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Bassoon Care

#1
Hi,

Does anyone know how to clean tarnish off of bocals and possibly bassoon keys as well? The tarnish is green if left on the instrument, and I'm trying to prevent it from spreading any further/growing any worse on one of my bocals. I'm not sure what the metal of the bocals or keys is. I know I need a new case (the liner is decaying around the hinges and thus is beginning to expose the bocal I'm concerned about to more air leaks), but I don't have the finances for one right now.

Thanks in advance for your help,
Monica
 

Tammi

Private woodwind instructor
#2
Are you sure it's tarnish on the bocal and keys?
Tarnish is usually grey/blackish in color. Green is generally gunk.

Try washing the bocal in a weak solution of leukwarm water, dish soap (the kind for handwashing, NOT dishwasher) and ammonia. The same solution can be used on the keys using a bit of old wash cloth and Q-tips. Be sure to squeeze out the excess moisture before washing the keys. You don't want to get the pads soaked. Be sure to rinse/wipe with clear water.

Soaking in white vinegar will disolve calcium deposits inside the bocal. Again rinse with clear water.

If it IS tarnish there are polishing cloths made specifically for cleaning silver and silver plate.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#3
Are you sure it's tarnish on the bocal and keys?
Tarnish is usually grey/blackish in color. Green is generally gunk.
Silver tarnishes black-ish (eventually all black). Nickel tarnishes white (or dull, if you prefer).

Even the low-end student-model Amati has silver plated keywork, so I think you probably have silver-plated keywork.

It be a bit of a stretch to call some silver tarnish green, but the brownish/purplish color of early silver tarnish might be mistaken as such in a particular light. Maybe. Hey, I'm trying to work with ya here :).

The cloths do work fairly good. If you do want to try a polish, though, MAKE SURE you know what metal you're polishing and get an appropriate NON-TARNISHING, NON-ABRASIVE polish. If you, for instance, use Brasso on silver, you'll turn it black.

And be gentle. It's easy to damage that bocal. The keys a little less so.

If either Tammi or my suggestions work out, it might be wise to get some non-tarnish strips and throw 'em in the case.

Speaking of cases, if the case lining is green, I think we can safely call the "tarnish" gunk :).

Hope you enjoy the forum! Welcome!
 
#4
Speaking of cases, if the case lining is green, I think we can safely call the "tarnish" gunk :).

Hope you enjoy the forum! Welcome!

The case lining looks like it was originally red, but I suppose the green stuff could be gunk, because the bassoon was stuck to the lining when I got it a few years ago. It was a very fix-'er-up job, but the bassoon's worth it.

Anyone have any recommendations for bassoon cases?

Thanks for the tips, everyone, and thanks also for the warm welcome!

~Monica
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#5
A friend of mine has her deluxe all the bells and whistles Heckel in one of these:
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#6
I'd pack a $25K bassoon in something a little more sturdy, but that's a nice looking gig bag.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#7
Gig bags are a great idea - until a horn gets knocked around. I once had to use a Yani baritone that came in a gig bag - no case at all.

The horn was out of regulation when I got it from the school where I borrowed it. I got it regulated by my friend Marvin Kranz (then working at St. Ann School Music Service, carefully carried it out to the car, placed it on a cushioned bed made up of old pillows, hauled it to the rehearsal and back home again.

Two pads on the lower joint were leaking slightly. Another trip to Marvin, got it retweaked, and thence to the job.

One pad was leaking after that trip. I turned the horn in that night, frustrated as hell by the whole experience. Give me a case that keeps the body from flexing and protects the horn from incidental bumps, this over a "padded" bag that does neither.

I hate my heavy Yamaha case with a passion, but it protects the horn under all conditions. Alto and tenor folks may be comfortable with the "protection" that a bag gives. Baritones are much larger, harder to protect under your arm, and (with the longer body length) more susceptible to flexing.
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#8
You'd have to see it first hand. If one of these was made for bass clarinet I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Each joint is in a sub case within the outer padded shell. We gigged together for quite a few years and she had it in the shop only one time for some adjustment - 1st time in 15 years in the case.
 
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