[Dixielandjazz] clean horn?

Robert Pulliam starwaterlogo at mpinet.net
Mon Sep 26 17:43:31 PDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Cebuisle2 at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>

> Do you suppose a cruddy horn would play with a more "mellow"  tone?

It definitely effects the sound but not in a way that at least I would
regard as positive. You want the insides of the tubing to be as uniform as
possible with the vibrations rebounding off clean metal. A quality modern
horn is built to certain specs for a reason. When the horn gets crud inside,
it alters the properties of the instrument. The response is off as well,
high notes get harder to hit, the horn doesn't "sing" properly. Eventually
debris starts effecting the valves. I say this from when I was a kid and
wasn't even aware you were supposed to clean the horn. I can clearly recall
the first time my friend let me use his trumpet snake. Believe me, you don't
want the details. Ugghh...

Even now, if I let it go a little too long, the difference is very
noticeable pre and post cleaning.

Further, if you don't keep a brass instrument clean, you'll damage the
inside of the instrument. Keep in mind it's raw brass and subject to damage
from saliva acids and other crap festering in there. If you look at student
horns that have been used in the public schools for long enough, you'll see
discolored spots in the lacquer. That's where the brass has been damaged to
the point where little pinholes have broken through.

There's *no* good reason to not clean your horn.  If you want a mellower
sound, get a horn a/or mouthpiece that was built to sound that way.

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