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Caring for and Assembling Your Brass Musical Instrument


Maintaining your musical instrument is akin to taking care of a cherished possession, it's crucial to ensure your musical instrument remains clean and well-preserved.


Installing the Mouthpiece


Fitting the mouthpiece to its receiver requires careful handling to prevent damage. Gently insert the mouthpiece into the receiver, giving it a slight twist to secure it. Avoid applying excessive force, as this might lead to the mouthpiece getting stuck. 


Applying Valve Oil

Follow these steps to properly apply oil to your valves:

  1. Unscrew the top valve cap from the valve casing.

  2. Pull out the valve in a straight motion; avoid twisting.

  3. Dispense 2-3 drops of valve oil.

  4. Carefully reinsert the valve into the appropriate casing, aligning the valve guide with the guide slot. Secure the top valve cap.

  5. Move the valve up and down to ensure uniform distribution of the oil across the entire surface. If you notice any damage to the valves or casings, take your instrument to a trumpet workshop for repair.


Greasing the Slides

To maintain your instrument's slides, follow these steps:

  1. While pressing the corresponding piston, remove the slide.

  2. Wipe away any debris from the inner slides.

  3. Apply a small amount of slide grease evenly around the slide tube.

  4. Reinsert the slide, working it in to ensure the grease spreads thoroughly and evenly.


Cleaning the Mouthpiece

Keep your mouthpiece clean by following these steps:

  1. Soak the mouthpiece in a warm soapy water solution.

  2. Use a brass mouthpiece brush to scrub both the inside and outside.

  3. Rinse the mouthpiece thoroughly with clean, warm water.


Proper Storage

After playing or for transportation, always utilise your instrument case. Ensure that the mouthpiece and other accessories are securely fastened within the case to avoid potential scratches or dents caused by loose items. Avoid placing any objects, such as a book or folder that could exert pressure on the instrument.

Cleaning and Lubricating Your Trumpet Valves

Pull out all of the slides from your trumpet. Your trumpet has 4 slides that you can easily pull off by hand. Carefully grip the end of the slide and pull it straight off of your trumpet. Set the slides on a towel once you remove them.[1]

  • The tuning slide is the largest piece that connects directly to the lead pipe, which is where you attach the mouthpiece.

  • The first valve slide is on the back of the trumpet on the right side. It connects the first cylindrical valve casing.

  • The second valve slide is the short piece sticking out from the middle valve on the right side of the trumpet.

  • The third valve slide is on the left side of the trumpet. You may need to unscrew a set screw on the slide to remove it completely.

  • Take a picture of your trumpet before you take it apart so you can easily remember where the pieces fit when you reassemble them.

  • If the slides are stuck, don’t try to force them out since you could damage your trumpet. Take your horn to a music shop to have a professional remove them for you.

  • Unscrew and remove the valves and valve caps. The valves are the 3 cylindrical pieces with the buttons in the middle of your trumpet. One at a time, unscrew the top caps on the valves and carefully pull them straight out. Lay the valves gently on your towel. Then unscrew the caps on the bottoms of the valve casings as well.

  • Most valves are numbered 1, 2, or 3 so you remember where to put them back. If your valves don’t have numbers, lay them out in the same order you took them out of your trumpet.

  • Trumpet valves are hollow and very fragile, so be careful not to scratch or dent them.

  • Take out your trumpet’s mouthpiece. Hold your trumpet in your non-dominant hand and grip the mouthpiece with your dominant hand. Turn the mouthpiece counter-clockwise and pull it straight out to take it off.[3]

  • If your mouthpiece is stuck in your trumpet, avoid trying to force it out since you could damage it.

    Washing the Trumpet Body, Mouthpiece, and Slides

  • Place a towel or rubber mat in your bathtub. You don’t want your trumpet to scratch the finish on your tub when you wash it. Make sure you have enough room to spread out your trumpet, all the slides, and the mouthpiece.

