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Brass Instrument Maintenance. By Keren & Michael Barr North Georgia Band Instrument Service. General Brass Maintenance. Oil valves or rotors EACH TIME the instrument is played! NEVER use silicone lubricant on pistons or rotors – ONLY on trombone slides

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brass instrument maintenance

Brass Instrument Maintenance

By Keren & Michael Barr

North Georgia Band Instrument Service

general brass maintenance
General Brass Maintenance
  • Oil valves or rotors EACH TIME the instrument is played!
  • NEVER use silicone lubricant on pistons or rotors – ONLY on trombone slides
  • DO NOT mix synthetic and natural (petroleum-based) valve oils
  • Move ALL slides each time the instrument is played
general brass maintenance3
General Brass Maintenance
  • Use spray furniture polish and a polishing cloth for removing fingerprints from lacquered instruments
  • Lubricate slide tubes once per week and before storage periods
  • Clean and dry all valves and valve casings before storage periods
general brass maintenance4
General Brass Maintenance
  • Check all waterkey springs, screws and corks weekly for damage
  • For lacquered instruments wipe down the finish weekly to remove fingerprints, oils, moisture and other debris
  • For silver instruments use only a specialized silver polishing cloth to avoid damaging the finish
chemical cleaning
Chemical Cleaning
  • All brass instruments should be chemically cleaned every 12 months
    • Marching band instruments should be chemically cleaned at the end of the season, NOT during the summer!
  • Chemical cleaning removes the damaging lime and scale that cannot be removed by bathing or manual scrubbing the instrument
chemical cleaning6
Chemical Cleaning
  • Acid, lime and scale build-up can lead to dezincification or “Red Rot”
    • Dezincification is the breakdown of brass alloy – the zinc is removed from the brass leaving behind soft copper
    • Usually found in places where moisture collects
      • Pink spots, severe with black dots
piston valves
Piston Valves
  • Lubricate valves by unscrewing the top cap and pulling the piston about halfway out of the casing
  • Use about six drops of valve oil for each piston EVERY TIME THE HORN IS PLAYED
  • NEVER oil the valves through the slide tubes, bottom caps or through the mouthpipe – place the oil directly on the piston body
  • Do not spin the pistons when reinserting them in to the casings
rotary valves
Rotary Valves
  • Lubricate rotors each time the horn is played by using bearing oil on the back bearing, spindle and stop arm. Use rotor oil through the outer slide tubes
  • Replace worn strings or linkage parts BEFORE they break
  • Removal of rotary valves is not recommended
  • DO NOT use a screwdriver to pry off the back bearing plate
  • Check all linkage screws and pivot points weekly for signs of wear