Caring for Silver Plate Horns



  • For some time I have only owned one silver plate trumpet, but recently I got a great deal on a new Getzen 490 silver plate trumpet. The other is a 1952 Selmer that was cared for by a tech pre-covid days and I haven't been polishing it. It doesn't look very silverish these days. So now with two silver horn, can someone give me suggestions on what the best silver polish brands are and what is the proper way to polish a silver trumpet.



  • I use a silver cloth to polish my Getzen Eterna flugelhorn after I play it, and about twice a year will place it in hot water on an aluminum foil base, then put in baking soda and salt and let it sit for a half hour or so. I then wipe it down with a fiber cloth after that soak.



  • I use a very mild liquid silver polish on a soft cloth. Do you leave your silver plated horns out of their cases when you’re not playing them? If so, they will tarnish much faster than if they’re in a closed case. I keep mine in their cases and don’t have to polish them but every year or two.



  • @Dale-Proctor said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    ...they will tarnish much faster than if they’re in a closed case. I keep mine in their cases and don’t have to polish them but every year or two.

    I have noted this as well. I have kept my horns now mounted on a wall (slat board with supports) for 5 years and they do not tarnish near as often.



  • @Dr-GO
    The tech that used to look after my horn back when things were normal, and he advised me to not use a silver polish cloth as they remove some silver every time you use them, so I have only used microfiber cloths on all my horns.



  • @Dale-Proctor

    Yeah, my horns are always on display on stands in the music room. But I now have a satin cover that just slips over the two silver horns . Hey, they are pretty and I like to look at them...☺

    What brand of silver polish are you using ?



  • @GeorgeB said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    @Dr-GO
    The tech that used to look after my horn back when things were normal, and he advised me to not use a silver polish cloth as they remove some silver every time you use them, so I have only used microfiber cloths on all my horns.

    GeorgeB, you are correct. I prefer the sodium bicarb bath, but the wipe down is not a daily thing but rather once a month. I figure there is enough silver plating to endure that frequency.



  • By the way, the REAL NICE thing about the aluminum-silver electro-chem plating is the tarnish (Silver Sulfide) undergoes reduction to silver metal and the aluminum is converted to Aluminum Sulfide, such that the silver is reclaimed by the horn so there is no worry about gradual loss of plating by that method.



  • @Dr-GO said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    @GeorgeB said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    @Dr-GO
    The tech that used to look after my horn back when things were normal, and he advised me to not use a silver polish cloth as they remove some silver every time you use them...

    I tried using this effect on me, wiping down my arms and legs... but damn, the same old skin persists!



  • @Dr-GO said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:
    I have noted this as well. I have kept my horns now mounted on a wall (slat board with supports) for 5 years and they do not tarnish near as often.

    No tarnish but they're filled with cockroaches. 😁



  • @Kehaulani said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    @Dr-GO said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:
    I have noted this as well. I have kept my horns now mounted on a wall (slat board with supports) for 5 years and they do not tarnish near as often.

    No tarnish but they're filled with cockroaches. 😁

    And I thought that sound was just me hitting my double high C!!!



  • @Kehaulani said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    @Dr-GO said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:
    I have noted this as well. I have kept my horns now mounted on a wall (slat board with supports) for 5 years and they do not tarnish near as often.

    No tarnish but they're filled with cockroaches. 😁

    They're not as disconcerting as those scorpions...



  • @GeorgeB said in Caring for Silver Plate Horns:

    @Dale-Proctor

    Yeah, my horns are always on display on stands in the music room. But I now have a satin cover that just slips over the two silver horns . Hey, they are pretty and I like to look at them...☺

    What brand of silver polish are you using ?

    Wright’s liquid silver polish. This trumpet is 44 years old, and I’ve played (and polished) it for the 40 or so years I’ve owned it. No silver loss from polishing, but a little wear where I’ve held it.

    870B65F9-1CF5-4D3D-BDBD-A54A8424A3CD.jpeg



  • One vote here for 3m/Scotchguard Tarnishield. Works well with very little rubbing, and seems to delay the return of the tarnish for quite a while.



  • I’ve used Hagerty’s Silver Polish since 1978. Light blue bottle of liquid polish is my preference with a microfiber cloth or a cloth diaper (super soft). Apply with a sponge (I used the little circle sponges that came with my Getzen SEV from 1978 - 2004). They also make a Soft paste that comes in a Round container that has a sponge in it. Apply light amount, let is sit for just a moment and wipe it off. Easy on and easy off with no pressure. Can usually find it at Kroger or even a hardware store.



  • If I can see the tarnish, I use Flitz with cotton balls and cotton swabs.
    5353d79d-18d3-4c3f-a812-28e04e1b815d-image.png

    From then on, I wipe the horn and mouthpiece down after every use with Goddard's Polishing Cloth.
    26e4a76e-4916-4fdb-89b4-b576aed715cb-image.png


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    Really, your silver polish cloth is not going to be able to remove enough silver for you to be able to notice, let alone do damage. When I was in school, I bought a trumpet at a pawn shop that had been rubbed down with Scotch Brite - someone’s attempt at a matte finish. I thought it would always be ugly, but learned that if there is enough silver left it’s possible to buff it back to shiny using the right methods. Except for a couple of spots that had already been scrubbed down to raw brass, you’d never know anything happened to it! My friend’s kid is playing it now 😊
    I have found that anti- tarnish strips left in a case make a big difference, as do wiping handprints off after playing. Also, refrain from touching every flat surface of the horn, and you’ll have less to wipe off.



  • @Dale-Proctor Wright's is good. I have used it for years. In theory, I suppose it removes a few molecules. But I haven't seen any detrimental effects.



  • @flugelgirl

    Thanks for that info. I will go back to using my silver polish cloth.



  • @Newell-Post
    Thank you, and everyone here for your help. One of my bandmates said he used Wrights so I guess I'll give that a go.


Log in to reply