What trumpet finish resists sweaty hands corrosion?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jgotteach, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    I disagree with most of the posters.

    A trumpet is designed to be played with normal equipment, i.e. mouthpiece, lips and hands. Every change to that setup alters the way the horn plays. It is not going to respond the same with a valve guard as without. The valve guard deadens the whole valve cluster, which is essentially the "heart" of the instrument.

    A valve guard soaks up the acid perspiration and then, by releasing it slowly, allows it to attack the finish 24/7. If you wipe the horn down, the chemicals are no longer present to attack the finish.

    Many valve guards are quite stiff and will rub away at the finish wearing it off.

    Using a valve guard on a well designed trumpet is akin to buying a superbly sculpted Porsche or Ferrari and covering over all the front bodywork just in case it gets scratched.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Ivan has this down! I agree 100%. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Keep those instruments CLEAN.
  3. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    While I'm not all that concerned about deadening a valve casing (is it THAT flimsy?!), other things can be done as well. For example, Louis Armstrong always held his horn with some sort of rag/towel. A latex or other rubber glove can be put on the hand as well.

    The rag/towel is probably easiest.

  4. Harry Richardson

    Harry Richardson New Friend

    Jan 17, 2010
    I have very acidic sweaty hands. A gold plated horn will not corrode, but gold does wear over time. I use a Leather Specialties hand guard. It has a plastic layer inside that prevents perspiration from soaking through the leather. The other brands I used in the past let perspiration soak into them, which actually made the silver corrode faster. Do a search for Leather Specialties, and get the one that covers the most metal. I believe it's called the "special".
  5. Mark Green

    Mark Green New Friend

    Mar 3, 2010
    Anchorage, Alaska USA
    My horn is a sliver-plated Bach previously owned by a guy whose hands completely wore off the plating under his grip during the five or six years he owned it. I suppose oxidation is what did it - and one of the best exposures to oxidation is moisture. Does having acidic or alkaline skin accelerate oxidation?

    After I got the horn my repairman lacquered the worn parts and it has so far lasted for 12 years (my hands aren't hard on silver or the lacquer). But having read some of these posts I'm going to try to figure out if moisture is infiltrating the old lacquer, causing corrosion.

    I agree that holding the trumpet with a towel or big handkerchief like Louis Armstrong did is a good idea. I've seen people wear an absorbent glove on their left hand; maybe get your son a fashionable one with spikes on the knuckles :twisted:.
  6. jgotteach

    jgotteach New Friend

    Mar 27, 2010
    These are all really interesting ideas. I have to admit that now I'm rather confused - guard, no guard. Charlie Melk mentioned in his email that a guard might not be the way to go, as you have to remove it frequently to clean it and the horn. He also said he has put on an extra heavy coat of silver on some trumpets, which seems to help

    One common theme seems to be keeping the trumpet wiped down and cleaned on a regular basis.

    My son looked at photos of Louis Armstrong to try to figure out how how he is holding the trumpet with the cloth. He couldn't quite tell, although he did find a picture of him wiping his face with it!
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Sachmo used a handkerchief. I use one myself. Simply hold it in the left hand and keep it between the hand and the valves. As noted, it is also useful for wiping the face.
  8. Mark Green

    Mark Green New Friend

    Mar 3, 2010
    Anchorage, Alaska USA
    A bit more about Louis Armstrong's handkerchiefs. He always had a huge pile of them and went through several a night. (He had an assistant who took care to have literally hundreds of handkerchiefs on hand. Armstrong, almost surely the hardest-working performer in jazz history, NEEDED those handkerchiefs.) He was extraordinarily animated on stage, he blew a lot of wind, and he was always wearing a suit. Man he was hot in every conceivable way.

    So whether or not he meant to prevent horn corrosion, he absolutely had to have the handkerchiefs for personal relief. The handkerchief was a very useful part of his trademark stage presence.
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Oops, sorry about my swapping the high and the low!

  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Cheapo fix--use a clear nail polish (after cleaning) on the contact points, and replace as needed. Not pretty, but will retard wearing through the important parts of the instrument. Dusting the hands with baking soda might help as well.

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