Cleaning and Maintenance

 

WOODWIND CARE

Flute / Piccolo Care


Daily Care
1. When removing your flute from its case, do not pick it up by its keys. Remove it by the ends of the pieces, where there are no keys.


2. Put the flute together with a slow, back-and-forth twisting motion.  If you push or pull the flute when assembling or disassembling, the instrument can become bent at the joints.


3. Each time you put the flute together, a small amount of debris will build-up on the joints.  While this is normal, it can make the flute difficult to assemble. Always wipe the joints with a soft cloth before assembling.


flute


4. When you are finished playing, use a cleaning rod with a cloth to swab out the inside of all parts of the flute to remove moisture. Carefully wipe off the outside of the flute with your polishing cloth to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.


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5. Always store your flute in its case when not in use; this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument from tarnishing. Do not keep music or pencils in your case, because they could bend the keys of the flute.


Monthly Care
Check all screws and pivots to see if they are coming loose. If they are, take your flute to your band director or to a repair shop to have them adjusted. Do not try to repair an instrument!


Yearly Care
It is recommended that you have your instrument checked and adjusted by a repair shop. The shop may find adjustments or worn pads that are creating a negative effect on the quality of your instrument.

 

Clarinet Care


Daily Care
1. When removing your clarinet from its case, never pick it up by the keys. Remove it by the ends of the pieces, where there are no keys.


2. Before you put your clarinet together, apply a small amount of cork grease to the corks.


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3. Put the clarinet together with a slow, back-and-forth twisting motion.  Do not push or pull the clarinet when assembling or disassembling, because this can damage the joint or tear the cork.


4. When tightening the screws on the ligature (the device that holds the reed on the mouthpiece), do not over-tighten them; this can cause the screw to break.


5. After you are finished playing, pull a cleaning swab through each individual part of the clarinet to remove moisture.  Carefully wipe off the outside of the clarinet with your polishing cloth to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.


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6. Always store your clarinet in its case when not in use; this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not keep music or pencils in your case, because they could bend the keys of the clarinet.


Monthly Care
Check all screws and pivots to see if they are coming loose. If they are, take your clarinet to your band director or a repair shop to have them adjusted. Do not try to repair an instrument!


Yearly Care
It is recommended that you have your instrument checked and adjusted by a repair shop. The shop may find adjustments or worn pads that are creating a negative effect on the quality of your instrument.


Saxophone Care


Daily Care
1. When removing your saxophone from its case, never pick it up by the keys. Remove the instrument by picking it up by the bell.


2. When assembling your saxophone, be sure to wipe the neck joint and inside of the receiver with a soft cloth; this will make it easier to assemble.


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3. Apply a small amount of cork grease to the mouthpiece cork to help the mouthpiece move into position.


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4. When tightening the screws on the ligature (the device that holds the reed on the mouthpiece), take care not to over-tighten them; this can cause the screw to break.


5. After you are finished playing, pull a cleaning swab through the saxophone to remove moisture.  Carefully wipe off the outside of the saxophone with your polishing cloth to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.


swa


6. Always store your saxophone in its case when not in use; this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not keep music or pencils in your case, because they could bend the keys of the saxophone.


Monthly Care
Check all screws and pivots to see if they are coming loose. If they are, take your saxophone to your band director or a repair shop to have them adjusted. Do not try to repair an instrument!


Yearly Care
It is recommended that you have your instrument checked and adjusted by a repair shop. The shop may find adjustments or worn pads that are creating a negative effect on the quality of your instrument.

 

BRASS CARE

Trumpet, Baritone, and Tuba Care


Daily Care
1. Valves on brass instruments need to be lubricated on a regular basis. To do this:


A.  Unscrew the valve cap and pull the valve out about half-way.
B.  Apply a drop of valve oil to the wide part of the valve.
C.  Push the valve back into position, making sure that it is lined up correctly.


The valve has a guide that keeps it in place. To check for correct alignment, gently try to turn the valve. If it doesn't turn, it is lined up. If it turns, keep turning the valve until you hear a slight "click" and the valve stops turning.


