Ted’s essays

my new trombone bathtub

I began playing trombone at ten years old. I have taken significant breaks between then and now, but cumulatively I have probably a couple dozen years of playing – and cleaning – trombones.

Now, proving that old dogs CAN indeed learn new tricks, I have come up with a way to clean my trombone slides without kneeling, hunched over my bathtub.

I suppose this is as much a “necessity being the mother of invention” as proof my creative mind is still functioning… knees and backs being things old guys do not love to overwork.

I recently found myself playing less and realized that having slides not all that slippery may have been a contributing factor. Yet I was not much inspired to take them to the bathtub, which is the normal place for cleaning.

“Why is that?”, I asked myself. The answer is above.

Then I visualized another way to do the job and began searching for the tool of my vision.

I thought it was a wallpaper tool when I began my search, but the hardware store knew it as a window-sill planter.

A slide trombone bathtub can go by any name they want in their store, but I know what it really is. 😉

… and that reminds me of the time I went to Home Depot to replace my trombone plunger mute because the rubber had become hard and stiff with great advancing age.

“Can I help you?” vest-wearing H-D clerk

“Yes. Where are your trombone mutes?” frisky trombonist

After some puzzlement and stammering, I added, “You might know them as toilet plungers.”

The video to the right will explain better than words can.

Most brass musicians simply throw the plunger handle away.

This time I decided to trim and paint it.

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Thank you, Ted Dunlap