Well, last night I managed to get my hands on one of these things. A new player showed up in CB with a brand new Allora. What a piece of JUNK! She pulled it out of the case and couldn't blow a note on it. I stuck my mouthpiece on it and tried... it was SOLID! A quick check and sure enough, the valves were all in backwards. They were also dry as a bone! I gave 'em a little shot of oil and showed her with the 1st valve how there was a wide spot on the valve guide and a corresponding wide "slot" inside the valve casing (at least the valve pistons are numbered!). I put the horn back together... it was STILL stuffed up. Pull the valves again... whereas the valve guides on most horns are at 90 degrees to the axis of the horn, only the 1st and 2nd valves are at 90 degrees on this one. The 3rd valve is about 45 degrees off the axis... AND REVERSED SO THAT THE WIDE SPOT OF THE GUIDE IS 135 DEGREES FROM THE OTHER TWO! Go figure! It obviously needs a ton of break-in to make it useable. I didn't have the heart to tell her it's of "questionable quality". I'll let her play along for a few weeks (this is our beginner-intermediate band) and then allow her a chance to play one of the pieces on the Schilke and HOPE that by then she has decided to stay with the band. Got my fingers crossed that she'll start looking for a new bit 'o brass after that. She actually can play fairly well: she's been out of it for a while (I'd guess 5 years or so) but has played through school. She just never noticed that it was possible to put it together in reverse. She's got enough range to handle any of the 2nd or 3rd parts I give her and her valving was improving as the evening went along so I want her to stick with it. Sigh....friends don't let friends buy Alloras.