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New Way to Clean Your Horn

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
While I was at the ITEC exhibits I had the chance to meet a genuine entrepreneur, Mr. Bill Ricker. Or maybe "inventor" is a better word. He did what clever folks have done all through history: he saw a need and developed a solution to addresses it.

Most of you reading this have probably tried to clean a horn out at some time or other. And some of you have probably wanted to do some horn cleaning while you were traveling. I have cleaned my euphonium at home by putting a garden hose down the bell, "sealing" it with a cloth wrapped around it, and turning on the water. This produces a nice flow through the horn, but it's only practical in warm weather. Winter in Minnesota is no time to use that particular technique. On band tours or run-outs for conferences I have sometimes wanted to clean my horn in a hotel room, but could find no way to do a full rinse. I had to settle for swabbing out the tubes. That works well, but can be time consuming and can dislodge "chunks" that I would like to be able to rinse out. A combination of a swab and a rinse would be ideal.

Along came Mr. Ricker with answer! He has a product to enable easy rinsing for large horns (trombones, euphoniums, tubas) and one for smaller horns (French horn, cornet/trumpet). There are two types in each size. One is made to hook up to a standard hose fitting, such as a garden hose faucet or a utility room faucet with a threaded end. It is shown to the left, and is fitted with a short hose, because in most cases you will be fitting it to the end of a garden hose. The other model (shown below) is made to fit over a tub faucet (or maybe a large sink faucet. The latter version has a much longer hose for manipulating the logistics of a bathroom.

The idea is simple enough, but works like a charm. I tried the short hose with the threaded end at my outside hose faucet. It produced a powerful rinsing flow in the bore of the horn. And I briefly tried the longer bathtub version on my own tub faucet. It fit really nicely, but my faucet has a shower diverter that can't handle the back pressure. It should work in many hotel tubs, though.

Here is a spout shape similar to mine. Despite the nearly square profile, the hose fit on and stayed nicely. The problem in this case was the pull up diverter. It is not well sealed internally, so water will spray out around the hole, as indicated in the picture.

In the included instructions, Mr. Ricker describes a thorough cleaning process using his product(s). However, I think it's almost more valuable as a quick between-full-cleaning rinse out. If you rinse the horn regularly it would keep it much cleaner on an ongoing basis. I have sometimes played in dusty conditions and wished I could easily rinse the horn out afterward. This would have done the trick. I would have taken out the main tuning slide (the tubes after that point don't collect much grime), put the hose on the tub faucet, put the fitting in the leadpipe, and run the water for a few seconds. Then I would have blown out the water, dried the horn, and put it to bed. Five or Ten minutes would be enough.

He sells them individually, or as both types in one kit. Learn more on the website:

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