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Cleaning the horn: how often?


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joelf
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Joined: 24 May 2021
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Location: philadelphia, pa

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:07 am    Post subject: Cleaning the horn: how often? Reply with quote

I knew I'd have to get to it---the horn's stopped up and notes are cutting off midway through long tones. So I watched 2 good videos, and knew about the snake brush from Clark Terry's vid.

I guess some regular preventative cleaning will stave off the saliva/grease buildup and clogging. But I'm a noob. Though the video showed clearly how to take the horn apart and put it back together; the 'malleability' of the lower valve parts and generally how gently to treat the various parts I'm afraid I'll screw up and maybe cause some slight damage.

Think I'll wait to do it the 1st time under the watchful eye of a player friend...
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trickg
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There really isn't much to cleaning a horn. I have 4 things that I typically use for a basic cleanup:

1.) bore snake - preferably rubber coated
2.) Valve casing brush
3.) Mouthpiece brush
4.) Microfiber towels

You'll also need to have your lubricants on hand to refresh lubrication on slides and to oil your valves.

The main important thing to think about when cleaning up your horn is to be very careful with the valves and valve casing so as to not scratch them. Otherwise, get the horn in a sink full of lukewarm/cool water with mild dish detergent, and scrub out the lengths of tubing once you've taken the horn apart. The brass tubing is more durable than you might think.

Rinse out everything really well once you've scrubbed with soap, dry everything with the microfiber towels, re-lubricate, then reassemble. It's not rocket science. Like I said though, be very careful with the valves and valve casings. Lay the valves on a microfiber towel so they won't roll away and off of the countertop.
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joelf
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks.

Nothing to it? Guaranteed I'll find SOMETHING to f up.

I'm VERY good at what I do!...
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Bethmike
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:04 am    Post subject: Cleaning the horm how often Reply with quote

Quote:
Guaranteed I'll find SOMETHING to f up.


Are we related?
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joelf
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaning the horm how often Reply with quote

Bethmike wrote:
Quote:
Guaranteed I'll find SOMETHING to f up.


Are we related?
Hope not---for YOUR sake...
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ebolton
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do it about once a week, exactly the same process trickg prescribed.

Generally, the first time a valve seems slow, I oil them. The second time, I give the horn the full cleaning.

On mine, the only real f**k up I've ever had is putting the valves in 180°, which either stops the air going thru or makes it sound real terrible. The valve guides have a narrow side and a wide side, and there is a narrow slot and a wide slot in the casing. If I'm not careful putting the valves in, the guide can cock so the wide side of the guide will fit in the narrow slot. leading to a backwards valve. You might or might not have the opportunity to make the same mistake depending on the design of your horn.

Use lots and lots of valve oil.
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lead pipe swab.

Regular use of a lead pipe swab will assist in keeping the rest of your horn clean.

Where can you get The Best Damn Trumpet Lead Pipe Swab Period!?

scroll down.....
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www.trumpetherald.com/marketplace.php?task=detail&id=129330&s=The-Best-Damn-Trumpet-Lead-Pipe-Swab-Period-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPWAJqghk24&feature=youtu.be
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.ultrapureoils.com/post/how-to-clean-the-trumpet

just don't disassemble the valves, (unscrew the valve post, remove the springs, valve guides), this is where I see the most problems with students - reassembling improperly.

as in this instruction, just set them in a glass or mug, and wipe them off with a soft, lint free towel (decent paper towels work well)

Valves have a number on them (1, 2, 3) put them back in the proper order and proper rotation - generally the number is on the side that aims toward the mouthpiece end of the trumpet / the larger tab of the valve guide toward the bell side (pay attention when you remove the valves to how they are oriented).

How often? Before it's nasty! Once every 2-3 months.. swabbing the lead pipe and/or using "spitballs" or "blowdry" will extend the time between cleanings.

Olls the valves regularly- once everyday is not too much
Lube the slides regularly - once a week to every 2 weeks.
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improver
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once every few years it a good cleaning. In the mean time just clean the bnb leadpipe every few months and put NJ oil down the leadpipe. If you clean a horn to often it just doesnt sound right.
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A clean horn is of absolute importance!!
A leadpipe swab (like Tim's) after a practice session is a very good way to keep the rest of the horn clean for a longer amount of time.
High quality horns seem to be more susceptible to playing problems when even slightly dirty and should be cleaned like this video shows. This is how I clean all my horns.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPU6XiDyRdo
I agree with Zaferis about not taking the valves apart. I clean them in a cup and rinse them off.
R. Tomasek


Last edited by Vin DiBona on Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Speed
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Wendt's swab really is the "Best Damn Trumpet Lead Pipe Swab Period," at least in my experience. I have several, and I use them as directed every time I finish playing. Highly recommended.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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joelf
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all!

Still aim to have a player buddy supervise at least the 1st time or 2---and video it---til I get the idea. Def don't want to screw up reassembly...
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ebolton
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vin DiBona wrote:
A clean horn is of absolute importance!!
A leadpipe swab (like Tim's) after a practice session is a very good way to keep the rest of the horn clean for a longer amount of time.
High quality horns seem to be more susceptible to playing problems when even slightly dirty and should be cleaned like this video shows. This is how I clean all my horns.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPU6XiDyRdo
I agree with Zaferis about not taking the valves apart. I clean them in a cup and rinse them off.
R. Tomasek


I never take the valves apart, either. I just put the valves complete in the water with all the other parts. My horn has modern synthetic felts, and I don't think they swell like older 'natural' felts would. I think avoiding soaking the felts on a vintage trumpet would be an exceptionaly good idea.

