The trombone hand slide is a delicate part of the instrument, and its mobility is extremely important to playing the instrument. There are so many different oils and creams on the market, but how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s talk a little bit about them.
Tuning Slide Lubricant vs. Playing Slide Lubricant
Your tuning slide and playing slide (hand slide) have two different jobs. We expect the tuning slide to stay in place where we adjust it to, whereas the hand slide should move freely throughout its entirety. Some players use two different lubricants on the different slides. For an example, let’s look at two of the cream products Superslick offers. Superslick’s Tuning Slide Grease would be a good choice for the tuning slide, as it is thicker and would let the slide move, while still being able to hold its place. Superslick’s Trombone Cream would be suitable for the hand slide, allowing it to move without needing force.
Should I Use Oil or Cream? And Which One?
As with many things in the musical world, like cases, instrument materials/models, or mouthpieces, slide lubrication comes down to personal preference. I know, experimenting with lubricants can seem daunting, with there being so many, but I promise you it will be worth it. We carry 5 different options for hand slide lubrication, and there are so many more. Why do we carry those 5? Because local players and our technicians have experimented and found they like these ones, so we carry them for you to try too! It may take a bit to find what you prefer, but that’s okay. It’s one of the fun adventures you’ll get to take as a musician. In the meantime, ask your instructor, band mates, or technician what they prefer for a starting point.
Some Local Recommendations
George Wiese says…
Ponds Cold Cream. “I tried Trombotine and a Yamaha cream for a while, but it didn’t work as well as the Ponds.” George advise the cold cream and a small spray bottle with water. He says it “Works beautifully! The water spray will reanimate the cream a few times too, so you don’t have to do the whole [application] process every time.”
Jack Sullivan says…
Ponds Cold Cream or Yamaha Slide Lubricant. “I used [Ponds] for a while and found it very effective (it also feels much more natural on the fingers than oil, and smells nicer too!)…Right now I am using Yamaha’s new Trombone Slide Lubricant, which seems to be between oil and cream. It looks like snot, but it works really well. When it’s been on the slide a while it doesn’t dry out like creams do, but it provides more of a smooth sliding experience than oils.”
Nicole LaRoche says…
Hetman’s Slide Oil or Superslick TSI. “I use Hetman’s concentrate and a spray bottle of water on my main/newer horn, I like the ease of application and the way it feels, plus it helps protect my slide from red rot while it’s in there.. But, on my older horn that has intermittent some issues in the slide I use the VSI. The silicone beads up on the slide, acting sort of like a ball bearing, compensating for the imperfections in the old slide… I’m constantly changing up what I use, just to see what products are out there.”
If you’ve ever stood at our single-reed wall, you’ve most likely notice that some reeds are packaged in blue, rather than orange. These reeds are the Rico Royal reeds, and they’re different for a reason. Let’s dive in!
Single reeds come in two flavors–filed or unfiled. The orange package of reeds are filed, while the royals are not. The difference? Tonal clarity. Filed reeds have bark on their shoulders, which creates more resistance. The Royals go through an extra step in which the bark is cut off the shoulders, allowing for faster vibrations. The Royals are easy to play, designed for students, and have increased clarity in their tone. The reeds come in both clarinet and saxophone, 1.5 through 5. So, if you’re finding the orange reed too hard to vibrate, or if you’re looking for increased clarity in your notes, give the Rico Royals a try next time!
*Royals Come In…
Bb Clarinet 1.5-5
Eb Clarinet 1.5-5
Alto Clarinet 1.5-4
Bass Clarinet 1.5-4
Soprano Sax 1.5-4
Alto Sax 1.5-5
Tenor Sax 1.5-5
Baritone Sax 1.5-5
*Sizes in stock vary, some sizes/instruments available only through special order. Call for inquiries.
Reed Profile photos sourced from/property of D’Addario & Co. 2019
Hey Everyone! It’s Nicole here, your band instrument repair technician.
When it comes to instrument repair and maintenance, there are so many possibilities and pathways. If you didn’t know already, I wanted to inform you of what I think is one of the coolest parts of our repair facility; Free Estimates. Yeah, that’s right. If you drop your instrument off for us to look at, a repair quote is free!! That means you can gain knowledge of the problem, we can help find the best solution for you, and no hard commitments will have been made.
As an instrument owner and once a high school student, I know that money can be tight. That’s why I love that we offer free estimates. By taking your instrument in for an assessment, we can help you get an idea of what’s going on before it gets any worse. Once the quote has been placed, you have many options, and we, here at NCMC, want to figure out which is best for you and your instrument. So, if you feel your instrument needs to be cleaned, simply looking for an evaluation, or are in need of a repair, drop your instrument off and get a free repair estimate with us. We’re here to help, all you have to do is ask.
You’ve decided you want to use a slide while playing guitar, but wait! There’s different kinds? Different shapes? Different materials? Why are there so many options here? As with most things in music, slides are chosen by preference and music style, but it never hurts to learn. Let’s dive in.
Shapes and Sizes
Slide sizes are determined by your ring size, or whatever feels comfortable. Most players wear the slide on their ring or pinky fingers. It’s important to get a slide that doesn’t fly off your finger, but also isn’t cutting off circulation. All of our slides come in easy-to-open packaging, so you are more than welcome to come by and try them on. If you’re unsure how it should fit, ask us to take a look.
Material and Cut
We carry a large range of full slides, half slides, sculpted slides, covered slides, and multiple materials, including brass, glass, and nickel. Each material will change your sound, so its best to try them all out if you aren’t sure. We have slides in all different sizes, and you are welcome to try them all out. Come by and pick them up, experimentation is necessary.
*No slide has a specific genre or use, it is totally up to you. Mileage may vary from person to person, as do opinions. It’s fun to personalize your music!