Claude Gordon Brass Camp 1991 - Larry Souza on Brass Construction and Maintenance

Transcript Summary

Larry Sousa, who's up from the Bay Area, is probably one of the top, is the top called
trumpet player up there.
He's always working.
He just got done with Les Mis for what, a year and a half, a year and a half, and now
he's actually flying down to San Diego over once in a while and helping the show down
Before that, whenever there's the shows that come in at the current, I guess that's where
you work at, the current or the Golden Gate.
Current or Golden Gate, that's it.
And before that, he was at the Circle Star for a while.
He's just an all-around player, recording artist, Larry Sousa.
If there's any leftover, I'll take them when you get to the end.
I've got this divided into two basic sections.
One of them is talking about construction and what makes a horn play and what gives
its characteristics, how much of it is the instrument and how much is used.
Well, as you probably know, at least half of it is used.
And I'd love to draw this basic comparison or diagram as to this being the center, your
mouthpiece, and the horn goes this way, and the rest of the sound creation is the development
of your chest cavity, your mouth, and the way you handle it, the way it comes out to
Now, you can temper or change that by changing your equipment in a million different ways,
and that's what we're basically going to go through today is talking about what your equipment
does to affect your personality and your ability to make sound and create a sound that you'd
like to create.
A lot of players spend a lifetime trying to change the way they sound.
It's hard to change this part because it's so inherent.
No matter what, you adjust yourself to any kind of equipment and you, the person, comes
But your equipment will help you do a lot of things to kind of fine tune and perfect
your tone to the way you like it.
Or you can also change your tone or your resistance or anything else to fit the nature of the
music you're playing or the character of the sound that you have to fit whatever you
like to do.
And that's very easily done by changing equipment.
We try not to change too much, but sometimes there are situations where it's absolutely
necessary to play the right kind of equipment and change not only the size of the horn,
but maybe even the key, of course, to fit the needs of what you're doing.
Let's look at the titles here.
And the first one is called Brass Instrument Construction and what makes it sound the way
it does.
And there's some basic categories here through D, which is raw materials, alloys, thickness
of the metal, and the choice of the finishes.
So that's the first area we're going to cover.
Raw materials.
They're used to make instruments of brass, or any non-ferrous type of metal has been
used, and the ones that are listed here are the most commonly used.
The base metal for most instruments is brass.
That in itself is not a raw material.
That is an alloy made of zinc and copper and other materials to change that brass to different
types of brass, some having more copper, some less, some are more yellow in color, and the
more bronzy color they get and the redder they get, the more they have brass, the more
copper they have in the material.
So brass itself is an alloy, and these are raw materials that we use to put different
kinds of bells together.
Copper, we can add zinc to that list.
I should have written that in, but zinc is what makes brass with copper, basically.
That's the two metals that create that yellow colored metal that you see in front of us here.
Solid silver is used on occasions for making trumpets, trombones, or any brass instrument.
Not as common as brass because it's extremely expensive in comparison.
We use solid nickel, or nickel alloys, to make brass instruments, not only in trumpets,
but you'll see them in French horns a lot where they use a nickel type of metal like
the conny and other instruments.
They used to make a nickel king, a roll of bell, for French horn.
Gold is basically only used as a plated material because it's just prohibited, it's just too expensive.
And also, gold is so soft that it just doesn't hold up under the conditions of trying to
stretch it out over a mandrel and make a bell or anything else out of it.
It just costs too much.
There he goes.
Beryllium has been used by Schulte as an additive to copper to create another kind of
sounding metal.
All of these metal changes are doing what to the sound?
Does anybody know?
When you change metals, what happens?
Each metal has a resonating frequency.
Each one has a character.
Each one is different.
And they're all going to create a different kind of quality of tone.
They might be subtle, but it's definitely there.
If you have horns made out of different materials laid in front of you and they're all exactly
the same dimensions, the same everything else, but the metals are different, they're going
to sound different.
Copper is a whole different sounding bell than a bell made out of brass.
And plate them, that's another whole story, too, that when you get down to a choice of
finishes, the letter D here, the plating, again, affects everything.
The resonating frequency and the overtones of each pitch is going to be different every
time you put something on that metal or take it away.
Because brass is by far the choice of everything.
That is the basis for all brass instruments that we use.
It has a very good ringing quality to it.
It's better than just pure copper.
Pure copper has a tendency to be very dark.
Nickel has a tendency to have a raw sound.
It doesn't have any prettiness left in it.
Although that's just a matter of opinion.
There are those kinds of horns that exist and they sound fine.
But every one of them is going to be different.
But you're going to find that brass is the most common and then we do things to the brass
to make that brass horn play the way we like it to play.
