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Author Topic: What to buy for my 1st trombone?  (Read 650 times)
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The Dutch Guy
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« on: Jan 18, 2017, 07:57AM »

I wasn't sure where to put this (beginner or maintenance), so I just put it here because I put my other topic here too.

As you may have seen in another beginner forum, I just started on trombone, and am about to purchase my first real trombone. (I've got a PBone and a borrowed brass one.) I already got tons of advice for which trombone to get. Now the next problem: What else do I need?

When I search for stuff like lubricant and maintenance, I find a million things, and I just don't know where to start. I'd like some very concise info on which product is probably best for me. What I need is slide lubrication and maintenance/cleaning gear.
What I want is to do the 'extensive' lubrication as seldom as possible, and only needing to carry around one spray bottle (with water, for example) for rehearsals / gigs. I've seen a lot of products like oil, cream, 2-component stuff with different ratios.... I don't mind a little extra effort once every few weeks to reapply lube, as long as it holds long enough, and is easy to maintain. I've heard that Slide-o-Mix is good, but what I can't find is how often I have to reapply it (compared to others), and how to maintain it. (with water?)

The same for cleaning. What stuff do I need to make it last longest, but keep it easy?
I've played the trumpet for about 18 years so far, so I know may way around cleaning brass instruments. It's mostly the slide I'm worried about. Now that I'm buying stuff anyway, I might as well buy exactly what I need.

I have no prior experience with any trombone lubricant or cleaning gear, and don't have any of it. So I need to buy everything. Please give me some advice :)
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 18, 2017, 08:28AM »

I hope you will look at the video of Christan Griego (he's President of Edwards Custom Instruments) showing how to clean a slide.  A quick peek may answer a lot of your questions.

Lubricants sort into three classes:

Oils, very similar to the valve oil you use on your trumpet.  They have the advantage that you can't put too much on, but they don't last and are really not recommended for serious players.

Creams.  The father of all creams is cold cream, specifically Pond's Cold Cream as made about 50 years ago.  You put a little bit on the stocking of the slide and work it in.  The Trombotine that Christan uses is a cream.  You only need to give it a spray with water periodically to "refresh" it.  Key thing with creams is "less is more".  If you put too much cream on a slide it will gum up horribly.  Some creams also use a drop of silicone oil as a "helper" (see below).  Even though Pond's cold cream isn't what it used to be, it still works, but you have to be even more stingy than normal.  Older slides with loose tolerances tend to do well with creams.

Silicone Oils.  These come as 1 part and 2 part.  The classic one is Slide-O-Mix, which is a 2 part.  You put a little of the smaller bottle on each stocking, work it in, then put a little of the large bottle on each stocking and work it in.  You would use the large bottle just before starting to play.  You can use water with it, but SOM doesn't recommend it.  Many other of this genre is one part.  The current fad here is Yamaha Slide Oil (not to be confused with the thin stuff I mentioned earlier).  Again, a little on the stockings and work it in.  Silicones will degrade into a compound similar to sand (and just as abrasive) so you need to wipe down the inner slide periodically (once a week is OK) to minimize the buildup.  Tight tolerance slides seem to work best with silicone oils.

You will need a cleaning rod and some cheesecloth or muslin.  You cut the cheesecloth into strips about 3 cm wide by 1.25 meters long (long enough that as you feed in the cleaning rod you can still grab the cloth).  This is to clean the inside of the outer slide.  Christan shows exactly how to do this in the video.

You will need a snake brush.  This is a 1.5 meter long metal flex wire with a brush at each end.  This is to clean out the crook of the slide and the inside of the inner slide.  There is also a fancy doodad called a "Slide Saver" that does the same thing if you want to spend a bit more money.

You will probably want a spray bottle for water.  I save small spray bottles from anything I use: medicine, hair spray, etc. and wash them out.  Or you can spend a couple of euros on a Trombone Spray Bottle (it costs them about a quartje each to make).  If your water has lots of dissolved minerals, you probably should fill the bottle with distilled or deionized water instead.  A liter bottle will go a long way.  Or you may actually have that at home for a steam iron or (in my case) a medical appliance.

You should already have tuning slide grease for your trumpet -- same stuff works for the trombone.

