Just Clean It (your horn, that is)

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I would say I have been pretty good about cleaning horns over the years. Any horn I am playing gets a good cleaning at least every six months or so. However, I basically set aside my triple horn for the entire fall semester and did not clean it before I set it aside. I have been trying it again the last few weeks. The one thing I noticed the most was it smelled like an old tuba! It really stunk and badly needed good cleaning.

My general routine for cleaning a horn involves snaking out the lead pipe, snaking out and rinsing the slides, and then blowing water through the horn to remove as much crud as possible. Finally, you re-lube the slides and oil the valves.

Natural-horn-triple-hornSo I did the routine on the triple today. On the triple there is a valve in the lead pipe so this you can only snake up to near the valve, not through it. End result: the horn does not smell bad and it plays better! Play clean!

I took a break from the triple this fall. I was using it as more or less a super double horn with a high F side. Then I started working on my recent project to improve my B-flat horn fingerings. With that progressing I decided to give it another try, but to change it so it stands in B-flat and to treat it more like a super descant or super single B-flat horn. The problem with really all triple horns is the low F side is stuffy, so to focus technique around the B-flat horn and avoiding the use of low F horn fingerings makes it feel like a whole new horn. Depending on how practice goes the next few days for the works I have coming up for the next major performance I have on the schedule (at the Missouri Horn Day) this may be my approach.

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