Red brass, yellow brass, copper and beryllium are alternative fashions of alloys that make
the bell do what they do.
The thickness of the metal is probably another major portion of what creates the tone of
the horn.
When we talk about a thin horn or thin gauge metal horn, it creates a certain kind of resonance
in overtones that we get that usually favors a bright, bright and very flashy type of tone.
Whereas if the horn is very thick, it has a tendency to just like putting a hand on the
It holds back on the lower vibrations and creates a more centered tone but not as rich
in quality.
Let's just take a few horns here.
I brought some horns out just to show you what the difference in a few different horns
will make.
In particular, here's a model of a Bach trumpet that is made in their heavy gauge material
of regular brass in lacquer.
This is their standard number 37 bell medium-large instrument.
They sold zillions of these things.
This horn will have a certain quality to it.
I've never played this one before.
I pulled these out of the box so you can just kind of listen to it and make an opinion in
your head as to what you're hearing here.
The dimensions of this horn are exactly the same as the dimensions of this horn, except
there's one big difference and I'll explain that in a minute.
Okay, now this is the exact same model in what they call the light weight.
So basically the only difference is that the thin wall of the metal is thinner, not
only in the bell section but in the slides.
Everything is thinner.
We're going to see what thickness of the metal does, see if it makes any discernible difference.
I'm going to try and put the slide about where the other one is.
What do you think?
A whole different thing, isn't it?
Thin metal did what?
Pazazz-y tone in comparison.
Now, I'm sure, have any of you heard about the mouthpiece weights or the big heavy-weighted
mouthpieces going in one piece into the lead pipe and this thing that's going on now with
everybody using heavier metals to concentrate the tone?
It works.
It does do that.
It makes the tone more solid or contained, you might say.
Again, listen to this one again.
That's quite a bit different than that other one.
This is heavy, weighs a ton.
This is, there is no right and wrong here.
We're trying to tell you that they're just totally different sounds and some are maybe
more ideal for certain kinds of playing.
It depends on what you're doing.
But here we have a real great example of exactly the same dimensions, thin metal, heavy metal.
Now, let's go to what the finishes are going to do to a horn.
Let's take, this is a Claude Gordon horn.
This is a thin wall, thin metal horn.
So it's going to be a little bit more like this thin wall horn here, except that there's
a whole other list of reasons why it's not going to sound the same.
And the reason is is that it's a whole different dimension in taper, dimension in bore size,
and throughout the horn there's some specially designed things that make it unique.
And Claude spent a lot of time putting together a horn that he felt was his ideal horn,
what he wanted to hear.
And I have a tendency to agree, for most work this is my favorite, too.
I play one of them.
Let's listen to this horn.
That's a lacquered Claude Gordon Selmer.
That's a larger bore horn.
First thing that you're going to notice as a listener that it has, again, another kind of sound.
If you can recall the other two tones, it has its own unique quality to it.
But as a player, the first thing I noticed was that it felt totally different.
And why?
The bore of this horn is different than the bore, otherwise it's a different size piece of tubing.
So now you not only hear a difference, you feel a difference.
Whereas on the other two, I really didn't feel any difference because they were both the same size horn.
Whereas with that Claude's horn, it was a larger bore.
It felt like a whole different feel.
It was much easier to blow through because it was a little larger.
This is...what is this?
Ah, it's down here.
Same horn again in silver.
Now we'll compare these two to see what finishes do.
Boy, that sounds a little different again, doesn't it?
Let's go back to the lacquer one.
What difference is you hearing?
It's always bright.
Now it starts to get down to a matter of opinion, doesn't it?
It's hard to figure out what sounds different.
Listen again.
Slide it out about the same.
It's different.
What's different?
Now that you get into semantics, you can't figure out what word to use to describe the difference.
It's just different.
And basically silver sometimes will hold the horn back with the lower partials of an overtone of each.
Each pitch has a series of overtones.
And the lower ones won't ring as much, so it gets a little darker in one way.
But then the upper ones will cut through and it will project farther.
That again is a matter of opinion and you should play each horn and make a decision on your own.
But basically silver is another coating of metal, whereas this is a thin coating of lacquer.
And the two things will be different.
Larry Miller talked about raw brass being a little dangerous to play on and not a good idea.
But it again is even more dead because the horn just starts vibrating all over it because nothing is holding it back.
There's no plating on it.
There's nothing on it.
And it has a tendency to spread a little bit.
And it's a very warmer, it's a warm sound usually, or very rich at least to say the least.
It's at least that.
And lacquer contains it, points it a little bit.
Silver contains it even more and points it some more.
We have a lot of choices to make when you're picking out a horn.
We also have to deal with dimensions here.
We're talking about metals.
