INSTRUMENT CARE & REPAIR
Regular maintenance is important, a little time and effort will certainly pay off and
should avoid problems which could result in a costly repair bill. However, beware of
attempting any repair, however small, yourself. If in doubt, consult a qualified
instrument technician for advice.
- Use a soft, lint free cloth after playing to reduce the effect of dust on the mechanism
and acids and oils from the hands on the plating.
- Clear the instrument of moisture after every playing session - excess moisture on pads
is the greatest contributor to seating problems.
- Always take the instrument apart after playing and replace in the case. Never leave it
- Try to avoid sudden changes of temperature, for example, donít blow warm air down
the instrument immediately after coming indoors from a cold street. It is best to leave
the case open for a few minutes before starting to blow.
- Donít play a new instrument for too long at a time. After 30 minutes or so, dry it
out thoroughly and leave it apart for another 30 minutes.
- If the joints become tight to assemble or take apart, donít play the instrument
until the tenons have been freed by a repairer.
- Donít store the instrument in extreme temperatures, such as near a radiator or in a
- Apply a light dressing of wood oil to the bore regularly as directed by an experienced
The two most important factors to remember in caring for your brass instrument are
cleanliness and regular lubrication.
- Flush out the instrument at least once a month with a mild soapy solution using lukewarm
water. Then rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly. Donít use hot water - it may
damage the lacquer.
- A flexible cleaning brush should be used to clean out slides and tubing, but make sure
this is renewed at least twice a year to avoid breakage inside the instrument.
- Use a valve case cleaning brush to clean out the valve casings (do not use a standard
- Use a lint-free cloth, such as cheesecloth, as a swab. This may also be used to wipe the
pistons which should be very carefully removed and care taken to replace them in the
- Use only a quality tuning slide grease when lubricating slides and a minimum amount of
valve oil on the pistons. Use of inferior lubricants can affect the performance of your
- When you have finished playing, loosen the valve caps by half a turn. This avoids the
trapped moisture causing corrosion in the screw threads.
- Make sure that mouthpieces are cleaned thoroughly with warm water and a mouthpiece
brush. Deposits in a mouthpiece or mouthpipe can be detrimental in the response of your
- Care should be taken when polishing lacquered and silver plated instruments. Harsh
abrasives must be avoided at all times and only the correct cleaning cloths are
- Try to keep your instrument in an atmosphere of even temperature and humidity, do not
leave it in sunlight or near a radiator, even in the case!
- Fill the complete slide with warm soapy water and activate the slide up and down several
times. Remove the water and rinse through with clear, cold water. Repeat as necessary.
- The inner and outer slides should be disassembled and cleaned using a flexible cleaning
brush, in conjunction with any good slide cleaning kit, to make sure that the cleaner
reaches the bottom bow of the outer slide.
- A small amount of good quality slide cream should be applied to the inner slide stocking
and sprayed with clear water.
- Ensure that the bell and tuning slide are kept clean by running them through with
lukewarm water and a tuning slide swab. After drying with a lint-free cloth, apply tuning
slide grease before reassembling.