Most valve springs are what is called "music wire" in the engineering world, and for sure they can rust. That said, I've not had any problem with mine. When I oil the valves, I dump some on the springs also. Maybe that is displacing the water for me.

Oil is any metal's best friend. You really can't possibly use too much valve oil.
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dershem
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks familiar, but ...
1) I have a little basket i put the small parts in to keep them from clanging around or slipping down the drain (bottom caps).
2) When I lube the4 slides, I do one side, then put it in and rotate it around to lubricate it 260 degrees, then the other side.
3) I don't use that much soap.
This is how I was taught when in the Navy Music School, and it has kept my horns in very good shape for more than 40 years.
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Tim’s swab on the leadpipe and slides after most sessions. It takes about 3 minutes once you get familiar with it. That swab can get to some pretty obscure parts of the horn. Now if he’s just make a smaller piccolo swab...

I also brush and rinse before playing if possible.

Between those two things, my horns don’t really get dirty inside.
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etc-etc
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As per Charles Colin, every day after playing run a pitcher of lukewarm water through the bell and out of the receiver, activating valves so that all tubing is flushed out. Use a leadpipe brush taking care not to hit the third valve. I would run one pitcher of water, then swab, then run one more pitcher. Blow out the water from tubing and gently wipe off the water drops. Add a little oil to each valve. Let the horn dry out outside of the case. Clean horn works wonders.

When flushing, make sure to tie or hold the valve slides so they do not fall out under the weight/pressure of water!
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

etc-etc wrote:
As per Charles Colin, every day after playing run a pitcher of lukewarm water through the bell and out of the receiver, activating valves so that all tubing is flushed out. Use a leadpipe brush taking care not to hit the third valve. I would run one pitcher of water, then swab, then run one more pitcher. Blow out the water from tubing and gently wipe off the water drops. Add a little oil to each valve. Let the horn dry out outside of the case. Clean horn works wonders.

When flushing, make sure to tie or hold the valve slides so they do not fall out under the weight/pressure of water!

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Craig Swartz
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a short (7') lenght of old, 1" soft red rubber garden hose with no nozzle end that I run from a water faucet on my laundry sink. I take a 7/8" cube of faux sponge that is soaking wet with water, press it into the hose and "force" the hose into the bell until it's tight. I have a jig that I made that holds the slides in place, hold down all 3 valves and turn the water on full. (If you don't have the slides all secure you're going to have to do some hunting, and possibly, some repairing.) The sponge cube blasts through the entire trumpet in about a half a second and into the laundry sink where I have the mouthpiece receiver pointed, taking the crud with it. A plastic 5 gallon bucket works, too. I repeat this several times. Of course the "forcing" of the rubber hose is only to keep it from "jetting" out of the horn and spraying water all over the place and the hose is soft enough not to damage the bell... This was taught to me about 45 years ago by a horn player who'd devised a jig to secure all of the slides on his Alexander horn. (Horn requiires a smaller sponge cube.)

As per cleaning the valve casings, I use a 12 gauge shotgun Tico Tool and clean with valve oil. I also wipe the pistons with a cotton (not microfiber) shop rag that is also using valve oil as a cleaner. (For me, microfiber does not absorb moisture, cotton does.) Years ago Ren Schilke suggested using valve oil as a solvent for cleaning both surfaces on the casings and pistons and I've done so ever since- I figure he's know.

Before the actual flushing, I sometimes "rag" the slide ferrules with a bit of Flitz or Wenol paste and they'll look new but it's important to get the residue off before I apply new Schilke slide grease. I'll "thin" the grease on the 1st and 3rd slides with a bit of valve oil to allow them to move freely (anoither Schilke tip) and finally run a brush through the mouthpiece. I usually brush the mouthpiece weekly anyway. As far as the outside of the instrument (silver plated), I've used Tarnishield (Schilke recommended) but I can't remember the last time I "polished" any of my silver plated trumpets. They look it, too...

How often one needs to flush/clean the horn usually depends on how to "clean" the player is. When I was young and playing clubs, I'd take advantage of the free drinks/food between sets and the horn would need a lot of care. Over the past 35 years or so I usually brush my teeth and rinse my mouth before playing so it's not a big deal. Any one who used to hang around Schilke's old 529 S Wabash shop remember him with his toothbrush in a holster on his belt- he was a srict advocate of brushing before playing. As a kid I though "wearing" the toothbrush was hilarious; later on one appreciates the need for oral health and cleanliness if one wants to keep playing- you "kind of need" those pearly whites.

If you're in doubt about when your instrument needs cleaning and you do not regularly run a brush through your mouthpiece, do that first. If gunk and crud are in the backbore you can bet your entire trumpet, and particularly the tubing ahead of the first entry to the valve body is in a similar condition.
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to Tim's swab (I own three of them!), for quick LP swabbing, you can use the Swab-Its swab mentioned in this thread...

https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=157195&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20

You can use them on piccolos and flugels, too. However, on a Bb or C tpt, you can't get past the water key, so...back to using Tim's swab at the end of each day.
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joelf
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the lead pipe brush.

It's a start!...
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