Greetings fellow trumpet players. This is Dave from Severna Park. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the basic maintenance of your instrument. With this in mind, we will focus on the most basic and essential aspect of trumpet maintenance, and that is cleaning! It should be noted that it especially important that those with new horns disassemble and clean the instrument within a few weeks of ownership to remove the microscopic particles which can be present from the manufacturing process. Otherwise, these particles can cause sluggish valves, stubborn slide movement, and potential damage that the eye cannot see.
I hope you have invested in a care kit for the trumpet. This kit consists of all the items you will need to properly clean and maintain your horn, including all the various brushes, oil, slide grease, and instructions. You will also need lots of warm water mixed with a mild detergent (dishwashing liquid is best) and a deep well sink or tub. Disassemble the entire instrument and remove all felts from the valve stems so they are not damaged during cleaning. Refer to the instructions from your care kit to be sure you are using the right cleaning brush for the right parts. Use a soft cleaning cloth to wipe valve pistons clean after washing. Don’t forget to clean your mouthpiece too! After the parts are dry, reassemble the trumpet with particular attention to the valve pistons. Make sure the valve guides are in the correct slots for proper alignment and return all felts to the valve stems. Coat the valves with a small amount of valve oil and double check alignment. Replace all slides with a small amount of slide grease and give the horn a final overall wipe down, and you’re done!
This process should be repeated every couple of months or so, for both new and not-so-new horns. Remember to add just a few drops of valve oil to the valves daily to ensure proper lubrication. If you maintain this maintenance regimen, you will eliminate the chance of neglect damaging your trumpet, and you should enjoy years of trouble-free operation! Happy playing!