Having an overhaul (tips please)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Ste69, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Ste69

    Ste69 Member

    Hi all - It's time for an instrument spring clean and I'm looking for some Kim & Aggie style hints for instrument care.

    Does anyone out there have any special things that work a treat with regard to maintenance? For example: My bass has (not from me I might add but from previous owner) some rather unsightly and unshiftable gunk/spots on the lower half of the instrument under the valves (where the spit drops out) I've fitted a kind of nappy (bar towel) to stop any more but does anyone know how I can get rid of what is already there and restore some of the original shine? (without using anything that could damage the silver plating!!!

    After that - lets just hear all your little tips for cleaning - especially the bigger instruments!
  2. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Internal cleaning with bicarb solution - it can get rid of all sorts of acidic residues that you don't want to discuss in polite company.

    Just make sure you rinse very thoroughly ;)

    Oh, and don't do it just before a contest in case it wrecks your tuning :D
  3. Rach_Horn

    Rach_Horn Member

    I am going to do this over easter. How much do i need to use ?
  4. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Er, some ;)

    The solubility of bicarb is between 70 and 90 grams/litre depending on it's source. I usually make up a saturated solution (so that much dissolved in a litre of water) and slosh it around for a while. Rinse it out thoroughly in lots of water - pay particular attention to rindsing your valves and valve cases, to make sure there's no particulate matter on / in them when it's dry.
  5. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Here''s another one....

    Get rid of scunge off valves with toothpaste and toothbrush - it works as a nicely flavoured grinding paste :D
  6. bassinthebathroom

    bassinthebathroom Active Member

    I'd also like to add that it was like this when I had it, so I am not guilty before it may be mentioned! :D
  7. Ste69

    Ste69 Member

    He he - I know it wasn't you - I think it's circa 1989 or thereabouts!!!!:)
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    A mate of mine, a school teacher, swears by using Soda Crystals to gunge out brass instruments. Same rules apply ... make sure that the instrument is well rinsed after soaking the inside of the tubing with the solution.

  9. bassinthebathroom

    bassinthebathroom Active Member

    Aye, and use gloves. Some of that Soda can burn a bit, as I discovered whilst doing some drain maintenance the other week! :p
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - must admit, I've never used them! They are cheap to buy in supermarkets though! My mate goes through a ritual cleaning old instruments that have been found lying discarded in schools which includes a good dowsing.
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Sodium carbonate (washing soda) is more basic (alkaline) in solution than bicarb (sodium hydrogen carbonate), which results in it being more irritating. If you go down that route, I'd probably put on your favourite colour of marigolds.

    Bicarb, on the other hand, is used in baths and as a poultice when you suffer from things like, for example, chickenpox....
  12. Liz Loftus

    Liz Loftus Member

    I soak my tenor horn in the bath with half a tube of sterident... its amazing what it shifts!?!? it also leaves the outside lovely and shiny. I've been doing this for over 30 years (same instrument) and the plating is still in excellent nick!
  13. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Caroate, Citric Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, PEG-150, Malic Acid, Aroma, PEG-75, TAED, Sulfamic Acid, PEG-350, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Ceteareth 80, CI 73015, CI 74260

    (Source: Ocado.com)

    Look familiar? ;)

    Same sort of approach, but pH buffered.
  14. Bugler Bill

    Bugler Bill New Member


    I have a similar problem but my instrument has just been for an overhaul. Got it home and it looked great, as instructed I gave it a long soak in the bath and rinsed it well. When I next played it at rehearsal some water came out of the bell and when I tried to clean it a couple of days later it wouldn't come off!! :(

    What has been used in my instrument that's stained the laquer so badly? And how can I get it off?!?! It looks awful!
  15. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    Finally got round to giving my Bass a clean out. I used Sharron McCallums' suggestion of washing machine powder (well I used liquid) in a bath of hot water and leaving to soak. It worked quite well and the instrument sounds and smells better :)
  16. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Use steridents! (False teething cleaning thingy's!) I use about 5 for my cornet.... sooo you'd need lots and lots for a bass.... but they work reeeeallly well! Just don't forget to rinse the instrument out after.... steridents taste horrible!
  17. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I'm not sure about the towel - I think if you have a damp towel round the bottom of your valves then that will be a prime spot for corrosion. Before I had my trumpet overhauled I'd had a leather wrapper thingy round the valves. Of course, the only place the instrument got green spots was under the leather. Damp is death for brass instruments. I actually dismantle my D trumpet inbetween uses - and wrap all the bits up, so everything is stored dry. (I just bring it out for occasional "Trumpet Shall Sound" or Vivaldi spots.
  18. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Agreed, i used to have the Bar towel thing to stop the drips from the bottom of my bass valves. I have since managed to get hold of a 'spit catcher' that clips onto the bottom vavle caps - i'd seen Euph players with them in the past and wondered if they did them for bass. They do :clap:

    All 4 of our basses now have them - i have to say - cleaning a bass is less of a marathon event now!

  19. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    Care to tell us where you can get them from?
  20. Ste69

    Ste69 Member

    Yes - Where!!!!:)

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