Instrument Cleaning and Care Tips

If you have not done so yet, be sure to purchase the appropriate "Care Kit" for your instrument from Port Huron Music Center. Your Instrument Care Kit contains only the best music educator approved products, carefully selected to help you keep your instrument clean and in good working order for years to come.

Swabs: Made from either handkerchief cotton or synthetic chamois, to be moisture absorbent, long lasting, and washable. Each is attached to a draw string with a weight. The weighted end should be dropped through the bell end of your instrument, and pulled slowly through the entire length or the instrument. For best results, pull through two or three times following a performance or practice.

Flute Swabs: Your flute kit has synthetic swabs. Each will fit through the eye in the cleaning rod. The rod should be pushed through the upper and lower joint of the flute, separately.

Brushes: Conical shaped brushed with twisted wire handles are to clean mouthpieces after playing. They should be used with warm water and mild dish soap for best results. Rinse and dry the mouthpiece after cleaning. Larger, round brushes are for the inside of valves on trumpet, cornet, and baritone horn. To be used as above.

"Snakes": The coated wire tubes which are to be used to clean the inside slides of trumpet, cornet, baritone horn, trombone, french horn, and saxophone necks. After removing tuning slides, snakes should be pushed thru the open tubes. Warm water and mild soap is permissible which using brush end, to be followed by a mop up with the cloth end. Also used to clean inside of slides.

Greases: To be used in small amounts on tuning slides after cleaning. Provides good bearing surface and mobility for trumpet, cornet, french horn, baritone, sax neck, rear tuning slide of trombone. Do not put grease on the long trombone slide.

Oils: Special oils are provided for valve (piston) instruments, and for trombone slides. A few drips of oil on clean valves will improve the action and safeguard the surface of the inside valve casing. Trombone slide oil should be applied with the sprayer, then a vigorous working of the slide up and down the inner tubes.

Polish Cloths: Two tubes, for lacquer (gold colored) finishes or silver. Do not use a silver treated cloth to clean and polish a lacquer instrument. Cloth will appear dirty and black after using which indicates it is working well. Do not wash cloths.

Cork Grease: To be used on the cork joints of clarinets, and on the sax neck cork to assure long cork like and ease the assembly of clarinet joints and mouthpieces.

Reed Guards:
Provide a good, flat surface for your wet reeds to dry to original flat shape. Prolongs reed life and improves reed response.

Duster Brush/Key Oiler: The small brush with double end should be used to clean the moving hinge joints where key rods are fitted to the posts on your clarinet, flute or saxophone. Following a good cleaning, one drop of key oil is sufficient to keep rods free and smooth. Do not get key oil on pads or wood finishes.

Your valuable wind instrument is made to withstand years of normal and reasonably careful usage. However, as with all products with moving parts, some caution must be used in the handling of your instrument. Consult your band director or private teacher for instruction on assembling and disassembling your instrument.

Some important caution points:

Trumpet/Cornet: Never force the mouthpiece into the instrument and do not use the palm of your hand or other method of seating the mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece becomes stuck, consult your band director or Port Huron Music Center's Repair Department. DO NOT twist the mouthpiece to remove it.

After removing valves for cleaning and oiling, be sure they are placed in correct order when reassembling. Valves are number 1, 2, 3, with No. 1 closest to the mouthpiece.

Trombone: See above regarding mouthpiece usage.

The slide lock holds the outer trombone slide securely in the closed position when trombone is not being played. It is your most important responsibility tin handling your trombone. The slide should be locked at all times when you are not playing the instrument, especially during times of assembly and disassembly. The outer slide hitting the floor is the most common and most costly form of damage to most trombones.

Clarinet: Assembly of the clarinet must be done with patience and knowledge, to avoid damage to the bridge keys which link the upper joint keys to the lower joint. Consult your teacher for exact instruction. Care should be taken not to get oils, or other foreign materials on the pads of the instrument. Avoid snagging of clothing, bedding or other materials on the key work of your clarinet.

Saxophone: Your instrument is heavier and more awkward to handle when not secured by the strap. Use the strap whenever possible to prevent dropping the instrument. The saxophone should never be carried or handled by the neck of the instrument. Consult your teacher for exact instruction on assembling the neck to the saxophone body. Avoid oils or other liquids on the pads.

General: Lacquered instruments (gold colored) should not be cleaned with silver polish or a treated polishing cloth. Instruments should not be rested on beds, desks, tables or pianos when not in use. Your case is the best storage place, or one of the many quality instrument stands available at Port Huron Music Center.

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