• Band Instrument Maintenance

     

    Wanting to know the proper way to clean and provide general care for your instrument?  You have come to the right place!  On this page, you will find the necessary steps to make sure your instrument will stay in tip-top playing shape for all of it's days.

     

    Flute

    Approx. Time:  30 minutes   

    Frequency:  Once every month

    The flute does not require any oiling, greasing, or "bath time" like the other brass instruments.  However, it does require a little TLC (tender loving care) so that it stays in great playing shape.

    1.  You will want these two accessories:

    o   Non-lint cloth

    o   Pad paper

     

         Please perform the following while the flute is disassembled, preferably while the other pieces are safely resting in the case.

     

    1.  Use the Pad Paper to clean each pad, making sure none stick or make a popping noise when pressed down.  Do this by putting the paper under the pad, press down with generous force and slowly pull the paper away without ripping it.
    2. Wipe down each section of the flute with your non-lint cloth (head, body, foot), cleaning any finger prints, oils or any dust/dirt that may have collected over the month of use.

     

          Follow these guidelines and your flute should last many years!

     


    Clarinet and Saxophone

    Approx. Time:  30 min

    Frequency:  Once every month

     

    The Clarinet and Saxophone, like the Flute, do not require constant greasing or "baths" like the brass instruments, but they do require more care after each playing in order to stay in great playing shape.  The following instructions are to be done once every month.

    1. The two accessories needed are:
      • non-lint cloth
      • Pad Paper
    2. Use the Pad Paper on each pad, making sure none stick or making a popping noise when pressed down.  Do this by putting the paper under the pad, press down with generous force and slowly pull the paper away without ripping it.
    3. Wipe down each section your Clarinet or Saxophone with your non-lint cloth, cleaning finger prints, oils or any dust/dirt that may have collected over the month of use.


         Follow these guidelines and your Clarinet or Saxophone should last many years!




    Trumpet/Cornet

    Approx. Time:  1-2 hrs.

    Frequency:  Once every two months

     

    The trumpet should be washed ONLY with luke-warm water.  Any kind of soap will hurt or damage the instrument.  Hot water will strip the lacquer off the instrument.  The cleaning area should consist of a bathtub or large sink with plenty of maneuvering space (dings are costly!).  Do not submerge the instrument in still water--always use running water.

    1. Prepare your "trumpet bath" area by having ready all necessary cleaning accessories:
      • non-lint cloth
      • mouthpiece brush
      • snake brush
      • valve casing brush
      • slide grease
      • valve oil

                Disassemble Trumpet

    1. Gently remove all moving parts from the trumpet (mouthpiece, three valves, four slides), and set them on a surface where they will not roll off or be scratched.
    2. Valves: Unscrew the top and bottom valve caps (know which go where).  Make sure you know which valve is which (most should be numbered, but older valves are not).
    3. Run luke-warm water over the entire body--outside and inside--but mostly inside.
    4. Use the snake brush to clean all the tubing of the horn, except for the valve areas.
    5. Use the valve casing brush to quickly brush the valve areas.
    6. Rinse with luke-warm water.
    7. Gently shake the body to remove excess water, and use the non-lint cloth to dry the outside of the horn.  Place in a safe place (laying right-side up).
    8. Rinse/clean the four slides in a smaller sink, using luke-warm water.  Do in same manner as the body of the trumpet.
    9. Dry slides with non-lint cloth.
    10. Rinse the main bodies of the valves with luke-warm water. 
    11. Dry valves with non-lint cloth.

                Reassemble Trumpet

    1. Slides:  Dab a little grease on your finger tip.  "Dot" the grease on the slide, then evenly spread it around.  Gently put slide back correctly on trumpet.  Wipe away excess grease at seam.
    2. Repeat for all four slides.
    3. Valves:  Hold valve at top by the button (where you push the valve while playing), and apply a generous amount of valve oil to the body.  A little dripping is okay (no Niagra Falls!).  Gently put correct valve in corresponding valve casing (valve #1 in valve casing #1, etc.).  Screw top valve caps on and test valve mobility.  Add some more oil if needed.  End by screwing bottom caps on.
    4. Your instrument is Done!  Use the non-lint cloth to wipe away any excess grease and/or oil that may have leaked out.  Carefully put the instrument back in the case.  Be thankful you are not trying to clean a tuba!

     

    Baritone

    Approx. Time: 1-2 hrs.
    Frequency:  Once every two months

    Follow the instructions for cleaning a Trumpet; the process is exactly the same.  Just be careful when "gently shaking the instrument body," while trying to get excess water off, as your instrument is much bigger and heavier than a trumpet.  I suggest not dropping the instrument while trying to dry it.  *wink*

     

     

     

    Trombone

    Approx. Time: 30min-1 hr.
    Frequency: Once every two months

    The trombone should be washed ONLY with luke-warm water.  Any kind of soap will hurt or damage the instrument.  Hot water will strip the lacquer off the instrument.  The cleaning area should consist of a bathtub or large sink with plenty of maneuvering space (dings are costly!).  Do not submerge the instrument in still water--always use running water.

    1. Prepare your "trombone bath" area by having ready all necessary cleaning accessories:
      • non-lint cloth
      • mouthpiece brush
      • snake brush
      • slide grease

              Main Body

    1. Remove the tuning slide from the main body of the T-Bone. 
    2. Run luke-warm water over the entire body--outside and inside--but mostly inside.
    3. Use the snake brush to clean all the tubing of the horn.
    4. Rinse with luke-warm water.
    5. Gently shake the body to remove excess water, and use the non-lint cloth to dry the outside of the horn.  Place in a safe place.
    6. Rinse/clean the tuning slide in a smaller sink, using luke-warm water.  Do in same manner as the body of the T-Bone.

              Slide

    1. Take the main slide out of the casing and wipe it off with a non-lint cloth.
    2. Apply one long line of the Slide Cream/Grease along the entire length of both slide tubes.
    3. Put one end in the casing, gently twisting to spread the cream/grease evenly.
    4. Do the same with the other side.
    5. Take your spray bottle (water) and mist the entire length with water.  Move slide back and forth in the casing a few times.
    6. Done!  Put the instrument back in the case, ready to rock out next time you play!

     

    Percussion

    Approx. Time:  0 hrs.
    Frequency:  Lots and lots and lots... etc. 

    One cool thing about percussion is that maintenance basically breaks down into the following:

    1. Don't beat the instrument with a baseball bat
    2. Don't be tempted to throw it out of a 3rd-story window
    3. Protect it from being taken and experimented on by aliens
    4. Don't attempt to eat, chew or bite the instrument in any way
    5. Refrain from dousing the instrument in A-1 sauce and giving to a brown bear for a midnight snack

              If you are able to follow these simple guidelines, your percussion instrument should last you a long time.  Take care of it and it will take care of you.  Enjoy!

Last Modified on February 9, 2018