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Home : Care & Maintenance

Care & Maintenance

Care Instructions for Rotary Valve Brass Instruments:

Suitable for French Horn, Tuba, and other instruments with rotary valves

Daily care:
Wipe off your instrument at the end of each day with a clean polishing cloth. Gently wipe all surfaces, especially where you hold the instrument. Treat your instrument gently. It is dented easily and dents will make the instrument harder to play. Keep the instrument in your hands, on your lap, on a stand made for your instrument, or in the case. Not on the bed, a chair, or on the floor. If the instrument gets dented or if your mouthpiece gets stuck, take it to your music store for repair.

Oiling the valves:
Oiling the rotary valves takes a little time and practice. We recommend they be oiled at least once per week, even if they feel like they are moving fine. The oil will help keep your valves moving freely and will help to remove any buildup of grime. There are basically three steps.

Care and Maintenance
Image (left to right): Step 1: Oil the spindle bearings, Step 2: Oil the linkages and levers, Step 3: Oil the rotors.

Step 1: Oil the spindle bearings
Remove the bottom valve caps one at a time and put a drop of light bearing oil on the rotating spindle bearing. After they are all oiled, put a drop of light bearing oil on the top part of the spindle bearing, in the narrow gap just above the rubber bumpers.

Step 2: Oil the linkages and levers
Use Linkage, Lever & Key oil to oil all the ball joints, linkages, key levers, and any other mechanical moving parts.

Step 3: Oil the rotors
Use Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil to oil the rotor surface. Just remove the valve slides and put a few drops of valve oil down the tubing. Move the valve levers to work the oil into the valve surface. Do not try to take the rotary valves apart, as this is best left to a qualified brass technician.
 

Greasing the slides and cleaning your mouthpiece and leadpipe


Images (left to right): Greasing the slides and cleaning your mouthpiece and leadpipe

Greasing the slides
Grease the slides by rubbing a little Ultra-Pure Regular Tuning Slide Lube on each slide. Push the slide back in and wipe off any excess grease with a tissue. This should be done about once a week since the valve oil tends to remove the slide grease.

Cleaning the mouthpiece and leadpipe
Every month or so, use the mouthpiece brush to carefully scrub the mouthpiece with soapy water. Remove your tuning slide and use a flexible cleaner to clean out the lead pipe, where some particles of food can build up. A tuba is more difficult to clean, but you can remove the pieces that come apart easily and at least run a flexible cleaner through them occasionally. Once a year, take it to your music store for a good cleaning.
 

Care Instructions for Piston Brass Instruments

Suitable for Trumpet, Cornet, Flugel horn, Baritone, Euphonium, and other instruments with piston valves

Daily care:
Wipe off your instrument at the end of each day with a clean polishing cloth. Gently wipe all surfaces, especially where you hold the instrument. Oil your valves at the end of each day and they will stay clean and trouble-free (see below). Treat your instrument gently. It is dented easily and dents will make the instrument harder to play. Keep the instrument in your hands, on your lap, or in the case. Not on the bed, a chair, or on the floor. If the instrument gets dented or if your mouthpiece gets stuck, take it to your music store for repair.

Care and Maintenance
Images (left to right): Oiling your valves. Oiling your valves after a full cleaning. Greasing the slide.

Oiling the valves
You can oil your valves in just a few minutes by unscrewing the valve and pulling it up and out of the casing. Apply a few drops of oil and put it back in the casing.

Oiling valves after a full cleaning
Hold a valve over the sink or over a paper towel. Coat it with plenty of Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil. Carefully put it into the correct valve casing, facing the correct direction. After you do this with all three valves, put the bottom valve caps back on. If you can’t blow air through the horn, one or more valves are in wrong.

Greasing the slide
Grease the slides by rubbing a little Ultra-Pure Regular Tuning Slide Lube on each slide. Push the slide back in and wipe off any excess grease with a tissue. This should be done about once a week.

Bathing your instrument
Your instrument and mouthpiece are easy to clean. Just fill a tub with lukewarm water, add a mild liquid soap, and take the instrument apart. If any parts are stuck, don’t force them. Soak the parts and scrub them inside and out with the special brushes used for your instrument. Rinse with plenty of clean water, let dry, and reassemble with fresh valve oil and tuning slide lube. This should be done about every three months.