cleaning tuning slides

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Catherine81, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Catherine81

    Catherine81 Member

    Hi all

    I just want a bit of advice on cleaning tuning slides.

    I find that my tuning slides go black quite quickly and am not sure what the best way of preventing this is. I can't find anything on the internet about this.

    I clean my instruments every few months (I really don't have the time to do it more often). I am reluctant to use brasso every time as I am concerned about permanent damage. I use vasaline to lubricate the slide.

    Any advice?

    thanks :)
  2. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    A little more information would be helpful. For example which instrument are we talking about, and also, are you talking about "static" tuning slides (such as a main tuning slide) or "mobile" tuning slides (such as triggered slides on a cornet for example) ???
  3. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I suspect this 'black' is the same stuff we all find somewhere in our instruments if they're not cleaned regularly and frequently - you wouldn't want anyone to put it under the microscope, put it that way! Bacteria, bits of food, verdigris... you name it, it'll be there.

    Quit with the brasso and get your instrument soaking in the sink
    - hot soapy water does mine, with decent brushes, and only a lick of valve oil and vaseline where needed. Unless you're a bass player this regular upkeep won't take too long. Some people spend more time cleaning their cars than their instruments - make the time to clean it; you'll probably notice a fresher smell about it!

    Every few months is too long I'm afraid - try at least once a month
  4. Catherine81

    Catherine81 Member

    GLG: All the slides on my trumpet (Bach Stradivarius) and flugel horn (Yamaha) do this.

    Jockinafrock: I used to clean my flugel monthly and it still happened. It is possibly case lining (which is black) and the slide grease mixed together in hindsight, but you are right, cleaning regularly or even just wiping the slides regularly might help. Will give it a go and let you know how I get on.
  5. Catherine81

    Catherine81 Member

    Sorry, I lied. My main tuning slide on the trumpet is fine, the 1st and 3rd slides are black.

    The flugel, I had serviced recently so that is fine.
  6. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Personally, I wouldn't use vaseline on mobile slides. It's really too thick, and may even be contributing to the discolouration. A good quality Key and Slide oil would give better results. As for the main tuning slide, Schilke make a tuning slide grease which is lanolin based. I'm sure there are other manufacturers offering similar products.
  7. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    But vaseline or similar (other makes are available) helps in cases where there may be air leakage as well as providing lubrication. ;-)
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, but if the slides are that poorly fitting, then the Schilke (for example) slide grease will do the same job, and is at least designed for the purpose. Adding a very small amount of valve oil on top of the grease will make the slides less stiff, if need be.