The Hodge Silk French Horn Swab
Hodge silk french horn swabs are intended to be used after each playing session to clean out the lead pipe and tuning slide so no build-up occurs. The ball chain weight slips around the curves of the french horn with ease. This swab fits all horns with a pre-valve main tuning slide. The
Qualities of Silk
All Hodge silk swabs are made from 100% silk and come in performers black, royal blue, burgundy, forest green, deep purple, hot pink and silver. Silk is very absorbent. It is also very compressible, making it possible to pull through instruments with large variations in bore size. In addition, silk is lint free. Hodge swabs for brass instruments are made using a ball chain, which is very effective as a weight and flexible for going around the curves of the french horn lead pipe and the tuning slides of brass instruments. The ball chain is non-abrasive and does not scratch the bore or other parts of the instrument when used properly.
What happens to brass instruments if they aren't swabbed?
Brass instruments need swabbing out as frequently as a woodwind instrument. If the lead pipe is not swabbed out, lime scale and other green crud from saliva, food, and chemicals build up on the walls of the pipe. This in turn causes a chemical reaction which begins to eat away at the metal. Pock marks begin to form and will eventually destroy the metal. Additionally, the build-up causes the diameter of the tubing to narrow and the sound quality will deteriorate and playing will begin to be impaired. The traditional bath given to brass instruments by conscientious owners cleans much of this out and brings the instrument back to its original playing condition provided it is done often enough. This is a big job however, and many players neglect it for too long. Swabbing after each playing session will take care of all these problems and make it so the bath does not need to be done as often. The other tubes throughout the instruments will need to be given a bath eventually but it is not as critical since they are farther along in the tubing and don’t accumulate as much build-up.
Stephen Chenette - Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
“The external finish has very little to do with brass instrument tone quality, but the condition of the insides matters a lot. Much of the expense of making brass instruments goes to keeping the inside of the tubing perfectly round, and of a consistent size as it goes around all the curves. If we let the tubing collect green crud, we have wasted a lot of money, and the crud is making our sounds duller, softer, and flatter. As a kid, I didn’t know that I should be cleaning my trumpet, and when I finally did, I moved up four chairs in my high school band.” Stephen Chenette, Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.