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 flat against the receiving ring on the horn.
  4. Avoid cross-threading by immediately stopping the rotation, taking the bell off, and trying again.

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, pull the bell towards your body to get the rotation started, but not fully detaching the bell.
  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. 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.

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