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Red Rot in Your Horns?


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How many of you experience the following:
Red Rot
15%
 15%  [ 11 ]
Finish Corrosion
25%
 25%  [ 18 ]
Both
29%
 29%  [ 21 ]
Neither
29%
 29%  [ 21 ]
Total Votes : 71

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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Becker wrote:
Christian's experience with ultrasonic cleaning is too common these days. Though we have ultrasonic cleaners in our shop we use them primarily for degreasing, where they are most useful. New instruments without rot can withstand the bombardment of cavitation, however if there's a weakness in the alloy or finish it will loosen material wherever it may be. In order for the solution to be most effective manufacturers of ultrasonic cleaners suggest heating solutions to 140 degrees. This adds to the problem of damaging finishes, especially clouding and lifting lacquers. Like any tool, we rely on our better judgement when and how to use ultrasonic cleaning. Problems with holes opening up occur when the damage from neglect has already been done. As others have pointed out, keeping your instrument cleaned and oiled should be no different than flossing and brushing your teeth.

I hope this is helpful.


Yes, James, most helpful, thank you.

I've heard these stories from multiple sources about ultrasonic blowouts of leadpipes, primarily old french horn leadpipes. I wouldn't use acid, ultrasonic or anything but a brush and cleanser on such a pipe, there's just too much risk.

And on the "acid in saliva" subject, I always called it "acid," but whatever it is, it leaches zinc from the brass alloy, leaving a weak copper spot, hence the name "red rot."
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if red rot is nothing but a "weak copper spot," how is that problematic? Copper pipes and bells are immune to red rot, right?
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TrentAustin
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW I've never had any blowouts using my ultrasonic machines and have put horns with some pretty extensive red rot in them. I haven't cleaned nearly as many as Jim has of course mind you but I have cleaned close to 1,000 now here at the shop between clients and my own inventory. In cases of horns with signs of rot I am very carefully, running the horns in very quick cycles with a low setting and never any heat. I find short 30-45 second cycles and lots of manual labor work fine on these instruments with wear.

When I first got my machine I put in an old Blessing cornet full of rot in the machine, cranked the heat up, and ran it a full day at the shop as a test. It came out with no lacquer but no visible holes either externally or where my borescope could see. Played fine as well. That being said it's definitely a judgement call on which way to clean and approach your instrument. The Ultrasonic machine is an amazing tool in the hands of the right tech. I've heard horror stories about ultrasonic neglect due to laziness on the part of the tech.


Preventive care, swabbing/cleaning, and storage will prevent red-rot from happening on a great majority of instruments. With the ease of some of these products (the Blow-Dry Brass system takes only a few seconds to use) it's easier than ever to keep our horns in tip-top shape. Here's hoping that one of these days we'll never see red-rot again!

=-T
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

razeontherock wrote:
So if red rot is nothing but a "weak copper spot," how is that problematic? Copper pipes and bells are immune to red rot, right?


Yes, copper and high copper brass alloys are much more resistant to fatigue. But zinc leaching from the alloy leaves air space, for want of a better term. The copper and other parts left are not solid alloy, allowing outside elements to enter and continue the process of deterioration.
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Polyphonic
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spray 99% isopropyl alcohol into the leadpipe, and then blow it through the entire horn. Typically, I swab the leadpipe and tuning slide following this; however, if I don't swab for a little while, the alcohol still seems to keep things clean. Another bonus to this is my horns don't smell bad, and really don't smell like anything!

In regards to different materials being used to make leadpipes, it was always to my understanding that yellow-brass was the preferred choice due to its resonance qualities. Typically, mouthpiece receivers and bell braces are gold-brass because it is a harder alloy? This is just what I've always assumed, so if I'm wrong, that's cool.
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never had Red-Rot in a horn I have owned as new or after I fixed them. Every horn I have gotten off ebay has had red-rot either in the leadpipe or the main tuning slide.

