Clean Your Horn!

Do you ever wonder why your horn doesn’t play like it did when it was new?

Today I had the privilege of cleaning out a customer’s instrument that was only one year old. I started by polishing the inside of the outer slide and removing any old residual crud. I then took apart the valve and ultrasonic dipped all of the tubes to get everything in like-new condition.

At this point things took a turn for the worse. As I grabbed the inner slide and removed the leadpipe, I noticed a layer of sludge on the inside of the leadpipe and upper slide tube. I pushed the sludge slowly through the leadpipe using our cleaning brush. What came out can only be described as inert matter. Fighting the urge to heave I made my way to the camera to let people know what can be on the inside of their instrument. After taking the picture I flushed the sludge from the earth (or at least our shop) and then cleaned and disinfected the inside of the instrument.


It is imperative that you do maintenance on your instrument FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH!

Here’s how:

Every now and then remove your leadpipe and wash it with hot soapy water. For best results, we recommend using a brush that is long enough to go through the entire leadpipe. Never force anything through your leadpipe or slide tubes.

The brush in this link is similar to the one we use. Get a cleaning brush that is long enough to go through your leadpipe. If nothing else, you can use a slide snake.

Next, wrap your cleaning rod with a very small piece of cloth doused in isopropyl alcohol. Use this to clean the inside of the inner slide tubes. Throw the cloth away immediately; this is not something that should be reused. Use caution and care when doing this procedure as not much muscle is needed. Also be sure to also remove your leadpipe prior to cleaning the slide tubes.

We provide maintenance information on our site. Please use it. By not cleaning your instrument you run the risk of causing premature wear and tear. The inert matter pictured above can crystallize over time. In this case, the leadpipe was already etched from the crud (and it’s only a year old!). It had the look of an instrument that was 5 to 6 years old. These are top of the line instruments that can take care of you for many years if you take care of them.

And here’s the disclaimer:

We are not responsible for damage you do to your instrument trying to do the procedures listed above. If you do not know how to maintain your instrument please consult a professional repair tech with our printed out maintenance pages and ask them to teach you how. They will charge you but once you know how to do a cleaning you should be able to maintain your instrument for the rest of your life.