What your Horn Says about You When You are Not Around

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Often, when working on a horn the wear and tear tell me a lot about how a horn is handled, used, cared for, and stored.

Your horn is “talking” to me in the shop, and I am listening.

Look carefully at the valve rotors in the picture and you will see that there is a good deal of buildup in the windway channels on the Bb side of the horn, but not in the F side of the horn.

Click this image for a much closer look.

This player is a student, and I know that she played primarily on the F side of the horn.

So, why the buildup?

She was storing her horn with the case flat on the floor, and the Bb side down. And, she did not empty the water from the slides before putting the horn away. The water would collect at the lowest point, which was inside the valves on the Bb side, it would evaporate, and the solids that were suspended in that solution remained as hardened deposits.

So, why were there no deposits on the F side of the horn?

Those channels are nice and clean. There are two reasons. First, she put oil down the F side, and never down the Bb side. That oil protected the metal from the water and deposits. And second, she used her F side more, and the wrap of her horn allowed the water to drain away more readily while she played.

Did the player tell me this?

No, the horn did while it was in the shop for a cleaning. All I had to do was confirm it when she picked up the horn. We discussed how she could change her cleaning and storing regimen to lengthen the time between cleanings and keep her horn in good working order.

University of Horn Matters