Instrument Care

Trombone

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You will need to purchase a cleaning kit from your local music retailer or online. This kit should include slide oil, slide grease, a mouthpiece brush and a cleaning snake.

To clean your trombone, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Run a warm bath or fill a large container with warm water.

  2. Remove all slides from your trombone. Immerse the trombone slides in the water along with the mouthpiece. Let the trombone soak for a few hours or overnight to give it a really good clean!

  3. Run your cleaning snake from your care kit through the slides and main trombone body to dislodge all the grease and gunk, then give the trombone a final rinse.

  4. Drain the bath and leave the trumpet to soak upright overnight.

  5. Once the trombone is dry, re-grease the slides and re-oil the main slide. Put all the slides back into place.

  6. Clean the mouthpiece with warm water and the mouthpiece brush from you care kit, once a week.

Letting your ‘water’ out: The moisture that accumulates inside the trombone is not ‘spit’. It is condensation from the player’s breath – just like the moisture from a steaming kettle that condenses on windows. When this moisture accumulates inside the trombone, it has to be released through the water key or spit valve. Open the water key and blow air (don’t buzz) into the instrument.

Bass Guitar

Cleaning your bass guitar should be a very easy job. It always helps to have clean hands!

  1. Use a soft cloth and some gentle polish to wipe your guitar down and get it shining like new. You can buy guitar polish from a music store but regular polish should be fine. Keep the polish away from the strings and the fingerboard.
  2. The ‘hardware’ is any metal or brass attached to the wood. You can clean this with a gentle cloth and polish too.
  3. You can also wipe the strings down after you play with a soft cloth.

Flute

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You will need to purchase a cleaner rod and a cleaning cloth from your local music retailer or online.

To clean your flute, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Disassemble your flute in the reverse order to setting up.
  2. Thread the cleaning cloth through the cleaning rod.
  3. Gently push the rod and cloth through each joint. If there is any resistance, take it out and try again. Be sure to polish the joints after use to stop gunk from building up, which can make the joints tough.
  4. Make sure each piece of your flute is back in the right spot before you close your case. Don’t force your case closed – if it doesn’t close properly, check how you have packed your flute away. Do not put your book or anything else on top of your flute as this will damage the keys.
  5. Make sure your case is closed and locked properly before you pick it up.
  6. Your flute will require regular servicing to keep it in proper working order.

Saxophone

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You will need to purchase cork grease and a cleaning pull-through cloth from your local music retailer or online.

To clean your saxophone, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Remove the strap from your saxophone and rest gently in your case.
  2. Disassemble your saxophone in the reverse order to setting up.
  3. Drop the string of the pull-through cloth into the body, carefully tip the instrument until you can reach the string and pull it through .
  4. Drop the string into the larger end of the gooseneck, pull it through until you feel some resistance and then pull it back out the other way. If you try to pull it all the way through, it will get stuck or the string will break.
  5. Make sure you have taken the reed off the mouthpiece before you clean it. The reed should be stored in its plastic case to prevent bacteria from building up. The reed will need to be changed at least once a fortnight when you first start playing. By the middle of the year you should be changing your reed once a month.
  6. Clean the mouthpiece the same way as the gooseneck.
  7. Make sure each piece of your saxophone is back in the right spot before you close your case. Don’t force your case closed – if it doesn’t close properly, check how you have packed your saxophone away. Do not put your book or anything else on top of your clarinet as this will damage the keys.
  8. Make sure your case is closed and locked properly before you pick it up.
  9. Be sure to grease the cork with your cork grease before assembling your saxophone.

Trumpet

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To oil the valves, take one valve out at a time and oil the outside surface (not in the holes). Then put each valve back in the chamber, turn the valve until it clicks into place and stops moving. Make sure the number on the valve is facing towards the mouthpiece. Make sure you put the correct numbered valve back into the correct slot. All valves are labelled clearly with a number. If your trumpet does not blow properly after you have oiled the valves, just check to see if you have put the valves back in correctly.

You will need to purchase a cleaning kit from your local music retailer or online. This kit should include valve oil, slide grease, a mouthpiece brush and a cleaning snake.

To clean your trumpet, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Run a warm bath or fill a large container with warm water.
  2. Remove all slides and valves from your trumpet. Immerse the trumpet in the water along with the mouthpiece and slides. Do not put your valves in the water. Let the trumpet soak for a few hours or overnight to give it a really good clean!
  3. Run your cleaning snake from your care kit through the slides and main trumpet body to dislodge all the grease and gunk, then give the trumpet a final rinse.
  4. Drain the bath and leave the trumpet to soak upright overnight.
  5. Once the trumpet is dry, re-grease the slides and re-oil the valves. Put all the slides back into place and also put the valves back into their correct positions.
  6. Clean the mouthpiece with warm water and the mouthpiece brush from your care kit, once a week.

Letting your ‘water’ out: The moisture that accumulates inside the trumpet is not ‘spit’. It is condensation from the player’s breath – just like the moisture from a steaming kettle that condenses on windows. When this moisture accumulates inside the trumpet, it has to be released through the water keys or spit valves. Open the water keys and blow air (don’t buzz) into the instrument.

Clarinet

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You will need to purchase cork grease and a cleaning pull-through cloth from your local music retailer or online.

To clean your clarinet, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Disassemble your clarinet in the reverse order to setting up.
  2. Drop the string of the pull-through cloth into each joint and pull the cloth through. Do this carefully otherwise the cloth will become stuck. If you have trouble, pull it back out and drop the string through the other end.
  3. Make sure you have taken the reed off the mouthpiece before you clean it. The reed should be stored in its plastic case to prevent bacteria from building up. The reed will need to be changed at least once a fortnight when you first start playing. By the middle of the year you should be changing your reed once a month.
  4. Make sure each piece of your clarinet is back in the right spot before you close your case. Don’t force your case closed – if it doesn’t close properly, check how you have packed your clarinet away. Do not put your book or anything else on top of your clarinet as this will damage the keys.
  5. Make sure your case is closed and locked properly before you pick it up.
  6. Be sure to grease all the corks with your cork grease before assembling your clarinet.