We went to band practice again last night. We’ve been practicing since last time and at least we felt like we knew how to play our instruments when we started. Rhiannon even had a working French horn.
Because it was fixed.
After I broke it.
Last Sunday night we were practicing and the notes coming from the French horn didn’t sound quite right. And Rhiannon looked at me and I looked at Rhiannon, and I shrugged and played a little louder to drown her out. And apparently she knew something was wrong at looked at the valves and saw that something was wrong.
For those of you who don’t know, the valves on a French horn are really pretty simple. There is a key on a wound up springy thing and you just press on one end and the other end has a small sweater’s worth of string attached to a rotary valve that opens and closes depending on if the key is pressed or held open by the springy thing.
Yeah. Simple. I expect you all to go make your own French horns using only my highly detailed and technical description as a guide.
Well, one of the strings was loose and not opening the valve (which will cause problems in trying to the play the right note). The string is held to the key by a small screw, and it had come loose from here. I got a screwdriver and gave it to Rhiannon to begin repairs. She tightened it and went to play and the string slipped again.
Being male, I obviously have a natural sense with a screwdriver, so I took over at this point. I put the string under the screw and began to tighten. And tighten. And I really waited to feel the screw snug up, but it never did. What did happen is the head of screw came off from having a little too much torque applied (I have been working out, thanks for asking) leaving the threaded part flush with the key.
And I was really at a loss until Rhiannon felt under the key and said the screw was sticking out the bottom. Of course, I could simply grab it there and twist the rest out with a pliers – all we have to do would be pick up a replacement screw and everything would be ok.
Rhiannon went to work on some teacher type things and I went to work on the French horn. Long story short, my next question to her was, “Hey, do you know how to take the keys completely off a French horn? Well, I do now.”
I couldn’t get to the small end of the screw without taking the key off. And those springy things I mentioned earlier? Surprisingly strong. And stubborn. And painful on the fingers when trying to bend them back into position to replace the previously removed keys. And I think as it got later in the evening and Rhiannon had visions of me taking large destructive devices to her horn, she wisely suggested we go to bed and she would take it to a repair shop the next day before I or the French horn was seriously injured.
I stared at the horn at it stared back at me, and in that silence I heard a small voice say, “Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?”
Rhiannon took it in and got it fixed up. Me, I still wonder if there was one bullet left or not.