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Pet peeve: poor instrument hygiene


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Andy Del
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Joined: 30 Jun 2005
Posts: 1596
Location: sunny Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bane of our lives is the bread and butter of instrument techs the world over.

Reminds me a brass band I played in for one of those dreaded competitions.

'Wash you instruments so they are clean and look good!' thundered the band's president... who played second baritone. 'Clean them on the inside so they work!' countered the conservatory trained conductor...

Post performance one of the second cornet players was inconsolable... almost in tears. This 40+ guy couldn't get his sovereign cornet to play (Not that these lead weights ever play well) and he was stumped.

'I cleaned it, I CLEEEEANED it!' he lamented.

Pity about the Dennis Wick mouthpiece. (which is to say, situation normal) It was almost totally occluded by grunge. A quick clean and he was drowning out the whole band!

Mr Darwin almost had his way on that fateful day! (maybe he did...?)

cheers

Andy
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so many horns, so few good notes...
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cbtj51
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Joined: 24 Nov 2015
Posts: 68
Location: Deep South

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like many of the other posters, I would give my horns a thorough monthly or so cleaning with little enthusiasm. Bathing the parts in the Tub, snaking, polishing, greasing and oiling took a lot of time, even when I had only a few horns in regular use. Definitely not my favourite pastime! I bought a new trumpet back in November and learned about the BlowDry Brass Maintenance System, http://blowdrybrass.com/ at about the same time from TH. A new horn was the perfect platform to put this product to the test. It was very easy to get into the routine of spending a couple of minutes (literally!!!) at the end of every day doing the simple process to dry out the horn(s) that I played for the day. 9 months in and my new trumpet still looks like it did on day 1 on the inside. Several months ago, I invested 2 days in cleaning all of my other horns to pristine internal condition (as close I can get, verified by bore snake inspection). A clean platform is the starting point for this product to work as it is not a cleaning but a maintenance product that does the magic by eliminating the petri dish environment that allows gunk development in the first place. It is relatively inexpensive and so easy to use that I can't imagine going back to the old routine of hours of detail cleaning. Education, especially early on with students, complete with Teacher demonstration could be the key to saving hours of work and eventual loss of valuable instruments from lack thereof. It really is that easy, a literal couple of minutes at the end of the day is extremely easy to do!!! Of course, oiling, greasing and polishing are still necessary, but that is the easy part as far as I concerned.
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No reserve, No retreat, No regret. W W Borden

1971 LA Benge (very Early) 5X Bb Trumpet
1976 Getzen 595S Flugelhorn
1976 Bach Stradivarius CL 229 C Trumpet
1984 Yamaha 6335S (very Early) Bb Trumpet
2016 Bach Stradivarius New York 7 Bb Trumpet
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yourbrass
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Joined: 12 Jun 2011
Posts: 2414
Location: Pacifica, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regular cleaning of the instrument should take no more than 15 - 30 minutes. If you pull the tuning slide and snake out the leadpipe and crook weekly, (maybe 5 minutes if you dawdle) every couple of months is adequate to do the rest of the horn. Snake, mpce. brush, oil and grease - really simple and cheap stuff.
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"Strive for tone." -John Coppola
Calicchio 2/9 ML
Composition: Trumpet quartets, https://musescore.com/user/6200201
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JoseLindE4
Veteran Member


Joined: 18 Apr 2003
Posts: 379

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be the contrarian. These are my experiences as a resident trumpet Pigpen.

I've made my living with my horn for many years now. I clean out the mouthpiece occasionally - only when the buzz feels or sounds funky and I see something in there. I can't remember the last time I snaked anything out and REALLY can't remember the last time I gave any of my horns a bath (but I can point to the dents from it). I haven't had a horn professionally cleaned for decades.

I usually brush my teeth or at least drink some water before I play, but eating is pretty important, so I'll eat and then play if need be. I oil the valves when they feel slow. Sometimes that means weeks between oilings.

I've been doing it this way for years with older and newer horns - playing many hours per day. They all appear to be in good shape and play just fine. They don't smell like anything but oil, all the parts move properly, there are no holes forming, I don't get sick unusually often, and the sound in my head tends to come out of the bell.

