Brass instrument care and maintenance

Your instrument is a valuable item, well worth your respect, care and attention. Until you have been playing the instrument for a few years it is best to let your EA Music Service tutor fix sticky valves and trombone slides in your weekly lesson.

Euphonium player in concert

When you are a little more experienced, you should ask your tutor to show you how to carry out basic maintenance, and the link below is also worth investigating.

Regular maintenance is important – a little time and effort will certainly pay off and should avoid problems that may result in a costly repair bill.

Your EA Music service tutor should always be informed of any damage to your instrument. Our experienced technicians and instrument repairers are best placed to carry out all running repairs. DO NOT attempt to repair an instrument yourself.

The two most important factors to remember in caring for your brass instrument are cleanliness and regular lubrication.

How to care for your Brass instrument:

  • Flush out the instrument at least once a month with a mild, soapy using luke-warm water. Then rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly. Don’t use hot water as it may damage the lacquer.
  • A flexible cleaning brush should be used to clean out slides and tubing, but make sure is renewed at least twice a year to avoid breakage inside he instrument,
  • Use a valve cleaner to clean out the valve casing. Do not use a standard flexible brush.
  • Use a lint-free cloth. This may also be used to wipe the valves which should be very carefully removed one at a time and care taken to replace them in the correct order.
  • Use only a quality tuning slide grease when lubricating slides and a minimum amount of quality valve oil on the valves.
  • Make sure that the mouthpiece is cleaned thoroughly with warm water a mouthpiece brush. Deposits in a mouthpiece or leadpipe can be detrimental to the sound quality of your brass instrument.
  • Care should be taken when polishing lacquered and silver plated instruments. Never use harsh abrasives and only cleaning cloths are recommended.
  • Try to keep your instrument in an atmosphere of even temperature and humidity and not leave it in sunlight or near a radiator.
  • Be careful not to leave the instrument out of the case in a place where it can be sat on or knocked over by people or animals. (You would be surprised how often large repairs are necessary as a result of this kind of accident!).
  • Always use a properly fitted case when transporting the instrument and make sure the latches are secured before you pick up the case.
  • Avoid standing the instrument on its bell as this can cause extensive damage and ensure that you use the correct fitting stand for your instrument.

For trombones

  • Fill the complete slide with warm soapy water and move the slide up and down several times. Remove the water and rinse through with clear, cold water.
  • The inner and outer slides should be disassembled and cleaned using a flexible cleaner, in conjunction with a slide cleaning kit, to make sure that the cleaner reaches the bottom bow of the outer side.
  • A SMALL amount of good quality slide cream should be applied to the inner slide stocking and sprayed with the water.
  • Ensure that the bell and tuning slide are kept clean by running them through with luke-warm water and a tuning slide swab. After drying with a lint-free cloth, apply tuning slide grease before reassembling.

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