|Studio of Andrew B.
Your trombone slide must operate quickly and smoothly for you to be
able to play properly. Proper maintenance and cleaning of your hand slide
is of the utmost importance. You will need to clean your slide at least
once a month depending on your eating and practicing habits. This
article will guide you through the proper cleaning procedures.
To clean your slide properly, you will need the following:
- a trombone snake (slide brush)
- dish soap, preferably with lemon oil
- a can of penetrating oil, such as WD-40
- a rag (old t-shirts work best)
- a cleaning rod
||Next cut a piece of the rag approximately 4 inches by 4 inches.
The best material we have found is cotton t-shirt material.
Note: if you cut too large a piece of fabric, it will get
stuck in the slide and tear off. Too small a piece and it won't be
able to clean properly. If you do manage to get the cloth stuck,
have a professional remove it. This can easily be done with a sheet
metal screw soldered on the end of a cleaning
|Thread the cloth through the eyepiece of the cleaning rod. Pull
it about half-way through so that it makes a butterfly shape.
cleaning rod is a fantastic investment for the serious trombone
player. Most people think that if they snake their slide once in a
while that it will remain clean. Most of the dirt we remove in the
shop is with this method, not with the snake. At under $7, the
trombone slide will pay for itself almost immediately in saved trips
to your local repairman.
At this point the slide should be clean! Apply your slide lubricant as
desired and off you go!
||Next spray the rag with the penetrating oil
(WD-40). Insert the rod into each of the outer slide sleeves and
scrub the entire length. Check the cloth after several strokes: you
may have to rearrange it so that a reasonably clean surface is
contacting the slide. A dirty slide may take 2 or 3 seperate cloths
to completely clean.
Spray the rag down with WD-40. Use a fair amout: the cloth
should be moist, but not dripping.
If your slide still feels sticky or has a catch...
- You may not have cleaned it enough. Believe it or not, repeating the
above process or using several clean piece of cloth will remove most
problems. Remember, the space between the inner and outer slide is three
one-thousandths of an inch: even slide cream can become caked and
compacted in that tight space and cause problems.
- Your slides may be misaligned. Check each inner slide tube one at a
time: put it in with the other half hanging in air and check for binding
points. If neither sticks by itself, the slide is misaligned.
- Your slide may have a small ding or dent. Check each inner slide
tube one at a time: put it in with the other half hanging in air and
check for binding points. If only one has a binding point or catch, then
there is probably a dent in the outer slide tube.
All material below is Copyright
© 1991-2002 by Andrew B. Spang. It may not be reproduced for profit
without the author's express written consent. All Rights
Last updated: August 24, 2002.