Problems with cleaning silver plated trumpets.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by FutureBC, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. FutureBC

    FutureBC Pianissimo User

    Jul 25, 2009
    Northern Kentucky
    Hey guys,
    a while ago, I cleaned my Bach strad by soaking all the parts in water (like I was taught) for about 30 seconds then taking the parts out and drying them well.

    After I cleaned it, I noticed parts of the silver plating turning yellow. I cleaned the horn in a clean area. I didn't really understand why this happened.

    It's a while later, and I was wanting to clean my horn by using a snake but keeping clear of the silver's contact with water. Does this seem ok? And has anybody else see this problem before?
  2. seilogramp

    seilogramp Piano User

    Nov 23, 2009
    Georgia, USA
    What parts? It is normal for the plating to eventually wear through to the brass at the contact points. That is, where you touch the horn the most while you're playing.
  3. dsr0057

    dsr0057 Pianissimo User

    Dec 20, 2009
    Denton, TX
    The yellow on the plating could be the water that you didn't get off just drying and leaving a film of residue from the other minerals in the water.

    The best way to dry a silver horn if you don't have access to a high power air compressor is to dry it with a towel and wait for that film to show up and than polish it with a silver cleaning rag.

    Regular tap water has no ill effects on brass as long as it doesn't set in the water for extended periods of time.
  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    30 seconds in water isn't enough to break down all the crud in a horn.
  5. FutureBC

    FutureBC Pianissimo User

    Jul 25, 2009
    Northern Kentucky
    Ahh. That's a relief that it's not killing my finish. By the way, I soak the slides and body of the horn (all but the valves) for just 30 seconds to get all the oil and spit out of the horn before I snake out the grime.
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    30 secs - you ARE kidding? How does that even dampen the crud? How likely will anything soften in that time? I've never had discolouration caused by the water and mine soak for at least an hour each - it takes me a whole Sunday to clean all my instruments properly - soak, snake, rinse, dry, lube, and then lightly buff x 6 instruments, then there is the valves and mouthpieces. 30 seconds :-P.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  7. aerotim13

    aerotim13 New Friend

    Apr 24, 2009
    Rolla, Missouri
    I think there's no way for silver to turn yellow in color. The only answers can be something on the horn, or you are starting to see the brass underneath. What color are your lights? Maybe it was so clean and shiny that you were seeing a yellowish color from the lightbulbs ;)
  8. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    Stick some tin foil in the bottom of the vessel that you're cleaning it in, it will take some of the grime off ;)
  9. Trumpet Dad

    Trumpet Dad Pianissimo User

    Jun 20, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    Could what you are seeing be tarnish? When my horn begins to tarnish, it first appears as a yellowish brownish film-like stain just in one or two small areas. One of those Bach or Yamaha polishing cloths for trumpet you find at the music store will work (make sure you get the one for silver) but I find them to be a little abrasive.

    I like to use "Tarnishield" from 3M. It not only polishes, but protects your horn from tarnish. One application, and my horn is tarnish free for about six months. Tim Wendt recommended it. He says that's what Kanstul uses at their factory. Dilute the Tarnishield with 50% water and apply with a soft cloth (get some flannel cloth from any fabric store - about $2/yard). Rinse with water then buff with a dry clean flannel cloth.

    When cleaning your horn, you should be using a mild dish soap. I like Lemon Joy, because it doesn't leave a film. Get yourself a plastic tub that your trumpet will fit in. Disassemble and soak for five to ten minutes, then wash, snake, rinse. No need to soak you horn any longer (another tip from Tim); it won't do any good, and if your horn is that dirty, you need to take it in for a chem-cleaning.
  10. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Silver plate goes yellow then brown then black as it tarnishes.

    At work we use this really smelly sulfur based tarnish remover that can make a silver instrument go a bit yellow if the tarnish is bad. It then has to be hand polished with an impregnated cloth.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010

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