Cleaning an old cornet..

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by AerophoneGeek, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. AerophoneGeek

    AerophoneGeek New Friend

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Texas
    Sorry if this is the wrong category or if it's been asked before, but what's the best way to go about cleaning a very old, very neglected (and abused) cornet? It got it from eBay since I felt sorry for it, and didn't look in that terrible of shape. The cornet's a Roth, I think the model number is 362. From what I can tell it was made somewhere between the late 40's and early 50's. I played on it for awhile before I cleaned it, and the tone is nice for what I'm thinking is a student horn. It's missing a finger button. For now, I just want it cleaned to the point that it's playable without grossing me out. :roll:

    I just soaked it in a tub of Lemon Joy and lukewarm water for a few hours and most of the gunk came off and out of it, and after a suggestion by my mom, used white vinegar to clean off the green stuff. Most of it's off, but would using vinegar harm the horn in any way? I just dabbed it on Q-tips and lightly rubbed it on the green spots, and thoroughly rinsed it after. I just got through polishing it which is part of the reason this is being posted so late at night haha.

    A chem clean isn't an option for awhile, since my parents think that $65 is too much to pay someone to clean your horn, and since the repair shop has a six week waiting list due to schools dropping off their instruments.

    When I saw the auction, I didn't see red rot on it, but low and behold there's a couple of spots of it on the leadpipe. I'm really OCD about my horns so keeping it clean won't be an issue. I have yet to thoroughly scrub anything on the inside except the leadpipe.

    OH I almost forgot, pictures..!
    [​IMG]
    Before cleaning. ^^^^^^^
    After cleaning. vvvvvvv
    [​IMG]

    Any suggestions on how to clean it are greatly appreciated. (now I'm seeing green spots on it I missed..)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  2. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

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    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Welcome to the Forum. I have a 53 Roth by Reynolds cornet much like yours, but in very good shape that I got from Shopgoodwill. Very sweet player in comparison with my Ambassador. You did the right cleaning methods. I assume you took out the pistons and soaked them up to the top of the piston part? For my older horns, I used a solution of CLR or The Works lime remover, soaking all the parts in the tub for 15 min, then thoroughly rinsing. A solution of CLR and water in a class with the pistons for the same time took care of them. You can use a snake brush on the other slides also. Vinegar is one of the recommended agents.

    Looks like you got a nice cornet and I am glad you saved it to play again. I stripped the lacquer off my Czech and Besson trumpets and enjoy the raw brass look, now protected by car wax.:-)
     
  3. Trumpet Dad

    Trumpet Dad Pianissimo User

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    Jun 20, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    As long as it wasn't a very expensive cornet, I would use a dilute solution of CLR as mentioned in this link....

    The Soundboard :: View topic - ACID CLEANING

    Be very careful with the CLR as it is very strong stuff. I experimented on my son's old student horn first before doing his Kanstul. The link says to use 20 parts water to 1 part CLR, but I suggest using 30 parts water to 1 part CLR.
     
  4. Happy Canuck

    Happy Canuck Piano User

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    Oct 31, 2003
    Toronto, ON Canada
    I've cleaned an number of horns using CLR at a 8 to 1 ratio of water to CLR with NO problem at all!
     
  5. AerophoneGeek

    AerophoneGeek New Friend

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Texas
    I'm going to try the CLR bath later this evening.. the inside of the horn is completely caked with about 30-50 years of crud, you can't see metal anywhere on the inside of it.. just gunk.

    I didn't mess with the valves last night other than taking the pistons out of the casings, since they are spotless compared to the cornet. I'll probably put them in a glass of CLR solution and rinse them thoroughly.

    I'll probably be playing this cornet in the Christmas concerts where it calls for a cornet instead of a trumpet, and maybe in jazz band. I'm actually thinking about playing my honor band auditions in it since it plays easier than my trumpets.. but I'll probably change my mind between now and the end of marching season. [x
     
  6. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

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    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Sounds like a good course of action. I got lots of gunk out of a couple of mine using CLR. Do you have the OE MP, interested on what you plan to use. Will make a difference in the sound of the horn.
     
  7. AerophoneGeek

    AerophoneGeek New Friend

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Texas
    The only two mouthpieces I have that fit it are the "E-Z-Tone U.S.A." mouthpiece that came with it (no other engraving on it), and the school's Giardinelli 7C cornet mouthpiece that I play flugel with. I've been needing a better quality flugel MP (and trumpet MP) so I'll probably be going mouthpiece hunting next week anyway.
     
  8. Blue Pacific

    Blue Pacific New Friend

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    Feb 3, 2008
    San Francisco
    May I suggest a Bach/5A cornet MP? It will promote the full, dark tone your vintage cornet was designed to produce -- you'll totally appreciate the difference relative to the 7C!

    (BTW, Way to go -- saving that horn... My Buescher was a 75-buck find many years ago...had I not grabbed it, it probably would've been made into a lamp and sold for like $500 to some upscale San Francisco city slicker!)
     
  9. AerophoneGeek

    AerophoneGeek New Friend

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Texas
    Thanks, I'll keep that mouthpiece in mind. I did the CLR soak (24-25ish to 1 ratio) and it looks like a completely different horn.. plays a lot better, too.

    When I was reassembling it, the 2nd valve wouldn't go back in since the notch at the top of the piston was a little bit too long, (and how did this go unnoticed for 65 years!? Maybe that explains the staining.. These are the original valves BTW) so I took an emery board, filed it down, washed the brass shavings off the piston, and it works fine... now to find either a replacement finger button, or a set that fits it.

    [​IMG]

    I think I might have found a new hobby... [x
     
  10. Blue Pacific

    Blue Pacific New Friend

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    Feb 3, 2008
    San Francisco
    Hey, the world could use a sincere, expert craftsman, you know... I maintain the finest horns were those of genuine hand-made construction -- mostly made before the 1960s. For instance, the difference between my Burbank Benge (a hand-made horn by the master, himself) and my '73 LA model (their 2nd year of using a mechanised process), is beyond words... That is to say, you will find a singular, "organic" satisfaction with your vintage Roth in a way that virtually no contemporary model can deliver -- including these funky mega-$$$ salon horns.
     

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