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2. Occasionally, a mouthpiece will become stuck in the horn. If this happens, do not try force to remove it, because this can cause major damage to the instrument. Take it to your band director or a repair shop to have it removed.


3. After you are finished playing, make sure you remove any excess moisture from the inside of the horn by opening the spit valves and blowing through the instrument. Carefully wipe off the outside of the instrument with your polishing cloth to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.


4. Always store your instrument in its case when not in use; this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not keep music or pencils in your case, because they could bend the keys of the instrument.


Monthly Care
1. Check all slides to see that they move freely and lubricate them with slide grease if needed.


2. The inside of your instrument needs to be cleaned regularly. This may not be needed every month but should be done at least every 3 months.


Yearly Care
If you clean your instrument on a regular basis, you may not need any additional yearly care, however, repair shops have the ability to chemically clean your instrument, which is a more thorough cleaning than can be done at home.

 

Trombone Care


Daily Care
1. Great care is needed when handling your trombone. The smallest bump or dent in the slide can cause problems with its proper movement. Due to the precision needed for adjustments of the slide, repairs are time-consuming and costly.


2. The slide needs to be lubricated on a regular basis. Apply a small amount of slide oil or cream to the boot area of the slide as needed. The boot is at the very end of the slide, so be careful not to allow the slide to slip off the trombone.


boot


3. Occasionally, a mouthpiece will become stuck in the trombone. If this happens, do not try force to remove it, because this can cause major damage to the instrument. Take it to your band director or a repair shop to have it removed.


4. After you are finished playing, make sure you remove any excess moisture from the inside of the trombone by opening the water key and blowing through the instrument. Carefully wipe off the outside of the instrument with your polishing cloth to remove oils or perspiration caused by your hands.


5. Always store your trombone in its case when not in use; this helps prevent damage and aids in keeping the instrument clean. Do not keep music or pencils in your case, because they could bend the keys of the instrument.


Monthly Care
1. Check the tuning slide to see that it moves freely and lubricate it with slide grease if needed.


2. The inside of your trombone needs to be cleaned regularly. This may not be needed every month but should be done at least every 3 months. See the section below on Brass Cleaning for more information.


Yearly Care
If you clean your instrument on a regular basis, you may not need any additional yearly care, however, repair shops have the ability to chemically clean your instrument, which is a more thorough cleaning than can be done at home.

 

Giving your Brass Instrument a Bath


Brass instruments need to be cleaned internally on a regular basis. The following is a description of that process. Please note that rotor instruments, such as French Horns, Rotor Tubas, and Rotor Trombones, should not be cleaned at home. They have special requirements and should only be cleaned by a qualified repair shop.


To clean your instrument, you must take it apart completely. You will need some cleaning brushes (available at music stores), valve oil, slide grease, and some liquid dish soap. You will also need a place to clean the instrument. Unless you have a large sink, the bath tub is probably the best place.


1. Carefully remove all slides, valves, and valve bottom caps.  Extreme care should be taken with trombone slides, as they are very delicate, especially when they are apart. If any of the slides are stuck take your instrument to a repair shop to have them removed. They can be damaged if not removed properly.


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2. Place all the parts, except for the valves, in lukewarm water containing some liquid dish soap. Let the instrument parts soak in the water for about 10 minutes.


3. While the instrument soaks, take the valves and run warm water over them and brush out all openings in the valves with the valve brush. Shake off any extra water and set the valves aside to dry.


4. Next, brush out all tubes with the "snake" and the valve casings with the valve brush. Be sure to clean any debris from inside the valve bottom caps.


5. Use clean water and rinse out the instrument. Wipe off any excess moisture and set the instrument aside to dry thoroughly. It is important that the inside of your instrument is completely dry before you proceed.


6. Apply a small amount of slide grease to each slide and reassemble. Be sure not to put slide grease on the main trombone slide. Use slide cream or slide oil on this slide.


7. Install the valve bottom caps. Put a drop of valve oil on each valve and install them in their proper location. Valves are numbered and must be in the correct location to operate properly.

 

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