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Brass Wind Care & Maintenance

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Best Practices When Caring

for Your Brass Instruments

  • When placing your instrument back into its case, make sure it fits all the correct indentations. Do not force your case closed, as it probably means the instrument isn’t in right.

  • Make sure your instrument is completely dry prior to placing it in your case. Drain water after playing and wipe your instrument dry with a clean, soft cloth.

  • Keeping your saliva to yourself is especially important during a global pandemic! No one wants to be exposed to your saliva! However, emitting saliva from the water key (aka “spit valve”) is a perfectly normal process! We suggest the use of a peewee pad typically used for training/housebreaking dogs. They are absorbent pads and can help to reduce the spread of germs from saliva being blown out onto the band room floor! When you're done playing, pickup your pad and discard of properly!

Keeping your mouthpiece clean and sanitized is especially important. A small bottle of sanitizing spray should be kept on-hand and used after every playing session. This way your mouthpiece will not develop bacteria while it's put away in its case!

Yearly professional cleaning is recommended for brass instruments to avoid costly repairs and possible corrosion. We employ the use of a very large ultrasonic cleaning machine. This does a far better job than can be done in your bathtub! It’s the same technology used by your dentist to clean his/her dental tools!

  • Avoid eating, drinking sugary liquids, or chewing gum immediately prior to playing your instrument. Your sticky saliva with build-up on the inside of your instrument! Always remove your mouthpiece after playing. Regularly clean your mouthpiece with warm water and mild soap.

  • If your mouthpiece is dry, you can apply a thin layer of valve oil to the bore to keep it from getting stuck.

  • If your mouthpiece does get stuck, never forcefully twist your mouthpiece. We have a special tool made specifically to do the job quickly and easily, and w/o doing damage to your horn!

  • Bare brass can stick together if left unmoved for long periods of time. We suggest you move all possible parts at least every couple of weeks.

  • Regularly oil horn key valves (3x per week) by placing a drop or two to bearings and rotors. Work the valve a couple of times to ensure oil is spread evenly.

  • Unscrew trumpet valves, wipe them clean, and place a drop of valve oil, coating the entire valve. Apply oil to valve cap and bottom cap. Oiling the valves from the bottom caps is not recommended because doing this can force dirt and particles back into the piston.

  • Apply slide oil to your trombone at least once a week by placing hand slide into the third position and adding oil to each slide.

  • Never try to hammer out dents at home, take your instrument to a licensed professional with the proper tools to do the job right!

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