Taming the Tuba




FINGERINGS           PRACTICE            RESOURCES            MAINTENANCE            ABOUT PAGE

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Keep your tuba clean, inside and out. 

    When you play tuba, there is more than just air that moves through the mouthpiece and instrument!  To keep organic material from building up on the inside, and to keep the outside from tarnishing, it is important to regularly clean your instrument.

Cleaning the inside of your tuba

    1.  Your valves and slides can be flushed with warm water every few weeks. 

        This will remove any loose particles that may have built up.
    2.  To completely (and more thoroughly) clean your instrument, remove all

        valves and slides, and soak the entire instrument in a tub of warm water.

        A flexible brush (snake brush) should be used to clean the lead pipe and

        tuning slides.

    3.  Carefully wipe clean the valves with a lint-free cloth.  The valve ports

                                    should also be check for dirt or build-up, and can be

                                    cleaned with a cotton swab or pipe cleaner.

Caring for Your Tuba

To keep your instrument
looking great and playing well, it is very important to practice regular, preventative maintenance.

Avoid denting or crumpling your tuba.

    You must know where your tuba is at all times.  By keeping track of your instrument, you are more likely to avoid accidentally bumping into music stands, other students’ instruments, or other band room “obstacles.”  It is also best not to stand your instrument on its bell.  By keeping track of your instrument and storing it correctly, you can avoid dents and crumpling on your tuba.

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4.  Clean the inside of your mouthpiece with a mouthpiece


**Never use hot water to clean your tuba**

You can easily ruin the lacquer on the outside.

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Cleaning the outside of your tuba

To protect the lacquer finish, wipe the outside of your instrument after each playing with a soft cloth or a brass-instrument polishing cloth.

Routine Maintenance

    1.  Lubricate valves with valve oil on a regular basis.

    2.  Grease tuning slides on your tuba regularly with tuning slide grease.

    3.  Rotate valves between casings frequently.  This is especially easy on a

        4-valve tuba.  Simply take the 1st- and 2nd-valve springs and rotate

        them with the 3rd- and 4th-valve springs, which will prolong the life of

        all of the springs.

Snake Brush

Great for cleaning the
leadpipe and tuning slides on your tuba.

Maintenance Tools

Mouthpiece Brush

Used for cleaning the inside of your tuba mouthpiece.

Valve Casing Brush

Carefully clean the valve casings of dirt and debris so that your valves work smoothly.

Valve Oil

Use on a very regular basis (probably every day) to lubricate the valves on your tuba.

Slide Grease

The tuning slides on your tuba should be lubricated regularly with slide grease.  Use only a small amount.