Several techniques are commonly used to get brass instruments looking and sounding their best. If an instrument has fallen into any kind of disrepair, it is best to first disassemble the entire instrument â€” that is, take it apart piece by piece, according to Dana Hofer Brass Instrument Repair.
Often, instruments appear to be in worse shape than they actually are due to the poor sound or performance quality that they are emitting.
Sometimes instruments simply need a thorough cleaning. Typically, brass instrument repairmen — those who specialize in repairing and cleaning these large, big band instruments — will scrub the insides of the instrument clean until it shines, and then polish. They may also apply a silver application that helps remove any tarnish.
The approach tends to be different with piston and rotary instruments, as they have different parts. When reassembling a piston instrument, felts and corks are usually replaced. Alternatively, when reassembling a rotary instrument, new strings and bumpers are usually required to make the instrument sound better.
In both cases, valve realignment is important. While the instrument is taken apart and laying open on the table, it is easy to take a good look at its interior workings, and to access the valves and slides, which may be causing the majority of the auditory problems. Improperly oiled valves make for an unpleasant sound. Similarly, slides can be greased so they slide more smoothly.
In the case of a more serious disrepair, most repairmen will also be able to replace worn or broken parts, including valves, braces, key corks and springs.