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Thread: Cleaning Your Horn - and Herco Spitballs

  1. #11
    Hi all,
    just got some....tried it last week , and it never came out??? If I remember right I believe I had all 4 valves pressed down? I don't know where it went , but assume it's caught in there somewhere. Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Joe

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMin View Post
    Hi all,
    just got some....tried it last week , and it never came out??? If I remember right I believe I had all 4 valves pressed down? I don't know where it went , but assume it's caught in there somewhere. Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Joe
    Did you pull the main tuning slide out before doing this?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Summerfield, Florida
    Posts
    1,618
    If it doesn't come out, get a long snake (trombone slide cleaning tool, see picture). You should be able to run that through all of the slides, which is probably where it is. Take all your valves out and watch as you use the snake. I haven't tried this, but it seems like it would work.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

  4. #14
    In addition to my question above, does the horn play at all? And do the valves work now? That would narrow down where the foam is stuck.

    I once forgot to remove my tuning slide (which is why I asked my first question!) and the spitball ended up in the large tubing after the tuning slide. I was able to shake it out through the bell.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMin View Post
    Hi all,
    just got some....tried it last week , and it never came out??? If I remember right I believe I had all 4 valves pressed down? I don't know where it went , but assume it's caught in there somewhere. Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Joe
    Try pouring water down the bell and the emptying it out. It may just be in the main wrap of tubing below the bell.

    Mike

  6. #16
    I use them nearly every practice session. I keep the main slide in, and dump it out the bell. Sometimes they get hung up *after* the tuning slide. I think it's because they tumble sideways at some point and get stuck. Blowing again will send them on their way.

  7. #17
    Thanks everyone for the replies! I did think of most of those ideas and tried your suggestions. (except pouring water down the bell, that's next)
    The horn is playing fine and all valves work fine. I've cleaned the area (the whole basement room) thoroughly and found nothing like what I expected. I did NOT try a snake yet and guess that should be next along with water down the bell. I also DID notice a much cleaner feel to the horn and I'll definitely continue on a weekly basis. Also, I did have the main tuning slide pulled out, so I thought I was doing it properly...still a mystery to me, but I'll definitely be more attentive next time I use them!
    Joe

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMin View Post
    Thanks everyone for the replies! I did think of most of those ideas and tried your suggestions. (except pouring water down the bell, that's next)
    The horn is playing fine and all valves work fine. I've cleaned the area (the whole basement room) thoroughly and found nothing like what I expected. I did NOT try a snake yet and guess that should be next along with water down the bell. I also DID notice a much cleaner feel to the horn and I'll definitely continue on a weekly basis. Also, I did have the main tuning slide pulled out, so I thought I was doing it properly...still a mystery to me, but I'll definitely be more attentive next time I use them!
    Joe
    That's good news! If it were stuck in the horn (anywhere before the tuning slide) you would absolutely notice a problem playing the instrument! I confess I have temporarily lost a used Spitball from time to time. They can come out of the horn with a lot of velocity and roll quite well. My routine is to put a somewhat rumpled-up hand towel below the tuning slide receiver so there are some wrinkles to help slow it down. Even then it winds up a few feet away sometimes.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,073
    I don't use these things, but do clean my instruments otherwise on a regular basis. You should be aware that there are some important places in your horn (particularly a standard euphonium with vertical valves).

    For the first time in a LONG time -- over a year, since I haven't been playing it for a couple of years regularly -- I got out my compensating Eb tuba yesterday and cleaned off the valves and reassembled everything. As part of that I pulled off the bottom valve caps and discovered a lot of built-up crud (partly hardened and partly still slimy) in a couple of them. This stuff will not be reached by Herco balls or even by flushing the horn. The bottom caps have to be removed to get at the build-up and what clings to the spring bumpers in them. Eventually, that crap can work upwards and onto the piston. So it's something to keep in mind over time and not think that you're reaching it without taking the valves apart.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  10. Gary,

    I use Spitballs, QHR, and disassembly with swabs to do a full home cleaning on my horns. Once or twice a year. Yup valves, slides and the whole thing.

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

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