By Stephanie Hyland, Storage.com

Renting a self storage unit is a perfect solution for a musician who’s in need of storage for their instrument while they move or because they need to free up some space at home. Much like a piano or guitar, a trumpet needs special attention before it’s left in a storage unit. By investing in climate-controlled storage, removing buildup, and storing the instrument in its case, your trumpet will be kept in good shape.

Investing in a Climate-Controlled Unit

If you live in an area that experiences fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels, a climate-controlled storage unit will be important for preserving the quality of your instrument. With climate control, you’re able to keep your unit at a moderate temperature between 55-85°F with little to no humidity in the air. This is beneficial for brass instruments, like the trumpet, as it protects them from rusting.

Climate-Controlled-Storage

“Climate control [is] important, as bacteria growth and corrosion in the trumpet accelerate [in uncontrolled environments],” says John Snell, manager of Bob Reeves Brass Mouthpieces in Valencia, Calif., which helps artists of all ages and abilities with trumpet mouthpieces, valve alignments, and custom alterations.

“Climate control [is] important, as bacteria growth and corrosion in the trumpet accelerate [in uncontrolled environments].”

John Snell, manager of Bob Reeves Brass Mouthpieces

Snell says that the materials that make up the trumpet and keep it in working condition can be damaged quickly when exposed to the elements while in storage. “Materials like felt, rubber, and cork that are used in some trumpets may break down faster in these conditions.”

Clean Your Trumpet Before Storage

Snell says a critical step to consider before leaving your trumpet in storage is to have the instrument professionally cleaned. By doing this, you protect the instrument from possible buildup that could cause damage to how the instrument functions in the future.

“It’s critical that the trumpet be professionally cleaned and lubricated before storage,” says Snell. “Reputable repair shops have solutions and techniques to rid the instrument of corrosion-causing buildup in the instrument. If professional cleaning isn’t feasible, at the very least the trumpet should be cleaned and lubricated thoroughly at home, following any manufacturer’s recommendations.”

Kurt Witt, Director of Merchandising at Woodwind and Brasswind in Westlake Village, Calif., which offers more than 50,000 musical products and serves more than 91 countries, agrees with Snell.

“A professional cleaning would also work if the instrument hasn’t been cleaned in a long time or ever by a repair technician.”

Kurt Witt, Director of Merchandising at Woodwind and Brasswind

“The main problem with a trumpet going into long-term storage would be the slides and/or valves freezing up,” says Witt. “This can be caused by corrosion or oxidation.”

Witt says once the slides and valves have been damaged, it’s a difficult process to get them back in working order. “This corrosion sometimes known as ‘red-rot’ can literally rot the metal of the lead pipe from the inside out.”

A thorough cleaning with a cleaning snake is the easiest way to prevent “red-rot,” but Witt says “a professional cleaning would also work if the instrument hasn’t been cleaned in a long time or ever by a repair technician.”

Store Your Trumpet in Its Case

Trumpet experts say one of the best ways to protect the instrument from dust, moisture, and other elements is to store it in its original case. Besides protecting the trumpet from things that could corrode it, the case also protects the instrument from anything that may shift and fall on it during its time in storage.

“The worst enemy for a trumpet is a dent to the valve casing,” says Witt. “With the valves being the most important moving part on the horn, that kind of damage will render the horn completely unplayable immediately.” He explains that fixing this isn’t impossible, but it is expensive and can only be done by a repair technician.

“With the valves being the most important moving part on the horn, that kind of damage will render the horn completely unplayable immediately.”

Kurt Witt, Director of Merchandising at Woodwind and Brasswind

Witt says the instrument case works well for storage, as it provides plenty of protection. “Within the case, it would be okay to use an instrument bag or cloth bag to keep the instrument from coming into contact with outside forces.” Nevertheless, he urges musicians with silver-plated instruments to avoid plastic bags. “[Don’t] use a plastic bag to store silver-plated instruments inside the case long-term, as the plating might wear due to the plastic.”

By remembering these simple steps for storing a trumpet, you can ensure that your trumpet will still hit its high notes after it’s finally taken out of storage.