Let's turn to the next page here and talk about instrument dimension.
Of course it starts in the mouthpiece.
You can have a thousand and one different size throats, backboards, cups, rim shapes, diameters.
It goes on and on and on.
There is no, again, there is no real right one to play on.
But basically if it's too small it's going to hold you back.
People in their quest for putting the roof on first, as Claude spoke of, this morning are always looking for some shortcut to high register.
And you won't find it in a shallow cup and a tight backboard.
But you have to learn how to develop from the foundation up and you're a lot safer off with something with a little room in it that allows you to develop
instead of depending on all of this stuff.
If you depend too much on this end of the spectrum you're going to lose out.
This is what's important, development of yourself.
But we're talking about refining now.
So let's talk about a few things.
That's what we're doing today about choices you can make to refine, not to create.
You don't create your sound with the horn.
Again, the mouthpiece, the cup affects the darkness of the tone.
If it's too shallow it's going to be very bright.
If the throat's too small you can't get any air through it.
If the backboard's too tight you can't use your tongue because your tongue level creates some of your brightness.
And if your backboard's very tight you can raise your tongue up and down all day long.
You can't hear what it does.
Whereas if the backboard and mouthpiece are of a decent size that tongue level makes a big difference in what you're doing.
So that's important to you to make sure that you choose a mouthpiece of the right tapered dimension that's not going to hold you back.
Then you get into the horn size.
There are various ways you can build a horn.
A conical instrument would be continually tapered tubing, common to coronets and French horns.
You'll find a lot more conical tubing in those horns than you will in a trumpet where you'll find a lot more cylindrical parallel tubing which creates a little brighter tone.
Again, trumpet was designed to be a little brighter than a coronet.
Hence the difference in tone is created by tubing taper.
How much tapered as opposed to how much cylindrical?
The more cylindrical the brighter the tone.
The more tapered tubing the little mellower tone.
Same with the French horn or any other instrument that uses combinations of straight and tapered tubing.
It's almost totally impossible except in a straight horn with no valves to make a totally conical horn these days.
Attempts have been made but as soon as you cross finger and go to combinations of different valves you can't continue with the taper equally because you're switching from first and third to first and second and you can't do it.
It just doesn't work out.
But trumpets are basically a combination of a certain amount of tapered lead pipe and then from the lead pipe on it stays cylindrical throughout this whole part here.
So you get to this part here where it stays straight for about that far and then it starts to taper again.
Now that whole section of straight tubing is what creates a lot of the brightness that you find in a trumpet.
Now Claude's trumpet has an additional section of restricted tapered here, not tapered but cylindrical tubing.
The bore on Claude's horn is .470 thousandths of an inch.
That's almost half an inch.
That's a large bore horn.
Most trumpets are in the .460 area or smaller, a few are larger.
.470 is considered to be a pretty large or extra large bore.
From this point on, this is that bore.
Up to this point you have a tapered tube.
Claude's tube is copied after a French Besson tube which is very open at the beginning, a lot more than this Bach and ends up at .470 here.
Continues at .470, gets to this section here, cuts back and this is also a French Besson design where it cuts back by four thousandths of an inch.
That's to put a little bit more ring back in the town that you might lose on most large bores where it's just a little too free.
So anyway, that's the design of Claude's horn.
Other horns are the same.
This Bach is a .460 and it goes all the way to .460 right here and then it goes out.
The next part of it is the bell taper.
Most manufacturers make ten to twelve to fifteen different size bell tapers, not to mention bore sizes.
You can order three or four different bore sizes in a horn.
You can order seven or eight different lead pipes and order at least ten different bell sizes.
Claude's, of course, is his design and it's one bell size, one horn.
That's the way it's made and it is a good combination of things.
It's good all around playing horn.
For most use, I would say it's one of the best.
It's my favorite and we're in the right place to find it.
It's almost everybody's favorite.
Here is another thing about plating.
This is a Claude Gordon trumpet.
It's got different caps on it, but it's a Claude Gordon Selmer that also has two coats of copper underneath the silver.
It was an experiment of mine to see what that would do and it does sound different again, too.
If I played those next to these silver ones, you'd find that their tone is distinctly different.
I'll just quickly play a couple of them.
There's no right, there's no wrong.
It's just different and that's, again, a choice of yours.
You can choose your finishes, you can do a lot of things to change your horn.
You can change your taper and dimension by choosing different sizes of horns to make your horn play the way that it does.
Okay, let's get on to chromatic brass instruments.
First horns were open horns.
We all know that.
There were no valves.
The first early attempts to create chromatic pitches that weren't on the overtone series were done two ways.
The first way was to take the natural series and play the very top of the series.
Does everybody know what the harmonic series is?
You know how it works.
