912 Church St.
North Syracuse
NY 13212

Oil that Trumpet

Let the oil run out in your car’s engine, and you know what happens: the engine seizes up, and you’re facing a major (and pricey) repair job. The same thing can happen to your instrument when you don't apply oil or the oil gets dirty. Regular oil changes helps to keep those expensive wheels running in tip-top condition.

Now apply that same philosophy to your instrument. You’ve spent hard-earned cash on your trumpet, and, just as with your car, simple regular maintenance will go a long way toward avoiding a repair bill. The first step is oil. An un-oiled valve will wear faster than a regularly oiled valve. Oil also flushes out debris and dirt that gets in between the valve and wall of the valve casing. Lastly, a layer of oil will fill the small gap between the valve and the casing, reducing air leakage and making your trumpet more efficient.


Apply 4-6 drops of quality brand oil to each of the valves every time you play it!. Start by un-screwing the top cap of a valve and carefully removing the piston about halfway. Apply several drops of the oil, and then return the piston to its casing. Turn it until the guide clicks into its slot in the casing. This aligns the valve with its proper ports. Replace the valve cap and tighten it down- but don’t over tighten.

Follow the same procedure with the remaining valves; making sure you replace them in the proper order. If you remove the pistons completely and they get mixed up, the instrument will be impossible to play. Oiling valves one at a time should help you avoid this problem, be if you do get confused, remember that on most instruments the pistons are clearly numbered 1, 2, and 3.

Repeat this simple procedure routinely, and you’ll fly through those tricky passages with confidence on a reliable trumpet.


Download a copy of this article