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Trumpet Discussion Discuss My First Bath in the General forums; Hello TM members! I'm getting ready for my very first bath, that is, my first trumpet bath. I've never done ...
  1. #1
    New Friend LeeMorganFan's Avatar
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    Apr 2011

    My First Bath

    Hello TM members!
    I'm getting ready for my very first bath, that is, my first trumpet bath. I've never done this before. I read the following article online and was wondering if you guys could take a peek at the article and let me know if it's sound advice. Many thanks!


    [top]Bathing the Trumpet

    Begin by removing the 3 valves and setting them aside (this is the only component of the trumpet that will NOT be immersed in the bathtub as it could cause corrosion to the springs and felt). Then remove all other slides and caps from the horn, including the first, second and third valve slides, tuning slide, mouthpiece, and the three caps on the bottom of the valve casings. Some third valve slides have 2 movable parts and in this case they should be taken apart and placed in the water separately. Place a washcloth or small towel on the bottom of a clean tub (to prevent the instrument from being scratched) and fill the tub1/3 of the way (or until the bell of the horn is covered) with lukewarm water and a little bit of dishwashing liquid. Lay all the parts of the horn on the cloth in the tub and let soak for 10-15 minutes. While the horn is soaking take the valves and set them upright in a drinking glass with about 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar. Fill the glass only as high as the springs on the sides of the valves and be careful not to get the felt around the top of the valve wet.
    After the horn is done soaking, run the long snake brush through the lead pipe and slides several times. Then do the same with the valve brush to clean out the valve casings and the mouthpiece brush to clean out the mouthpiece. A cotton swab can be used as a substitution for a mouthpiece brush. Once all the tubing has been thoroughly cleaned, drain the tub and run clean water through the horn at all angles to rinse out any soap residue. Set each part on a dry towel to air-dry.
    After the valves have soaked in the water and vinegar mixture for about 20 minutes, remove them and use one of the brushes or a cotton swab to wash away any build-up on the exterior of the valves or in the valve holes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and set on dry towel to air-dry. Once the horn has dried, reassemble all the parts beginning with the slides and finishing with the valves. Use a dab of slide lubricant when replacing the slides and a few drops of valve oil on each of the valves, wiping away any excess. A good substitute for slide lubricant is Vaseline. Once the horn is intact, the polishing cloth can be used to rub away watermarks and tarnish. One side note, be very careful when handling all the pieces of the horn through the cleaning process. A dent in the wrong place, especially on a valve casing, can render your horn unusable or make the valve action very sluggish.
    "Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life". -Art Blakey

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User
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    Nov 2006
    Greenfield WI

    Re: My First Bath

    That's the basic procedure. The vinegar solution isn't necessary. Use an old toothbrush or similar to brush the pistons.


    Buescher Lightweight 400
    Other Buescher horns 1939--1955
    Al Cass 1-28 mouthpiece
    Humes and Berg mutes

  3. #3
    Piano User mrsemman's Avatar
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    Apr 2010

    Re: My First Bath

    And don't forget to take pictures to put in your baby album. Also, remember to remove the felts, if you are washing the pistons, or if there are felts in the top caps.
    Flip Oakes Wild Thing
    Selmer Paris Piccolo Trumpet
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  4. #4
    Forte User larry tscharner's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    dubuque iowa

    Re: My First Bath

    One thing to note, be sure to get the right valve in the right casing. Number 1,2,and 3 are different and very easy to mix up if not careful. Most pistons are numbered and you just have to look for the stamp to be ok. Also I dont know if this happens on every trumpet or not, but when you reinsert the piston into the casing and look for the "click" sometimes it can be 180 degrees off of where it should be and the horn wont play when fully assembled. Ive been playing for a lot of decades and never knew this would happen till I bought my Yamaha and it happened to me the first time I cleaned it. If you pay attention to how the valves are turned in the casings when you disassemble it it will save you from having to figure out which, if not all are turned wrong later on.

    Also I line the bottom of the sink, or pan with a towel or soft pad in case the slippery little bugger gets away from you and tries to get scratched or dented. YOU DONT WANT THAT. Happy bathing. Best wishes.
    Last edited by larry tscharner; 09-05-2011 at 07:23 PM.
    Larry tscharner!
    M J Klashen The Yankee 1923
    Concertone, Czech made, pre war
    Olds Ambassador Cornet 1955

    Olds Super Trumpet 1966
    Yamaha 8335 Xeno 2008
    Getzen 900s Eterna Classic 2009

  5. #5
    Utimate User gmonady's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Dayton, Ohio

    Re: My First Bath

    Quote Originally Posted by larry tscharner View Post
    Also I line the bottom of the sink, or pan with a towel or soft pad in case the slippery little bugger gets away from you and tries to get scratched or dented. YOU DONT WANT THAT. Happy bathing. Best wishes.
    Or you could do it all in the bath tub to hold the baby so it don’t get away from you. But then there is that green slime that comes out of the tubing... On second thought, scratch the tub idea. Just pad all the walls of the wash basin, kinda like the way they pad the walls of the asylum, right Turtlejimmy!
    1940 Olds Super Recording
    1946 Martin Committee
    1953 Olds Recording (LA)
    1965 Olds Ambassador
    1967 Olds Recording (Fullerton)
    1973 Getzen 4 Valve Eterna Flugelhorn
    2012 Kanstul 4 Valve 1526 Flugelhorn
    2014 Allora Pocket Trumpet

  6. #6
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: My First Bath

    It's pretty basic but not the best way to clean a trumpet. plus they use the wrong names for the valves. when they are out of the casing they are called pistons. The holes in the pistons and casing are called ports. Only when the pistons are in the casing do they become a valve.

    I written a paper on trumpet maintenance which I'm glad to send. Just contact me through my web site.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
    Web Cam trumpet & jazz improvisation lessons

  7. #7
    Mezzo Piano User fraserhutch's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Novato, CA, USA

    Re: My First Bath

    Another thing - depending on how long you've been playing the trumpet, be prepared to be totally grossed out.
    Scodwell Bb
    Callet Sima
    Wild Thing Bb
    Wild Thing Flugel

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