We better write it down here.
They don't do too many high notes on this blackboard.
And so on.
What's this distance here?
Anybody know?
And this one?
What kind of third?
What's happening to the intervals?
They're getting smaller.
What's that?
It's a flat minor third.
It's getting out of tune.
That one kind of comes out to our tempered ears where we're used to hearing them scale.
And this one, it would be kind of a very large major second because this one's flat so the distance is kind of a large major second.
And then we have a major second.
That's an E, believe it or not.
G to E.
It's a little bit closer together, major second.
If you measure it on a scope, it comes out tighter.
And then you have an out of tune major second.
And then you have your first half step, minor second.
And if you continue to go up with the harmony like that, you'll find that it goes into flat minor seconds finally into quarter steps and it continues up until it turns into a siren and you lose it.
You can't discern the difference anymore.
At least our ears can because we're not attuned to things much more than a quarter tone.
But all of those overtones can be played.
And what they used to do with a horn was that they would build a horn two octaves, maybe an octave lower than this or an octave and a half lower than this.
And then they would use small tubing and a fairly small trumpet diameter kind of mouthpiece that actually was more like an acorn.
It was like a little teeny thin rim type of mouthpiece.
But it was not in the trombone picture.
It was fairly small tubing but it was very long like a French horn.
And they would play it on the very high partials and that would allow them to get most of the minor seconds and major thirds necessary to play most tunes.
But some of the notes weren't available to them.
And apparently it's been said that they put holes in the horn to kind of adapt and to let air out at certain points that would alter the natural series and make it play a note that wasn't in the series.
There's been a lot of talk as to whether or not that was really the way they did it or not.
You probably know more about that than I do.
It's still a controversy.
It just kind of helped adjust the view of the flat and sharp notes.
You can use it for adjusting intonation on this untempered instrument that's not tempered like a piano where everything's pulled in with tunes.
That was the first attempt to play chromatic tunes was by altering with maybe holes.
And a lot of whipping was done, too, just to try and force the thing to play what it wouldn't play naturally.
Then we had some early attempts at keyed horns with like saxophone keyed horns, open holes and things to play that played all right, but they played fairly out of tune.
And most people ignored them and put them off to the side because they really didn't play too well.
I think Haydn's trumpet concerto might have been written for that.
It was not played for a long period of time after he heard it played on that keyed trumpet.
But then we have, of course, sliding plates is another weird thing that is strange.
It's kind of where you slide the whole valve arrangement down and all kinds of tubing would then intersect another hunk of tubing to lengthen tubing.
That was our first attempt to create chromatic pitches by adding tubing without pulling out a slide and adding a slide.
It's a strange plate arrangement. I have a picture of it. I should have brought it.
And then finally, rotary valves and piston valves were invented and we were able to put together what is basically a seven bugle horn.
We have how many combinations of valves to make? Seventy.
We've done lots of exercises involving the seven positions that we can find here.
We have basically all we do is add tubing to the horn.
Let's say that the second valve is an addition of three inches, although it's not accurately exactly three, but let's use three inches.
By adding three inches to this horn, which is about a six foot length horn, it changes the pitch by what?
A half step, up or down?
Why? Add tubing, pitch goes down, just like you let a slide out of a trombone.
This is six inches, so what is it going to do to the pitch?
Whole step.
Whole step, and this is nine inches?
Step and a half.
Alright, step and a half. This is nine inches, three plus six, so this should be the same as this, right?
We talk about alternate fingerings, that's the biggie of the horn, that's it.
Then you have another possible, which is step and a half plus a whole step, or you have step and a half plus a half step, then the whole step.
Then finally all valves down, so we end up with one, two, three, four.
Four can be done either way, with this valve or this two.
Five, sorry, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
So that's what we've designed, and with those seven they covered all the chromatic pitches plus some alternative ways of playing where the notes are doubled up.
Sometimes the notes are on the good part of the series and sometimes they're not.
You play a B flat, the B flat can be first valve.
Or you can play it on that series there, which is the open series.
So again, that's why it's black in there, it's what? Black, it's a little out of tune, hard to pull up.
Sometimes, depends on what key you're in, it might be just flat enough to help you with the particular chord you're sitting in.
Depends on where in the chord you're playing, what piece you're playing, it might be okay.
So it's another alternative, just like using third instead of one and two.
On most trumpets, the third valve and the one and two aren't exactly in tune with each other.
Two, usually third is a little flatter if you play.
Hear that a little bit? E.
All kinds of different possibilities, there's three possibilities there.
The fourth series, which is the A series, you have that way or this way.
Or you can play it on the open series of C, open.
That's the way, there's a lot of ways you can do that.
