Bent valve cap thread

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by lugnut, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. lugnut

    lugnut New Friend

    Aug 30, 2011
    Last night I bought my son a new trumpet to replace his rental. It was used so I wanted to clean it. The valve caps were hard to get off so i used a soft rag and a small pair of vice grips. I had gotten two of the three off when the tips of the vice grips accidentally grabbed onto one of the removed caps and onto the threads, bending the middle valve assembly at the bottom near the threads. I was being so careful, but in hind sight I feel really stupid. My question to anyone who can answer, is this a fairly small repair that a music store can make? The diameter of the valve assembly was damaged slightly, but enough that the valve hangs when depressed. The valve cap threads are also a bit mangled so that the cap will not screw on. I played trumpet for 6 years and thought I was being careful, but apparently not enough. Any experience in making repairs outs there. I'm taking it to a music store today that does repairs and am hoping this does not cost a ton to fix.Thanks
  2. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    In addition to getting the trumpet technician to look at your damaged valve I would get him or her to inspect the shape of the horn since in using vice-grips (shudder!) you may have also twisted the horn off-true when you put torsional force on it. Trumpets are generally made of pretty fragile tubing (some moreso than others).

    Good luck with the repair.

  3. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

    Apr 8, 2010
    A good tech should be able to re-thread the cap, if not, they may have a replacement part. But, like bumblee wrote, have them check the entire horn.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Always consider trumpets to be JEWELRY!
  5. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    +1 for Rowuk's post. I too have been guilty of reaching for the vice grips .... Wouldn't do that if it was a diamond wedding ring.:-? Who would? No, you go to the Jeweler's.

    Good advice.

  6. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I recently had an out-of-round valve case bottom with damaged threads repaired. The valve was slightly bent, too, probably from the previous owner trying to use the valve inserted from the bottom to pry the valve bore into a circle again (ouch!). Probably worse damage than yours, and I had it repaired for about $40. The tech was a wizard with a small plastic mallet on the bent valve, so luckily, that part of the repair didn't take long. The terms vice grips and trumpets should never be used in the same post...:D
  7. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    But you just used them!

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  8. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    There was a thread a few months ago about someone wanting to put $120 valve caps on his horn. The existing ones were stuck and he would not take the trumpet to a tech:

    I wrote the following blog:
    I heard about a trumpet player wanting to make his instrument look nice. He planned to purchase a gold plated trim kit and swap over some of the parts.
    Only problem - his present bottom valve caps are stuck and he cannot remove them. Instead of visiting his local NAPBIRT member repair shop, he asks for advice on the internet as to how to remove stuck caps. Please understand, he is planning to spend $120 or so on this gold plated stuff but would not even consider visiting a repairman for advice (free) or having the caps removed (maybe $25-45). The advice offered on the internet was to hit the caps with a hammer, or use channel lock pliers gently. Of course, any novice using a hammer on the valve caps is bound to miss and hit the casing, anyone using channel lock pliers gently is guaranteed to have them slip and gouge the casing. If you use channel lock pliers on a knurled nut, you need to be firm and locate the plier jaws into the knurling. This player will not have a holding jig for his trumpet, nor will he (as far as we know) have any understanding or feeling for the strengths and weaknesses of the brass in his casings and caps. The advised methods can be fine as long as they are carried out by someone trained and experienced in that technique. All repairmen have seen lead pipes broken off by fathers trying to extract stuck mouthpieces.
    But the question of why the caps are stuck is not addressed! Are the threads damaged? Is there corrosion? Is there lime scale buildup? If the caps are stuck then the trumpet can’t have been cleaned for some time.
    Any competent repairman will free the stuck caps (the symptom) and will offer advice about the cure for whatever caused this problem.

    Please just go the the repair shop.

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