How to Get Water Out of a French Horn

A French horn can sometimes retain water after a cleaning. You must remove the water to prevent a bubbling sound when it is played. On a smaller scale, condensation will also form while performing. French horns will require water removal during performances as well. Learning to perform the water removal task quickly and quietly is a requirement of performers, and not isolated simply to the cleaning process.

Step 1

Hold the French horn in the same position used for playing.

Step 2

Remove the mouthpiece and turn the horn so the lead pipe is facing the ground.

Step 3

Press the keys several times to force water out of the instrument.

Step 4

Remove the main tuning slide on the bottom of the horn while depressing all the valves on the instrument. The main tuning slide is the largest slide on the horn. Empty any water in the slide.

Step 5

Take the small Bb key slide out of the horn while depressing the valves. Empty the slide of its water.

If you have a water key, it may be used in a performance to eliminate water.


Press the valves down to release pressure while removing any tuning slide. The horn consists of several sections of tubing soldered together. When the pressure is not relieved, it puts unneeded tension on the joints, the weakest part of the horn. Over time, this can erode the joints and create leaks in the instrument.

Leblanc Double Horn Care, Maintenance, and Minor Repair; Frank Horton Company []


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