The Value of a Professional Instrument Cleaning

- - Please visit: Wichita Band Instrument Company - -

A thrifty customer once asked me why he should have his horn professionally cleaned, when he had been cleaning his horn at home in the bathtub for years.

There are two reason to have your horn cleaned by a shop that does a professional job.  First, an acid or ultrasonic cleaning removes hard deposits that detergent will not remove.  Second, a professional will do more than just clean your horn.

Throughout the process, the repair technician is checking your horn for various issues that may blossom into problems later on.

Here is a list I compiled of the inspections I do with every horn cleaning:

  • Customer survey – problems noted
  • General visual inspection for dents
  • General visual inspection for broken solder joints
  • General visual inspection for finish problems
  • General visual inspection for other damage
  • Visual inspection for potential red rot or other metal fatigue
  • Visual inspection of water keys, water key corks
  • Test for condition of bell ring
  • Test for valve compression – pop test
  • Test for valve compression – blow by test
  • Test for end play, side to side play
  • Test for valve mechanics
  • If warranted, test for valve compression – oil seal test
  • Removal of tuning slides, check for fit and solder joints
  • Inspect solder joints on 3/F and 3/Bb slides
  • “Shake” test for broken solder joints
  • Test fit of mouthpiece in venturi
  • Remove valve caps and inspect
  • Remove string and/or unscrew linkages and inspect
  • Remove key levers and inspect
  • Test top bearing plates for fit
  • Check alignment, condition of bumpers
  • Check condition of screws and linkages
  • Remove rotor stop screws and inspect
  • Remove rotors and top bearing plates
  • Inspect rotors and top bearing plates for unusual wear
  • Remove rotor stop plates and inspect
  • Inspect inside of slide tubes and inside of horn tubes for problems, such as solder blobs
  • Inspect horn for leaks
University of Horn Matters