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    Tim Wall - 30 / Aug / 2020

    Basic Band Instrument Maintenance Tips

    Basic Band Instrument Maintenance Tips
    Learn

    Every year we get to see students take up band instruments, and with all the excitement that comes with learning a new instrument, following the proper steps to take care of the instrument may understandably fall by the wayside. We’ve come up with a list of a few things to look out for to make sure the instrument is playing well throughout the season, which also plays a part in prolonging its lifespan, as well as helping keep its value.

    Along with the points below, we recommend getting all band instruments professionally cleaned and looked over once a year to prevent expensive repairs in the future.

    Trumpet

    • Trumpet valves can stick when they’re not lubricated, so it’s important to clean and oil them regularly. Each person plays differently, so the amount of service the valves need varies depending on the individual.
    • Every time the instrument is played, check to make sure all slides & valves move without resistance, if they don’t, add oil as needed. It’s better to have a bit more oil than you need than none at all.
    • Always empty the spit valve (water key) after playing, hold down the spit valve and blow through the mouthpiece to let out any moisture that has accumulated in the instrument.
    • Scrub out the mouthpiece regularly with your mouthpiece brush, using hot water and unscented soap.
    • After playing, wipe down instrument gently with polish cloth to remove any fingerprints before putting it away.

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    Trombone

    • Like the trumpet, before playing your trombone, check to make sure all slides move without resistance, and apply oil or cream as needed.
    • If the slide still doesn’t move smoothly after applying oil, we recommend bringing it to our store or a music shop in your area to have the repair staff take a look at it.
    • Make sure the slide is in the locked position when not playing, and when playing, be careful to keep the slide from bumping into anything, the metal is soft and can be damaged fairly easily.
    • Always empty the spit valve (water key) after playing, hold down the spit valve and blow through the mouthpiece to let out any moisture that has accumulated in the instrument.
    • Scrub out the mouthpiece regularly with your mouthpiece brush, using hot water and unscented soap.
    • Scrub down the inside of the body and slide with the trombone snake brush.
    • Wipe down the instrument gently with a polish cloth to remove any fingerprints before putting it away.

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    Clarinet

    • Reeds are very fragile, never leave them on the mouthpiece. It’s important to remove the reed after playing and put it in a reed guard to prevent chips and cracks.
    • Use cork grease on the joints every week or two, or if the joint seems too tight when the clarinet is assembled. Make sure to wipe the cork each time before applying new grease to remove any dirt. Wipe off excess grease when disassembling the clarinet.
    • Use a pad cleaning paper to remove moisture and dirt from the clarinet pads, removing the moisture prevents the pads from sticking to the tone hole, and prolongs the life of the pads. Place the pad cleaning paper in between the pad and tone hole, and press the pad down lightly multiple times while using different spots on the paper. Be careful to not pull out or move the paper around while the pad is pressed down.
    • Use your tone hole cleaners to occasionally clean dirt buildup in the tone holes.
    • To remove moisture from the clarinet after playing, run a cleaning swab through the body of the instrument.
    • Wipe the surface of the clarinet with a polish cloth before putting it away, be careful around the keys and hardware.

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    Saxophone

    • Reeds are very fragile, never leave them on the mouthpiece. It’s important to remove the reed after playing and put it in a reed guard to prevent chips and cracks.
    • Use a pad cleaning paper to remove moisture and dirt from the saxophone pads. The keys don’t allow much access to the tone holes, so they need to be removed for the tone holes to be cleaned. If you need to clean the tone holes, we recommend bringing it into the store to have our repair staff take a look at it, or at your local music shop.
    • Use cork grease on the neck cork as needed to make sure the mouthpiece can be installed smoothly. Make sure to wipe the cork each time before applying new grease to remove any dirt. Wipe off excess grease when disassembling the saxophone.
    • Use a saxophone cleaning swab to clean the inside of the tube. Remove the mouthpiece, drop the weight into the bell of the saxophone, and pull the swab through the instrument.
    • Wipe down the surface and keys of the saxophone with a polish cloth before putting it away.

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    Flute

    • Remove the moisture from the body and the head joint of the flute with the cleaning rod and polishing gauze after playing.
    • Just like the saxophone and clarinet, if the pads are damp after playing the flute, use pad cleaning paper to remove the moisture by sliding the paper between the pad and tone hole and pressing the key down lightly a few times, while using different spots on the paper.
    • Use the polishing cloth on the surface of the instrument to remove dirt, be careful around the hardware and to not apply too much pressure to the keys.

    Shop Flute Accessories

    If you liked this article, feel free to check out our other posts in our Learn section!

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