The Care and Feeding of Musical Instruments

For many musicians, the musical instrument they play becomes a part of their identity, much in the same way as the clothes you wear. And just as it's important to do your laundry every week (please!!!) it's important to keep your musical instrument clean and well maintained. Take a few minutes to read our online articles on how to care for your musical instrument.


Trumpet, Cornet, Baritone & Tuba Maintenance

Assembling Your Instrument
Assemble, tune, clean and lubricate your instrument for the first time under the guidance of your teacher.

Inserting the Mouthpiece
The mouthpiece and mouthpiece receiver are easily damaged by improper assembly. Insert the mouthpiece into the receiver, giving it a slight twist to secure it. Never force a mouthpiece into place, as it may become stuck. If this should happen, take the horn to Bronstein Music to have it removed, we have a special tool to remove stuck mouthpieces.

Never use pliers or other gripping tools to remove a stuck mouthpiece. We will pull the mouthpiece while you wait, for no charge

Applying Oil to the Valves

  • Unscrew the top valve cap from the valve casing.
  • Pull out the valve in a straight line-do not twist.
  • Apply 2-3 drops of valve oil..
  • Place the valve carefully back into the proper casing, aligning the valve guide with the guide slot. Tighten the top valve cap. Move up and down to ensure even oil coating over the entire surface. If there is any damage to the valves or valve casings, take your instrument to your dealer for repair.

Applying Slide Grease

  • Remove slide while pressing the corresponding piston.
  • Wipe any dirt from the surface of the inner slides. Apply a small amount of slide grease evenly around the slide tube.
  • Replace the slide, working it in to ensure that the grease is thoroughly and evenly spread.

Cleaning the Mouthpiece

  • Soak the mouthpiece in a solution of warm soapy water. Using a brass mouthpiece brush, scrub the inside and outside.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water.

Storing the Instrument

Always use your case for storing the instrument after playing and for transporting. Be sure the mouthpiece and other accessories are secured tightly, as they can scratch and dent your horn if they come loose during transportation. Do not put anything in the case, like your band book or folder, that could place pressure on the instrument.

To keep your instrument in optimum playing condition, have it professionally cleaned and inspected by a qualified repair technician annually. We do offer Ultra-Sonic cleaning at Bronstein Music. (call for pricing)


Trombone Maintenance

Assembling Your Trombone
Assemble, tune, clean and lubricate your instrument for the first time under the guidance of your teacher.

  • Insert the slide section into the bell section. The slide should be to the right of the bell at a 908 angle. The bell and slide should not make contact.
  • Tighten the bell lock to secure the sections together.
  • Always hold your trombone by the slide brace while resting and make sure the slide lock is locked when the trombone is not in use.

Inserting the Mouthpiece
The mouthpiece and mouthpiece receiver are easily damaged by improper assembly. Insert the mouthpiece into the receiver, giving it a slight twist to secure it. Never force a mouthpiece into place, as it may become stuck. If this should happen, take the horn to Bronstein Music to have it removed, we have a special tool to remove stuck mouthpieces. Never use pliers or other gripping tools to remove a stuck mouthpiece.

Lubricating the Hand Slide

  • Carefully remove the outer slide and lay it on a clean, flat surface.
  • Wipe inner slide clean of old cream, dirt, and foreign substances.
  • Apply a small amount of slide oil to the stocking of the inner slides (the part that is slightly thicker than the rest). Spread evenly, until it is coated with a thin film.
  • Replace the outer slide, moving it back and forth to spread the lubricant evenly.

Lubricating the Tuning Slide
Slide grease keeps slides airtight and maintains smooth movement. It is an essential factor in the care of your horn. To apply slide grease:

  • Remove each tuning slide and wipe clean of dirt and foreign substances.
  • Apply a thin coating of slide grease to the inner slide surfaces. Replace the slide, working it in to ensure that the grease is evenly and thoroughly spread.

Cleaning the Mouthpiece

  • Using a brass mouthpiece brush, scrub the inside and outside of mouthpiece with warm soapy water.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water.

Care for the Exterior of Your Trombone
For daily care, use a soft polishing cloth to remove dust and fingerprints.