I clean my horns regularly and brush my teeth or at the very least rinse my mouth out before I practice.

I use cleaners that have mild alkaline bias but are fairly neutral and I avoid acid cleaning other then valves and that is mild just White Vinegar.

Strong acids or alk.'s should be avoided as much as you can because they can and do leach the zink out of the brass speeding up the red-rot process.

I now only use goldbrass or better when I replace a leadpipe. I am tired or inferior materials used on mass produced horns.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Capt.Kirk wrote:
I avoid acid cleaning other then valves and that is mild just White Vinegar.


IIRC white vinegar = pH 3 = 10^4 more acidic than neutral = 100,000 x more acidic

Not exactly mild (Diluted 8:1 it is still effective as a cleaner)
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can look up the Ph of blood and other bodily fluid. In fact any entry level A&P text on hematocrit or even more generic just blood would cover this.

Just breathing alone can alter your acid/base blood profile. This is why hyperventilation is so dangerous. The ph in the body has a very very narrow range or you die. You can also look up the ph scale is a measure of hydrogen by the way.

Cavitation is a really bad thing. It eats pits into water pumps by the exploding H2O and coolant. If you have ever seen the inside of a water pump that was pitted more then likely it was caused by cavitation not corrosion.

You would never catch me doing an acid dip or sonic cleaning yearly. If you have a decent soap/detergent etc......and you wash the horn once a moth you should not need to use harsh chemicals of sonic cleaning that often.

The best thing about ultasonic cleaning is reducing the exposure of people to harsh cancer causing solvents and such. Even acid vapours can be lethal at low concentration in a room.

No I am going to sell anyone coral calcium!!! LOL I would rather you stop buying trumpets and other brass instruments until OEM start making leadpipes and main slides out off something that is not so prone to red-rot.

I have more then one bare brass trumpet. If contact corrision was such an issue you would think raw brass horns would be rotting out left, right and center?!?!?!
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James Becker
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for the record, neither acids or ultrasonic cleaning brass instruments are a bad thing. Both play a significant part in manufacturing of brass instruments. What most don't realize is the amount of exposure to acids that occur in making your instrument. Pickling solutions after brazing to remove oxidation and flux are much stronger than cleaning solutions used by repair shops. And depending on the manufacturer there might be an additional acid bath after assembly to remove excess solder prior to buffing. And of course there's electroplating solutions using strong acids and bases. The introduction of ultrasonic cleaning provides manufacturers an alternative to ozone damaging solvents for removal of oils and grease.

I would say putting your instrument away wet daily over time will cause far more damage than a short exposure to a mild acid bath. By the time more aggressive means are needed to remove hard deposits the damage has already been done.

As for alternative materials, one must keep in mind if the alternative will allow you to produce "your sound" and achieve your musical goals.

I hope this is helpful.
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James Becker
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BobD
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I would say putting your instrument away wet daily over time will cause far more damage than a short exposure to a mild acid bath.


So how do I dry out the inside of my horn after every practice?
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James Becker
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob, you can swab out your leadpipe just like woodwind players swab their bore. Reeves swabs are available here http://store.osmun.com/browse.cfm/reeves-leadpipe-swab/4,437.html Then put a few drops of oil down the pipe and oil your valves.

p.s. Have any of you priced out the cost of repadding a woodwind lateley? It can more expensive than a leadpipe replacement! Maybe woodwind players are onto something.....

I hope this is helpful.
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James Becker
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TrentAustin
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BobD wrote:
Quote:
I would say putting your instrument away wet daily over time will cause far more damage than a short exposure to a mild acid bath.


So how do I dry out the inside of my horn after every practice?


I have found this works great for keeping my horns in tip top shape and also great for the shop horns after horn trials.


http://blowdrybrass.com/ (I have a bunch in stock and love them!)

You can also invest in a swab to wipe out your lead pipe/tuning slide after each session and this will protect the pipe from wear. I like the HW Brass Saver and also Tim Wendt's leadpipe swab he offers for sale here at TH.

