Cleaning a Rotary Trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jwmrks, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. jwmrks

    jwmrks New Friend

    Aug 14, 2015
    I have a what I believe to be a Russian rotary Bb trumpet. I picked it up cheap on eBay. It doesn't seem to need a thorough cleaning, but I don't like playing a used horn (direct from a third party) without at least doing a quick clean in antibacterial dish soap and water. I know you don't want to clean a piston trumpet without removing the pistons (due to the cork/felt/whatever pads on the valve). Is the same true of rotary trumpets (not sure I'm up to removing rotors myself)? Could I simply flush it with soapy water with the valves in place, or do the rotors need to be removed?

    Or, I guess is there a preferred method for disenfecting a trumpet other than a cleaning?
  2. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    For a quick wash hold the trumpet vertical and pour warm soapy water down the bell with the valves held down, no need to dismantle, I use about 2 litres and may put through twice if necessary. Rinse well afterwards. If you are worried about bugs then a Dettol or other disinfectant solution to follow. Other than an ultrasonic clean there is nothing my tech does that I cannot do at home in the way of cleaning.

    The above link is good if you want to take it further.

    Regards, Stuart.
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria

    I'm not sure how old you are, but I guess I'm probably at least 4 times your age. And there are many subjects I do not give advice on simply because I do not have the experience that others on this site do have.

    Your enthusiasm for all things trumpet is admirable, but please understand that before you become qualified to give professional authoritative guidance, you need to put in the groundwork. And I'd say that's probably no less than 20 years of study.

    So you've a little way to go yet. Better to stick with asking questions for the time being, eh?
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Yes, I'm with Stumac, a simple wash is all I will do, and normal grease on the slides, and oiling. The Dettol solution is a good idea for a "new" 2nd hand horn. I would not go near any acids myself. Vinegar- acetic acid, citric acid - that's for the tech to do. My gear is not crxp, and I want it maintained to perform well.

    I oil the rotor by taking the cap off, and a couple of drops of oil on the rotor, and do that while working it - then recap.
    I put Ultra Pure down the pipes (2 drops in each pipe and the leadpipe) and oil where indicated on the photos BBM shows.

    As far as taking the rotors apart and servicing, that is done yearly by a competent tech
  6. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
    I use Spindle bearing oil by Ultra pure on the rotors, then through the spindle gaps. lever linkage on gap of linkages.
    and Holton or Yamaha rotor oil down the slides.
  7. jwmrks

    jwmrks New Friend

    Aug 14, 2015
    Thanks for all the info. I've just never looked at the inside of a rotary valve to know if a flush was a bad idea due to any bushings/pads/etc in the valve. I'm not a true germaphobe, but am a bit paranoide about unknown instruments. I'll need to look into possibly getting some Dettol (or similar) in the future, but have just been using anti-bacterial dish soap when cleaning my piston trumpets so am comfortable with that for now.

    I do appreciate the suggestion of going to a tech as I've been over-ambitious in the past and learned the hard way that I'm not quite the self-tech I thought I was :oops:. However, I already have one in progress and one queued. After picking up a rotary for less than $30 bucks was like a kid at Christmas wanting to check out my new toy to see if it was truly a toy, or a great buy and (at least now ;-) ) know my limits when healing thy own instruments once I understand the hardware involved.

    After flushing and giving it a proper go, I think I'm missing some hardware as it seems tuned to A rather than Bb and the mouthpiece doesn't want to fit quite right. The leadpipe reminds me of my old cornet that uses the additional leadpipe extensions to change keys, though that piece doesn't fit in the rotary (I figure there's probably a more technical name for that piece but I don't know it). Even with a poor mouthpiece fit, it is playable and I do like the overall feel of the horn so is definitely worth doing more research and having a local tech fix the few issues it has.
  8. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
    OHhh, I see you bought that silver russian rotary on ebay few days ago. I saw that.
    Russians weren't the best manufacturers, you could have bought something better.
    I was once tempted to buy a russian but I saved up and have my marvellous Symphonie.
    And a surprise arrival trumpet is joining in my family this December.
  9. jwmrks

    jwmrks New Friend

    Aug 14, 2015
    If you know where to get something better at $30 please share your source. Otherwise, of course if I was willing to spend more I could get something better. It's not like I was looking for a rotary and said to myself "hey, here's one for cheap that will fit the bill", but rather I was thinking that I'd like to experiment with a rotary but don't wan't to spend too much, and hey, what do you know, here's one for $30 I can play with and if I decide rotaries are not for me I'm not out much. After all, I've been tempted by the India/China made horns for a while, so $30 for a RTSO (Rotary TSO :D ) seemed like a super buy to me.

    I'm at point where I realize that a better instrument is not going to make me a better player, and able to admit that I'm not at a level where even a cheap TSO is limiting my playing.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    please excuse BrassBandMajor, he simply likes to post.

    A rotary trumpet is a trumpet. It can be disassembled, cleaned("lemon" dishwashing liquid in a sink full of water) and reassembled like any other instrument. The only real issue is the valves, but they also can be cleaned without disassembly. I use a REKA cleaner. It is a sponge ball glued to a piece of thick nylon line that can be pulled through. I play professionally and this is my typical monthly clean. Once or twice a year, I do the complete disassemble.

    Disassembling the valves is also not rocket science but it DOES need a hammer, so it isn't something that I would recommend starting with.

    Not knowing the terms of purchase, it still is better to test functionality BEFORE disassembly.

    For the brave, this will show you the steps for disassembly/reassembly. I use a wooden or plastic hammer. Reassembly must insure alignment. There is usually a mark for that:
    Finke Horns how to dismantle a valve

    Good luck! Please note, we are not here 24/7 so if you get stuck, don't get frustrated!

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