Storing the Instrument
The case should always be used for storing the instrument after playing and transporting. Be sure the mouthpiece and other accessories are secured tightly, as they can scratch and dent your horn if they fall loose during transportation. Do not put anything in the case that could place pressure on the instrument.

To keep your instrument in optimum playing condition, have it professionally cleaned and inspected by a qualified repair technician.


Clarinet Maintenance

Take extra care to prevent exposure to sudden changes in temperature and humidity. Avoid direct, extended exposure to:

  • Sunlight
  • Rain
  • Heaters
  • Air Conditioners

Remove all moisture after you have finished playing.

Assembling Your Clarinet
Assemble, tune, clean and lubricate your instrument for the first time under the guidance of your teacher.

Applying Cork Grease
Applying cork grease to the corks just before assembly promotes an easy, proper fit of clarinet joints. Be sure to apply an even coat on all cork joints to provide protection and extend cork life. It is a good idea to wipe off old cork grease before adding new. Joints that fit together easily need the least amount of grease.

  • Attach the barrel to the upper joint and the bell to the lower joint.
  • Connect upper joint and lower joint with a gentle twisting motion. Pay careful attention to the bridge keys; careless assembly easily damages them.
  • To move them into alignment, hold upper joint keys lightly, making sure the bridge key is up. Align the upper joint bridge key on top of the lower joint bridge key.

Placing the Reed on the Mouthpiece

  • Gently hold the reed in your mouth or in water for a few minutes before putting it on the mouthpiece.
  • Place the reed on the mouth- piece and secure it with the ligature. In the normal playing position, you can just see the tip of the mouthpiece above the reed.

Caring for the Interior of Your Clarinet

Removing the Reed:
Remove the reed from the mouthpiece by loosening the ligature and sliding it off. Dry the reed with a clean cloth and place it in a reed holder.

Removing Moisture from the Mouthpiece:
Remove all moisture and dirt from the inside of the mouthpiece by drawing a cleaning swab through it. Take care not to scratch the mouthpiece, and always pass the swab through from the tenon cork end. A woodwind mouthpiece brush may be used with warm soapy water when mouthpiece becomes especially dirty.

Cleaning the Body
Draw the cleaning swab through each joint and barrel to remove all moisture.

Caring for the Exterior of Your Clarinet
For daily care, wipe the entire length of the body with a polishing cloth being careful not to apply pressure to the keys. Wipe down the keys, taking care not to scratch them or damage the pads.

Storing the Instrument
The case should always be used for storing the instrument after playing and for transporting. Be sure to remove the reed and store it properly. Do not put anything in the case, like your band book or folder that could place pressure on the instrument.

To keep your instrument in optimum playing condition, have it cleaned and inspected by a qualified repair technician.


Flute Maintenance

Take extra care to prevent exposure to sudden changes in temperature and humidity. Avoid direct, extended exposure to:

  • Sunlight
  • Rain
  • Heaters
  • Air Conditioners

Remove all moisture after you have finished playing.

Assembling Your Flute or Piccolo
Assemble, tune, and clean your instrument for the first time under the guidance of your teacher.

Assembly

  • Taking care not to apply pressure to the main body keys, attach the foot to the body with a gentle twisting motion.
  • Attach the headjoint in the same manner, using the marks on each joint as a guide.
NEVER USE ANY CORK GREASE OR LUBRICANTS ON FLUTE JOINTS.

Cleaning the Body

  • Insert the corner of a clean cotton cloth through the small hole at the top of the cleaning rod. Wrap cloth or flute snake around the rod making sure no metal parts are exposed.
  • Insert gently into foot (for flute), body and head-joints individually, and twist.
  • For daily care, wipe the entire length of the body with a polishing cloth being careful not to apply pressure to the keys. Wipe down the keys, taking care not to scratch them or damage the pads.

Storing the Instrument
The case should always be used for storing the instrument after playing and for transporting. Do not put anything in the case that could place pressure on the instrument.

To keep your instrument in optimum playing condition, have it cleaned and inspected by a qualified repair technician.