As we come out of a nice chilly winter (of course, it is snowing as I write this) I wanted to talk with y'all about instrument maintainence! Keeping your horn clean will keep you playing and sounding your absolute best. When it comes down to it, keeping the instrument clean is really not ard at all, and will save you wind players a whole lot of hassle in the long run. Think of maintaining an instrument like maintaining a car. If you are checking your oil and tire pressure regularly, your trips to the mechanic end up being far less costly as a result.
So! With that in mind, how do we clean our instruments??
Brass players: Most of you folks have it pretty easy. Be sure to oil your valves and slides regularly, keeping those fingers moving lightning fast. As you do this, be sure to wipe away any grime you find inside those valve casing or on that slide. Many trumpet players are GREAT at oiling their valves, but forget to give the inside of the valve casing some love too! Grime build-up in the bottom of valves (check those bottom valve caps), is a major cause of valves sticking when fully depressed. Essentially, your valve just stepped in chewing gum, and noone wants that.
Woodwind Players: Always, always, always, swab out your instruments after you play! I can't stress enough how important it is to return the instrument to its case DRY. Your pads are usually made of leathers or synthetic leathers that like to expand and contract when exposed to changes in weather, especially so if they are moist in the case. Saxophone and clarinet players- do yourselves and favor and scrub out that mouthpiece. It may be a placebo effect of sorts, but it usually plays more freely and will stop those germs from hanging out to long. A final note, if the reed doesn't really look like its made of wood anymore (or starts sprouting new leaves), GET RID OF IT!
String Players: Be sure to wipe down your strings after playing your instrument, the oils and acids in our fingertips leads to the eventual breakdown of the strings materials. Your strings will last a lot longer and sound a lot better. Also, it never hurts to wipe the dust of your instrument and keep it looking fresh. Check that hygrometer to make sure your instrument isn't being kept to dry or too humid.
Of course, even a musician who takes excellent care of their instrument will occassionally need to bring it in to the repair shop. When that day comes, come see us, we have an excellent repair shop attached to our Manchester, New Hampshire store that would be delighted to help restore your instrument to its former glory.
Now, GO FORTH AND CLEAN THOSE INSTRUMENTS!!!