Slide-O-Mix (http://www.slide-o-mix.com/) is a lubrication treatment for trombone slides. It was invented by a couple of guys in Germany, and was quickly snapped up by trombonists all over the world, professionals and amateurs (me) alike, and is still gaining popularity as the best way to keep a trombone slide lubricated (although there are those who still swear by the traditional methods, such as Lemon Pledge or Pond's facial cream..)
Now, if you don't understand how a trombone works, you might be thinking this whole lubrication thing sounds a little suss. But let me assure you, it's not. A trombone's most distinguishing feature is most probably the slide. Think of the slide as a piston on some crazy machine, and to run smoothly, it needs to be lubricated. This is what Slide-O-Mix is about.
Anatomy of a slide: The trombone slide (when separated from the bell and mouthpiece) is made up of two parts - the outer-slide and the inner-slide.
The outer-slide is a big U shape and is what the player moves back and forth to make pretty music.
The inner-slide is made up of two metal shafts that go inside (duh..) the two vertical shafts of the outer-slide. The last 10cm or so of these shafts widen (known as the 'stocks') to hold them closer to the insides of the outer-slide. The other ends of the inner-slide's shafts are connected to a housing (in an 'H' shape) whose other ends connect to the mouthpiece and bell section.
After a lot of use, a trombone slide can become 'sticky' and difficult to move. This occurs because of dirt and dust and old greases on the slide clogging it all up. To remedy this, a model trombonist will clean & lubricate his slide every couple of weeks, or when necessary.
Slide-O-Mix is different from a lot of lubricants as it does not require the player to actually touch the slide (thereby leaving greasy little paw prints on it). Its a silicone based liquid which basically repels water - ideally so that when you're moving the slide its actually gliding on a thin film of water!
It comes in two bottles: the big one and the small one (50 and 10 mL respectively), and together they retail at about $US15. Also required is a water spray bottle, preferably one that sprays a fine mist - that way the water spreads over the slide more evenly.
Here is a basic guide to the application process:
- First of all, Wash Your Horn! (I'll write a node on this later). Get out all of those moldy lunches and that Coke residue, and make everything all nice and shiny.
- Next, wipe down the inner-slide with a soft cloth, making sure any grease that may have been there is gone.
- Take the small Slide-O-Mix bottle in one hand (with cap removed), and hold the inner-slide by the cross-beam.
- Carefully let one or two drops from the bottle onto the stocks of the slide (the raised portions at the end). I like to let the drops run the whole way around the slide (by rotating it in my hand), just so it spreads a bit.
- Then insert the inner into the outer-slide and work the two for a bit, to spread the liquid over the whole of the inner slide.
- Now extract the inner-slide again, and take up the larger bottle. Let some of the sperm-like liquid ooze out at the top end of the slide (about 10 cm or so).
- Put the two slides together again, and work it some more. You should be able to feel the two mixing as you move the slide.
- Once the two are thoroughly mixed, spray some water onto the stocks and on the rest of the inner-slide. Mix the liquids some more, and then your slide should be ready to glide with the ease of a hot knife through butter!
Note: The first few times you use Slide-O-Mix it may not last too long. This may be due to previous greases or the like in the slide. Do not lose heart though, persevere with it, and you shall be glad of it!
After a while, you should only really need to reapply Slide-O-Mix every week or so, if not longer.
Also, not all trombones & slides are the same. You may find that different amounts of the two liquids yield better results. Experiment a bit, but remember: sometimes less is more.