Cleaning Inside of Hand Slides

When separating the hand slides from the bell on models with a slide-to-bell lock, be sure the bell lock nut is completely unscrewed and disengaged; otherwise, if the slides come loose with a jerk, the force may be sufficient to tear off the lock ring from the outside bell lock receiver. This is a shoulder which keeps the bell lock nut from slipping off the receiver. On some trombones this ring is soldered on and quite a number are torn loose in this manner. On better trombones this lock ring is turned from the solid tubing of the bell lock receiver and is an integral part with the receiver; consequently it does not come off so easily.

After the bell lock is disengaged, hold the bell stationary and rotate the slides slightly to break the friction fit between the inside slide taper and the bell receiver; at the same time pull the bell and slide apart. Do not try to separate by using a straight pull; always pull with a slight rotating motion.

Disengage the slide lock (if your trombone has one), take hold of the outside slide brace with one hand, take hold of the inside slide brace with the other hand, and lift the inside slides out. Carefully lay the inside slides flat on a clean cloth while you clean the outside slides.

First use a strong cord about 5 feet long, weighted at one end and with a strip of clean cheesecloth, about 6 to 8 inches wide and 5 to 6 feet long, at the other end. See illustration, Fig. 18. The other method is a cleaning snake, flexible rod with brushes to reach thru the slide. Run this through the outside slide crook to remove any dirt in the crook. Then use a cleaning rod for the slides. Take a piece of clean cheesecloth about 6 to 8 inches wide and 5 to 6 feet long, thread one corner through the eye of the cleaning rod and wrap the rod spirally until thoroughly covered. This prevents any metal from touching the slides and maybe gouging or marring the inside surface. See illustration. This is especially important, for the inside of this outside slide is the bearing surface for the stocking of the inside slide and any scratch or nick will.

With this cleaning rod so prepared, grasp one side of the slide and clean that side. Don’t grasp one side and clean the opposite side, as this tends to spring the sides (bend).  Then grasp the other slide and clean it in the same manner. Run the cleaning rod through several times, changing the cloth when it gets too grimy. Repeat until the cloth comes out clean. When pushing the rod in and out, use a slight rotating motion to prevent sticking; also be sure to hold the end of the cloth in the hand so the cloth will not bunch up and stick when pulling it out.l impair the slide action.

Finally, use the weighted cord again through the crook to clean out any dirt which may have been pushed into the crook by the cleaning rod.

In cleaning the inside slides, use the weighted cord. This is recommended over the cleaning rod, as most good trombones have a delicate mouthpipe inserted inside the mouthpiece receiver, and the rod may damage this mouthpipe.

If the dirt inside the slides has become dry and hard, or if there is considerable corrosion, wash with soap and water or use some gasoline or benzene on the cloth; otherwise use a dry cloth. Be sure to use cheesecloth, as it has very little lint. A cloth with lint will leave small pieces of fuzz in the slides and these will later come out and cause trouble with the slide action. It is a good idea to run cold water through both slides to remove lint after cleaning.