How to Care for Your Piston Brass Instrument

Congratulations on the purchase of your new piston valve instrument!
To get the most out of your new horn, follow these easy care instructions:

Use correct hand position! Your new pistons will break in to the way you play, so make sure
that your fingers are centered on the buttons and you’re not hitting them to the side. That
will cause them to wear unevenly, which will result in slower action.

Oil every time you play. This will help flush out manufacturing debris and grit from the break
in process. Use a high-quality valve oil (my favorite is Berp #1 for new horns), and be sure not to mix different brands of synthetics, or synthetics and petroleum products. Wipe out pistons and casings once a week with a lint-free cloth and re-oil. If switching brands of valve oil, it’s best to clean out the old products before applying the new ones. I like using a heavy rotor oil (Berp#8) on tuning slides that need to move while playing, and heavier grease on those that don’t.

Give your new horn a home cleaning about once a month.
Take it apart and bathe it in lukewarm water and dish soap (I like Dawn), and snake out all tubing.

Be careful not to get valve felts wet! Also, be sure to wash your hands before handling your instrument and refrain from eating or chewing gum (or just brush your teeth!) before playing to minimize buildup inside the instrument.

Put your instrument away properly. When finished playing, empty all water, close slides and wipe handprints of finish with a soft cloth before storing in the case. Keep the inside of your case clean so random debris doesn’t get inside the instrument.

See your repair tech for any issues, and for professional cleanings. Don’t try to pull stuck slides or mouthpieces yourself to avoid damage, or your repair bill could end up twice what it would have originally been!

Take care of your new instrument and it will take care of you! 

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You can watch the full cleaning video here!