How To Clean Brushed Brass Trumpet?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by 1stTrumpet, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. 1stTrumpet

    1stTrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2009
    I've had it for a little while now and I've just been wondering how to clean it before it gets too dirty?

    Also what type of rag/or way of cleaning would you recommend?
    And another thing what type of cleaning snake would you recommend
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  2. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    Is it lacquered or raw?
  3. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    There are a number of issues to consider here. First, some questions:
    1. Did you buy it this way or have the satin finish done while you've owned it?
    2. The above question is to establish if you know whether or not there is a lacquer finish on it. Do you know if it is lacquered?
    3. Is it showing any signs of tarnish or "patina" (darkening color) on the brass finish?

    These issues are important because if it has a lacquer clearcoat over the satin finish, that will protect the finish and any reasonable method of cleaning such as lukewarm water with dish soap, or car wax or furniture wax will work.

    If it is not lacquered (that is, raw brass), then you must be very careful. Soapy water can be used but don't let it soak. Just wash it and wipe it with a soft cloth.

    The problem is that anything that "polishes" raw brass will eventually make it shiny. That means that if your trumpet does not have a clearcoat like lacquer on it, polishing it will eventually take away the satin finish and you will have a polished brass trumpet again. That is why a satin finish is not recommended unless it will be clearcoated to protect that finish.

    As far as a snake brush to clean the inside of the trumpet, any good one will work. Just make sure is has a good vinyl coating over the snake to protect the inside of the bell from being scratched.

    Good luck.

    Edit: I had to leave in the middle of this and when I came back I hit "Submit" before I saw John's response. Mine echoes, but is a bit longer than, his.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    I've been pondering this problem for a horn that I want to have plated. I was thinking about having it done in satin silver finish, but then I thought about the problem of cleaning, possible stains etc...
    I want the most durable finish possible, I am not planning on getting another Bb flat horn any time soon, nor to have that one redone. Anderson Plating strongly recommends the shiny finish and I believe they know what they're talking about so I think I'll go with shiny.
  5. GaryT

    GaryT New Friend

    Dec 21, 2010
    What else could I do to maintain a brushed raw brass horn? I want to preserve the matte-yet-golden look; no patina desired. Something less tedious than wash and wipe, but not as permanent (read: costly, time-consuming) as lacquering.

    Would wax work in this case? Would a silicone cloth be OK or would it polish the finish?

  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Silicone cloth should be OK. Some types of wax should work as well. In either case, the trick is to polish very lightly and relatively frequently rather than heavy once a year. The problem with brushed raw brass is that anything that results in black residue on the cloth will ultimately cause the brass to lose the brushed finish since it goes away in the form of the black residue. So, if you keep a coat of wax on it and replace it often so that the brass underneath does not tarnish, you should be able to keep the finish intact for a long time. I'm not sure this is less tedious than wash and wipe but will actually work better.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    if it is brushed, then lacquered - window cleaner and a soft cloth. If it is raw brass, let it get stained. That vintage grunge looks like one practices more!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

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