An Holistic Approach to Stuck Slides

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by trumpetsplus, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Age:
    68
    3,017
    3,590
    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    As a result of a PM from a member here I wrote the following blog:
    Either here
    Stuck Slides - an Holistic Approach

    Or, in longhand:

    A question frequently asked is:
    How much will it cost to have 3 stuck slides pulled? Nothing else to be done.


    As a rule of thumb, many repair shops in the US have a charge out rate per hour of roughly two thirds of what the local garage mechanic (not the higher priced dealership) charges. The actual dollar amount varies with location.


    Some repair technicians are more efficient/productive than others. Also one tech may luck out just because of their preferred order of actions. What may take one tech 10 minutes may take another tech 30 minutes.


    There are many methods of dealing with stuck slides. We use these in order of severity depending on how stuck the slide is. Sometimes there needs to be some unsoldering to move stuck slides, and sometimes solder joints break as a result of the removal process. Some instruments are more fragile than others and need to be treated more gently


    Once the slide is pulled why should we not address the cause?


    Like valve problems, the reason for stuck slides is either dirt, damage or distortion. If these issues are not addressed, then the slides go back in place only to get stuck once more!


    A typical “service” would include minor dent remediation and easing of stuck slides, so if the slides were just “stubborn” the charge to free it would actually be zero. The rest of the service would automatically also address the cause.


    So the role of the technician is not just to pull out the stuck slide. This is the role of a repair mechanic. The technician should look at the whole instrument, determine what caused the problem in the first place, and deal with that.


    There exists a chronic problem; avoid limiting your action to remedying the acute symptoms.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,965
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    I know all about dirt, damage and distortion, still, I can't help but think that slides are designed to stick. Look at it this way, instrument makers know very well what the typical customer for a specific level of trumpet is like. They also know enough about the materials that they use and which materials are subject to "problems". I am 100% sure that by selection of suitable materials, maintenance on slides could be dramatically reduced and dependability dramatically increased.

    I even am sure it would be possible to design a grease free tuning slide with very good acoustic properties. It would be possible to use hex or octagonal shaped valve caps to make removal easier.

    I consider oiling piston valves also to be part of the dumb design department. Why do we have to remove student level valves with a very sensitive surface to oil them "daily"? The option of dumping oil in the hole on the bottom cap is useless to the valve and the garment under the hole. I am not talking about the weekly/monthly/yearly bath where a disassemble is necessary.

    Granted, cleanliness is next to godliness, but I am NOT willing to let the manufacturers off the hook this easy. In the respect of maintenance, the trumpet has not advanced one bit since Stölzel came up with his valves before 1814.

    BOOH!
     
  3. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Age:
    68
    3,017
    3,590
    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Mobile 1st and 3rd slides?
     
  4. motteatoj

    motteatoj Mezzo Forte User

    859
    364
    Feb 23, 2013
    Tuckahoe, NY
    I am with you here....however most industries do not like radical changes...think about manufacturer's infrastructure and then teacher's in schools to symphonies wanting to minimize variation, and on and on...
    I liken this to the cork/screw cap debate in the wine industry, on a much more complex scale.

    We certainly can make instruments out of most anything today, can even 3D print out of carbon fiber or metals, or throw away the trumpet (and all the rest one by one) design all together and 'build a better mousetrap'. I do this in my industry every day as part of my job, and every time we find a solution, the giant hurdle of shifting the industry stops us cold. Also why we still drive cars that run on gasoline...
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,965
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Wait, wait, wait. We are talking about 200 years and essentially no period without serious development.

    Slides are not something so special. We have teflon coating on cheap frying pans. Something for slides is rocket science-plentiful and cheap- at least for a certain category of instrument. Hell, there is not even something to grab onto on a typical tuning slide-like a thick ferrule!
     
  6. Honkie

    Honkie Pianissimo User

    175
    125
    Feb 22, 2013
    Agreed! I also wonder why there has been so little evolutionary progress in trumpet design.

    I suppose a conservative design honors the past -- a "classic" and thus "classy".

    But I'm sure that good designers and engineers could completely reimagine the instrument, to make it easier to use and sound better. But this is unlikely to happen! The market wouldn't support the effort.

    For me the most primitive things about trumpet design are:
    1) awkward to hold
    2) awkward placement of valves (Olds Recording and Selmer Radial a step in the right direction)
    3) awkward valve action (sax keys travel less distance than piston valves)
    4) awkward intonation adjustment action
     
  7. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    1,105
    673
    Dec 14, 2003
    Pa
    There has been plenty of development, but the radical ideas have gone by the wayside because the market dictates what sells, and trumpet players by and large are old fashioned in what they like. Demand=supply. If there was a market for wild new ideas, it would be filled.

    If anybody here thinks developing a product that will sell is so simple, please, have at it.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,965
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    But wait, how many companies have died because the market does not support more of the same - or similar? Why is Shires almost dead, Conn, King, Holton, Martin?

    A big part of Getzens reputation is on valves that work - even when abused. It IS possible!

    I am not asking for a redesign, I simply find that most trumpets are asking for trouble because of some simple things. The holistic approach is to design the slides smart in the first place. Mouthpiece pullers work because there is are two surfaces to grab - no reason slides couldn't be equally smart. All of my german silver valves on selected vintage rotary horns never oxidize shut.
     
  9. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    1,105
    673
    Dec 14, 2003
    Pa
    And I have an idea for a cellphone that drives my car...but I have no idea how to go about making it. So we want to make slides that never stick, how to you propose we go about it?

    I've seen trumpets and trombones made with all kinds of different alloys, from solid silver to yellow brass and everything inbetween, they all get stuck. I have also met players who claim they can tell the difference between nickel slide legs and brass, it effects the way the horn plays. So we should Teflon coat the legs? It would never sell. I think if you can figure out a way to make a slide that will never stick, and people will want to actually use, you'll have a money maker.

    On a side note, I worked on my first pbone last week, you guessed it, sticky slide and stuck tuning slide. As it turns out, if you never wash your plastic instrument, the corrosion still gums up the works.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,965
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    I have an F trumpet from 1890 with german silver (nickel silver) valve slides that simply don't stick - even after over 40 years of non use. The brass tuning slide does stick when not maintained however. There is a lesson here somewhere.

    I am not really interested in an argument about this. There are enough constructive things that can be done to reduce maintenance costs and time on an instrument. Many manufacturers do not seem to have any interest. That was the purpose of my comment.

    Whether or not teflon coated valve slides would sell - or even work, depends on several things. For a "student" instrument low maintenance and designed in repairability can be a selling point - especially to teachers recommending horns. The same goes for hex valve caps and a bunch of other low/no cost changes. Someone in manufacturing/marketing simply has to care enough.

    For my students synthetic lubricants are the first step in lowering maintenance. They don't dry out and cake. It doesn't replace regular oiling, washing and careful handling. It just improves the odds - like every other small improvement.

    I made a wooden wrench for the Schilke hex valve caps many years ago. I had a student that somehow always had them stuck.....
     

Share This Page