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General Handling

The trumpet is more delicate than it looks and should be handled like glass. A bump hard enough to break a glass would surely make a good sized dent in your trumpet and even a bump that wouldn't be enough to break a glass might leave a small dent in your trumpet.

Get into good habits when handling your trumpet.

  1. Always carry it carefully, both in the case and out of it. Never hold it just by the mouthpiece, tuning slide or bell; always hold it securely by the main valve case part of the trumpet.
  2. Take care when putting a mute in the bell. You may have a very quick mute change with a higher danger of hitting the inside of the bell flare with the small end of the mute but if you get into the habit of lining the mute up straight with the bell as you put it in the risk of denting is diminished.
  3. Never leave your trumpet on a chair. It can be accidentally knocked off or even sat on!
  4. Don't let other people handle your trumpet unless they understand how fragile it is and know how to treat it.

Inspect your trumpet regularly for any loose braces or stays or other solder joints. These should be repaired by Campbell Brasswind Service, or some other repair technician you trust, as soon as possible. Any loose stays or joints can cause the whole instrument to be weakened and lead to further stays or joints coming loose.

If your mouthpiece gets stuck in the trumpet and you cant get it out by twisting with your hands DON'T USE PLIERS! Besides putting unsightly marks on the trumpet and mouthpiece you can cause severe structural damage by using pliers or a vise. I've seen mouthpipes pulled off and twisted and tubing dented under braces from attempts to remove stuck mouthpieces. Take your trumpet to your repair technician to have the mouthpiece removed from the receiver.


Regular lubrication is essential to the proper functioning of your trumpet. Good lubrication not only helps the slides and valves to move freely but also helps protect the inside of the instrument from corrosion.

The valves should be oiled with a good quality valve oil every day ideally or at least a couple of times each week if used infrequently. Tuning slides should be wiped off and greased with a good tuning slide grease every month. I find wool fat (anhydrous lanolin - available from your pharmacist) to be the best slide lubricant. Vaseline is not a good tuning slide lubricant. Third and 1st valve trigger slides (which are found on better quality instruments and operated by the middle finger and thumb, respectively) can be lubricated with trombone slide lubricant, synthetic lubricant, household oil or some combination of silicone-based grease and oil. Try out the options and see which works for you. Also, there should be some sort of restraint to keep the trigger slides from falling off and getting dented - a loop of string or rubber band will work if nothing else is available.


The outside of your trumpet should be wiped off each time you put it away to help preserve the finish. At least a couple times a year your trumpet should be washed inside and out. Remove all slides, pistons and valve caps and soak everything in soapy water. If your trumpet is lacquered take care to use only lukewarm water and don't soak for more than 10 or 15 minutes unless you're sure your lacquer is the epoxy-based type. If your trumpet is unlacquered or nickel or silver-plated you can use hot water and soak for a longer time if necessary. After soaking, use cleaning brushes on all inside surfaces. Cleaning kits are available from Campbell Brasswind Service or any good musical instrument shop.

Once a year you should have your trumpet chemically cleaned and serviced by Campbell Brasswind Service or some other good repair technician. Regular servicing will prolong the life of your trumpet and keep it in good playing condition. Chemical cleaning removes dirt, grease and scale and helps keeps corrosion from building up on the inside of your instrument. At Campbell Brasswind Service we use a cleaning solution especially formulated for cleaning brass instruments rather than the hydrochloric acid solution that is used by many repair technicians in Australia. I find our method to be both safer and more effective than the hydrochloric acid bath.

If you treat your trumpet well it will give you many years of trouble-free service and enjoyment.