How Do I Care for My Detachable Bell French Horn?

Some horns have a detachable bell for convenience, either to make traveling with a horn easier or to afford them the opportunity to carry the horn in a lighter, backpack-style case.

To attach the bell

  1. Hold the horn normally with the left hand on the valves, pinky finger in the pinky hook.
  2. Place your right hand inside the bell, palm flat against the metal, and use your thumb to rotate the bell on (away from your body).
  3. Be sure the bell ring is seated flush against the receiving ring on the horn.
  4. Avoid cross-threading by immediately stopping the rotation, taking the bell off, and trying again. Use patience.

To remove the bell

  1. Hold the horn normally with the left hand on the valves, pinky finger in the pinky hook.
  2. Using your right hand to grip the inside of the rim, pull the bell towards your body to loosen the bell without fully detaching it.
  3. Immediately place your right hand, palm flat against the metal, making sure your fingertips go past the seam.
  4. Holding the body of the horn higher than the bell, use your thumb to rotate the bell the off. This will ensure that if the bell falls, it will fall on your wrist like a bracelet, and not on the floor or body of the horn.
  5. Use powdered graphite to quiet the rotation of the bell if it becomes noisy.

DO NOT force off a bell that has become stuck. This will cause the whole bell tail to twist off from the rest of the horn, in a corkscrew-like fashion. In this event, please consult your repair technician for instructions on how to remove the bell.

Common ways a bell will become stuck

  1. Forcing the bell past the point where it naturally stops when attaching it.
  2. Spinning the bell on too quickly.
  3. Leaving the bell attached for too long, allowing the ring to oxidize together.
  4. External force to the bell ring, while the horn is either separate or together. This results in the bell ring becoming “out of round” and will not fit correctly on the horn.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hello so i got my french horn bell stuck and it’s twisting if can help reply to [email protected]

    1. Hello! Can you give us a call at 817-993-6400 ex. 2? One of the repair technicians should be able to help you with your bell.

  2. Are you suppose to oil the bell threads?

    1. Hi Valerie,

      To maintain and lubricate your bell threads, first wipe the threads with a clean microfiber cloth or paper towel. After cleaning, apply some heavy oil or gel (Hetman #6, #6.5 or #7) to the male threads, then slowly screw the bell onto the horn. Re-clean and apply as needed.

      Here is a link to our Hetman products:

      Hope this helps. You should be good to go!

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