How to Grease a Stuck Trumpet Slide

Trumpets that aren't adequately maintained develop stuck slides that become very difficult to remove. In order to grease the slide, remove it from the trumpet. You can use several techniques without harming the instrument. In some extreme cases, you may have to take the trumpet to a professional to have the slide removed. Once you remove the slide, regularly applying slide grease ensures the slide doesn't stick.

Remove the valves, caps and springs from the instrument and lay them on a soft cloth. Failure to remove the valves causes a buildup of pressure within the instrument, creating a popping sound when the slides are removed.

Remove the slide by holding the instrument and pulling on the slide. If the slide doesn't come out easily, soak the trumpet in 6 gallons of warm but not hot water for 15 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. liquid soap to the water and remove any slides that can be removed before placing the trumpet in the water.

Pull the slide out if you can. If you can't, use a trumpet snake to clean out the inside of the trumpet and remove any dirt and debris that may cause a blockage. Push the snake through an opening in the stuck slide.

Wiggle the stuck slide gently back and forth to slowly remove the slide from the tubing. Don't pull; use a slow, twisting vibration to free the slide from the trumpet. Corrosion has likely set in on the slide, requiring a thorough cleaning.

Use the trumpet snake and a valve brush to scrub the inside tubing of the slide you just removed.

Rinse the trumpet with cool water and dry the entire instrument.

Apply slide grease directly to all of the slides and spread it using your fingers. Insert the slide into the correct portion of tubing. Remove the slide and apply additional grease. Place the slide back into place, push it all the way in, and use a cloth to remove excess grease.

Put the trumpet back together and oil the valves after wiping them down with a dry cloth. Do not get the valves wet. They can easily rust or corrode.


If the slide doesn't come out after following these steps, take your instrument to a music store. The fees for removing a stuck slide are usually minimal. Some stores even do it for free if you buy supplies there.


"Instrument Repair for the Music Teacher "; Burton Stanley; 1978


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