How Do I Care for My Detachable Bell French Horn?

Most modern horns have a detachable bell for travel and carrying convenience.

To attach the bell:

  1. Hold the horn normally with the left hand on the valves, and your pinky finger in the pinky hook.
  2. Place your right hand inside the bell, palm flat against the metal. Carefully seat the bell ring flush against the receiving ring on the horn, then use your thumb to gently rotate the bell on (clockwise).
  3. If cross-threading occurs, stop the clockwise rotation, gently reverse, and try again. Use patience!

To remove the bell:

  1. Hold the horn normally with the left hand on the valves, and your pinky finger in the pinky hook.
  2. Using your right hand to grip the inside of the bell at the outer rim, pull the bell towards your body (counterclockwise) to gently loosen the bell without fully detaching it.
  3. Place your right hand inside the bell, palm flat against the metal, and make sure that your fingertips go past the seam where the bell attaches.
  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, heavy oil, or slide gel to lubricate the threads if necessary.

DO NOT force off a bell that has become stuck, as this can cause damage to the bell tail and flare. If your bell is stuck, please consult your repair technician for instructions on how to remove the bell.

A bell can become stuck by…

  1. Forcing the bell past the point where it naturally stops when attaching it.
  2. Spinning the bell on too quickly or aggressively.
  3. Leaving the bell attached for too long, which can allow the ring to oxidize.
  4. Applying external force to the bell ring (while  detached or attached), which can distort the shape of the ring.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sergio g. rivera garcia

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

    1. kaciel

      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. Valerie

    Are you suppose to oil the bell threads?

    1. Mark Houghton

      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: https://houghtonhorns.com/shop/hetman-lubricants/

      Hope this helps. You should be good to go!

  3. Jill Abramson

    Every time i attach and detach the bell it’s very squeeky…what do you recommend to stop the squeek graphite or oil?

  4. Sally Podrebarac

    Hi Jill,
    We recommend using oil, as Mark Houghton mentioned above. This should help stop the squeaking! Please feel free to give us a call with any questions: 817-993-6400

  5. Cass

    How do you know what kind of threads you have? I believe my bell was custom made before I purchased it so I don’t know.

  6. Sally Podrebarac

    Hi Cass,
    Please feel free to give us a call at 817-993-6400 and we would be happy to talk with you more about your bell, thanks!

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