Horn Nerd: Bumper Material Edition

A recent post over at Hornmatters.com about different types of bumper material was both very informative and a great reminder that I’m not the only horn player that tends to the analytical side.

The Hornmatters.com post, which you can read here, links over to Siegfriend’s Call, where you can read about the ten different types of bumper material they sell! I have to say, seeing all the different materials makes me very curious about trying them out!

closeup of french horn bumper material

A closeup of my horn’s bumper material.

I’ve used three different types of bumper material in my current horn (Paxman 75), and I can tell you that it does make a difference. When I bought the horn the bumpers didn’t line up well, and so I temporarily (i.e. about 4 months) replaced them with actual cork (cut from a wine bottle cork). When that started to degrade, I replaced them with what I had on hand, the red-orange silicone, but the diameter of that material (bought from a different source and for a different horn) didn’t fit well. So I ordered some neoprene from Ferree’s (I believe it’s A70 hardness, since Ferree’s website doesn’t specify), and that has worked well, although it is a bit on the loud side for a few valves. I’m not sure if that’s the bumper material or a mechanical problem in the valve, but experimenting with bumper material is much cheaper than a valve job!

This new information has inspired me to check out some of these different materials and see if any of them provide a better feel or quieter valve action!

Stay tuned, since I plan a follow-up to this post after I get a chance to play around with some of the options!

About Colin Dorman

Colin is a freelance horn player and teacher, as well as a fan of tech of all sorts, aviation, and increasingly complex flight simulators. He also enjoys beer, bourbon and fitness - but not at the same time. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, as well as right here at ColinDorman.com!