How do I fix my trumpet finish?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by bfine70, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. bfine70

    bfine70 New Friend

    Jun 24, 2010
    So after seeing other threads and wanting to try it, I lightly sanded one of my trumpets and it didn't mess up. The only thing is, I want to restore it back to the way it was. It's a Bach TR300 silver tumpet and its just lightly sanded to get rid of the shiny finish. Is there a cheap way to fix this or do I need to relacquer or replate it? Getting a new one isn't an option because I have to keep this, I just need to know what to do to make it "shiny" again.
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Hello bfine70 - Welcome to Trumpetmaster. This is the right place to come to resolve all sorts of dilemmas - including having second thoughts about the finish on your trumpet. BTW, what other threads did you see that recommended sanding a silver-plated trumpet?

    Anyway, in this case, the problem is that being silver plated, as you have now found out, it does not do well when sanded. So, if you were trying to achieve a "satin" finish, you now can see that sandpaper is way too rough to achieve that look and now you have a "scratched" look instead of satin. If the trumpet were brass, it would not be a problem at all. A little metal polish and a lot of "elbow grease" (old school term for WORK - that is, rubbing) would have it shiny pretty quickly. But, silver plating is very thin and easily worn through leaving bare spots. The sanding process took some of the silver off already making it even thinner than it was. (Note: silver is not lacquered so you were sanding the silver metal, not a lacquer coating). Now, when you go to polish it, the polish will remove even more silver and very likely will start to show the brass underneath. But, it's about the only option you have. I would recommend that you take it to a good shop that does refinishing (some only do mechanical repairs such as dent removal and soldering) and see if they can fix it with minimal removal. But, if you don't have access to such a facility, you will need a good quality silver polish, a soft cloth, and a good eye so you know when to stop polishing to minimize the silver removal. I hope this helps - but at least you didn't ruin the playing characteristics.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
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  3. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    I hope the reason you have to keep the trumpet isn't financial, because you have a problem. Now that you've put lots of little scratches in the silver plate, the only way to remove them is with *lots* of polishing. A shop will almost certainly use a buffing wheel. No matter how it's done, this polishing with more than likely go through the silver to the brass in many places. To get back to a shiny silver finish, your trumpet will then need to be re-plated. You could almost certainly buy a nice, used, silver TR300 for less than the cost of undoing what you've done.
  4. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Polish in the same direction as the scratches - you won't need to remove so much silver for the trumpet to begin to "look" polished. Unfortunately, I reckon you've ruined the finish so what you get back will be a compromise. Perhaps you might ask first next time - we may be able to save you some grief. :dontknow: Oh well, stuff happens and we learn a bit. ;-)
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    It is doubtful that you can restore the finish on your horn without replating. Buffing out scratches with a wheel will probably remove the plating.
  6. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    Assuming you don't want the shiny appearance, you could have it replated in a "satin" finish if you want to replate that particular trumpet. It is likely you can find a used one cheaper than replating the one you have. Replating won't be cheap, but it it will provide a better job of restoration which you appear to be wanting.

    Best wishes,

  7. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Find someone with a sand or bead blaster (machine shops have these) and have them do the horn. That will leave it with a matte finish, either silver or brass depending on how much silver is penetrated.

    Make sure you completely disassemble it afterward and wash it out thoroughly. Do not work the valves or slides (except to remove them) at all before it has been cleaned out, or you will cause irreparable damage (worse than you have already).
  8. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Sand is too hard. Use plastic beads or baby/talcum powder if you don't want to damage the horn more.
  9. skip77

    skip77 New Friend

    Mar 25, 2007
    Bfine - this is too late but another thing I have only learned recently that comes to bear on your project is that the TR300 is made from thinner brass sheeting than other trumpets. Refurbished or refinished TR300's are at risk of creating very thin metal walls that dent easily, including valve block section - where a tiny dent freezes the piston. Of any modern trumpet Bach TR300 is the last one anyone should get buffed or replated. They look good and sound good but are thin walled as is let alone refinishing.
  10. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    Save up and buy another horn. You can re-plate this one in any fashion you like, but it will cost a minimum of $250-$350. Simply not justified for the horn you have.

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