A brass instrument needs continuous care – immediately after playing and every now and then a complete cleaning. Residues that can damage the instrument in the long run can accumulate, and the slides or valves can no longer run unhindered. But also those that are simply unhygienic or dangerous to health. The really unpleasant dirt – even the smell – always accumulates where it can at least be seen.
1. Four-season schedule
For four-season cleaning schedule – about every three months – involves taking the instrument apart completely, disassemble it into its individual parts and put it in a plastic tub with lukewarm (!) water. Do not use hot water at all. The parts are soaked in detergent and cleaned with appropriate cleaning brushes, such as the Reka cleaning set for tuba and sousaphone, which is also available for other brass instruments.
2. Grease and oil-related parts
Once everything has dried completely, we’re ready to reassemble. All relevant parts are first freshly greased. It is clear that metal meets metal at every moving point. The pipes etc. must not be fit into each other without lubricant, this would result in them getting stuck. Finally, the valves and valve slides are oiled. A proven product is the special valve oil from La Tromba.
3. Surface cleaning
There are many other care processes that are indispensable: Immediately after playing, the surface of the instrument should be wiped with a soft cloth and all residues must be removed. This includes hand perspiration, dust and saliva. To ensure having a shiny instruments you can use the proven high-quality microfibre polishing cloth from Thomann. For silver-plated instruments, ideally use a cotton cloth like the Thomann Silver Cloth. If necessary, you can also use it to freshen up grandmother’s silverware. Back to the topic: The surface of silver-plated instruments must be polished without damaging it. You can achieve reasonable results with the Silver Care polish from Hagerty.
4. Keep the mouthpiece meticulously clean
Of course, the place of most direct contact with the instrument is the mouthpiece. All the more important to keep it meticulously clean. Not only a question of longevity and appearance, but also of hygiene. Some residues and smells are quite difficult to remove. What beats them all is the Thomann mouthpiece cleaner. The easy-to-use aerosol sprayer delivers fresh scent and ensures safe cleaning. Simply wipe off and possibly polish a little, and everything is good to go!
5. Special case: Trombone slides
In the case of trombones, the slide is the most used part and need to be kept particularly clean. The Slide-O-Mix Set is used by leading orchestras worldwide. The emulsion adheres very well. It is a 2-component solution. The Slide-O-Mix Rapid Comfort care product is even more practical, as a reliable all-in-one solution, this product ensures a reliable lubricant film on the trombone slide. Especially helpful for beginners.
6. Treat tuning slides separately
A special care product for the tuning slides is La Tromba‘s Slide and Cork Grease. It is designed for tuning slides and woodwind instruments, so be careful not to lubricate brass instruments in the wrong places…
7. Drainage, transportation & storage
The first rule after playing, by the way, is that you should drain the condensation and saliva from the instrument, using the “spit valve” (also known as the “water key“), then dry off well and let the remaining moisture dry out completely. After playing, suitcases or gig bags are only suitable for short transport. At home – or wherever – remove the instrument so that the residual moisture can evaporate. This will hardly work in the case or bag. For trumpet we suggest the Thomann Trumpet Gigbag made of high-quality Cordura as a sensible transport solution.
From 24 to 30 April 2019 #KissMyBrass is all about brass instruments. On Facebook and Instagram and here on the t.blog you will find exclusive deals, helpful articles and all kinds of entertaining content.