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Thanks for all the comments.
What I'm taking away from the massed wisdom here is:
1- "Pour" some valve oil down the leadpipe, blow it through and work the valves
2- Wipe pistons down with a lint-free/microfiber-type cloth
3- Oil pistons generously
4- Avoid leaving the horn resting on its bell (what's the reasoning behind doing this? Aside from it's always safest in its case)
1- Check bottom valve casing for gunk build-up
2- Check pistons for discolouration/ "patina", and wipe/oil when I see them
Are there any other opinions on Dylan's ideas around Marvel Mystery Oil? I've never heard of the stuff before. Did a quick google and from what I can tell it looks quite automotive and industrial-ish - http://www.marvelmysteryoil.com/index.php/site/mmo/" target="_blank. Is it really a good idea to apply that to valves occasionally?
And Gerard - I love the tuba so far. I'll post something a bit in-depth after I've been playing on it for longer
With a horn with side valves like yours, if you rest it on the bell, it situations the valves so they are upside down. Any gunk that happens to be in the bottom cap will run "down" into the valves.
I'd also like to hear what you've got to say about the horn, both initial impressions and a later, more in-depth review.
Especially interested to hear what you think about pitch, sound, and ergonomics. I haven't had my hands on one of these yet. . .
Thomas J. Ricer, DMA
Royal Hawaiian Band - University of Hawaii at Manoa - Yamaha Performing Artist
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon
This is an interesting post, particularly to someone who daily cares for other people's instruments.
I'll just tell you what I do to new instruments, and what I suggest to my customers.
I've sold new instruments ranging from Weril to Josef Lidl to Willson and Rudolf Meinl instruments. The more expensive the instrument in general, the better condition it is in when leaving the factory, and the less prep work it needs to initially work well. However, raw brass is unstable, and there are two ways to stabilize it, otherwise the instrument will eventually get rather filled with crud, impairing the action of the valves and slides, and the corrosion and grit will wear out the mechanisms.
Bloke mentioned keeping it clean and using plenty of oil, allowing the metal to slowly darken to where there is a hard oxidized surface that will be less likely to turn green or become crud-infested. When I prep and shop-adjust a new instrument, I like to clean the entire instrument with Dawn detergent and warm water to remove buffing rouge from the inside, inspect every nook and cranny to find any factory glitches inside, use a de-limer/de-scaler dip, because there is many times already crud growing in the instrument, and finally dip the new instrument in bright dip, which stabilizes the brass by immediately forming a stable yellow outer surface to the interior brass. If left undisturbed, treated brass parts will not tarnish for years. If the slides or valves do not work as freely as they should, I will correct alignment problems or lap the offending part, as appropriate. After the final cleaning and rinsing, I take care to dry our everything thoroughly with a cleaning rod and cheesecloth. Not getting the instrument dry inside lessens the efectiveness of the cleaning, and willdilute your lubricants, making them not last as long. After everything is really clean and dry, I assemble the valves and slides, using Hetman lubricants, which are synthetic hydrocarbon lubricants. They have anti-wear agents and corrosion inhibitors, so I find that instruments prepped like this require no break-in procedures, and stay remarkably cleaner than other instruments. Rotor instrument treated like this rarely need servicing, and piston-valve instruments tend to need valve oil once a week if played daily. The most important factor in stabilizing the brass is that you want to avoid pink-rot or red-rot if at all possible. I have seen advanced cases of this in the valve casings of Asian-made instruments that were less than 5 years old, and this could have been prevented if they had been maintained. I would suggest regularly cleaning your leadpipe, and running oil down your leadpipe will ensure that you will need to do that often. I would not recommend running oil down your leadpipe, or anything else besides the flex cleaning brush, soap and warm water.
The valves are tight-enough on your new instrument that setting the instrument on the bell should not be an issue, unless it falls over - just use common sense on that one. You might have to clean mouthpipe residue off of the bell flare where it drains, id you set the instrument on it's bell.
i think that the bottom line these days is, the instrument should be prepped well-enough that it is a great player for you from day 1, and if you clean it regularly and lubricate it generously, it should be a great horn for many years.
Lee A. Stofer, Jr.
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