Ultrasonic damage?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hornblower2000, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    I have an ultrsonic machine large enough for valve parts, and the 4 slides. I run the cycle for about ten minutes.

    Afterwards, I always wash with soapy water, and snake the slides. The valves parts get rinsed under warm running water and I run a non-metal snake through the ports. Then I air-dry, and sometimes dry them with a clean microfiber cloth - just wrapping it around the pistons and squeezing - not rubbing. I apply a few drops of oil to the dry cylinders and the pistons and assemble.

    While I do this the horn soaks in warm soapy water for an hour, use a Brass Savers brush in the cylinders and tubing, soak a few more minutes and then rinse, shake out excess water and let air dry for a while. If in a hurry I dry the Brass Savers brush with my microfiber cloth and run it through the cylinders to dry them.

    So far, never a problem, on horns from 1904 to 2006.

  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    You are more attentive than most shops doing the cleaning commercially, obviously!
  3. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    Many shops have gotten away from acids. The ultrasonic action obviates the need for acid. Wayne Tanabe was using a citrus based detergent in his machine when he had The Brass Bow.
  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    You aren't reading what we are saying. If your horn is rotting and the brass is very thin from rot or overbuffing, then yes, the ultrasonic machine can wear the ALREADY damaged parts.

    A horn won't just break in an ultrasonic machine if there are no problems with the horn. Ultrasonic is fast becoming the standard for cleaning because it is the most thorough job you can do. It isn't hype. The vibrations in the water create microscopic bubbles that collapse and expand thousands of times a second in a process called cavitation (which interestingly Mantis shrimp and bullet shrimp use to hunt.) The bubbles scrub the pores of the brass deeper than any standard brushing or chem cleaning can.

    The valve issues weren't created by the ultrasonic machine. I have cleaned trumpets, trombones, french horns, flutes, saxophones, cornets and clarinet keys countless times in a large high powered ultrasonic and have never had a single problem...even when horns showed signs of red rot or had cracks in slides etc.
  5. Rick14A4A

    Rick14A4A New Friend

    Jul 29, 2008
    Had a valve issue only one time after US cleaning. Changed out the valve springs and it was fixed. Also, the valve oil acts like that of a car engine piston. The oil serves the purpose of lubercating against metalic friction, but it also fills in micro pores so you want lose presure while playing. You may not have enough oil in the casing yet. Check the springs first, then add oil everytime you play for a while and see if that solves the problem. That's just what I would do. Just for caution though, you might pull the sticking valve and see if there are any bright spots where it is hitting. If so, then you are looking at a turning job.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I am not sure about the procedure. As far as valve blocks go, see no problems. Also if the horn is rotted, it is better to solve the problem!

    My hesitation is what it may do to the temper of the metal. Before those not in the know jump in, Volkswagen destroyed a lot of fuel injection nozzles by changing of the temper due to ultrasonic cleaning. I am sure this could also change the temper of a bell - which would change the sound. If so, the effect would probably be different for annealed or tempered bells. This means that my "old" horns are not critical (the temper changes with age anyway), but the Monette only goes to Monette for service. If he uses ultrasound, then fine.

    My solution is to clean often to prevent the grub from digging in.

    If your valves stick, then it has nothing to do with the cleaning. The dimensions of the valve and casing do not change. Sticky valves mean improper oiling or "dead" springs.

    Proper oiling means cleaning and drying the valves then oiling the metal directly. Oil floats on water. If the valves are not dry before oiling, they are not protected and can stick!
  7. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    It can if the person cleaning didn't rinse and swab the inside of the leadpipe and slides after pulling them out of the tank.
  8. daniel starz

    daniel starz Piano User

    Jan 11, 2009
    wasilla alaska
    wow ,, good point about the heat used cleaning a horn ,, the shop i use has said the single most important thing i can do is rinse the horn regularly to keep it clean , plus he said one or two drops of oil in the lead pipe will help keep anything from sticking inside and coat the brass so water (spit) will not dry and build up or start dry rot from the acid in our mouth , also a good gargle and mouth flush with water before playing will help .
    if you leave it in too long it can affect the finish on any horn , just use common sense .
    i am just a dad helping my son learn to play we talk about all the things i read here and what i can glean from the music store's in our area.

    thanks TM.
  9. Rushtucky

    Rushtucky Pianissimo User

    Sep 15, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Ultrasonic cleaning is good to a point. As stated by Greg, the horn needs to be throughly cleaned...by that, swabbed good. If not, residue can still be left inside the tubes.

    I still prefer the "old fashion" way with my CLR "solution". I have a 24" plastic tub and place a bath mat in it so the horn does not slide around. These are available at one of the discount stores for around $4.99.


    I mix a "solution" of CLR and water...15 oz (parts) water to 1 oz (parts) of CLR. I take all of my slides out and put the "solution" in them to soak for 15 minutes. I also turn the horn with the bell up and pour "solution" down the bell tubing. Soaking time is 15 minutes. It is also important to make the "solution" 15 to 1. CLR full strength has a reaction with brass.

    After 15 minutes rinse and swab out the slides with soap and water and the wire brush.

    I then fill the tub with the "solution" and let everything soak for 15 minutes. Empty the tub and fill with warm soapy water and "scrub" your trumpet throughly. Rinse with clean water. Run the brushes through again and rinse. You will have a throughly clean trumpet for a fraction of the cost, plus you know that it is done correctly because you did it yourself. I do this process every (6) six months.

    Every month I will pull my slides and let them soak in vinegar for 10 minutes and swab them out. I then rinse my trumpet out with warm water.

    For my valves, after taking all of the felts off, I will clean them with Liquid Green. This gets all of the built up oil off. Rinse throughly and wipe down with a micro cloth.

    Grease, oil and re-assemble and you have a trumpet that plays like new!

    (Of course all of you clean your mouthpieces each week with soap and water and brush. I then emerse in alcohol for an extra touch.)

    One trick that I learned in college was to swab the lead pipe at the end of the day. Anything going into the lead pipe goes through the rest of the trumpet. I got a small fishing weight and attached it to one end of a nylon string and tied a 1 1/2 cotton patch to the other end. They are also available on the internet for about $5.00. At the end of the week I would dip the patch in alcohol and run it through the lead pipe removing any contaminates that may be "breeding".

    Trumpet Cleaning 101...
  10. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009

    I missed the "CLR", is this a comercial product?

    Lead pipe cleaning maintenance at the end of the day is a great idea... I just thought, like cleaning the barrel of a rifle, instead of fishing a line with, perhaps what one may use, a "toxic lead weight" sinker down the pipe, use a plastic push rod to push the swab through.

    Anything that will work as a push rod would suffice; or, your local RC hobby store has push rods used for radio control models that would work and be plenty long enough!
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009

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