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Trumpet Discussion Discuss oiling trumpet how often in the General forums; Originally Posted by mgcoleman Go with the nicely pragmatic answer of "as often as needed." It's different for each horn, ...
  1. #11
    Utimate User Dale Proctor's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Heart of Dixie

    Re: oiling trumpet how often

    Quote Originally Posted by mgcoleman View Post
    Go with the nicely pragmatic answer of "as often as needed." It's different for each horn, player, type of oil used, humidity level, amount of playing, etc. Rather than risk having a valve get sticky on me during a performance or a group rehearsal, I do freshen them up before. Otherwise, I wait until the horn reminds me.
    This answer is the one I would give, too. In other words, it depends. I use a synthetic oil and usually go a week or more between oilings. But...I do always oil before a performance. Petroleum-based oils evaporate faster, so they need to be used much more often.
    richtom and tobylou8 like this.
    Olde Towne Brass

    Brass Band of Huntsville

    Trumpet: 1976 Bach Stradivarius ML 43, Curry 3C.
    Cornet: 1993 Bach Stradivarius L 184G, Curry 3BBC.

  2. #12
    Fortissimo User bumblebee's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Great Southern Land

    Re: oiling trumpet how often

    My (then) new Destino trumpet had such close-fitting valves it took me a couple of weeks to work out how often to oil - I went from daily (since I play every day) to every other day or so, then after running across an online video from David Monette I now oil before and after playing and my oiling concerns went away. I also keep my horns cleaner than ever before, including running a snake through the leadpipe and tuning slide after playing. Before oiling I wipe down the pistons with a lint-free soft cotton cloth.


  3. #13
    Mezzo Piano User bachfella's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Claymont, DE

    Re: oiling trumpet how often

    I also wipe the pistons with a soft cloth before oiling, to remove the "old" oil before applying the "new" oil.
    Instruments: 1974 Bach Strad 180S-37, standard leadpipe
    Late 1960's Bach Strad 239 CML C trumpet
    2012 Schilke B5
    ACB pocket trumpet (Thanks, Trent!!)
    1959 Holton Collegiate trumpet
    1942 Conn 80A Victor cornet
    Sonora double French horn

  4. #14
    Pianissimo User
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    Oct 2009
    Rochester, NY

    Re: oiling trumpet how often

    In college in the 70's, when I was playing 5-6 hours a day, I used to oil my valves (Holton oil) more than once a day because they needed it. Nowadays I don't play that much, and oil lasts longer. A few years ago, I discovered synthetic oil and they last even longer, sometimes weeks.

    This laziness can come back to bite you, though, because the fine dirt particles that are created with valve usage are suspended in the oil and act like sandpaper on your valve and casings. For that reason alone, you should oil regularly with synthetics, even once a day, to flush out the dirt particles.

    Now, ask me what I actually do.....


  5. #15
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: oiling trumpet how often

    What does oiling a valve really do?

    As trumpet valves are mechanically from the dumb design division (because they are built so we can't push them down straight with human fingers, they are in the direct path of sludge created by particles not brushed off of our teeth and no forced lubrication), the process of oiling removes the old oil which is contaminated, we clean the valve and casing and then apply fresh oil which serves to isolate the metal of the valve from the metal of the case.

    The type of oil makes little difference during the period that it functions. Petroleum based oils have a lubricant which evaporates within say 24 hours, leaving the sludge and paraffin (an ingredient in the oil). Using this type of oil and going through the procedure daily, means that the valves are always quick and the wear is minimal.

    Synthetic oil does not evaporate as quickly. There is still substantial "lubricant" after a couple of days. The protection would be there IF the contamination could be kept to a low level. Contamination can be food rests, aeresols in our breath or even moisture that turns the oil into "foam".

    So, my advice is to pick your poison. Let your conscience be your guide. Maybe someone will come up with a forced oil feed for valves one of these days or an aeresol filter...........
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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