The process of restoring any brass instrument, such as a trumpet or trombone, to its original playing condition is known as brass instrument restoration. The main goal of the procedure is to get the instrument to produce a suitable sound with ease. It also includes techniques that have a smaller impact on sound but vastly improve the instrument’s overall aesthetics.
The age of the instrument is one of the most common reasons for brass instrument restoration. Over time, brass instruments tarnish, sometimes to the point of being completely discolored. Springs and other mechanisms, such as corks, deteriorate and weaken over time. Because proper instrument storage affects how quickly this happens, brass instruments that have been stored in extremes of heat and moisture are more likely to require restoration. It’s not uncommon for these instruments to sit in attics, basements, closets, or the back of band storage rooms for years without being played.
The second reason for brass instrument restoration is that the instrument’s previous owner or owners mistreated it. Dents are common as a result of this, especially on the instrument’s bell. These frequently occur as a result of the player dropping the instrument, but they can also occur as a result of unintentional hits from others. This is more common in newer brass instruments used beginners, particularly if the case is soft-bodied rather than hard-bodied. Even professional musicians have experienced this issue when attempting to move their instruments from one location to another.
Brass instruments are restored using a variety of techniques, depending on the issues with the instrument. When an instrument restorer comes across an instrument that plays well but looks bad, he usually strips the instrument of its original finish, cleans it with chemicals, and then applies a new finish using electroplating or another similar technique. Although this is a fairly simple restoration, it does necessitate some skill due to the fact that the instrument may need to be disassembled and reassembled. When using chemicals or electricity in the restoration process, technicians must exercise extreme caution.
Replacement of certain parts of a brass instrument is also part of the restoration process. On a brass instrument that isn’t playing properly, corks and springs almost always need to be replaced. Valve replacement or realignment is another service that restorers provide. Whole joints or the original instrument mouthpiece may need to be replaced in more serious cases.
Brass instrument restoration techniques include polishing and sanding. Sanding can sometimes assist in removing the instrument’s original finish. Both sanding and polishing make the instrument’s new finish look shiny and even smooth out minor flaws. One of the final steps in the restoration process is usually this.
The cost of restoration is determined the extent to which the instrument needs to be restored. The cost of a basic restoration is frequently less than or comparable to that of a new instrument. However, if the damage to the instrument is severe, or if the appearance of the instrument is poor, more techniques and restoration time are required, which raises the price significantly. The cost of these restorations can sometimes be so high that the only reason an instrument owner would want to restore it is because it has sentimental value, antique value, or an unusual but highly desired overall sound quality.