Okay, so that's the chromatic instrument that has been designed that we've been playing now for a hundred years or so.
And the one that still has not been changed in any significant manner.
Although there have been some experiments with plastic.
Basically, horns are still made out of yellow brass or maybe red brass or maybe nickel.
Maybe silver plated, they can be gold plated too.
What does gold do to a horn?
I don't know, it's up for grabs.
Every one that I've played that's been gold plated sounds wonderful.
Maybe it's my imagination because it looks so good.
I know that gold feels better on your lip when you have gold plated mouthpiece.
It's very soft to the touch and it slides a little differently than the feel of silver on your mouth.
It's a different feel.
But it definitely makes a difference in the tone too.
And usually it's a complementary difference.
One of the fellows here, he has a gold horn that's beautiful.
His gold trumpet plays really nice.
It's a beautiful quaint horn.
I don't know what's creating it.
It's just luck or if it's the gold but it's a very beautiful quaint horn.
Okay, now let's get on to maintenance of the horn.
Larry Miller talked about keeping your horn clean.
You can't overstate that one.
Too many people leave their horns unclean.
I wanted to talk, first of all, I wanted to show you one more example here I forgot before we go to that.
This is Dave Bendekite's horn.
And this is one that he's kind of designed himself.
It's basically a large boar Claude Gordon.
But for his purpose of getting a darker tone than he was capable of getting on a Claude Gordon,
he started experimenting with other things.
And this is in addition to the list of possible things you can do to change your tone.
But Dave has designed a horn here that uses a different bell.
And he softened and annealed the metal in this section of the horn to make it as dead as he possibly could to make it darker,
to make it warmer sounding.
And it worked.
What's annealing?
Annealing is a softening process.
Heating and letting cool slowly usually will soften up the metal and make it more flexible.
Tempering, that's a good point, I skipped that whole thing.
Tempering of the bells or of the instrument is a way of hardening the metal.
And you do that by cooling off the horn quicker.
A tempered bell and an annealed bell are two different sounds.
There's another way that you can totally mess up the combinations of ways you can make your horn sound.
The combinations get so incredible.
There are so many of them that it's impossible to say how many ways you can change your horn.
This is Dave Benekite's way of doing it.
And it worked.
To me it's a pretty sounding horn.
It's very dark.
Kind of rich but not real fire.
It's what he wanted to get out of it.
It's a beautiful horn.
I want to maintenance now.
I can't overstress cleaning your horn, keeping it clean.
Bacteria that was described by Larry Miller would make anybody shudder.
It's really scary.
Most of us let our horns go on way too long.
I suggest that you keep the thing no longer than two weeks without giving it a good bath.
Here are a list of things that you should be cleaning your horn with.
If you have a lacquered horn, don't use any hot water because hot water will remove lacquer in most horns.
Some will hold up to it for most of them won't.
Lacquered instruments need to be washed in warm water or cold water.
You can use dish soap of any type.
Put it in the sink or any kind of tub or container and you can soak it, scrub it out good with a snake.
You need those tools to complete the cleaning process.
Here are some basic tools that I always carry with me.
This is nothing more than a probe so that I can swab out the moisture out of the valve casing before I put the valve in.
An old toothbrush.
Trombone or snake is the only way you can get around some of those curves.
Some kind of grease.
I suggest anhydrous lanolin.
I think I wrote it down for you.
The reason being is that petroleum greases have a tendency to corrode and cause discoloration of the slide material.
Sometimes it will even bind them up to where they stick permanently.
If you have them to keep in your horn clean or let it sit during the summer and walk away from it, it's going to freeze up.
As far as snakes go, I used to have a rubber coated snake until it wore out.
Now I'm using a metal coated snake.
It sounds a lot noisier.
Is there any damage being done to the horn?
That's a good question.
Usually where it's rubbing is not on any of the surfaces that it's going to damage.
So I wouldn't worry about it.
I've never yet had a valve hang up because of the way the snake's been.
Unless it was put in the wrong way and put on a tight turn and then yanked out.
But that general rubbing sound, no, it doesn't hurt a thing.
Plus the ones without coating make the turns better.
The coating just kind of makes it a little stiffer and harder to make those turns.
Somebody else had a question?
After you wash it with a little soap in the tub, then do you have to drain that out and get fresh water and rinse it?
Yes, you have to rinse the soap out.
Although the horn would hold up fine if you didn't.
The soapy water really wouldn't hurt it, but it'll leave the film on the outside of the horn and on the inside.
Better off to rinse it out, just like your dishes handle it pretty much the same way.
Okay, an old toothbrush, a snake, a mouthpiece brush.
Try not to lose anything.
Anyway, you know what a mouthpiece brush looks like, it's a tree-shaped brush.
