Lamorinda Music recently acquired a brand new ultrasonic cleaner. This cleaner is a better, safer alternative to the chemical cleaning used by many repair shops.
Importance of cleaing your instrument
After lots of playing your instrument can start to build up gunk and grime in all of that tubing. This can affect not only the way the instrument plays but can in fact affect your health (check out this NPR story here).
How it works
The ultrasonic cleaner sends sound waves through the water and these sound waves produce lots of microscopic bubbles that burst shortly after they form. These tiny “explosions” happen on all of the surfaces the water contacts and help “scrub” the surface similar to a sponge or brush, but will not damage the instrument in any way.
When your instrument is submerged in the tank water fills all the tubing and easily cleans all of the very hard, (sometimes impossible) to get to places throughout your instrument. After an ultrasonic cleaning, every part of your instrument will be amazingly clean. The ultrasonic cleaner can be used on brass (and some woodwinds) to get a thorough cleaning done!
The Cleaning Process at Lamorinda Music
During the ultrasonic cleaning process for brass instruments, we will first completely disassemble the instrument. We then put the body, slides and valves into the ultrasonic cleaner and let it go to work. Once that's done, we'll brush out all the tubing and rinse it down. Everything is then thoroughly dried out using an air compressor. Replacing felts or corks as needed and minor dent work are included in the cleaning procedure. When everything is working properly the instrument is properly greased and oiled.
Here are a few videos of the ultrasonic cleaner in action: