Slide Cleaning questions

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Lamplighter
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Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Lamplighter »

I've just recently started playing again, and after doing a lot of reading here, have realized that I probably never cleaned my horn often enough (my high school days!). I would give it a bath periodically and swab out the slide with the rod and a cloth before concerts and such.

I've just started playing a single valve bass, a YBL 321, and have ordered lubricant for the rotor. In the past I've always used vaseline for the tuning slide, but have ordered slide grease as well.

Are all snakes created equal? I will need something to clean the F tubing and rotor. Are the Slide-O-Mix cleaning rods and sheath worth the cost? Being able to swab out the entire outer slide seems like a good idea. Are the terry sleeves washable? How often can you use them between washings. Seems like I can get a cheap cotton flannel sheet and cut into strips and do the same thing, except for the bend in the outer slide.

What do you use?
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elmsandr
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by elmsandr »

I like the snakes that have a plasticized coating rather than just the wound steel coil. Less likely to scratch something.

On my cleaning rods, I prefer cheesecloth. Got a big reel and I don't cut it off, when the end gets nasty, I just cut off six inches and move forward. If you do make something of your own, never stick anything in the slide that you can't hold on to the end of... Not fun to get it out.

I rarely, if ever swab out rotor sections, I'll flow water through and submerge briefly in a bath, but rarely a snake or anything like that. I also don't recommend taking apart a rotor unless you do it first with somebody that knows what they are doing. Not hard, but a few tricks can make it rather simple.

Cheers,
Andy
MTbassbone
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by MTbassbone »

elmsandr wrote: Fri Jul 01, 2022 1:23 pm On my cleaning rods, I prefer cheesecloth.
Muslin works well too. Not sure which one is cheaper. Old bed sheets cut into strips can work too although less desirable than the first two options.
hyperbolica
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by hyperbolica »

Snake should have a plastic coating over the wire, and you should get a brass saver brush. Cheese cloth, some white vinegar, dawn soap. Diluted Muriatic acid if you have something serious to clean.

I've never actually cleaned my f attachment tubing, but slides get cleaned weekly depending on use.
OneTon
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by OneTon »

I’ve always used plastic coated snakes with nylon brushes, Dawn dish soap, and water no hotter than what my hands could stand or what I would let a baby be in contact with. Herb Rankin of the KC Symphony Orchestra said more damage had been done with cleaning rods than cleaning. I put a hole through the bow of a Bach LT6 slide bow with a cleaning rod. If I use a cleaning rod I barber pole the rod with 2-inch cotton gauze, lightly bottom the rod against the bow, and then set the rod 0.50 inches above that location with my fingers to prevent bottoming out.

Common sense has to be used even with a snake.

I have run a snake through the Bb side of an f-attachment of traditional rotary valves but never a rod. I try to run soap and water through the f and/or d attachment once a month. I also apply two or three drops of Holton rotary valve oil through the open tubing once a day. I apply a thicker lubricant like Marvel Mystery Oil or 3 in 1 to the bearing 2-4 times a year. I also shake out the tuning slides after each use and wash the mouthpiece with soap and water and a mouthpiece brush once a day. I have had no maintenance issues other than the hole in the slide bow and very few sores on my lips for the past 50 years.
Richard Smith
Wichita, Kansas
mbtrombone
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by mbtrombone »

I have a assortment of cleaning supplies for my horns: Plastic coated snake, regular cleaning rod with cheese cloth, slide-o-mix rod with the Terry Cloth cover and snake attachment, brass saver snake, flute cleaning rod.

When I put away my horn for more than a few hours, I dry the outer slide to remove moisture and lubricant (recommended by a slide tech and Bill Watrous) and I use the slide-o-mix Terry cloth combo, if it is the end of the day I also use the brass saver on the end crook and inside the inner tubes.

For deeper cleans (sadly far too long between them): I use the slide-o-mix rod with snake attachment or the plastic coated snake on the slide, I use the cleaning rod with cheese cloth for polishing the outer slide tubes with some water based polish but that is only generally with a horn I just bought. I use the plastic coated snake to clean the valve section, and I do remove my rotors to clean valve sections (I did this work at a music store for years though and have enough back up horns that if something goes catastrophically wrong I can get it to my favorite repair tech). Once I have cleaned all that in the tub I use the slide rod, flute rod, and slide saver snake to dry everything before using valve oil and slide grease.

I prefer: Yamaha Slide Lubricant for hand slides, Hetmans tuning slide grease, ultra pure valve oil for the interior of valves, and Hetmans Medium Bearing oil for linkages and spindles.
Bach5G
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Bach5G »

“Are the Slide-O-Mix cleaning rods and sheath worth the cost?”

Yes.
Posaunus
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Posaunus »

I clean my slides (inner and outer) regularly, so they are always pretty much shiny & smooth.
My tools:
• Toothbrush, to clean any debris from my teeth before I start playing.
• Mouthpiece brush (used very seldom, since I always rinse my mouthpieces with warm water after playing; they stay clean).
• Soft cloth to wipe off any lubricant from the outside of the inner slide.
• HWP Brass-Saver (soft pull-through brush with a long plastic lead ribbon).
. . "Trombone" size for small-bores; "Tuba" size for large-bore trombones.
. . Gentle; cannot damage anything; also can be pulled through bell section, even through the F-attachment valve!
. . Great at thoroughly cleaning the outer slide crook.
• Strips of cotton bedsheet (could also use cheesecloth) wrapped around a Yamaha trombone cleaning rod.
. . As noted, these rods should be used VERY carefully - they can be lethal to slides. Not always needed.
Slide-O-Mix terry "towel sheath" and cleaning rod (red sheath for medium-bore; blue sheath for large-bore slides).
. . The towel sheaths are easily washable, by hand in the sink or in a washing machine.
• A microfiber cloth to wipe clean all the exterior lacquered brass surfaces.

I almost NEVER use a nylon brush "snake" - even if plastic-coated. No longer needed now that I've discovered the Brass-Saver.
OneTon
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by OneTon »

It is safest to barber pole that cloth around a cleaning rod. There is a YouTube master class of Bill Watrous doing it. Any ~2 inch strip of non fraying cloth will work. Cutting up your wife’s bath towel is a non-starter.

I am lazy and buy 2-inch gauze bandage. When it gets dirty I wash or throw it away if it has had it. The idea is to leave loose ends at the top to pull the cloth and rod back out if it jams. There should be far less material than would jam itself hard in any tube it is used in.
Richard Smith
Wichita, Kansas
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StephenK
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by StephenK »

Are the Slide-O-Mix cleaning rods and sheath worth the cost? Being able to swab out the entire outer slide seems like a good idea. Are the terry sleeves washable?
Yes, they are very convenient. The Terry covers are washable. I found using them to clean the outers regularly, with care, made a huge difference.
Lamplighter
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Lamplighter »

Thanks for all the great input. I have ordered the terry sleeves as well as a flexible brush.

When I was a beginning band student in the late 60's, I just used the cleaning rod that came with the horn, with a small piece of cloth on the end. Usually this was just to dry the inner slide after a bath. Guess I just got lucky! Never lost the cloth or damaged the slide, thankfully.
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harrisonreed
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by harrisonreed »

Don't give you horn a bath -- no need to.

1. Brush your teeth before you play.
2. Regularly swab out the outer slide with something like the slide o mix swab.
3. Maybe once a month, if that, use a snake brush on both the inner and outer slides, with soap, and a funnel to rinse it out.
4. Learn to clean your rotor.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Burgerbob »

:clever:
tbonesullivan
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by tbonesullivan »

Posaunus wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 12:29 pm • HWP Brass-Saver (soft pull-through brush with a long plastic lead ribbon).
. . "Trombone" size for small-bores; "Tuba" size for large-bore trombones.
. . Gentle; cannot damage anything; also can be pulled through bell section, even through the F-attachment valve!
. . Great at thoroughly cleaning the outer slide crook.
Interesting, I've never tried the tuba size one. Do you use it just for the inner slide and valve slides?
David S. - daveyboy37 from TTF
Bach 39 Alto, LT36B, 42BOF & 42T, King 2103 / 3b, Kanstul 1570CR & 1588CR, Yamaha YBL-612 RII & YBL-830, B&H Eb Tuba, Sterling 1056GHS Euphonium,
Livingston Symphony Orchestra NJ - Trombone
Posaunus
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Posaunus »

tbonesullivan wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 10:43 pm
Posaunus wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 12:29 pm • HWP Brass-Saver (soft pull-through brush with a long plastic lead ribbon).
. . "Trombone" size for small-bores; "Tuba" size for large-bore trombones.
. . Gentle; cannot damage anything; also can be pulled through bell section, even through the F-attachment valve!
. . Great at thoroughly cleaning the outer slide crook.
Interesting, I've never tried the tuba size one. Do you use it just for the inner slide and valve slides?
For large-bore and single-valve bass trombones: "Tuba" size - Inner slide, outer slide (through the crook and back), and through the valve and out the bell. (Then wipe the bell dry with the microfiber cloth.) Leaves my inner tubing clean. Dry inside of the outer slide tubes with the Slide-O-Mix terry "towel sheath." Replace clean and dry trombone in case and sleep soundly.
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by tbonesullivan »

Posaunus wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 11:19 pmFor large-bore and single-valve bass trombones: "Tuba" size - Inner slide, outer slide (through the crook and back), and through the valve and out the bell. (Then wipe the bell dry with the microfiber cloth.) Leaves my inner tubing clean. Dry inside of the outer slide tubes with the Slide-O-Mix terry "towel sheath." Replace clean and dry trombone in case and sleep soundly.
I've got a tuba so I have the tuba sized as well, and the baritone sized. The snake brush from the tuba set honestly looks to same as the trombone one. I should measure it. Maybe the bristles are harder or something.

I think the valve casing brush is the same for the Baritone and Tuba sets are the same.
David S. - daveyboy37 from TTF
Bach 39 Alto, LT36B, 42BOF & 42T, King 2103 / 3b, Kanstul 1570CR & 1588CR, Yamaha YBL-612 RII & YBL-830, B&H Eb Tuba, Sterling 1056GHS Euphonium,
Livingston Symphony Orchestra NJ - Trombone
Lamplighter
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Lamplighter »

Posaunus wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 11:19 pm
tbonesullivan wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 10:43 pm
Interesting, I've never tried the tuba size one. Do you use it just for the inner slide and valve slides?
For large-bore and single-valve bass trombones: "Tuba" size - Inner slide, outer slide (through the crook and back), and through the valve and out the bell. (Then wipe the bell dry with the microfiber cloth.) Leaves my inner tubing clean. Dry inside of the outer slide tubes with the Slide-O-Mix terry "towel sheath." Replace clean and dry trombone in case and sleep soundly.
I assume this is thru the open valve, or is it thru the F attachment as well?

I hadn't heard of brushing one's teeth before playing, but it makes sense. Added to my practice sessions.
Posaunus
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Posaunus »

Lamplighter wrote:184151 time=1658604639 user_id=15363]
Posaunus wrote: Fri Jul 22, 2022 11:19 pm For large-bore and single-valve bass trombones: "Tuba" size - Inner slide, outer slide (through the crook and back), and through the valve and out the bell. (Then wipe the bell dry with the microfiber cloth.) Leaves my inner tubing clean. Dry inside of the outer slide tubes with the Slide-O-Mix terry "towel sheath." Replace clean and dry trombone in case and sleep soundly.
1. I assume this is thru the open valve, or is it thru the F attachment as well?

2. I hadn't heard of brushing one's teeth before playing, but it makes sense. Added to my practice sessions.


1. Just feed the Brass-Saver brush lead ribbon through the bell neckpipe and out the bell. No problem with an open valve, since that's pretty much a straight shot. But it won't feed through an actuated valve - the brush won't negotiate sharp 90° bends.

2. Removing food particles from your mouth before playing is really helpful. You won't believe how much debris techs find inside wind instruments! I keep a toothbrush inside each of my trombone cases. Used after every break if I eat anything.
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KWL
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by KWL »

I’m just catching up on this thread. Thanks for the Brass Saver recommendations.
Posaunus wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:09 pm 2. Removing food particles from your mouth before playing is really helpful. You won't believe how much debris techs find inside wind instruments! I keep a toothbrush inside each of my trombone cases. Used after every break if I eat anything.
So I guess our pizza & beer trombone octet sessions were not such a good idea? 😁
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Bonearzt »

KWL wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:36 am I’m just catching up on this thread. Thanks for the Brass Saver recommendations.
Posaunus wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:09 pm 2. Removing food particles from your mouth before playing is really helpful. You won't believe how much debris techs find inside wind instruments! I keep a toothbrush inside each of my trombone cases. Used after every break if I eat anything.
So I guess our pizza & beer trombone octet sessions were not such a good idea? 😁
Naw Man!!! It's GREAT idea!!!!

KACHING!!!!!!!
Eric Edwards
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"If you must choose between two evils, choose the one you haven't tried yet."
"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
Posaunus
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Posaunus »

Bonearzt wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:44 am
KWL wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:36 am Thanks for the Brass Saver recommendations.

