Why Great Slide?

GREAT SLIDE Makes Great Slides

First, a bit of history:

The Slide Doctor started using polymers about 20 years ago to improve slide function. The process was just an epiphany that resulted from having an elderly bell with scratches through the lacquer. He decided to “wax” the bell with some auto polish (which included both Teflon and polymer components.) To his surprise, the areas that were scratched became shiny and much smoother and the polymers kept the brass shining for months afterward. Well, if the results were this good on the brass outside surfaces, how would it work on the inside of the outer tubes?

After a period of time, the auto wax that was used was removed from the market. A variety of other polymer-based products were tried and one was located that worked better than the original. What do we mean by “worked?”


Now, the rest of the story:

Enter polymers: You encounter polymers all the time. Natural polymers come from trees! For example, rubber is a polymer that is soft, but can be made harder by altering the molecular structure. Synthetic polymers have been chemically altered to make them either harder or softer as well as to have other useful properties.

These little balls of polymer are about a micron in diameter. Alter their properties so that they will attach themselves to a metal surface. Use enough little balls and fill the valleys in the brass so that they no longer constitute a drag on the slide action.

Brass is not as smooth as it appears. It looks smooth to the naked eye, but in fact, under a microscope brass (and nickel silver) looks something like your skin. It is a porous metal. Herein lies the big problem with all types of lubrication.

To make the tube slick, lubrication fills the valley and provides a more uniformly flat, or smooth, surface. However, over time, the lubrication degrades, becomes sticky and can build up, actually making the slide function slower rather than faster.

Rather than to allow lubrication to fill the valleys, we have discovered that polymers do the job better and they do not degrade as lubricants do, which will gum up over time. A blend of natural and synthetic polymers, held in suspension in a medium that will evaporate fairly easily, allows us to transfer the polymers to the inside of the outer tubes. Assuming that the tubes are uniformly round and straight, the result is that the outside tube will move amazingly fast on the inside tube with no additional lubrication.

The new polymer products we use are called GREAT SLIDE CLEANING POLISH and GREAT SLIDE SLICKCOAT SEALANT. It is a blend of synthetic and natural polymers and has no Teflon. Environmentally friendly!

For polymers to function properly, the inside of the outer tubes should be as clean as possible. This is where the “clean” comes in. The cleaner the inside of the outer tube, the better the polymer adheres to the brass and the longer it will function without an additional application. This is why we use multiple applications of Wright’s Brass Polish™ to remove old lubrication and to remove the real enemy of slide function, “OXIDATION!”

Brass and nickel silver both contain large portions of copper. Have you ever seen an old penny that turned green? Have you ever removed green residue from the inside of your outer slide? That’s copper oxide! Nasty stuff to say the least.

So, first we remove the old slide lube, the oxidation and any other contaminants from the inside of the outer tubes using Wright’s Brass Polish™. Then we apply the GREAT SLIDE CLEANING POLISH. This is a petroleum-based cleaner/polish, designed to further clean the valleys in the metal. If you look down the inside of the outer tube after removing the contaminants with the GREAT SLIDE CLEANING POLISH, you’ll see nice shiny metal. Then we apply the GREAT SLIDE SLICKCOAT SEALANT polymers to fill the valleys and make the surface as uniformly smooth as possible.

In speaking with chemists, we are told that there are no negatives in using these products as long as they are not ingested. Great Slide products are for the external components and should not be applied to the mouthpiece.

Benefits: 1) A much faster and smoother slide action, 2) The oxidation process is slowed as a result of the sealant application, and 3) The need for lubrication is much less.  It requires a smaller amount of lubrication to be applied to the tubes, while allowing the player to use the slide for longer periods of time between cleaning and re-lubrication.

The Instructional Videos tab on the menu will show you the step-by-step process to apply GREAT SLIDE yourself. Slides that are admitted to the Slide DR’s shop are treated with Great Slide as part of the routine care and rehab of the slide.

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