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Trombone Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 2:45:00 PM  

Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your trombone in top condition. Here's some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible!

    1. It is recommended that a soapy water bath tub flush be done once per month.  The procedure is easy:  Fill the bathtub with a few inches of warm, NOT HOT, water and a little dish washing soap (NO CITRIC).  Remove the outer slide and allow both slide parts to soak for a half hour.  Drain the soapy water and use a trombone snake to clean the inside of the tubes.  Next, use a dish scrubby to clean the tuning slide, not the hand slide.  Thoroughly rinse out all parts with warm water and place on a towel to dry.  The inside of the outer slide should be cleaned using a trombone slide cleaning rod. Thread a rag through the slit in the cleaning rod and work through the slide. A good solvent to use is slide oil on the rag.  Pull the rag through the outside slide tubes until no more debris appears on the rag.

    1. Oiling the slide is not enough to maintain it in good playing condition.  The cleaning rod procedure is recommended once per week. 

    1. Do not store anything other than the mouthpiece and instrument inside of the case.  Items such as books, music, mutes, music stands, and metronomes can cause dents in the slide and belong in a separate bag.

    1. Liquid polishes can be used on silver plated trombones.  Furniture polish works well on lacquered instruments.

    1. All needed brushes and lubricants are available at West Music.

    1. When removing the slide from the case, grasp both ends of the slide at the same time.  Grabbing in the middle can bend the tubes.

    1. Make sure the slide lock is in good working order.

  1. Inspect water key cork and spring.

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Tags: Trombone, Trombone Guide, Trombone Maintenance, Trombone Maintenace Guide, Maintenance Guide, Instrument Guide, Instrument Maintenance Guide, Instrument Care, Trombone Care
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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Trumpet Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 2:38:00 PM  

Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your trumpet in top condition. Here's some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible!

    1.  In order to avoid frozen slides and valves: it is recommended that a soapy water bathtub flush be done once per month.  The procedure is easy:  Fill your bathtub with warm, NOT HOT, water and a little dishwashing soap.  Completely disassemble the instrument removing all slides, valves, bottom and top caps, and finger buttons, and allow all the parts to soak for a half hour.  Drain the soapy water and use a trumpet snake to clean the inside of the tubes.  The snake should pass through the tubing of all slides, valve ports, bell, and lead pipe.  Next, scrub the valves.  If the valves are still dirty, soak them in vinegar for an hour.  Finally, thoroughly rinse out all parts with warm water and place on a towel to dry.  Before re-assembly, all slides should be greased with slide grease, and valves should be oiled with valve oil.

    1. Oiling the valves is not enough:  to maintain them in good playing condition.  Once per week a trumpet valve casing cleaning rod should be used to clean the inside of the valve casing.  To clean the casings remove the valves, top caps, and bottom caps.  Thread a rag through the slit in the cleaning rod and soak the rag with valve oil.  Valve oil works as a good solvent.  The rod should be worked up and down in the casing until all the debris is removed.  This will prevent the build-up of corrosion.

    1. Do not store anything other than the mouthpiece and instrument inside the case.  Items such as books, music, mutes, music stands, and metronomes belong in a separate bag.

    1. Liquid polishes:  can be used on silver plated trumpets.  Furniture polish works well on lacquered instruments.

  1. All necessary brushes and lubricants are available at West Music.

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Tags: Trumpet, Trumpet Maintenance, Trumpet Care, Instrument Maintenance, Instrument Care, Caring for Trumpet, Proper Care for Trumpet, Maintenance Guide, Trumpet Guide, Instrument Guide
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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Saxophone Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 2:31:00 PM  

Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your saxophone in top condition. Here's some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible!

    1. Always pick the instrument up by the bell, never by the keys.  The keys should not be touched until the neck strap is attached and you are ready to play.

    1. Only the instrument should be stored in the case.  Storing music, metronomes, books, etc.  in the case can cause bent keys.

    1. To remove excess water from the instrument simply turn it over (holding it by the bell) allowing the water to drain out.  Sax Pad Saver Swabs are NOT recommended because they shed fibers causing leaks in the pads.  They also tend to trap moisture inside the instrument.

    1. Never lay a saxophone down on the palm keys.  This can bend the D key.  Also, never lay a saxophone on a chair.  If the instrument is not being played it belongs on a stand or in its case.

    1. Always use the end plug when storing the instrument in its case.  This will protect the octave key from damage

    1. Lubricate the neck tenon cork with cork grease* to allow the mouthpiece to fit easily.

    1. If the neck fits too tightly on the body, cleaning the neck tenon and receiver with a solvent will loosen the fit.  If this does not fix the problem take the instrument to a qualified technician.  Do not force the neck into the receiver or you may bend it.

