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 Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: BobD 
Date:   2010-10-12 12:52

There is an interesting YouTube flick about a trombone player who suffered for 15 years with a respiratory infection caused by bacteria in his instrument. Worth reading.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-12 13:22

Could you post a link to it?

Brass players aren't exactly renowned for cleaning their instruments after playing (only emptying out the excess condensation, then putting it in the case) and may not even clean them at all over a matter of years gradually building up all manner of crud inside them, so it's little wonder.

I've got no sympathy for them if they do this and then wonder why they themselves or their instruments are suffering.

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-10-12 13:27)

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-10-12 13:26

Considering the way they unabashedly create lifelong hearing problems for the people sitting in front of them, I would say it is a bit of karma.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-12 13:28

Good one!

Chris.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-12 18:13

The brass players who did their best to perforate everybody's eardrums when I was a kid may have believed that their instruments would scream louder if they were miserably filthy inside. Then again, though I've never heard of a clarinet player actually getting sick from a grubby mouthpiece, I've seen some stuff growing under old reeds that would gag a dog.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2010-10-12 22:17

I remember a master class by the renown English French Horn player Alan Civil telling the class that he soaks this horn, with the valves apart, once a month in the bath tub with soap and water to get out the pieces of bacon and eggs etc. Any brass player that does not keep their instrument clean is asking for trouble. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: L. Omar Henderson 
Date:   2010-10-12 23:42

For the most part clarinet players have it easy - keep your mouthpiece clean and your bore dry. Bacteria and virus hate dry surfaces but flourish in moist environments. Since the angle that we play with our instruments and the fact that we are forcing air outward would not be conducive to back flush of whatever is in the rest of our instrument. Dirty mouthpieces could be problematic I suppose, cleaning swabs now and again is probably good too. Bacteria are everywhere in the environment but most are not dangerous to the normal immune system.
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: musicalinstruments 
Date:   2010-10-13 03:50

Wow! I think every musician should see this. That's why keeping your instrument clean is so important.



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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-10-13 12:00

Omar Henderson said:
"Bacteria are everywhere in the environment but most are not dangerous to the normal immune system."

That's the key concept in all of this. We don't live in an aseptic environment and we are continually exposed to all kinds of microbes. Our immune systems evolved to protect us from most of them.

Then, too, if it took 15 years to track this down, what is there to indicate that the infection came from the trombone to the player rather than the other way around with the original source unknown?

Karl

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-13 13:29

If there's anything to worry about inhaling, it's mould, mildew or fungi spores.

Chris.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: k.tesar 
Date:   2010-10-13 14:31

It should also be noted that this is a worst-case scenario. No need to panic about the cleanliness of your instrument... Wiping it out after playing preserves the life of your pads and the prettiness of the bore more than it inhibits bacterial growth. Clarinet and flute bodies are straight, so there are no nooks for bacterial columns to hide in... where a trombone provides many safe havens for growth (little to no light, moisture deposits, etc.).

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-13 15:22

Nevertheless, take it from a longtime picker, things do grow inside clarinets put away wet. I've taken apart instruments with the register key tube clogged, keyholes (especially trill keys, high up on the instrument) full of dried out old gunk and even fungus among us along the inside of the bore. The problem with letting a clarinet get into that condition isn't that The Blob will migrate up the bore into your mouth, which I agree is unlikely to happen. The problem is that spores and bacteria can get into the mouthpiece and reeds simply from proximity: from sharing the same air-space inside the closed case.

I suppose I've written on this subject often enough to make people think I'm obsessed with it, but in fact I don't do anything except rinse the mouthpiece and reed and swab the clarinet after every time I play. That's next to no work and it's plenty enough to prevent these problems.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: michigan 
Date:   2010-10-14 13:39

How do you swab the clarinet? What do you use for that? I did not even get mine yet, so, have no clue :( Sorry for tha dumb question!

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2010-10-14 14:56

@michigan

Most players swab the clarinet with what is essentially a rag on the end of a string. With the clarinet assembled and the mouthpiece removed you drop the string down the bore and then use it to pull the rag through. You should be able to buy a good swab at any music store for a few dollars.



Post Edited (2010-10-14 16:42)

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2010-10-14 18:05

I once gave a lesson to a 9th grader who never used a swab and dropped the joints into her case wet. I tried her clarinet, which wouldn't play at all. I looked in the mouthpiece and down the bore and saw thick deposits of crud. When I scrubbed them out, the instrument played fine.

At least she didn't play bassoon. http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/lookup.php/Klarinet/1999/11/000892.txt

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-15 12:14

>>When I scrubbed them out, the instrument played fine.>>

*You* scrubbed them out?! I'd have stood over her and taught *her* how to scrub them out! She'd have learned in a hurry how much easier it is to take care of the instrument in the first place.

>>At least she didn't play bassoon. >>

Basoon bocal -- yeesh. I don't even want to think about it. ;-)

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: chorusgirl 
Date:   2010-10-16 15:51

Can someone provide a link to the youtube piece? I searched using several variations of the keywords, to no avail.

I have a young trumpeter in the family - I'd love for him to see this!:) I'm sure it will inspire him to keep his instrument clean (I'm proud to say our clarinetists do a good job of that!).

Thanks -

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: BartHx 
Date:   2010-10-18 15:07

In response to the question about how to swab a clarinet, I swab each piece individually. That way you can do a good job on the joints as well. I have worked on clarinets where the bore was reasonably clean, but the gunk had to literally be chipped out of the joints. One section at a time also gives me the incentive to check over the keywork as I go.

I have no connection to the Doctor, but I think his Black Master swab is fantastic.

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 Re: Wind Instruments contain bacteria
Author: BartHx 
Date:   2010-10-18 15:10

Oops. make that the Black Legend swab. Sorry Doc.

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