If you buy a trombone with a rotor valve, you will need two additional oils: Rotor Oil (it's a little thicker than the valve oil you use on the trumpet) and Spindle Oil.  You put a few drops of rotor oil down the receiver into the valve and work it in.  The spindle oil goes on all the other joints.  There is a nice rotor valve care guide on the Osmun Brass Web Site.

Good luck.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 18, 2017, 08:38AM »

Long story short: You want Trombotine.  It lasts really long and requires no other steps other than applying it. You might get more out of it if you wipe the slide down first, but I rarely do to be honest. 
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 18, 2017, 08:59AM »

Ah, exactly the kind of replies I was hoping for :)

Thanks!
As for the lube: Considering I'm buying a second hand trombone that may well be a bit more loose than a new one, I'll go with a cream. I've heard the word Trombotine a few times as well. I guess I'll go with that one then!

Good call on the rotor oil and spindle oil. I wouldn't have thought about that. I guess Hetmann makes those as well? I use that brand for all my trumpet needs. Unless you people tell me that there is a far better one for trombone :)

As for the maintenance: I saw the video of the Edwards guy. I guess I'm going for the slide-o-mix rod with cloth that can be washed. Seems easier to use than having to cut rags every time, but it's essentially the same.
I'll get a snake as well for the inner tubing, a cloth for the outside of the inner slide, and a mouthpiece brush. Any recommendations?

I don't have a water sprayer lying around, but I saw them for sale at the music store (I'll order everything at Thomann in Germany). As for the distilled water: I'll have a look if the local store has any, and else I'll make it myself by boiling tap water and collecting the evaporated mist.

As for cleaning: I haven't looked into it yet, but is the dishwashing stuff I use for the trumpet OK to use?

OK, so my to buy list:
- Trombotine
- Rotor oil
- Spindle oil
- SOM rod with cloth
- Snake
- Mouthpiece brush
- Cloth for outside of inner slide
- water sprayer
- Distilled water

Anything I should add, or any specific recommendations for brands to use or NOT to use?

EDIT: Wow, Hetman makes a LOT of different oils. So, for the rotary valve and spindle oil, what numbers would your recommendation be, assuming the horn is a 15+ year old high-end student or low-end pro horn?

EDIT 2: I'm used to buying a bottle of oil and then using it for years. Are there any products that I should buy in multiples?
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BGuttman
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 18, 2017, 09:27AM »

I don't use Hetman simply because I got a lifetime supply of Mobil Velocite 10 which works great (you would have to buy a 20 liter pail -- not worth it).  I believe Hetman 9 is the spindle oil most of the guys use.  For the rotor, whatever is commonly used for a French Horn.  If there are 2 grades buy the higher number.  3 grades buy the middle number.

For the bath, whatever you are using on your trumpet works great for trombone.  Some lacquers are sensitive to very hot water (70+ C), but King trombones are not.  Still, warm water (50 C or less) is to be preferred.  If you would bathe you in it, you could probably bathe the trombone in it as well.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 18, 2017, 09:46AM »

If you're not looking for a trigger horn (f attachment) then you don't need the rotor and spindle oil.
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 18, 2017, 10:01AM »

@ sacfxdx: Yes, I got that. But thanks for reminding me Pant

I would prefer a horn with attachment, but depending on availability and price it may go either way.
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 18, 2017, 11:13AM »

Also worth saying-- different slides will prefer different lubricants.

I've switched away from Trombotine to the Yamaha lubricant in recent years, except for a couple of my horns that seem to like Trombotine better.
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 18, 2017, 11:20AM »

I returned to playing at age 50 (26 years ago) with the King 2B Silvertone (made in 1947) which is what I had when I quit at age 18.  It is in the hands of my younger brother now, probably collecting dust unfortunately.  I restarted with the King and was very satisfied with the horn which was a big help in getting my skills back.  After a couple of years my wife bought me for Christmas a King student horn, .525 bore with a trigger.  I forget the model number but I think it was the student version of the King 3B+.  I have swapped an traded a lot of horns down through the years and love my Raths now, but the only horn I ever regretted giving up was that King student horn with a 6 1/2 A.L. mouthpiece.
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 18, 2017, 11:22AM »

I use Slide-O-Mix and I am happy with it. Ultra-pure oil from my trumpet do fine for the trigger. La Tromba on the tuning and trigger slide do just fine.
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 18, 2017, 01:25PM »

Hetmans 11 or 11.5 for the rotor and I think 13 is the spindle. 14 is ball joint as well if it's a ball joint linkage. I use all 3.

