Practical tips for trombone maintenance

All trombones require constant maintenance, regardless of the model. However, each type of these instruments is manufactured with different tuning systems, being useful, for example, to clean the slide trombone in one way and the one with pistons in another. It is also important to visit a specialist technician if the dirt or rust on the trombone is very difficult to remove with your own hands.

The care of this brass instrument should be daily, after each use. It is good to use a specific lubricant for the shaft and clean the outside with a soft cloth. Likewise, it is important to do a more detailed review, that is, a disassembly and deep cleaning where it is cleaned piece by piece and the necessary adjustments are made every one or three months. However, this time we will explain how to maintain your instrument, so take a look at the following sections.

specialized maintenance

Sometimes it is difficult to prevent the instrument from suffering an accidental fall while it is being used, resulting in bumps, scratches, misalignment of some part, etc. When this happens, in many cases users choose to try to fix them themselves, which could become a serious mistake, since they could damage the instrument if they do not have the knowledge or experience.

It is at that moment when a trombone requires a review by a specialist, since he will make a diagnosis of the state of the musical instrument and, if necessary, will proceed to change or restore parts, renew the paint, polish, among other things that will leave it like new. In addition, we recommend that you take it at least once a year so that the specialist can carry out a deep cleaning, since he has specialized tools that will guarantee its durability.

Is cleaning a slide trombone different from a valve trombone?

The first must be cleaned before and after use with a special lubricant for the instrument’s slide, since failure to do so could cause corrosion due to saliva residue, causing rapid deterioration of the trombone.

On the other hand, the piston trombone requires an oil to have it in optimal operation. It is advisable to use a cloth every time the player goes to clean it, so that there are no scratches on the instrument.

It is worth mentioning that it is important to check the pistons periodically, since they can get stuck. If the latter happens, the trombone must be taken to a brass instrument technician. Do not try to disassemble the pistons by force and without consulting an expert, as this could damage them.

constant cleaning

Whether you are a professional or a beginner playing the trombone, you should keep in mind that taking care of your instrument is very important and varies depending on how often you use it. You must make maintenance a daily habit, that is, after a rehearsal or concert. In short, never put it away without cleaning it first, and this task won’t take much of your time either. If you practice these tips, you will always have the best trombone (You can find here some purchase options) in your hands, with good external brightness and powerful sound.

In addition, we encourage you to invest money buying cleaning products for each part of the instrument, such as lubricants or special oils. In addition to this, we recommend cleaning the inside of the neck and the shaft, for this use a flexible brush or a rod wrapped with some soft tissue.

As if that were not enough, you must also take care of the mouthpiece so that it does not deteriorate, this is a very important part so that the sound of the trombone does not lower its quality. In this sense, to take care of the mouthpiece you must carry out an external cleaning every day after each use, passing a cloth through it, especially in the cup and ring, both inside and outside, to remove traces of sweat, saliva or moisture.. To do internal maintenance to the nozzle, we recommend using a special conical brush and, if there is dirt accumulation, use soap and water. Many musicians even clean the mouthpiece with apple cider vinegar from time to time, as this extends its useful life.

Likewise, oral hygiene is necessary, that is, the trombonist brushes his teeth before using the instrument, avoiding the accumulation of residues or bad odors in the pipes of the trombone.

On the other hand, the pumps must be greased with a special liquid. In addition to this, depending on the manufacturing material, you can use gasoline, alcohol or apple cider vinegar. However, if the instrument has a layer of lacquer, it is contraindicated to use these products, as it would affect its useful life. Even the rotor must be lubricated with a specific oil, as well as the ball joints of the lever, because in this way you will prevent them from becoming clogged.

Deep cleaning

Later, for a more effective cleaning, which you can do from 1 to 3 months, you should carefully disassemble the instrument so as not to lose any small pieces and then find a container the size of the trombone. Next, submerge all parts in warm soapy water. Perform this procedure for a period of time of 20 minutes. Then clean the inside of each part with rods or brushes and rinse with water. At the end of this process, dry the exterior with a cloth and remove any remaining water that has remained internally.

The outside of it will be cleaned with specific products according to the manufacturing material. Here we will give you some examples regarding the different finishes of the trombones. If it is in gold, only a cloth will suffice to make it shine, in silver use a silver cleaner. However, for those with lacquer finishes, you should not use metal polish or silver as this would cause a rapid deterioration of the material. We advise that as a last resort you use glass cleaner or varnish.  

Finally, the instrument should be stored in a case and we recommend using an anti-humidity bag, as it will prevent moisture from accumulating inside. The latter is something that can damage both the instrument and the case.

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