Cleaning an old trombone

Cleaning an old trombone

Cleaning an old trombone    14:28 on Monday, September 17, 2007          

(1 point)
Posted by RichW

I have my late grandfather's 1948/49 CG Conn 4H trombone, s/n 380481. It hasn't been played in the last 21 years. I'm interested in cleaning it up and maybe learning to play it. The slide is in very good shape, no dents, etc. It doesn't appear to have any lacquer on it. The finish is very dull, not shiny. The bell does have a small dent, but not that drastic. Any recommendations about cleaning?

Re: Cleaning an old trombone    22:48 on Monday, September 17, 2007          

(25 points)
Posted by puffycheeks

sounds like a sweet horn!! Might be worth something actually... I think this is the type of deal where you should take it to a reputable repair shop and have it professionally gone through... If it hasn't been played for that long, it should be re oiled and greased everywhere. If you don't have much experience with trombones then take it to someone who does. Good luck!

Re: Cleaning an old trombone    00:54 on Tuesday, October 09, 2007          

(1 point)
Posted by tongatim

6 months ago, I came across a dented, dirty old Conn 4-H , and traded it for a $15 ukulele and $20 cash. I took it to a reputable repair shop, and it cleaned up well, and plays quite nicely. The repair guy said it is gold plating on silverplating. It has gorgeous engraving, including a seductively posed (but not naked) lady. The serial number dates it to 1925. I am still in my first year of learning to play trombone, but there's something special about playing on such a sweet old veteran.

I only wish I could learn more about this horn's history. Who played this horn? Where has it traveled for more than 80 years to end up in a small ad in a little Northwest weekly newspaper?

I certainly agree with the advice to have a knowledgeable repair person do any work on your horn.

Re: Cleaning an old trombone    20:50 on Monday, October 15, 2007          

(71 points)
Posted by TromboneKid

If you dont have the money,save up and have your trombone professionally cleaned.This sounds like a very nice horn to start on.If there are no drastic dents or scratches on the trombone then dont worry about it but for sure have it cleaned.If you dont have the money at all then try giving it a nice HOT bath with soap.

Once the horn is all washed and ready to go,begin your learning.If there is no school band or local band near you then buy some books on music and play some songs,learn some scales,and good luck.If you need anymore help then reply on this forum or email me at

Re: Cleaning an old trombone    05:39 on Tuesday, October 16, 2007          

(457 points)
Posted by Steve

Please, do NOT bathe your horn in hot water. Luke warm water is ok, but hot water has been known to strip laquer off your horn.
If you absolutely cannot afford a professional cleaning, check out this site with some really good advice on slide cleaning.


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