How to Lubricate Your Trumpet Slides
The Parts of Your Trumpet
Trumpets and cornets have valve slides and a main tuning slide. The functions of these require them to move at different rates, which means that we need to use different types of lubricant on them.
The 1st and 3rd valve slides need to move quickly whilst we are playing, so we need to use a relatively thin lubricant, usually referred to as called slide oil or slide cream. These are the products we would generally recommend for 1st and 3rd valve slides, but different instruments will suit certain lubricants more than others. Valve oil can also be used in emergencies, but it will evaporate quickly and will need to be reapplied more frequently than slide oils and creams.
Petrolium jelly is not suitable as it will become hard over time. Cooking oils and other household products should also not be used as they are not suited to the materials of your instrument.
Lubricating Trumpet Valve Slides
1. Whilst depressing the 3rd valve, completely remove the 3rd valve slide and place your trumpet on a steady, flat surface.
2. Remove any dirt and grime from the inner slides using a cloth or paper towel.
3. Apply the slide lubricant/cream to the bottom of the inner slides.
4. Insert the outer slide, pulling it in and out whilst turning so that the lubricant spreads all over the slide.
5. Insert the whole slide back into the trumpet and wipe off any excess lubricant.
Make sure to screw whichever slide stopping mechanism your trumpet or cornet has back into place so that the slide doesn’t fall and become dented.
6. Depress the 1st valve to remove the slide.
7. Remove the dirt, apply the lubricant, spread it over the slides and put the slide back into place.
Lubricating Cornet Valve Slides
The process of lubricating your cornet slides is slightly different to doing this on your trumpet because your valves move with the help of triggers, instead of pushing them out using valve rings.
1. Pull the valve triggers towards the valve casing.
2. Apply lubricant to the inner slides.
3. Wiggle the slides back and forth to spread the lubricant.
Lubricating Tuning Slides - Trumpet & Cornet
The main tuning slide and 2nd valve slide don’t need to move as quickly as the 1st and 3rd valve slide. For this reason, it is generally better to use a slide grease or gel, which is thicker than slide oils and creams. Otherwise these slides may fall out whilst you are playing.
1. To grease the main tuning slide, remove it completely from the trumpet or cornet and clean it in the same way you cleaned the 1st and 3rd valve slides.
2. Apply grease or gel to the bottom of the inner slides.
3. Insert each side of the slide back into the outer slide one side at a time whilst pulling it in and out and rotating.
4. Insert the whole slide back into the instrument.
Greasing the 2nd valve slide can be done using the same process.
Now all of the slides on your trumpet or cornet should be moving smoothly!