Cleaning out the pipes

No, this entry has nothing to do with eating chilli sauce, or lots of high-fibre cereals. It’s regarding my recent decision to give my cornet a good clean out.

I’ve had this instrument for over four years now, hell nearly five, and I’d never given it a pull-through. While I was at Pontins the other week I decided to buy a few cleaning brushes and some slide gel so that I could at least make a good attempt at clearing out the gunge.

Well, when I eventually got round to sticking my cornet in the sink and dismantling it there was surprisingly little amounts of gunk in there. Sure, there was a bit, but not as much as I anticipated. I gave the slides a good scrub with a scourer (being careful to avoid the silver plate obviously) and used some slide gel on them. I also gave the mouthpiece a good clean out.

The results were surprising. I find it much easier to paly now – the cornet feels much more wide-bore and is far easier to blow. It’s far easier to blow out of tune also. My tone seems to have come back too, it’s much nicer now (to my ears anyway) plus all my slides work again.

I shan’t be leaving it as long as that again, no matter how lazy I get. I’ve noticed a good deal of oxidiation going on inside the slides which I need to scrape out one way or another.

So, if you place a brass instrument, my advice is to clean it out often, especially if you eat biscuits before you play. You can play much louder if it’s not filled up with partially decomposed food!

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