Also don't rule out yamaha slide lube. It works really well even on old slides.
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 18, 2017, 01:38PM »

I recommend SOM on the slide, though it does require a little work.

Once you apply it, the only maintenance is to freshen it up with a spritz of water

The SOM cleaning rod sheath has also been a big help since I'm kinda lazy
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 18, 2017, 02:54PM »

I have switched from Slide-O-Mix to BiNaK. You have to buy it from the manufacturer, but it lasts a long time.  At the top of this section of the forum is a link to the 'Just For Beginners' section of the Online Trombone Journal.  They have a rather good article on cleaning the trombone. 
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 18, 2017, 02:59PM »

Dutch:

You will notice that there are a lot of different preferences.  That's why there are so many products.  They all work.  Some work better than others on some horns but not on others.  So you will have to do a little experimenting.

Note: creams and silicones do NOT mix (except for the drops of silicone on top of a cream).  If you set up with Slide-O-Mix and want to test a cream, you need to do a good cleanout of the slide.  Same goes if you want to go from a cream to a silicone.

One apparent exception seems to be UltraPure.  I've put it on top of my cold cream or on Slide-O-Mix and it works on both.
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Bruce Guttman
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 19, 2017, 02:46AM »

@ ISAB & Bonerick:

So how often do you have to apply the 2 components? And how would that compare to for example trombotine?

@ GButtman:
I am well aware of that. I just want to start with whatever is probably best for me. I want to weed out the ones that don't work that well, and start with something that I can stick with for a while. I'm still trying to choose between slide-o-mix and trombotine. I've read more about SOM, but trombotine seems to be easier. I don't really care about price. A tube apparently lasts nearly a lifetime, so that's not an issue.
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« Reply #15 on: Jan 19, 2017, 04:10AM »

Dutch,

You may want to buy a trombone stand. I haven't got any at the moment and find it anoying everytime to wonder where to leave the bone between session.
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The Dutch Guy
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 19, 2017, 04:33AM »

@ Bonenick,

Yes, good one. I already checked some out on the internet and found the "K&M 14985 Trombone Stand".
I'll probably get 2 of them (or 1 if I can fit it in the bag.). One for at home, one to leave at the rehearsal room.
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 19, 2017, 04:39AM »

for home better get the sturdy one, 149/9 or something like that.
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« Reply #18 on: Jan 19, 2017, 05:18AM »

@ ISAB & Bonerick:

So how often do you have to apply the 2 components? And how would that compare to for example trombotine?

@ GButtman:
I am well aware of that. I just want to start with whatever is probably best for me. I want to weed out the ones that don't work that well, and start with something that I can stick with for a while. I'm still trying to choose between slide-o-mix and trombotine. I've read more about SOM, but trombotine seems to be easier. I don't really care about price. A tube apparently lasts nearly a lifetime, so that's not an issue.

Time mostly depends on how frequently you play.  I have one horn that I play perhaps once a month and an application of trombotine will last over a month on that one so long as I put water on it. Can't speak about som, I've actually never used it.
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« Reply #19 on: Jan 19, 2017, 07:24AM »

@ ISAB & Bonerick:

So how often do you have to apply the 2 components? And how would that compare to for example trombotine?

@ GButtman:
I am well aware of that. I just want to start with whatever is probably best for me. I want to weed out the ones that don't work that well, and start with something that I can stick with for a while. I'm still trying to choose between slide-o-mix and trombotine. I've read more about SOM, but trombotine seems to be easier. I don't really care about price. A tube apparently lasts nearly a lifetime, so that's not an issue.

I usually apply the two solutions once a month
If it gets sticky before a month, I just spray a bit of water
I cant compare it to Trombotine since I haven't used it before, but I've heard that it works great
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