So I guess our pizza & beer trombone octet sessions were not such a good idea? 😁
Naw Man!!! It's GREAT idea!!!!

KACHING!!!!!!!
Sorry, Eric. I didn't intend to take income away from you. :weep:
All you Texans, please continue to eat lots of pizza while you're playing your trombones -
Eric will be sure to clean them out and repair any food-related damage! :wink:
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Bonearzt »

Posaunus wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:36 am
Bonearzt wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:44 am

Naw Man!!! It's GREAT idea!!!!

KACHING!!!!!!!
Sorry, Eric. I didn't intend to take income away from you. :weep:
All you Texans, please continue to eat lots of pizza while you're playing your trombones -
Eric will be sure to clean them out and repair any food-related damage! :wink:
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Yes!! Got a boat payment due too!!
Eric Edwards
Professional Instrument Repair
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"If you must choose between two evils, choose the one you haven't tried yet."
"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
Rogerrr
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Rogerrr »

Haven't bought cheesecloth for years....where do you find it? Grocery store, hardware store?
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sacfxdx
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by sacfxdx »

Rogerrr wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 10:31 pm Haven't bought cheesecloth for years....where do you find it? Grocery store, hardware store?
I get mine at Home Depot. Possibly cheaper elsewhere.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-4-sq-yd ... /202302483
Steve
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by ldmitruk »

Rogerrr wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 10:31 pm Haven't bought cheesecloth for years....where do you find it? Grocery store, hardware store?
You can also use muslin cloth, available at fabric stores.
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by ldmitruk »

KWL wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:36 am I’m just catching up on this thread. Thanks for the Brass Saver recommendations.
Posaunus wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:09 pm 2. Removing food particles from your mouth before playing is really helpful. You won't believe how much debris techs find inside wind instruments! I keep a toothbrush inside each of my trombone cases. Used after every break if I eat anything.
So I guess our pizza & beer trombone octet sessions were not such a good idea? 😁
You just need to save enough beer to wash all the pizza out of your mouth before playing.
Posaunus
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Posaunus »

I have no idea why cheesecloth became the preferred slide wiping medium. It's not even very absorbent. Years ago I switched to strips of old bedsheets (as did Bill Watrous). More absorbent, easier to handle, very effective. I use this technique on my inner slide where you can sight down the slide to see how effective it is. If you do this on your upper inner slide, you must be VERY careful to not dislodge the leadpipe. :o

I have an unused package of cheesecloth in my drawer - any takers?

As a certified anal-compulsive, I follow my bedsheet swab with a Slide-O-Mix towel sheath swab to ensure complete drying. Then I put away my trombone in its case "dead dry!"

My trombone slides all function superbly. :good:
Rogerrr
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Rogerrr »

For cleaning my flute I always cut up an old cotton t-shirt

Would that also work here?
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by BGuttman »

Rogerrr wrote: Sat Nov 26, 2022 3:16 pm For cleaning my flute I always cut up an old cotton t-shirt

Would that also work here?
You'd need a pretty big t-shirt. We like to cut the material so that it wraps the cleaning rod and still sticks out a little so you can pull it out. Using a smallish strip like you use on a flute may result in the material left inside the slide where it's really difficult to remove. Especially in the outer slide.
Bruce Guttman
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by brassmedic »

Don't clean the inner slide with a rod, unless you want to get it stuck in the leadpipe. Use a flexible snake brush with soap and water. Much safer.
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
Posaunus
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Re: Slide Cleaning questions

Post by Posaunus »

brassmedic wrote: Sat Nov 26, 2022 9:24 pm Don't clean the inner slide with a rod, unless you want to get it stuck in the leadpipe. Use a flexible snake brush with soap and water. Much safer.
I rarely use the old-fashioned snake brush (test tube brush at each end of a coiled metal wire "snake" - whether vinyl-coated or bare wire). Instead I begin my daily slide hygiene protocol with an HWP Brass-Saver (soft pull-through brush with a long plastic lead ribbon) that will gently pass through (removing condensation and debris, and partially drying) not only both inner slides but also the entire outer slide - as well as the bell section.

I am aware of the risk of using the rod in the upper inner slide due to the leadpipe issue. But for the lower inner slide (which has no leadpipe) I am quite comfortable using the cloth-covered rod followed by the appropriate size Slide-O-Mix towel sheath to get the slide completely clean and dry. This has worked very well for me for years.
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