Cleaning out your instrument...


Active Member
Have just finsished cleaning out my Euph which I do monthly, and what happened to come out but a KitKat wrapper, yet I haven't eaten any...? Weird! :? :lol:
What's the weirdest thing that's ever come out of your instrument? (and no-one say their playing! :D )


Supporting Member
I remember having to clean out a (tenor) horn after somebody left a band and out came a bus ticket and a clothes peg.

Also, remember being told of a band cornet being cleaned out and a couple of fag ends coming out.

The worst though was a tuba player who cleaned out a band instrument. Whilst he was cleaning it in his bath out of the bell floated a dead mouse.

The question I often ask is "How come people don't notice?"


Certainly the most disgusting thing to ever come out of my instrument (not my fault - when I first got it) was a completely solid plug of goo from just below the mouthpiece. I must have spent a good half hour pouring boiling water down it after that came out before I could bear to go near it again :(

The Cornet King

Active Member
Apart from just regular bits of goo and horrible bits nothing really strange has ever come out of my cornet.

However i know someone who cleaned out their Euphonium...only to find a sock come out of the bell :?


Active Member
Not cleaning really, but related. I was tidying out an old cupboard in a bandhall once and found a bass with a blackbird nesting in the bell.

Having never cleaned an instrument (ooh dirty boy) how does one go about cleaning a bass. Is it like giving it an enema using a long length of hosepipe (very good for you it is too), or can one use a more modern approach with a dose of the good ole Mr Muscle.


New Member
i heard of a tuba player finding a sausage roll in his tuba (strangely enuff)

my old brass teacher told me that, so i presume its a northwest tuba player!

The weirdest thing to come out of my cornet was a bit of tinsel.

I once got a bit carried away with cleaning my mouthpiece (I was very young and stupid). I decided to soak the mouthpiece in a cup of boiling water mixed with Domestos. There was very little left of the mouthpiece left after a couple of hours soaking. Whoops!

Once at a versatile brass rehearsal, the tuba player (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) arrived late, he had just been on a band tour. Anyway, he started playing and his sound was very muffled. He looked down the bell and lo and behold a pair of his under crackers were stuffed down the bell. Nice.


johnmartin said:
Having never cleaned an instrument (ooh dirty boy) how does one go about cleaning a bass

Chuck it in the bath! (Take out all the valve and slides.) Luke warm water and a bit of washing up liquid. Use a brush/pull through on the lead pipe, that's where all the gunk will be.

One thing, be careful when pulling it out of the bath, as you now have a bass full of water. Tip it the wrong way and you'll flood your house out! :)


Active Member
One of my bass playing mates told me recently about cleaning a (recently acquired) Eb bass out and finding the remains of a fish'n'chip supper (including the newspaper) shoved down the bell.
The dirtiest instrument I've ever cleaned was a tenor horn, the lead-pipe was like one of those health films for hardened arteries - yuk! I think cos the pipe's so short the muck collects in it more quickly?


Active Member
johnmartin said:
Having never cleaned an instrument (ooh dirty boy) how does one go about cleaning a bass. Is it like giving it an enema using a long length of hosepipe (very good for you it is too), or can one use a more modern approach with a dose of the good ole Mr Muscle.

Definitely a job for a bathful of water John with all the slides and valves removed. Once it's in, turn it over a couple a couple of times to make sure the water forces out all of the air. I did mine recently and enough gunk came out to knock it a semitone flatter than before I started :?


A couple of times I've got my instrument out to play and thought i must be having an off day until i've looked down my bell and discovered a bottle of valve oil! Also once found the corner of a sweet wrapper down my bell, which keep rustling when i tried playing - it took me a good 20 minutes to get it out!

Heard of a mouldy sandwich being found in a kiddies bass once - how would you not notice the stench when you played?! :?


I cleaned my horn out after last Whit Friday and found rather a lot of leaves!! :shock: My cousin once had a trombone that came with a lot of fag ends in it! :(
A trombonist at one of my old bands used to have a lot of trouble with a very rattly trigger. Eventually, someone offered to take it home and bath it and take it apart to have a look see if they could find the problem. They found a biro in the tube just above the trigger!

Big Fella

I thought it was one of the many pleasure of playing bass, was to see what you can find down the instrument..
The usual goo, goo, horrible brown bits, twigs, leaves, A5 size pieces of paper, assume that they were once marches..
Did Whit Friday a few years ago, and had to spend the following day, with a pressure hose down my bass, after some numbpty had thrown a couple of Pizza Slices down the bell, at Deplh conmtet. Good job it was the last one of the night. Was not a happy bunny though..

Is it a personal thing, or does anybody use anything to de-bug the internals of the instrument ??
I use Milton Baby Stuff, works really well, and does not smell to bad..

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
I am usually a kind, gentle, fun loving kinda guy, but I once held my flatmate pinned against a wall while I yelled at him when he tried relating to me a story about him throwing marshmallows down a tuba bell on a street parade.

He'll never do it again....nor will his grand kids.


Active Member
on the subject of defensive over instrument, God help whoever bent and creased my trumpet bell last week... it needs a new bell and a relacquer, and ive only just got used to it after getting it a month ago! :evil:

anyway, back to topic...

at the last school concert, one of my mates was having trouble getting any air through his trumpet.

first of all i tried replacing all the valves, in case one was out of place... no luck

then i checked all the slides, in case any were obstructed... no luck

then i put water through the instrument to see if anything inside would be forced out... no luck

ten minutes into the rehearsal, what should come shooting out of the bell into the back of the head on the alto sax's but a battery wrapped in a piece of "rubber" (you get what i mean, but this is a family site after all...).

so his rugby party the night before must have been fun... :roll:


Who does the "nylon brush on the end of a piece of net curtain springy support" things in Euph/Trom/Bass size?

My local music shop DO them, but only in cornet/trumpet size and I'm sure the brush wouldn't make sufficient contact to do a bigger instrument properly.

(yes, I do have one, but the brush has all but died and I can't remember where I bought it - many years ago!)


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