Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by retro, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. retro

    retro New Friend

    Dec 13, 2009
    Has any one removed all the lacquer from there horn ? if so what did you use and what were the problems you had if any ,Plus was it worth the truble, Thanks Retro
  2. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    Lacquer's there to protect the brass, if you remove it, you remove that protection. It will only change the sound very slightly, it will generally sound more metallic and not as warm.

    You'll need to clean the instrument much more often, and you might get green hands when you play it!

    And welcome to the forum!
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I have to disagree with Mambo that a horn with the lacquer removed will sound more metallic and not as warm. If there is any change in the sound, it will be unique for that instrument and not necessarily provide the same change for any two instruments.

    One way, especially useful on older instruments, is to use very very hot water to loosen the lacquer and then use a soft-bristle brush to remove that which doesn't come right off easily. I did that to my Olds Super many years ago and I liked the difference in tone, although back then it may well have just been my imagination that there really was a difference in tone. Newer instruments, with epoxy lacquer on them, aren't so easily stripped and you may need to resort to chemical lacquer/paint removers. Be very careful working with those things!!!!

    If you do undertake to strip the lacquer, be sure you RINSE, RINSE, RINSE thoroughly, and then when you're sure you've rinsed all the loosened lacquer out of the instrument, rinse some more.

    I've use my Olds Super for many years without lacquer, and then my son used it for many years (still is using it) and neither of us ever got green hands. I play an unlacquered Besson Brevete trumpet and I've never gotten green hands.

    And cleaning the instrument only matters if you want a shiny exterior (in which case leave the lacquer on the horn!) -- stripping the lacquer doesn't increase the amount you have to clean the inside of the instrument.
  4. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    The laquer was peeling off my 1974 Bach Strad when I pulled it out of the closet after a 15-year break. I used very hot water to get most of the laquer off. I used a little elbow grease to get the rest of the laquer off.

    There are other approaches that some have used. Search the site to find out more on this. For example:

    When clean, my raw brass trumpet looks great. But it tarnishes quickly. I use vinegar or lemon juice every couple weeks to get the tarnish off the horn. Because of the added upkeep, I would have preferred to keep to lacquer on the horn. I only took it off, because is was peeling off anyway.
  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Ferrees make a cold sripe lacquer remover. easy to use. I used it on a number of my horns and I prefer the sound improvement. The sound becomes more resonant.
  6. Kevykev

    Kevykev Pianissimo User

    Sep 27, 2006
    St. Louis.
    Best thing to do is a topic search because this sublect has come up MANY times before. Seems at least once a month!
  7. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    I removed the lacquer off my Bach a few months back. It took 4 days to "completely" remove. Their are still a few tiny spot were you can still see the lacquer, but it's in the nooks and crannies of the horn.

    The sound (to me) hasn't change a bit, but the looks have definitely changed! I personally don't get 'green' hands on a daily basis. But when I'm sweating immensely...yes! It's has only happened a few times during Marching band season though. But the 'green hands' only happen to certain people. Plus, your hands WILL smell like pennies after every use.

    Raw brass do require more maintenance than a lacquer horn. But if your lovin' the looks a raw brass horn and can stand the smell, I say go for it!

    Oh and I used Zip Strip, but I'm sure theirs many other things out there that you can use. I also found it easiest to use an old toothbrush to lather the stuff on the horn.
  8. RAK

    RAK Piano User

    Jul 23, 2009
    Kettle Falls, Washington
    there are many threads on removing and its easy. I simply use acetone-a flammable dangerous fluid. You dump some acetone on a cloth and rub the lacquer and it comes off. Where gloves and a mask when ever touching acetone!! It goes through your skin and it is known to cause cancer and all sorts of other medical issues.

    Having raw brass horn is the style these days but in 100 years your horn will be in terrible condition. In my opinion silver plate is the best becuase it produces a great sound and your horn will be protected. That's my opinion though so its up to you. :cool:
  9. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    As a repair technician who has a couple of trumpets with no lacquer on them and who has worked on many trumpets ranging in age from 100 years to brand new, my trumpet looks and is no worse now than when I got it (never having been lacquered nor even buffed!) 28 years ago. And my Olds Super is just as strong and solid now as it was 30 years ago when I removed the lacquer.

    On the other hand I've worked on lots of very old and not very well cared for silver plated trumpets and cornets which are in horrible condition.

    It's the care that's taken of the instrument which will determine its condition in 100 years' time, not the presence or lack of plating or lacquer.
  10. RAK

    RAK Piano User

    Jul 23, 2009
    Kettle Falls, Washington
    I agree with you. It is how the person takes care of the horn.

    To polish up a raw brass horn wouldn't you buff it? Buffing takes off metal. Well if you keep on polishing and buffing your horn the metal will get thinner and thinner. It doesn't take to much off but still...

    It's scary to think about that.

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