Taking Care of Your Trumpet

By Jeffrey Reynolds

Part of Trumpet For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Trumpets are pretty easy to look after, and mouthpieces even more so. All you need are oil, slide grease, and a lint-free cloth to care for your musical equipment.

  • Oiling the valves: A new trumpet has a breaking-in period of about a month during which you should oil the valves and give the valves an oil change more frequently. During the first month, you should oil the valves every day. To do this, apply just two drops of good-quality valve oil (Hetman Synthetic Classic Piston Lubricant, Al Cass Fast Valve Oil, or Holton Valve Oil) on the silver section of the valve.

    In addition, once a week, do a full oil change: Carefully remove the valves and wipe them clean with a lint-free cloth; apply no more than three drops of valve oil on the silver section of the valve, and insert the valve into the casing, tightening the retaining cap without too much force. Work on one valve at a time.

    After the first month or so, oil your valves two or three times a week; if you’re playing several hours a day, you might want to oil them daily. Every couple of months, give your valves an oil change.

  • Greasing the slides: Lubricate the main tuning slide with slide grease. (Hetman and Yamaha are two excellent manufacturers.) Don’t apply too much lubricant, and only do this maintenance once a month. The goal is for the slide to move smoothly, but not too freely. The third-valve slide does need to move easily, so a different, lighter lubricant (called key and rotor oil) is needed.

  • Cleaning the mouthpiece: Mouthpieces are simple. Swab the inner diameter with a mouthpiece brush whenever you think of it.