Brass instruments need to be regularly maintained both at home and taken to a repair shop for yearly maintenance. You may be asking yourself, how much is owning an instrument going to cost me in maintenance? While taking your instrument in for a yearly repair is the most obvious cost associated with an instrument, you should also think long-term for costs associated with your horn.Getting a new mouthpiece (or at least re-plating it) and replacing the case when it's worn out are two great examples. Check out the chart below for an average yearly cost for maintaining a brass instrument!
Steps You Can Do At Home for Preventative Maintenance
At-Home preventative maintenance consists of oiling, greasing. Giving your brass instrument a bath is the best thing you can do for your instrument and repair budget. Most brass repairs can be prevented by oiling and regularly bathing your instrument. Check out our article on Maintaining Your Brass Instrument at Home.
Any music store or repair shop will have a brass instrument cleaning kit & supplies. You will need valve oil or rotor oil, slide grease, an instrument snake, brass mouthpiece brush and a valve casing brush. Typical cleaning kits will range in price from $14 - $21
Below we have created an estimate of what to budget per year for an instrument. Costs may vary depending on where you live in the country, and what your preferred repair shop charges for services. Feel free to use this as a guide, but check with your repair shop for more accurate charges to estimate yearly repairs for your instrument.
In the chart below, we have tried to take into account the amortization of professional cleanings, case replacement, mouthpiece replacement, rough estimate of normal yearly dings & dents, and basic inflation of prices to come up with a yearly estimate.
These prices are intended to be used as a rough approximation of yearly costs of maintaining an instrument provided it is in good working order to begin with. Ie. If you just bought a used trombone online, it may need a cleaning and slide alignment before it is in good working order, but then from there you can use the numbers below to budget for the following years. Check with your repair shop for more accurate charges to estimate yearly repairs for your instrument.