  • If you don’t have a bathtub, use a large plastic tote bin or other suitable container instead.

  • Soak your trumpet, mouthpiece, and slides for 15–30 minutes. Lower your trumpet, mouthpiece, and slides into the water, and place them on the towel. Leave your trumpet in the tub so the water can work through the tubing and break apart any residue that’s stuck inside.

  • Run a snake brush through the slides and trumpet tubing. A snake brush has stiff bristles attached to a wire so it can easily move through your trumpet. Feed the end of the brush into the tubing on your trumpet and slowly push it through to the other side so you can pull it out. Work the snake brush through all of the open tubing on your trumpet. Then, pull the brush through each of the slides. 

  • Be careful not to force the snake brush around curves if it gets stuck since it could get stuck or break.

  • You can get a trumpet cleaning kit that has all the brushes and supplies you’ll need to take care of your instrument.

  • Avoid running a snake brush through the vertical valve casings since it could leave scratches that affect the sound of your trumpet.

  • If you don’t have a snake brush, then just scrape out any visible dirt in the tubing with a cotton swab or toothpick.

  • Use a valve casing brush to scrub inside the casings. A valve casing brush is cylindrical and has softer bristles than a snake brush. Push the brush through the 3 vertical valve casings and gently spin it to remove any gunk or build-up inside.

  • If you don’t have a valve casing brush, then set a clean cotton cloth on top of the casing. Push the cloth through the casing with a pencil to wipe the insides.

  • Scrub the inside of the mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush. A mouthpiece brush has a tapered cone shape so it easily fits into either end of your mouthpiece. Push the brush into your mouthpiece and spin it around to remove any residue inside. Then, move the brush back and forth through the mouthpiece to scrub it more thoroughly.

  • If you don’t have a mouthpiece brush, then scrape out any residue with a toothpick.

  • Rinse all the pieces with clean water. Empty your tub to drain the soapy water. You can either fill your tub with clean water and dunk each of the trumpet pieces or use a cup to pour fresh water over and into each piece. Keep rinsing your trumpet until you don’t see any more suds.

  • If you pour water through your trumpet, it may come out of any of the slide openings, so be careful not to get yourself wet.

  • Wipe water off your trumpet pieces and let them air-dry. Use a soft cotton cloth to pat all of the excess water off of your trumpet, slides, and mouthpiece. Set your trumpet and all the pieces on a towel in a well-ventilated area so it can air-dry completely, which should take about an hour.

  • Shake your trumpet and the slides to help get excess water out from the inside.

  • Soak the bottom halves of the valves and caps for 10 minutes in soapy water.Fill a cup halfway with water and add a squirt of dish soap. Submerge the pistons, which are the bottom sections of the valves that have holes, in the water and leave them to sit for at least 10 minutes to break up residue that’s stuck on them.

  • Avoid getting the tops of the valves or the buttons wet since the water could damage the felt or cork pieces inside.

  • Clean inside the valve pistons with a soft cotton cloth. After 10 minutes, pull out the valves one at a time from the cup. Carefully rub the valve pistons with the cloth to gently scrub any gunk that’s still stuck on them. Use the corner of the cloth to clean inside the holes as well.

  • Avoid using a snake brush to clean your valves since you could leave scratches that affect the sound of your trumpet.

  • Wipe out the valve caps with a damp paper towel. Pull the valve caps out from the cup and rub the insides with your paper towel. Continue cleaning out the valve caps until you don’t see any more residue lift up.

  • Rinse the valves and valve caps with clean water. Run the bottoms of the valves and valve caps under warm running water to clean out any soapy water. Make sure you rinse the valves and caps until you don’t see any more suds.

  • Keep the buttons and tops of the valves dry while you’re rinsing them.

  • Set the valves and caps out to air-dry. Drying valves with a towel could leave lint or residue that affects the sound of your trumpet, so just set the valves and caps out to drip dry, which should take about an hour.

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