Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bocal brush!

About a year ago I picked up a bocal brush, figuring it was a standard piece of equipment, and I ought to have one. I didn't use it immediately, and somehow misplaced it. I figured I probably didn't need it too badly, since I'm careful to keep my mouth and reeds clean, so what gunk was there that could end up in the bocal? I'm well aware of what can end up in bocals, though. I remember the first bassoon I played, a student horn belonging to my junior high school. (Speaking of which, a junior high with an orchestra? And a bassoon to lend? We didn't know how good we had it.) Anyway, it was tough to make a sound. I didn't have a brush, didn't know special brushes existed, but I did run tap water through the bocal, and was astonished by the large chunks of crud that came out. Really, I was mostly surprised that I could get air through at all, given how packed it was with crud. And yeah, clearing it out helped that horn a lot. So brushing out bocals seems like a good idea, and I was annoyed that I'd lost my brush before ever using it. A month or two ago I even spent awhile searching, without success, and made do with running water through it.

Today, while tidying, I found my unused bocal brush! I immediately brushed out my main bocal, curious if there would be any gunk, though I didn't really expect anything. But lo, check this out:

Not huge hunks, but some substantial slime, to be sure. How exactly a slime coat would affect the acoustics isn't obvious to me, but it can't be good. Trying it out afterward, it felt like maybe it was a little more resonant, and a little easier to reach very high notes (D-D#-E), but I can't be sure if that isn't just psychological. Worthwhile in any case.

As an added bonus, I used the same principle to fix my dishwasher later in the evening. So: two wins for brushes in one day.

1 comment:

  1. EEWWWW!!!! EEEWWWW!!! EEEeeeWWW!!! I was going to have lunch, but I don't think so now...