cornet valve

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by sleight, May 20, 2010.

  1. sleight

    sleight New Friend

    May 20, 2010
    I have a second hand prestige cornet. The second valve returns slowly especially if held down for a few beats. I have had it to 3 differernt instrument repairers. The valves all appear to fit quite snugly and will pass into the bottom of the cases. The valve is slow also in the other cases and the other valves work ok in the second case, so I suspect there is something wacko with the second valve! It often has a dark sludge on it when I clean it. I have cleaned the inside of the instrument ad nauseum, with soaks in the bath, the snake, everything I can think of! I even polished the valves and cases with metal polish, cleaned with a bottle brush and detergent, even tried acetone and 600 grit emery paper, then polish again! Tried several valve oils, Al Cass, Dennis Wick, and Pure. I'm becomming emotionally destraught praying fervently with quivering lips and beating heart! Can someone please tell me what the dickens is going on here, or how to fix it? :dontknow:
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    That's a tough one. After you have cleaned and dried the pistons and casings, have you tried putting the 2nd piston in dry and then moving it gently up and down to see if there is any binding? - particularly at the bottom of the stroke where you indicate it is sticking. Also, does it seem to do OK right after cleaning and then become sticky after playing for a few minutes? One of my trumpets does that and it seems that the saliva mixed with the oil is what causes the stickiness. Another thing to check while dry is the side-play. See if there is some with the piston rotated in one position but not in another position. Sometimes the piston or casings will wear out-of-round and allow the piston to catch if rotated slightly relative to that wear. This will sometimes become more apparent if you move the piston with side pressure on the valve button rather than purely vertical pressure.

    I hope something works. I know how maddening a sticky valve can be - especially with the amount of time you have spent troubleshooting it.
  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    How does your finger sit on the button when you play? you could be pulling or pushing it slightly at an angle. I tell parents and kids this daily at work because their 'sticky valves' are fine in every way when I test them and clean them.
  4. trumpetup

    trumpetup Piano User

    Jan 12, 2009
    Godley, Texas
    Welcome to Trumpet Master Sleight.
    I'm guessing since you took it to a tech your valve springs have been checked. When you push the valves down check to see if you might have your fingers off to the side of the valve caps. If you do you might be causing the valve to have too much side pressure. Some trumpets are more forgiving of this than others
    Good Luck,
  5. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    Have you checked your second valve slide and tubings?

    Sometimes, when greasing this slide, there can be left
    some grease inside the tubing that "travels" into the
    valve casing. This crap can mix itself with the valve oil and
    "dark sludge" as you call it, is the result that slows down the action.
    (The red Selmer stuff is the worst.)
    If you use synthetic oil, the grease should also be synthetic.
  6. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Los Gatos, CA
    Hi, guys!

    Sometimes a sprung (bent) valve slide will distort the valve casing on some horns and make the valve stick. Typically, though, this happens to the third slide, as it's the longest one and thus has the greatest "lever arm". The second valve slide is far less likely due to its shortness. Unless you squoze the horn in your case with music sitting on top of the horn (you don't do that, do you?) it's unlikely that the second valve casing would get distorted. If you DO put music and stuff on top of your horn and then close the lid of the case on it, you could very well be distorting your valve casing!

    Seriously, see if it works better when you push the valves straight up and down. If it does, you'll need to alter the way you hold your horn.

    The migrated grease scenario is also a good one, if you tend to use a lot of grease.

    Hope these ideas help!

  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I've known that to happen, not once, but twice by the same person and each time the consequence was a new valve block and I ponder why that person just didn't buy a new instrument. My theory is that instrument cases should only be large enough to safely hold the instrument ... but I guess that will be a cold day ...

    Ed Lee
    Jackson NC
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    "Paint" the valve black with a magic marker, then play it dry for a while. If there is a mechanical issue, something will scrape the magic marker off and you will know where the problem is!

    Instrument repair people are not necessarily valve experts. I have a Getzen Flugelhorn that had a sticky second valve (much like the problem described here) in spite of a great amount of TLC on my part. New springs solved the problem.

    One additional thought, if the valves are "cheaply" made, the Monel plating can come off (tons of chinese horns just like this) and then you have a brass/brass connection that is very prone to sticking.
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  9. sleight

    sleight New Friend

    May 20, 2010
    All great ideas and thank you. It is improving signigicantly now just by a lot of playing and reoiling when it slows up and yes, hitting it directly overhead really helps. The grey sludge is becomming ligher and lighter.
  10. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Actually, 2nd valve casing damage is by far the most common non-dirt related valve issue I see in the shop I work at. Kids rest their horns upside down, or they drop the horn and the first thing that hits the ground is either the bell rim or the 2nd valve.

    The third valve slide is connected to the lower-outer main tuning slide with a brace typically, which means unless the entire bottom front of the trumpet gets bent, the 3rd valve doesn't hang for that reason. Most commonly the 3rd valve hangs because of the piston being pushed or pulled into the casing wall by improper valve technique.

    The most common 1st valve issue is when the two tuning slides get out of alignment which causes the valve to hang up.

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