To clean or not to clean

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by nickenator, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I used to do that until I realized the felt pads inside the valves were getting wet and compressing.
  2. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Have always taken the bathtub cleaning route. Dawn dishwashing detergent, hot water (unless a lacquered horn), a snake, bristle brush for valves, and a long soak. Valves go in a cup so they remain upright with solution just below corks. This seems to have worked fine. The Olds Super, owned from the mid 60s and Strad from 70s perform fine and show no signs of red rot. Have never tried a chemical bath -not saying they are an issue- just never tried one. Two very large shops in the city -one does chem cleans regularly. The other (with a master repairman that draws folks from across the south) claims they are a waste. Guess if the horn has lasted 50 years with still good valve compression and clean insides, it will continue to get the bath treatment. Maybe in another 50 years I'll try a chem bath.

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    About every two weeks I dis-assemble everything on the horn, go over the valves with a toothbrush and hot soapy water, use a snake inside the valve holes. I have cleaning brushes that can get all the I.D. parts of the horn, then use compressed air to dry it afterward. Every year it gets an ultrasonic cleaning, and the valves get polished. I replace my corks about 4 times a year also. I’m still on the same synthetic felts used when Mr. Bob Reeves aligned the valves a few years ago, no worries there.
  4. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks Dale. I thought that the felts being outside the air path would also not get wet. I'll try this and check the felts tomorrow - could be the last rinse through I do. Wonder if this is more likely to happen on horns with worn valves?
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    What he said... ONLY leaving off a MAJOR important step before reassembling and oiling/greasing the horn. That would be to soak the valves, and let stand in the tuning slides a 91% isopropyl alcohol solution for about 15 minutes. This both degreases old granular oil/saliva azeotropes that make valves stick AND more importantly (I am a physician you know) it rids the trumpet of most of the fungi and mycobacterium organisms (family members of tuberculosis) from the horn. At least up until the next time you clean the horn, which is every couple of months.
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Actually, for the Martin Committee.. the water rinse through the entire horn is printed in their owner's manual. I believe they recommend doing this as it fills the valve pump design on these horns that makes the valves perform crisper, and I agree, that horn rinse with water really does make those valves fly.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I really do think it's of much value to soak the valves in 91% isopropyl alcohol. And I would still remove the felts and corks before doing this, but on my horns, such removal is not a big deal.
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Other than the above posts... I really have not much of an opinion as to cleaning the horn.
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Anyone that tells you NOT to clean is a moron. My bandmate cleans his every 3 years or so! He was genuinely shocked at how dirty it was! Yeah, he has red rot too! Wonder how that happened?
  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    In addition to periodic soaking as described above, I run a swab through my leadpipe after every playing session. It is amazing how much difference a clean leadpipe makes in the responsiveness of a horn and how short a time of playing causes stuff to accumulate there. It is not food - i brush my teeth religiously before I play - but cells from your tongue and mouth do combine with your saliva and the normal condensation of water from your breath to make a layer which impedes the standing wave.

    I have several horns (well, an understatement) and keep a swab in the cases of the ones I play most often. The swabs themselves need a periodic washing and I hang them up to dry.

    Tim Wendt makes a great swab: The Best Damn Trumpet Lead Pipe Swab Period!: Trumpet Herald - placed Oct. 6, 2013 by 'trpthrld' in Accessories

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