Old vs the New Way to Clean Brass Instruments

Have you ever had that moment where you encounter a new way of doing something and realize you’ll never do it the old way again? You’re about to have one of those moments.

To illustrate this, we’d like to share a couple of videos about cleaning brass musical instruments.

The first is from YouTuber and musician Luke Gall.

Now, we think this is a great video. Gall knows his stuff, lays it out well and he definitely aims to get that instrument as spotless as he can. But consider these points:

The old method requires 15 different types of tools and chemicals—those displayed in the video and the detergent.

It requires an hour of soaking time, plus the time spent filling and draining a tub.

If an individual musician follows this procedure, they have to spend even more time gathering materials and setting up a temporary work area, or they have to take up space in their home with a permanent arrangement.

All the cleaning is done by hand. Gall says “it will take a few passes to get everything” with the initial brush cleaning, and if you’re not quite thorough enough, your horn will have nasty gunk in it.

Still more brushing and still more water use are required in the second round of brushing. This can’t be great for the environment or for the musician’s water bill!

When Brasso is applied, Gall advises us, “you may have to do this a few times and use a bit of elbow grease,” and after all that work we have another session of rinsing and hand drying. Following that, two more chemicals are applied and the musician has to deal with ventilation concerns and gloving up. The process is described as “definitely tedious,” and requires “a fair amount of pressure,” or in other words, some more elbow grease. Using cotton swabs and creativity is the only way to get into the tightest spaces.

The result looks great, but what an astonishing amount of effort! And is it really as clean as it could be?

Ultrasonically clean brass instruments

Now take a look at the new way to clean brass instruments in this video kindly shared with us by our customers at A minor Tune Up in Wilmington, Delaware.

In this method, there’s no elbow grease required; ultrasonic cavitation does all the work. The ultrasonic waves create microscopic bubbles on every surface of the instrument that is in contact with water, reaching areas even a cotton swab can’t reach. There’s no soaking time required, either, and the cleaning process takes just minutes. The result is a perfectly clean trumpet that has had no chemicals applied to it other than a mild detergent.

Imagine being able to offer this option to everyone from flutists to tuba players, saving them time and ensuring they perform with the cleanest possible instrument. To learn more about the benefits of ultrasonic cleaning for instruments, download our Free Guide to Cleaning Brass Instruments here.

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