Valve oil.
And a mouthpiece brush.
There are two basic types, there's a black bristle and nylon.
Black scrubs a little better, but nylon will last maybe 10 to 1 as far as longevity.
Bristles seem to hold up, they don't wear out as fast.
So if you can find nylon bristle brushes, they'll save a little money on that.
A soft cloth. I use t-shirt material, I use anything like that.
Diapers, but basically I use t-shirt because it's easier to throw in the wash and get back.
Yes, it should be, it can be, well a little polyester mix doesn't seem to hurt.
Are you talking about scratching the lacquer?
What kind of rag were you using?
Well, if it has too much polyester it might be more abrasive.
I think it depends mainly on the weave too.
But basically a cotton type of cloth and as much cotton in it as you can get is going to be the best thing.
Because it's more absorbent anyway.
The other ones have a tendency to shed water.
But the biggest thing is learning how to scrub this thing out properly.
Dismantle the horn and put it in that soapy water and let it soak.
Again, if it's lacquer you can take it apart.
Put the bottom caps and use a toothbrush to scrub those out.
The valve, if you've got felts for bumpers, it's better not to get the felts wet if you can help it.
So sometimes I'll just dump the valve and I'll leave the valve off to the side so that I don't get the valve wet.
And get those pads wet because they'll wear out a little faster.
So they'll start to compress.
And what do the valve pads do?
They line up the hole in the valve with the hole in the horn, right?
The upstroke pad is going to stop that thing so that it lines up this way.
If that pad's worn, this is what happens.
You get an off-center, elliptical kind of thing where it restricts the air and then opens it up again as it's going through it.
Now on the downstroke it does the same thing.
If it's worn out it's going to pass it.
You're going to have two holes like that.
You're going to have a restriction in the tone.
Sometimes it's an improvement if you've got a dead arm.
But usually it doesn't sound as good when the valve isn't lined up.
So you've got to keep those pads fresh and in line.
And you can't just half-hastily throw any size pad in there.
It's got to be exactly the right size pad that lines up your ports of the two holes so that they line up perfectly.
So I try not to wear that line up out by getting it wet and having it wear out.
So I keep those off to the side.
And then basically all I do is submerge the horn, submerge the parts, scrub the grease off the slides with a toothbrush,
run the snake halfway through the slide crooks.
Don't put it all away. It won't work.
Put a slight bend in your snake so that it's off-center.
If it's off-center it'll help get through those valve sections where you want to get that cleaned out.
But most people forget to clean because they haven't figured out how to get in there without getting the snake caught.
But if you take this and make it slightly out of round, even a little more than that, like that,
so that it has some kind of a slight bend in it, then it's easy to run your snake through the third slide
and continue all the way through and out.
Now I'm through into this port here.
Otherwise I was able to turn it and make it go through those ports.
And then you can take the band and point it to the next slide.
Now it's into here and it's making the turn around there.
What did they design this clip for?
It's been falling out of ours all week long too.
So anyway, now by having the bend in it, it allowed us to scrub all the way through here.
And when you get to each section you just twist the thing and the brush turns around in circles like that
and gives a good scrub on those knuckles.
You get a lot of bacteria buildup if you're not scrubbing the whole horn out.
So try and keep all of it clean. Get that snake to go all the way up to here.
This part isn't important as such because it's so big.
And by the time you get there most of the dirt and bacteria has been captured in the first part of the horn.
Now you don't do that while the valves are in the horn.
I did it because I was too lazy to take it apart right now.
But basically you do that while the horn is totally disassembled, taken apart, and then you give it a good clean out that way.
That's the hardest part to clean.
The rest of it is one slide at a time, scrub it out, grease off the slides, rinse it,
and make sure you use some clear water and just rinse the whole horn off.
Then take your soft cloth, dry all your parts out, then take this part of it and hook it around the rag
and do each casing so that you can wipe the casing out and get the water out of there.
Wipe each valve down and then you're ready for assembly.
Is there any questions about that part so far?
Are there any special considerations for cleaning rotary valves like on the French horn?
Yes, rotary valves unfortunately are a real pain to take apart and you have to restring it to take it apart so it's not taken apart.
Keep the front part of your horn clean.
Keep the rest of your horn as clean as you can keep it.
Besides the valves, you can get in to each valve with a snake to some degree and clean it out.
But taking it apart is not a logical thing for a French horn player to do every two weeks.
But I would suggest that maybe once a year you have it taken in and get a good acid bath.
Usually that corrosion that builds up on bass can't be scrubbed out anyway because it builds up kind of like a calcification.
Kind of a heavy mineral-like deposit that starts happening on most French horn valves.
So it's a good idea to get in and have it professionally cleaned once in a while.
