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The Tuning Note

Lessons in:  Piano, Trumpet and Jazz Improvisation
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Here is information on how to care for your trumpet.

Trumpet 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 your local dealer or band director to have it removed, they will have a special tool to remove stuck mouthpieces.

Never use pliers or other gripping tools to remove a stuck mouthpiece. Some music stores 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.

Monthly Trumpet Cleaning Supplies:
  • Snake
  • Mouthpiece Brush
  • Valve Casing Brush
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap
  • Slide Lubricant
  • Valve Oil
  • Towel
  • Wash Cloth
  1. Fill your bathtub or large sink with enough water to completely submerge your instrument. Water temperature should be from 85 to 90 degrees. Squirt dishwashing soap into the water. (NOTE: Avoid using hot water as it can remove the finish from your instrument.)
  2. Disassemble your instrument starting with the valves. Put the valves aside, not in the water.
    Unscrew the bottom valve caps, place them in the water.
    Remove all slides, and place them in the water. There will be 4 slides to remove, one attached to each valve casing and the tuning slide. (NOTE: If you are unable to remove a slide, it has been frozen due to lack of proper maintenance and your instrument should be taken to a qualified repairman. Never use pliers, hammers or a vise to try freeing them.)
    Place the body of your instrument in the water.
  3. With the washcloth, wash the old slide lubricant off the slides.
    Put a drop of soap in each slide and run the snake through them to remove debris that has accumulated since your last cleaning. (NOTE: The snake will bend around the crook in the tuning slide and come out the other end, however the other slides are too small. Don’t attempt to force them all the way through.)
    Place a drop of soap in each opening on the body of your instrument and run the snake through.
    NOTE: If it’s been a while since your instrument has been cleaned, expect some pretty disgusting slime to come out of the lead pipe (where the mouthpiece goes) as you run the snake through.
    With your mouthpiece brush or Q-tip, clean the debris out of the bottom valve caps.
    Clean the inside of the valve casings with the valve casing brush.
    Dip the part of the valves that go into the valve casings into the water. (try not to get the felts and corks at the top of the valves wet) Wash the outside of the valves and with soap, run the mouthpiece brush through the holes. Put a drop of soap in your mouthpiece and clean it with the mouthpiece brush. (Should be done weekly)
    Thoroughly rinse the soap from your instrument with warm water and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
  4. Put a small bead of slide lubricant around the bottom of each slide and twist each side of the slide into the appropriate hole on your instrument.
    Remove and place the slide into the instrument making sure it moves in and out freely.
    Place a small drop of slide lubricant onto the threads of the bottom valve caps and screw them on.
    Oil your valves and put them in making sure valve 1 is in casing 1, valve 2 in casing 2 and valve 3 in casing 3. When replacing your valves make sure you turn them until you feel them “click” into place.
  5. Put your mouthpiece in and play. If your trumpet doesn’t play properly, your valves are in wrong.

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.

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