How to make a silver trumpet nice and shiny

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by codyb226, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Good, thanks for all the help Tobylou!
  3. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Unless you have really acidic hands, silver plating will last a lot longer than lacquer. I don't use guards, either. Just wipe it down after playing if you're worried about it.
  4. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Okay, a little off topic but what about gold? Does it last longer or get any special treatment?
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I don't have any experience with gold other than gold washed bells, but it is also a metal and with proper care should wear well. It is plated thinner than silver over silver though. Usually a cost prohibitive product.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I meant silverplate horn. I normally use the salt and aluminum foil for my instruments, but silverplate can have tons of microscratches and then only polish helps. When someone writes "shiny" I understand "dull" before and that is why I mentioned polish first.
  7. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Depending on your own chemistry the finish where your hands contact the instrument will be worn away. Lacquer generally wears off quicker than silver plate, but some folks have very acidic chemistry and that can wear silver as well.

    A couple of things can help. First, don't hold your trumpet with a death grip. Your left hand should support the horn without having to squeeze the valve block, with the weight on the thumb and index finger. Second, wipe the horn down before you put it away. Use a clean micro-fiber cloth or a chamois which will soak up any moisture from your hands. (Clean the inside - leadpipe, too) You can apply a coat of high quality auto wax to the instument and buff it up. This will leave a coating of protection on the horn. Or you can get a silicone-impregnated cloth, sold in sporting goods stores for wiping down firearms, and wipe your hown down so that it leaves a film of protective silicone on the instrument.
  8. Voltrane

    Voltrane Pianissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Rowuk wrote
    "I normally use the salt and aluminum foil for my instruments"

    Rowuk do you use the usual salt (Nacl)? I was told it is better to use baking soda because with nacl "you can create silver chloride that become black in the light and is difficult to solve". I repeat what I read on a French forum (sorry for this poor technical translation ) and I assume the chloride is supposed to stay on the horn.
    What do you think about this? Did you ever have any trouble with usual salt (I made a test with salt vs baking soda, ordinary salt is really faster and I did not see any chloride...).
    Thanks a lot
  9. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    The is no side effect, because all it does is reverse the tarnishing chemical reaction.

    By the way, the reaction works best when you also have Baking sodium (sodium bicarbonate). Here's a site: Make Silver Polishing Dip

    Tarnished silver is usually silver sulfide, and so the more Na+ ions you have in solution, the better, as Na will react with Ag2S to create Na2S, and leave the silver on the horn. Bicarbonate works well for this because HCO3- also breaks down into H+ and (CO3) 2-. These additional ions will help the reaction out by increasing the conductivity of the water.

    I would suggest not making the water "steaming hot", however, as this may be bad for the horn. This whole process I have observed to take no longer than 20 minutes, personally.

    Polishing will help best with shining the horn, however, versus removing tarnish.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Once you get it clean, then shiney, try practising in cotton gloves and continue wiping down the trumpet after every handling. This will keep it sparkling for quite a while.

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