Keep that front part of the horn as clean as you can.
And of course any place you get in and scrub it out.
Any questions about this part of the cleaning procedure?
Okay, grease each slide.
When you grease the slide, make sure that you put each one in separately.
And rub the grease onto the tube.
Otherwise you'll withstand a chance of binding.
You'll find that anhydrous landline doesn't bind.
It's really great stuff to keep the horn from being bound up.
Then put the two together at the end.
Same with each little slide.
Grease it up and put each one in separately.
Grease each one separately.
Then put it together.
So on and so forth.
Wipe out your valve casing like I did with the rag.
Oil up the horn.
Put it together and you're ready to go.
Now, the outside of the horn has a tendency to take a beady
because people's acid in their systems, depending on the person, it varies.
But some people are more acid than others.
They start to tear up the finish.
Whether it's silver or lacquer, they can heat it up really good.
So one of the simplest things to do, and a good way to keep the mouthpiece clean
as well as the horn, is to spray the whole horn down with some kind of alcohol.
Now, I usually have a little bottle which I carry with me
and I use it just before I put the horn away every day.
Just squirt the whole horn down with basic rubbing alcohol.
And wipe it off.
Keep your hand acids off the horn.
When it sits there overnight, it's not eating away on your lacquer.
And just wipe it down.
It doesn't hurt lacquer and it doesn't hurt the metal.
Put it on anything.
But just that habit will help you get the horn degreased and acid-free
before it's put in the case.
So get yourself a little bottle and fill it with some rubbing alcohol.
You can add water to it, make it stretch.
It doesn't have to be pure rubbing alcohol.
That'll save your horn.
The horn won't be in for a lacquer job for years if you do that.
Or a plate job.
What would the proportion be, half and half or not?
That would be fine.
You can buy 70% isopropyl, 70%.
What that 70% means is that it's 30% water and 70% alcohol.
Or you can buy 100% and cut it down to half and half.
Half and half is good.
You're just trying to cut the grease.
And that's all that alcohol is.
It's kind of a universal solvent.
One of the earliest solvents we've had.
It cuts grease.
That's a nice clean way of doing it.
You could use other cleaners.
Simply just by plugging it up and blowing air through it
and checking for leaks in your water keys.
Also, if you have a model or Ahmadi water keys,
check them for leaks too.
Sometimes they get bound up from lack of lubrication.
Thank you.
These have to be oiled as well as valves.
So put some oil on these push-button water keys
and they'll keep you from having one stick open
while you're playing.
Also, they can bind and freeze up too.
I think that's about it.
Any questions on anything about finishes or cleaning?
We're done cleaning.
Let's talk a little bit about repairing.
Excuse me, Larry.
I just had one quick question.
You said hot for plated horns or silver horns.
I mean, is that too hot for plastic or just hot?
Here's the option.
If it is plated, it'll hold up to anything.
So you don't have to be careful.
So you can use hot water.
Whatever you can stand it to put the horn into it.
It'll help break the dirt loose, that's all.
But with lacquer, you don't want to do that at all.
Where do you get the linoleum?
The drug store.
It's a prescription counter, believe it or not.
Is that girlfriend playing nickel or gold?
For what?
For heating the water.
Nickel, chrome.
You can put in nice boiling hot water.
You can boil a horn, except maybe your solder joints
would get a little weird.
No, even that wouldn't do it.
Boiling water won't do anything to the horn.
But you don't have to do that.
Just hot water is okay with plated instruments.
There's no lacquer over it.
Dent work, patch work, and valve plating.
Those are things that you should be taking care of.
If you've worn holes in your horn with your hands,
don't let it get to the point where your casing
starts to get weak.
I had a fellow that wore his valve casing out
to the point where he could squeeze it and stop the valves.
That's a lot of wear.
You can put patches on any area like that
and maintain your horn even after it's been abused like that.
Dents should be taken out right away,
because it kills the tamper of the horn.
When you have a big crease in the bell,
it's not going to ring the same as it is when it's taken out.
Remember that one.
I think you should remove the horn.
Is it on?
Thank you.
Remember that any time you take the dance out,
you're changing the horn anyway, so don't drop it.
But if you do take the dance out,
just the process of running the dance out
is going to harden up the metal a little bit.
It's going to change every time.
But it's better than leaving them in, too,
because that usually kills the horn.
You can put metal patches, again,
on any part that's worn through
or worn to the point where you're afraid it's going to wear through.
That's a good idea, too.
You can have your horn relacquered and refinished.
Every time you do it, again,
it's going to change the horn to some degree,
because we've taken a little metal off
and we've put lacquer on or we've put silver on.
That's going to change, as we showed you right here.
Distinctive differences in all of those things.
