Trumpet, Euphonium and Tuba Maintenance
- Tips from our repair technician Fred Sullivan. Fred has been in the music store industry for many years, and would like to share some of his knowledge to help make life easier for parents of band students. Below are some tips from his webiste that can help anyone interested in trumpet tips and maintenence.
Tips for Every Day
1. Valves need to be lubricated on a regular basis. Steps for oiling valves: • Unscrew the valve cap and pull the valve straight out about half way. • Put a drop or two of valve oil on the flat part of the valve. Do not put in it in holes in the valve – this will just end up blowing through the instrument. • Push the valve back into the instrument. Use the guide to make sure the valve is correctly lined up. To check if the valve is lined up, gently try to turn it. If it doesn’t turn, it is lined up. If it turns, keep turning until it clicks into place.
2. Mouthpieces can occasionally get stuck in the horn. This is caused by tapping the mouthpiece to put it on the instrument (sometimes younger students do it because it makes an interesting noise). Always twist the mouthpiece gently in and out of the instrument. If the mouthpiece gets stuck, don’t try to force it out – this can cause damage to the instrument.
Repair shops have special tools to remove the mouthpiece. This is a free service in most shops.
3. When you are finished playing, be sure to remove water from the inside of the horn by opening the water keys and blowing gently through the instrument. Also be sure to wipe off the outside of the horn to get oils from your hands off. The acids in your saliva and hands can damage the brass. It is important to keep the inside and outside clean.
4. All of your tuning slides should move freely. If it is needed, lubricate them with a small amount of slide grease.
5. Keep your instrument in a case when you are not playing. This helps prevent dents and other damage. Never store books or music laying on the instrument in the case. This can bend valves and tuning slides, causing huge problems.
Tips for Monthly and Yearly Maintenance
1. You should clean your instrument around every three months. Using an instrument snake, you can run a little water through tuning slides to get out any residue from valve oil and saliva.
2. Once a year you should have your instrument chemically cleaned. A repair shop will clean, oil, and adjust your instrument to keep the valves and tuning slides running smoothly. Spring is the best time to have your instrument serviced because repair shops are not overloaded.