    1. To clean the mouthpiece use a mouthpiece cleaning brush* or an old toothbrush in warm (not hot) water.  If the water is too hot you can warp the plastic.

    1. Chipped mouthpieces should be replaced.  Also, many stock or instrument brand mouthpieces that come with the instruments are hard to play and should be replaced.  Recommended mouthpiece brands include the Clark Fobes Debut for jazz or classical music, the Selmer C Star and Eugene Rousseau for classical music, the Meyer 5 or 6 for jazz alto sax and the Otto Link 6 for jazz tenor sax.  Of these the Clark Fobes Debut* seem to be the most versatile and economical

  1. Never use liquid polishes on the body of the instrument.  Wiping down the instrument with a flannel cloth will remove saliva and grease, helping to preserve the finish.  Use a Q-Tip to clean between the keys.

*Lubricants, brushes and mouthpieces are available at West Music.


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Tags: Saxophone Guide, Saxophone Tips, Saxophone Maintenance, Saxophone Maintenance Tips, Tips, Guides
Categories: Music, Books & Resources
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Clarinet Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 2:20:00 PM  

Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your clarinet in top condition. Here are some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible!

    1. Assembly:  Make sure that the tenons are properly greased.  Place left hand fingers depressing upper stack key mechanism, thus lifting the 1/1 B flat bridge key.  The left hand thumb should be between the register and trill keys.  The left hand with the upper joint should rotate clock-wise.  The lower joint is held with the right hand.  Close the E/B and C keys with the right hand fingers and rotate counter-clock-wise.  If the instrument is assembled correctly the keys will not be bent, saving unnecessary time and expense of repair. 
    2. Moisture Removal: A crucial part of maintaining your clarinet is removing the water that collects on the inside of the bore.  The best way to remove water is to pull a weighted cleaning rag through each joint individually and then wipe the inside of the tenons.  This should be done after each time you play.  Pad Savers swabs are not recommended because they trap moisture in the bore, causing cracks and rotten wood, ruining your instrument.
    3. Oil the Wood:  Woodwind bore oil applied to the cleaning rag in small doses will oil the wood with each swabbing.  If you prefer not to use this method the wood should be oiled once per month, both inside and out.  This is especially important in the winter.  If the upper joint wood color appears gray the instrument should be soaked in oil by a repair technician.  Grayness indicates rotting has occurred and the wood is too dry.
    4. Avoid Extreme Climate Changes:  Vast differences in temperatures are very hard on wood clarinets.  For this reason wood clarinets should not be used in marching band.  Plastic clarinets are recommended for marching outdoors.
    5. Protect Your Keys:  To avoid bent keys, do not store books or music inside the instrument case, and handle your instrument with care. 
    6. Mouthpieces:  Any chipped mouthpieces should be replaced.  Recommended replacement mouthpieces include:  Hite Premier (if available), Vandoren 5RV, Vandoren B45, Clark Fobes Debut.  Many stock or instrument brand mouthpieces that come with instruments can be extremely hard to play. 

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Tags: clarinet maintenance, clarinet care
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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Flute Maintenance Guide
By Peter Hart
2/14/2012 9:16:00 AM  

Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your flute in top condition. Here's some handy tips to make sure that it stays in the best playing condition possible!

    1. When assembling the flute never touch the keys.  Hold the end of the foot joint with one hand and the head joint receiver end of the body in the other hand.  Slowly twist the two parts together.  Next, hold onto the head joint receiver while slowly twisting the head joint onto the body.
    2. Remove moisture from the inside of the flute by using a flute cleaning rod with a small rag attached through the slit in the end.  Pad Saver rags are not recommended because they tend to shed fibers causing leaks in the pads.  They also tend to trap moisture inside the instrument.
    3. Never use liquid polish or paste such as Silvo on your flute.  Polishes can gum up the key mechanism and destroy the pads.  Wipe down the keys and body after playing with a tissue or soft cloth.  If the instrument appears tarnished it is best to take it to a qualified technician and have it professionally polished and adjusted.
    4. If the joints fit too tightly clean the tenons and receivers with a solvent and cloth and try again (do NOT use cork grease).  If the fit is still too tight take your instrument to a qualified technician.  Do not force the joints together as you may bend the keys.
    5. Never store cleaning cloths or anything else on top of the flute in the case.  The flute is made to fit snuggly into the case.  Storing items other than the instrument can bend the keys.
    6. Check the position of the head joint cork periodically using your cleaning ord.  The notch in the rod should align with the middle of the aperture of the flute lip plate.  Also, check for leaks in your head joint by closing the aperture hole with your thumb and sucking air out of the tenon end.

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Tags: flute care, flute maintenance
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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