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What Are the Best Tips for Cleaning a Trumpet?

Setting a regular cleaning routine is important in caring for a trumpet.
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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Regular and thorough cleaning is a key part of keeping a trumpet in top condition. A few tips can help make cleaning a trumpet simple for even a beginning trumpeter. First of all, it is useful to establish a regular cleaning schedule and to perform all steps in the same order during each cleaning session to ensure each trumpet part is cleaned. Secondly, all necessary equipment should be assembled prior to cleaning, and if necessary, a camera should be used to record the proper placement of trumpet parts before they are removed. Finally, for the sake of convenience, it can be a good idea to oil a trumpet during each cleaning session.

Many music instructors and experienced trumpeters emphasize that for optimal performance, a trumpet should be cleaned at least once every six to eight weeks. In order to ensure that one’s trumpet gets cleaned as often as it should, it can be useful to set a regular cleaning schedule. A trumpeter may decide, for instance, to clean his instrument every sixth Saturday, and might set an alarm or make a note in his calendar to help himself stick to this schedule.

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Another useful tip to establish good habits for cleaning a trumpet is to always perform each step of the cleaning process in the same order. This practice can help trumpeters ensure that no step is forgotten. For those who are new to the trumpet, it can be useful to keep a numbered list of cleaning steps at hand and to check each step off as it is completed. Beginning trumpeters who are unsure of the exact procedure that should be used when cleaning a trumpet will likely be able to get guidelines from their instructor or the shop at which they bought their instrument.

For a smooth cleaning process, it can be very helpful to assemble all necessary equipment before one starts to clean. The exact equipment used during cleaning can vary based on the trumpeter’s preferences. As a general rule, however, trumpeters will need specially designed flexible cleaning brushes, non-abrasive liquid soap, a lint-free towel or cloth, a basin, sink, or tub large enough to allow the trumpet’s body to be submerged, trumpet oil, and trumpet grease.

Cleaning a trumpet requires disassembling the instrument into a number of pieces, many of which are quite small. Once these parts have been individually cleaned and it is time to reassemble the instrument, some beginning trumpeters might find themselves confused. Therefore, these individuals might find it helpful to take one or more digital photographs of their instrument prior to and during disassembly. These photographs can serve as a guide when piecing clean trumpet parts back together.

Finally, keeping a trumpet’s valves oiled and its slides greased is critical to maintaining the instrument’s playability. As valves and slides must be removed for lubrication, many trumpeters find that it is convenient to lubricate these parts after their instrument has been cleaned, but before it has been reassembled. It should be noted, however, that it will likely be necessary to lubricate one’s trumpet several times between cleanings.

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