Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Clean and Oiled Horn is a Happy Horn!

You know the feeling --- you are trying to play your best and suddenly your valve or slide sticks. It is almost as bad as the feeling you get when you are playing with a mute and it falls out of your bell and crashes onto the floor!  Well, read on and I can tell you how to solve both of these problems.
Tip #1: Oil your valves and lube your slides even if they seem to be working fine.  The space between the valve and its casing is truly microscopic. All it takes is a bit of grime or dirt to make the valve hesitate or stick. By oiling every day or two, you will help to remove any buildup before it becomes a problem. At Ultra-Pure Oils, we recommend that you remove your valve from the casing and use plenty of Ultra-Pure Professional Valve Oil to coat the valve and to remove any grime. The best time to do this is just before you put your horn away for the day, so the valves are stored in oil, not in saliva. If your valve is sticking all the time, no matter how clean it is, then take your horn to a brass technician for repair.

Trombone slides are also built to very tight tolerances and need daily lubricating. Wipe off the inner slide and swab the outer slide with your cleaning rod and a clean cloth. Then apply a few drops of Ultra-PureTrombone Slide Lube to the stockings. If the slide is dented or out of parallel, take it to your brass technician for repair.

Tip #2: Grease your tuning slides once a week. Tuning slide lubes or greases will break down with oil and moisture. If you don’t have grease on the slide, it can form a green “rust” and start to corrode or wear the slide.  And if you move the slide without being greased, you are rubbing a soft metal (brass) directly on a metal sleeve, often made of nickel silver, which can eventually cause wear and leakage.  If the slides get leaky, the instrument will not play too well, and the tuning slide can even slip during a performance, making you play out of tune. Use Ultra-Pure RegularTuning Slide Lube or our Tuning Slide& Cork Grease for the main tuning slide and slides that need to stay in place. Use Ultra-Pure Light TuningSlide Lube for the slides that need to move quickly for slight tuning adjustments, like the 1st and 3rd slides on trumpets and cornets. If the tuning slide is badly worn and leaking, you can use Ultra-Pure Heavy Tuning Slide Lube to seal the leak and make it stick in place.

Tip #3: Use Ultra-Pure Heavy Tuning Slide Lube to prevent your mute from falling out! Just put a tiny amount of this heavy lube onto the mute corks. This lube is so sticky, that it is practically glue. It will really keep the mute in tight and will also quiet the squeak that can happen when you twist the mute into the bell.

The bottom line: Keep your horn clean and oiled, and you will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.

Ultra-Pure Oils makes fine lubricants and accessories for musicians. Shop Ultra-Pure for trumpet valve oil, trombone slide oil or lube, tuning slide lube, slide grease, rotary valve oil, key oil, trumpet, horn, trombone, and low brass care kits, cork grease, microfiber polishing cloths and more!