Better Brass Instrument Service: A Guide


Brass instrument services are very different from strings and woodwinds. Explained below are the 3 main things involved with their care.

Wash – it is recommended to clean your instruments internally. Run a warm bath with a little washing liquid to soak the instrument (this does not include rotor instruments such as French horns, rotor tubes and rotor thrombon, because internal mechanisms require special attention that must be handled through increasing quality instruments.). Leave about 10 minutes in the water after removing the valve before soaking the main body. Then run the instrument with warm water to rinse the remaining soap.

Cleaning – Brush all tubes with “snakes” (long cable cleaning brush). There are also brushes used for valves and brushes for funnels (this must all be available from music stores). Nb. If you have given a bathtub instrument before cleaning the valve and tube, make sure the instrument is completely dry before returning.

Lubrication – Trumpet: Open the valve and really loose (if you take a shower first) or lift halfway. Apply the valve oil to the width of the valve and push the valve back to the position. All valves have a guide to hold it properly. If you are not sure if the valve is correct, turn the valve gently. Soft will be heard once in place and the valve no longer wants to move. Placing the finger at the top of each valve cap, push up and down until the action is smooth. A drop of valve oil is also needed to cover the bottom of the valve before replacing it. N.B All valves are numbered so they are installed to the right location without mistakes!

Trombon: Apply a little sliding oil to the slide and assembly. For the main slide, use oil slide cream.

General accidents – carefully don’t overdo it when inserting funnels. This can be easily jammed, although most music companies have appropriate equipment to remove them and will not charge this service fee. Do not rely on the instrument bells when applying a funnel or just resting from playing. This is an expensive mistake and although it can be fixed, it must be avoided!

When cleaning, carefully when removing slides, valves, and cover under the valve. Every curve made on the instrument bell is much easier to return than if the slide itself becomes a dent. If doubt or if the slide and valve do not move with soft pressure, take it to the instrument servant who meets the requirements rather than taking further risks to damage the instrument.

The safest place for instruments that are not played is in this case.

Instruments with water keys need to be opened and exploded, either when the game has been completed or during play time. This eliminates the excess humidity of the instrument. Use a cloth to then remove oil or sweat from the hand.


If you’re in the market for a new brass instrument, or even just need your old one serviced, make sure to check out St. John Music. They have a wide variety of instruments and accessories to choose from, as well as a team of experts who can help you find the perfect fit and get your instrument sounding its best. Visit the website today to learn more about what they offer and how they can help you take your music career to the next level.