three to four centuries. The performance of a ney will increase as it ages, the more it is used the better it will sound. In relation to this both its material and sentimental value will increase. Neys that have been passed down through the generations are considered cultural inheritance and are priceless items. To obtain a high performance and long life from your ney, which you can pass down to further generations, consider the following care instructions;
1.) Oil your Ney periodically every month. Oils that are suitable for this process include corn oil, almond oil, and sesame oil. Corn oil is mostly preferred, as it is more economic and easier to obtain than other oils. Corn oil is better absorbed into the pores of the ney and unlike other oils does not leave a sticky layer inside the ney. The most practical solution for this process is the following: From your local hardware shop obtain a 50mm diameter PVC pipe that is long enough to encapsulate your largest ney. Seal one end of your PVC pipe using a PVC cap and glue. Once you have done this you may fill your tank with oil and easily oil your neys by dipping them in and out. Prior to oiling, restrain from playing your ney as this causes the pores to moisten and will not absorb the required amount of oil. If you would like your ney to have a pleasant odour then you may add a scent of your preference into your oil such as musk, amber, rose etc. In order to prevent any damage to your ney, you must ensure that the scent you are using does not include any alcohol. Another method for oiling your ney is: Completely wrap all openings on your Ney using aluminium foil except for the top mouthpiece hole. Pour the oil through the top mouthpiece hole until the Ney is completely full. Once full allow the oil to stay there for a period of time. How long you chose to leave it is entirely up to you, you may leave it for an hour or a few days. Once you have drained the oil from your ney allow it to sit in an upright position for 3-4 hours. After this you may wipe your ney down using a dry cotton cloth. If there is any hardened residue you may use a slightly damp and soapy cloth to gently wipe it away. Do not use any alcohol or detergents. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not close the finger hole with sticky tape. This may result in damaging the holes when trying to remove the sticky tape. In such an event your ney will not be covered by warranty.
2.) Reeds are not found straight when harvested; therefore your ney may experience warping with time. They are straightened through a lengthy process. Once the reed is transformed into a ney, it may experience slight warping, this may be influenced by the players style, care, handling, environment and climatic conditions. These factors may cause the shape of the ney to transform back into its original form. This is considered normal and does not affect the performance or tuning of the ney. To prevent this avoid exposing your ney to direct heat or sunlight. When placing your ney flat on a table ensure that the mouthpiece is hanging over the edge of the table.
3.) Never try to clean the inside of your ney using a brush or any other object, because the inside of the ney is not flat like an ordinary pipe. There are very precise and fragile segment holes, which are opened in accordance with the tuning of the ney. Using a brush or other objects to clean the inside may damage these fragile holes. If these holes are broken or widened it will result in a loss of standard tuning.
4.) Do not wash the inside of your ney. Do not wet it to get a better sound, otherwise the above-mentioned segment holes loosen and deteriorate away. Once the reed is removed form its natural habitat, water and moisture become its enemy.
5.) To keep the inside of your ney clean avoid playing during or after meals to prevent any food particles clogging the inside as this decreases the performance of the ney.
6.) After using your ney it will develop moisture therefore you must ensure to let your ney to dry in the open at room temperature, do not place it inside a closed container or casing of any sort. If you do not allow your ney to dry it will result in mould developing on the inside. This will reduce the sound quality of your ney. In such a case do not attempt to clean the inside yourself; return in to our workshop immediately and it will be cleaned and returned to you at no cost.
7.) The first segment of the ney (also know as the soundbox) will lose its original colour and darken. This is normal with all neys. As every ney ages it will take on this effect. This is know as the burning and maturing of the ney. With time this darkening effect will follow through to the second and third segments and so on. If there is a build up of dirt inside the sound box, you may clean it gently using a dry cloth making sure you stay clear of the segment hole inside. This hole is crucially important especially with the higher notes. Never try to widen this hole.
8.) Mouthpieces that are produced from horn material may loosen or tighten as a result of climatic conditions. These mouthpieces will tighten once you start playing your ney, otherwise you may wrap the joining area with paper, string or some teflon tape, this solves the problem in most situations. This problem is only seen in horn mouthpieces and not common with other materials.