Investing in a few of these little gizmos can go a long way to keeping your horn cleaner.

Clean horns work a lot more efficiently than dirty ones as well . It's a win/win!
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no practical way to dry out the entire inside of a trumpet.

Although you can pull a lead pipe swab through the bell bend I do not advise it, as the edge of the 1st valve port going into the bell can be very sharp, and you can never tell when the swab cord will get cut...leaving you now with a stuck swab in a bell bend.

Regular swabbing through the tuning slide and lead pipe are good preventive maintenance measures, and help with keeping the rest of your horn clean.

The extra length of the cord of swab I make was intentional to be able to go through the tuning slide and lead pipe at the same time (no removal of slide lube).

We should add that good dental hygiene is important. I personally never play after a meal without brushing my teeth.

As I recall, the beginning of trumpet lead pipe swabs goes back to one day, Doc Severinsen went to see Bob Reeves, complaining that his horn felt small and was hard to blow through. Bob looks down the lead pipe...saw the remnants of a whole lotta good cookin'...and got the idea of a lead pipe swab.
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veery715
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpthrld wrote:
We should add that good dental hygiene is important. I personally never play after a meal without brushing my teeth.
THIS!! I keep a toothbrush in my case.

I play regularly at a brew pub/pizza restaurant. Another trumpet player, who also plays with us, puts down his slice and begins to play. I can tell you I would never want to play his horn, much less buy it from him.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veery715 wrote:
trpthrld wrote:
We should add that good dental hygiene is important. I personally never play after a meal without brushing my teeth.
THIS!! I keep a toothbrush in my case.

I play regularly at a brew pub/pizza restaurant. Another trumpet player, who also plays with us, puts down his slice and begins to play. I can tell you I would never want to play his horn, much less buy it from him.


Aw come on, wouldn't it depend on the brand of beer he drinks? (HA)
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improver
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Arizona we dont have that problem. By time your done blowing the horn is dry!
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trpthrld wrote:
There is no practical way to dry out the entire inside of a trumpet.


Well, there is this product I've been given an early production version of and asked to evaluate:

http://www.hollywoodwinds.com/page2/page4/index.html

It hasn't become a regular part of my routine yet, because even after swabbing out the leadpipe and main tuning slide I question if I want to evaporate all the water out of the un-swabbed parts of the horn and potentially leave deposits behind.

I would have no reservations about drying my horn if I ran my little Horn Flush device through the horn first, but I doubt I'll do all that after every playing session.
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Goldplate
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a King Liberty 2B that has had a red rot spot in the leadpipe that was there when I started playing it about 40 years ago. It is about 3-4mm in diameter, but hasn't spread or gotten any larger in that time. I don't play it often anymore, so that probably has helped it not getting worse.
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chuck in ny
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my guess is that your luck is either with you, or not. there are probably some horns that are more prone to rot, for whatever reason. you can see that when a manufacturer makes stuff and players report issues with the horns in short order which is obviously a run with defective parts. other horns fail for more subtle reasons.
there are likely some horns that are not prone to rotting period, given a reasonable 30 or 50 year time frame.
you have the same lottery with body chemistry. some guys' spit will never bore a hole through brass. then you have people who smell like vinegar, smell funny in other ways, meaning that you can externally pick up cues something is up with them, who may have very acidic spit.
like the rest of life, better lucky than good. there's a cruel observation. i don't have an acidic composition, and hope zig had it together the day my stuff got put together, so i hope the mojo is with me.
non acidic spit and skin, have not had any issues with lacquer or silver plate getting worn down.
..chuck
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the whole "red rot" phenom is totally controllable; one can go decades, as noted by another poster, without any problem.

I do like cleaning out leadpipes with inner moss to make them clear and shiny. Despite visible fatigue on the outside of the pipe, this is possible, and I think it improves performance. My two cents.
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