Life's stressful enough for me to worry about the innards of my horns. For me at least, the biggest variable in my playing is between my ears. Now if there was a way to clean that out...
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lexluther
Regular Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2015
Posts: 50
Location: Northwest, Indiana

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jose, thanks for pointing out the dark side I guess. I agree completely, as a student I practice hours per day. I also work, live, and do many other things. I am not OCD about cleaning the instrument. Honestly, I do probably the bare minimum. Daily wipedown, oil, spitball, once a year sonic, and thats it. The horns are fine, and if their not, I'll buy a new one. I would rather spend my time playing the instrument than obsessing about how clean it is. To each his own I guess!
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Thanks, Dan

Off to Practice!!

Bb - Yamaha 25th Anniversary Xeno
Bb - Bach Artisan AB190
Cornet - Bach 184ML
Flugel - Getzen Custom Reserve 4895
Pocket - Manchester Brass Pocket Trumpet
MP - Marcinkiewiez E3/3C
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yourbrass
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 12 Jun 2011
Posts: 2414
Location: Pacifica, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys are the repairman's friends. You won't know what hit you.
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"Strive for tone." -John Coppola
Calicchio 2/9 ML
Composition: Trumpet quartets, https://musescore.com/user/6200201
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blbaumgarn
Regular Member


Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:48 pm    Post subject: horn hygiene Reply with quote

I just picked up the trumpet a couple weeks ago after 17 years. At 67 it is a little late but I wanted to add something to this topic that I have experienced with a majority of horn players I have met attending concerts and talking with trumpet players after a concert. Lots don't do regular maintenance on their horn. I bought a '73 Benge LA new and sold it after divorce in 1998. I played it alot, not everyday but community band, church, regular practices and It was in as new condition when I sold it. It was also clean inside out. I had two band directors in elementary and h.s. that were both trumpet men so you kept your horn clean. It is so worth while and doesn't take much time. The silver finish on the Benge was as new because it was wiped clean after every time I played. I don't think I am more anal retentive than anyone else. It was just something we were encouraged to do from 5th grade on and it is a great habit to get into, just like practice. It all has a purpose.
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Irving
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Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 1190

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some people don't need to worry about the inside of their horn because their saliva doesn't react with the metal. Others do since their saliva tends to eat away through the lead pipe, tuning crook, and eventually the tubing further down. If you don't want to clean your horn, at least be aware which type you are. You'll still need to clean it to get the sludge out of the horn, even if you don't need to worry about rotting out the tubing.

As far as not oiling the valves go, I don't think anybody can get away with that. The valves will wear out faster without oil. If they work fine without oil they might already be loose.
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cbtj51
Regular Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2015
Posts: 68
Location: Deep South

PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lexluther wrote:
...The horns are fine, and if their not, I'll buy a new one. I would rather spend my time playing the instrument than obsessing about how clean it is. To each his own I guess!


My playing styles and opportunities have changed drastically over the more than 50 years that I have enjoyed playing Trumpet, hence the real need for new horns. However, I still own and regularly play most of the horns that I have ever owned, mostly BECAUSE my playing opportunities have become so broad over the years. Not only do I play all of them but I still enjoy playing all of them regularly!!! One of my favourite things, however, is that my Grandson, now a Junior in High School is an enthusiastic Trumpet player who can hardly wait for Paw Paw to start passing these horns on to him for many, many more years of use and enjoyment!!! Keeping these horns in pristine playing condition adds the aspect of sharing that thrill with other enthusiasts for many decades to come. Eldon Benge, Zig Kanstul and many other true Craftsmen are gone now but their vision and artistry can and does LIVE on in Classic horns of years long gone and many of Classics horns yet to come. That makes that little few extra minutes of effort each day PRICELESS to me and hopefully many others after my playing days are history. The Music doesn't have to stop playing!!!
_________________
No reserve, No retreat, No regret. W W Borden

1971 LA Benge (very Early) 5X Bb Trumpet
1976 Getzen 595S Flugelhorn
1976 Bach Stradivarius CL 229 C Trumpet
1984 Yamaha 6335S (very Early) Bb Trumpet
2016 Bach Stradivarius New York 7 Bb Trumpet
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