Owning Brass Instruments: Dos and Don’ts
Trombones, French horns, trumpets, and saxophone instruments are all made of brass which is a tricky material to maintain. Similar to other delicate instruments such as the violin and the clarinet, brass instruments need proper care so that their sound quality remains in top condition and that their lifespan will last longer.
Taking your instrument to the repair shop could cost you a lot especially if you’re not aware of how to properly take care of your piece. Once you know how to deal with preventing damage, you’ll be able to save a lot more not just in repair costs but also in keeping you from buying a new instrument right away. Here are some tips for dealing with your brass instrument which can keep it sounding like you’ve just purchased it from the store.
Metal isn’t invincible
You might have at one point in time thought of the false assumption that brass is a durable material compared to wooden and fragile instruments such as the viola. But the reality is that brass is vulnerable to physical damage just like any other instrument. Having a proper storage area for your instrument that keeps it away from environmental hazards such as dust and moisture can extend its lifespan exponentially. Find an area that’s airtight and humid in your home or invest in purchasing a case to keep it safe while you’re on the go.
While playing the instrument, it’s best to keep it off the ground when not in use. Remember that metal is also susceptible to damage from just using it. Regularly cleaning your instrument of all moisture and water can keep it from structural damage that could build up in time. To prevent the presence of oil and dirt on your instrument, always opt to wash your hands and gargle before playing so that no dirt or food residue could be left in the instrument. Avoid chewing gum or eating while playing so that you can avoid unintentionally damaging it while you’re using it.
Besides any brass instrument needing a ‘chem flush’ or acid bath once every five to ten years of use, a brass instrument’s parts need to be cleaned regularly. The mouthpiece can be maintainedthrough the use of a special brush with just a small amount of liquid soap at least once a week. Oil can also be applied to the lead pipe with the same frequency to avoid damage from friction occurring.
Now and then, you should flush the instrument’s accumulated dirt to avoid corrosion by dipping it in a tub. A mixture of lukewarm water and the application of liquid soap can do the trick. Make sure that you remove all of the slides, caps, and valves so that the water won’t damage them. Using a soft brush to scrub off the dirt that won’t come off quickly is the way to clean the tubes. After washing, fix the instrument back up by applying valve oil to avoid scratching its parts.