What Happens When…Part I

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On this blog we strive to educate musicians about maintaining a healthy instrument so that they never have to be without their instrument due to a malfunction that could’ve easily been prevented.  In this next series, we are going to show you WHY we tell you how to maintain your instrument.  These are are stories of the musicians that did not follow our advice and what happened to their instruments…..

Oiling the keys of a woodwind is a critical maintenance step for two main reasons: 1) it lubricates the mechanism and makes it have a very smooth action and 2) it keeps the moisture away from the steel hinge rod that is inside the hinge tube of the key.

The following piccolo did not get its keys oiled regularly and it resulted in none of the keys on the left hand stack functioning.  All of the keys would move together instead of independently.


The piccolo rod had accumulated so much dirt and grime due to non lubrication that the keys had to be taken apart and cleaned. Luckily it had not rusted. If moisture gets trapped inside the hinge rod, then it leads to the key completely freezing and not moving at all! Sometimes this leads to a very serious surgery to get the hinge rod out.

Oiling the keys of your woodwind instrument is no joke! Don’t assume that your repair technician did it for you or that your band director took care of it. Oil those mechanisms and keep your instrument healthy!