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I acquired a bassoon recently from my school.

It appears the previous owner was less than routine with their cleaning of the instrument, and there is a (prepare yourself) thin layer of congealed saliva/‘water’ coating the boot of the instrument.

I tried using my “silk” swab (closer inspection revealed it was made of polyester) to clean out the instrument, and it got a good portion of the mess out, but I’m concerned that if I don’t get all of it out, further damage to the wood will occur.

To clarify, the instrument sounds fine. I am worried about the future condition of the instrument.

My teacher said to (carefully) try and clean it, and if the hunk doesn’t come out, then they will take the instrument to the local store, because it would leave me without an instrument to practice on. (I am just starting bassoon, after ~1 year of piano, and 3-4 years of percussion)

Are there any low-cost, efficient methods for cleaning the instrument?

  • A repair shop might well have a loaner you could use while they rehabilitate your axe. – Carl Witthoft Nov 8 '17 at 12:22
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You could try to remove the metal cap from the boot, open the screws and remove the metal U there. (Reassembly is easy, typically a metal PIN ensures correct orientation.) Then you can inspect whats there and since it is open it should also dry much faster. After leaving it open over the night it should at least be dry (if not clean), and no further harm occurs. Applying some cork grease before reassembling also can't hurt.

Important: don't insert possibly scratching metal into the wood parts, your swab should be sufficient.

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