Any questions about repair?
I have one more subject, and that's valve plating.
Don't let your valves wear out and get loose.
You start getting the air blow by
and the horn gets dull and you don't know it.
Pretty soon you can't figure out why you can't
get the braids that you used to get.
Sometimes it's just a loose old horn.
Keep your valves nice and tight.
You can do that simply by adding
a little heavier oil when the valves get a little old.
When it gets real bad,
and that won't work,
you're going to have to go to a plater
or to a repairman and have them
refit the valves with new plates
so that they're nice and tight again.
You don't have that problem.
You should have that kind of pop sound
on all your slides so that
you know that you've got compression
or no air leak.
If you pull a slide out and it doesn't do a thing
to the air or make a
funny sound like
a pop sound when you pull it out,
that shows you that there's some compression
in this horn.
I'm done unless you have some questions for me.
Different types of oil
for the pressure. Do you recommend that
putting a heavier, like a key oil down the valve
and then...
Yeah. Go ahead.
Do you know a good brand
because I've been trying to find it?
I have a suggestion. You might try this
space filler. It comes in three grades.
It comes in a thin
medium oil for valves
and it's much thicker than most valve
oil. Most people can't use it because of that
but I found that it's great on rotary valves.
Also, they have a grease
which is kind of a sticky
form that you can use on
the slides. I prefer the
hydroslanol into this. But this is
great on the rotor bearings.
Drop on each rotor bearing before
you reassemble it
and then put regular, some kind of
rotor oil or medium grade oil
on the rotors because they're pretty much free
running in there anyway. It's all sitting on
the bearings.
Do you put like, pro-oil down the slides?
Well, I use...try this stuff.
The space filler. You might...
It's either going to work for you or not because
everybody's chemistry creates a different
kind of gum up problem.
What works for one guy doesn't work for
the other guy. It'll gum up
or not gum up depending on
who you are. But these are good products
and they' might be
a good solution to French horn.
I've tried them on a few and some of the people
I would say 9 out of 10 French horn players
have said they liked it.
Only a couple said
no, they didn't like it.
It's worth a try. Space filler.
You mentioned using a toothbrush to scrub
the valves. Have you actually ever used toothpaste?
Well, I try not to...
When I use
pumices in my shop, they're
graded pumices that are guaranteed
within a certain thousandth of an inch
and they come in different categories of grade.
It's like a powder or a cream or grease?
But if you start using
toothpastes ungraded and it might have some
larger pieces and smaller pieces,
you're taking metal off when you start to use a pumice,
okay? So I wouldn't suggest
using that.
It would be a good idea to stay away from that.
Let the repairman, who knows
what he's doing, do any kind of
pulling on your valves. Yes?
Do you need to look for or avoid
clean old valve oil?
Just hit and miss.
Try it. Try the oil.
If you like it, use it. I haven't found
any oils that create any kind of tarnish problem.
Certain valves, metals,
like certain nickels, some of the Japanese
horns, the nickel has a tendency
to discolor when you get
saliva on it.
They react to certain salivates. Not everybody,
but certain peoples.
And the old French cellbers used to do that too.
They were notorious for turning black
with certain oils and certain
people blowing their saliva past
the valve that would discolor
and bind up, start to build up
corrosion, all kinds of weird stuff.
But I don't know of any particular problem
oils now. Does anybody have an oil that they hate
or think is bad?
I don't think.
I like coal oil.
Some people have a problem with it.
I don't think so.
Yes, Rich.
I think when you get past
the 30 second.
Yeah, not yet.
I don't notice any difference when it's just a little.
Sometimes the depression of your finger
is enough to take it out at 30 second.
You squeeze hard enough.
So I don't think that's a problem.
It's when you get the upstrokes, which have no pressure
other than the springs on them,
you start running into the problem.
Oh, springs. You can change your spring tension
by changing your springs. Did you know that?
You don't have to use a spring you've got.
You can change it, make it stiffer or lighter.
What do you recommend for trigger slides
to make them really movable?
I've been having
good luck with the space filler.
But you can use
anhydrous lanolin and break it down with
valve oil comes out great.
Just add some oil to it until it gets to where you like it.
But just pure oil
has a tendency to kind of
This stuff works good.
Just this and a little oil or just this oil
sometimes will do it.
I like to use this
motor key oil
with this little needle on the end
on my kick slides.
It seems to have a nice consistency to stand the slides.
Does it slide, turn, or does it stay funny?
It seems to stay funny.
What's that called? Key oil.
Key oil is made for the keys on
woodwind instruments.
It's a thicker oil.
It's a higher viscosity.
It's going to hang in there a little bit better
than a thin oil on a slide.
I'm finished. Thank you very much for your attention.