INSTRUMENT CARE


Instrument Care

Music Instrument Cleaning for Menlo Park, CA

Your instrument deserves as much TLC as possible. After all, isn’t it worth it after all the money you spent on it? We’ve compiled lists for different types of instruments, including maintenance tips, what you’ll need, and how often your instrument will need proper maintenance.  

Taking care of your instrument is important for health and playing performance. Regular music instrument cleaning and maintenance ensures the instrument is clean, well oiled, and ready for you to hit every note on point! 

Learn About the Proper Maintenance Your Instrument Needs

Clarinet Maintenance
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You will need:
• A Swab • Reeds • A reed guard • Light key oil • Clean cloth • Cork grease
• Mouthpiece brush • Mouthpiece cap

Every day:
• Apply a small amount of cork grease to your corks
• Store your reeds in a reed guard when they are not being used
• Store your mouthpiece in its mouthpiece cap
• Swab your clarinet when you are done playing it

Every week:
Lightly wipe down the keys to remove any fingerprints

Every month:
Oil keys. We highly recommend using a light key oil that comes in a needle oiler, such as Hetman Light Key Oil #16. Apply one drop of oil between each key and post, then press the keys a few times to work the oil in.

Check your corks to make sure they are fitting properly. You should be able to put your clarinet together with minimal effort, and the joints should not wobble once it is assembled. If your clarinet becomes difficult to assemble, or wobbles once it is assembled, bring it into the shop.

Clean your mouthpiece using your mouthpiece brush, warm water and a mild soap, such as Dawn or Palmolive.

Every year:
Bring your instrument in to the shop to make sure it’s in top working order. We will provide a free estimate and let you know what, if anything, needs to be done to your instrument to keep it functioning at its best.
Flute/Piccolo Maintenance
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You will need:
• A cleaning rod • A clean cloth
• Light key oil

Every day:
• Swab your flute when you are done playing it
• Lightly wipe down the keys and body to remove any fingerprints

Every week:
Check to see if your headjoint cork is in the right position by inserting your cleaning rod (the end without the loop) into the headjoint. There is a line near the end of the rod. With the end of the cleaning rod in as far as it can go, the line should be right in the center of the embouchure hole. If the line is too close to the open end of the headjoint, twist your crown clockwise until it lines up. If the line is too close to the headjoint cork, twist the crown counter-clockwise and then push down on the crown. This should insert the cork further into the headjoint. Leaky/loose headjoint corks are an often overlooked problem, despite being a very inexpensive repair. If you find that yours doesn’t stay in place or can be moved up and down without twisting the crown, then it needs to be replaced.

Every month:
Oil keys! We highly recommend using a light key oil that comes in a needle oiler, such as Hetman Light Key Oil #16. Apply one drop of oil between each key and post, then press the keys a few times to work the oil in.

Check your tenons to make sure they are fitting properly. Your flute should assemble with minimal effort, and not wobble once it is assembled. If a tenon gets damaged or dirty, it can be difficult to assemble. If a tenon gets worn down, it can become too loose.

Every year:
Bring your instrument in to the shop to make sure it is in top working order. We will provide a free estimate and let you know what, if anything, needs to be done to your instrument to keep it functioning at its best.
Saxophone Maintenance 
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You will need:
• A Swab • Reeds • A reed guard • Medium key oil • Clean cloth • Cork grease
• End plug • Neckstrap • Mouthpiece brush • Mouthpiece cap

Every day:
• Apply a small amount of cork grease to your cork
• Always use your neckstrap when playing your saxophone
• Store your mouthpiece in its mouthpiece cap
• Store your reeds in a reed guard when they are not being used
• Swab your saxophone when you are done playing it
• Put the end plug in the top of the saxophone body before putting the saxophone in its case

Every week:
Lightly wipe down the keys and body to remove any fingerprints.

Every month:
• Oil keys! We highly recommend using a medium key oil that comes in a needle oiler, such as Hetman Medium Key Oil #17. Apply one drop of oil between each key and post, then press the keys a few times to work the oil in.
• Check your cork to make sure it is not coming loose or starting to tear. If it is, bring it to the shop.
• Clean your mouthpiece using your mouthpiece brush, warm water and a mild soap, such as Dawn or Palmolive.

Every year:
• Bring your instrument in to the shop to make sure it is in top working order. We will provide a free estimate and let you know what, if anything, needs to be done to your instrument to keep it functioning at its best.
Trumpet Maintenance 
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You will need:
• Valve oil • Tuning slide grease • Mouthpiece brush • Valve casing brush
• Cleaning snake • Clean cloth

Every day/as needed:
Apply a small amount of valve oil to your valves.

Every week:
• Lightly wipe down your trumpet to remove any fingerprints
• Wipe old grease off of all tuning slides
• Apply fresh tuning slide grease to all tuning slides
• Clean your mouthpiece using your mouthpiece brush, warm water, and a mild soap, such as Dawn or Palmolive

Every month:
Clean your trumpet in the bathtub. Remove your valves and set them aside (do not get them or the top valve caps wet). Disassemble the rest of your trumpet (bottom valve caps, and all slides). Clean your trumpet, tuning slides and bottom valve caps in the bathtub using your cleaning snake, valve casing brush, warm water and mild soap, such as Dawn or Palmolive. Run soapy water through all tubing of the trumpet and its slides. Scrub the inside of the tubing and your bottom valve caps with your cleaning snake. Gently scrub the inside of your valve casings with your valve casing brush. Rinse everything out with clean, warm water. Allow to dry before reassembling. Apply fresh tuning slide grease and valve oil when reassembling.

Every year:
Bring your instrument in to the shop to make sure it is in top working order. We will provide a free estimate and let you know what, if anything, needs to be done to your instrument to keep it functioning at its best.
Trombone Maintenance 
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You will need:
• Slide lubricant (slide cream or slide oil) • Tuning slide grease
• Mouthpiece brush • Cleaning snake • Clean cloth

Every day/as needed:
Apply a small amount of slide lubricant to the inner hand slide.

Every week:
• Lightly wipe down your trombone to remove any fingerprints
• Wipe old grease off of the tuning slide
• Apply fresh tuning slide grease to the tuning slide
• Clean your mouthpiece using your mouthpiece brush, warm water, and a mild soap, such as Dawn or Palmolive.

Every month:
Clean your trombone in the bathtub. Take the inner hand slide out of the outer hand slide and take the tuning slide out of the bell section. Clean these four parts with warm water and a mild soap, such as Dawn or Palmolive. Run your cleaning snake through the entire instrument. Rinse everything out with clean, warm water. Allow to dry before reassembling. Apply fresh tuning slide grease and slide lubricant when reassembling.

Every year:
Bring your instrument in to the shop to make sure it is in top working order. We will provide a free estimate and let you know what, if anything, needs to be done to your instrument to keep it functioning at its best.
Have questions or want a free estimate? Contact us today. You can also stop by with your instrument so we can take a look and see how it’s working. 
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