What to Do When Your Trumpet Sounds Dry

by Candice Coleman
The use of valve oil and slide grease can improve a trumpet's performance.

The use of valve oil and slide grease can improve a trumpet's performance.

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The trumpet is an instrument played by moving a slide forward and back while pressing down on valves. Over time, you may notice changes in the sound of the instrument. Regular inspection and maintenance of your trumpet can prevent costly repairs down the road. In the meantime, you can take measures to reduce or eliminate a dry sound.

Cleaning the Trumpet

Owners of a dry-sounding trumpet may get relief from the irritation by cleaning out the instrument. You can drop disassembled trumpet parts into a bucket of lukewarm water mixed with a few drops of dish soap for up to a minute. Grime deposits may collect inside of the instrument, which can be loosened through cleaning. You can return to concert performances or the classroom with your instrument after rinsing it out in water and allowing it to dry.

Slide Grease

Sticking trumpet slides can cause tuning problems, which may lead to a dry sound when playing. A simple fix is to grease each of your slides with a few drops of slide grease as frequently as needed to keep your slides moving gracefully. If you notice that your slides are dented, greasing them may not solve your problem; in this case the instrument may need professional repair to relieve a dry sound.

Valve Oil

Like the damage inflicted by grime or problems with your slides, a trumpet's valves are also important for crafting a professional sound. When valves stick, you may notice a distorted sound or individual notes that cannot be played. Cleaning the valves with soap and water before greasing them in valve oil can return your valves to a healthy state.

Professional Repair

Sometimes parts like slides or valves may stick inside of the instrument, making it impossible to clean, grease or oil individual parts. If regular maintenance also fails to get rid of a distorted sound, a professional repair shop may be able to solve the problem. Bent trumpet slides or other damaged parts could be responsible for the nuisance, and a professional may be able to restore your trumpet to its original sound.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

Photo Credits

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