Care and Maintenance – Valved Brass
Almost 70% of all the brass repairs we do could be avoided by regular maintenance.
Regular maintenance is important, a little time and effort will certainly pay off and should avoid many problems and the ensuing repair bill. However, beware of attempting any repair, however small, yourself. If in doubt, consult a qualified instrument repairer for advice. Brass instruments have a considerable advantage over some instruments as largely able to be maintained by the player. If your instrument is kept clean and properly lubricated, it will present very few problems.
♪ The two most important factors to remember in caring for your brass instrument are cleanliness and regular lubrication.
♪ Clean the mouthpiece at least once a week with warm water and a mouthpiece brush. Deposits in a mouthpiece or mouthpipe can be detrimental in the response of your instrument.
♪ Flush out the instrument at least once a month with a solution of soapy lukewarm water. DO NOT use hot water as this may affect the lacquer. Rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly.
♪ Use a flexible cleaning brush to clean out the slides and tubing. Use the brush carefully and make sure it is renewed at least twice a year to avoid breakage inside the instrument.
♪ The valve casings should be carefully cleaned using a valve brush. (do not use a standard flexible brush).
♪ The valves should be removed in sequence and dried using a lint free cloth, ensuring that no moisture remains. When replacing a valve rotate it until it clicks into position. Gently blow through the instrument (without the mouthpiece) to check the valve is aligned properly. If the air doesn’t flow freely, rotate half a turn.
♪ Use a quality tuning slide grease when lubricating slides and a minimum amount of valve oil on the valves. Use of inferior lubricants can affect the performance of your instrument.
♪ When you have finished playing, loosen the valve caps by half a turn. This avoids the trapped moisture causing corrosion in the screw threads.
♪ 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 recommended.
♪ 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!
♪ Should the mouthpiece get stuck in the instrument, DO NOT try to remove it yourself, this will cause further damage. Take the instrument to a repairer.