General advice on maintaining your wind instrument in-between services:
ALL wind instruments need some attention from time to time, so regular servicing is a great idea. About once a year to 18 months is about the right time for a general service, this would include clean, adjustments and lubrication of moving parts, and the replacement of worn parts.
In the meantime, until the next service there are several things you can do to help keep the instrument in good playing condition and looking good.
- Moisture is a killer for instruments, ALWAYS pay particular attention to dry your instrument after playing, you can also rinse the mouthpiece and dry it after each use.
- Don’t put any wet cleaning cloths into the case with the instrument. Also avoid the use of so-called pad savers (a long brush that stays in the instrument) as they do the opposite to what they are advertised to do. Store damp cloths away from the instrument.
- Fingerprints can contain chemicals that, if left on the instrument, may eat into the finish. Remove any finger-marks or dust from the instrument with a soft (preferably mircofibre) dry cloth each time you use it. A quick wipe down should become a habit to care for any instrument.
- Woodwind instruments become damaged when you hold the keys during assembly and disassembly. Try as much as possible to hold the instrument in a place that doesn’t have keywork.
- Don’t put items on the instrument in the case! The case is usually designed to fit an instrument snuggly, so putting other items in the case (like books) can damage the instrument. Be careful with hard items like metal mouthpieces can bump against the instrument and cause damage. Make sure these are secure in their designated space or in the pocket on the outside of the case or case cover is the best place for these items.
- Temperature extremes should be avoided, if the instrument is very cold, let it warm naturally to room temperature before putting 37 degrees from your breath into the bore of the instrument, this applies largely to wooden instruments.
- Brass instrument components (Slides and valves) will seize up if they are not regularly moved as the lubricate won’t cover all the surface area while the instrument is unused.