Horns in the winter

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RB-R37297, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Quick question - I live in a relatively cold climate (in the winter anyways), and I walk home from school every day - about 20 minutes. Temperatures usually hit close to -30 C (that's about -22 F, I think - not really sure). I'll be upgrading to a pro horn by the end of the month, and I'm wondering if this could damage the horn in any way (freezing of water in the horn? contraction? A little paranoia never hurt anyone.)
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  2. rettepnoj

    rettepnoj Fortissimo User

    Feb 22, 2009
    Shouldn't be a problem! If the water freeze, It will just melt coming indoors again! If you going to play outside, add a little booze to your valve oil:-)
  3. walldaja

    walldaja Pianissimo User

    Feb 25, 2008
    Kokomo, IN
    Agree, however, if you play outside you may want to get a Runyon lip saver (it's a little rubber cut that fits over your mpc and prevents you lip from freezing to it) or a plastic mpc.
  4. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    The Kelly plastic mouthpieces are very good and inexpensive. Wish they had em back when I was in the U of Minnesota marching band.
  5. PiperJon

    PiperJon New Friend

    Oct 22, 2009
    Only somewhat on-topic, but I have an old, cold drafty house, and so my horns are always cold. And they take forEVER to warm up.

    Until about a week ago, when I started sticking my horns under the covers of my waterbed! Of course it's heated, and I cover them with covers, then a couple of pillows, and after a while, they are toasty warm. I lay them on the side with the mpc closest to the mattress, so that it warms the mpc directly.

    Also, I leave them on the side, near the middle of the bed. Being covered with pillows in a place where the pillows are generally not usually left reminds me not to take a flying ass-leap into the bed without checking for hornage first.

    Now if I could just come up with a portable horn warmer!

  6. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    I'd honestly be more worried about your lips than your horn. I've always had problems with chapped lips during winter, and it's all about keeping some sort of moisturizer on them. I use Burt's Bees, but I've heard Chop Saver works along with probably a million other brands as well. So if you don't have a problem with chops in the cold, this doesn't necessarily apply. Nevertheless, I think the horn should be fine.

    PS- I think it's great you're worried about the horn like you are. If you're like me, you have to buy your first pro horn with your own cash. I make sure nothing happens to that special piece of metal! ;) Taking care of it will only make it last longer and make your investment worthwhile.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Brass and solder are solids and don't change at temperatures found naturally on the surface of the earth. There is even a (many) thread(s) here about cryogenics.

    No cold will not hurt anything, even if the horn is full of water. Cold mouthpieces on the lips is a real pain though!
  8. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I agree with the idea that the cold won't hurt the instruments -- I'm a professional repair technician in a part of the U.S. where winters can get very cold and I've never had to repair a brass instrument which was damaged by the cold.

    I do keep my mouthpiece in my pants pocket in a cloth pouch my wife made for me, so it's always warm to play from. The cold mouthpiece can be quite a shock to the muscles and if the mouthpiece is cold enough, the shock can be enough to cause your lip muscles to contract enough that you won't play very well that day.

    So, like Rowuk suggests, keep your mouthpiece warm and you should be all set. Except for the huge amounts of condensation which form when you start playing a cold horn and you have to empty the water keys every minute.
  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    I agree. The major problem with playing a cold brass instrument is that the brass shrinks in length when cold and grows as it warms. This drives tuning all over the place. Sharp when cold, and flat after it warms up. All of this simply means that the musician must constantly adjust to stay in tune with the rest of the ensemble.

  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    the intonation change in the cold is true, but the length of the instrument doesn't change enough to explain the big difference. I think it is the speed of sound at those temperatures. Just like the pitch of our voice changes with helium due to the speed of sound in that medium. I think I am flat when cold. Could be the German churches though............

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