DR. Valve - Steve Winans

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by NickD, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Folks, Wayne Tanabe and I have been friends for many years. His leaving Chicago put many of us in a tailspin when I came to sorting out who might fill the void. There are in deed quite a few real fine repair technicians here, but for those of us who previously not had to choose for some time, suddenly having to do so was tough.

    I have found my new guy, though. It' Steve Winans, owner of Dr. Valve.

    Doctor Valve, Trumpet Repair and Restoration

    I had several horns with the valves randomly hanging up. One of them was my New York Trumpet Company Stage 1 California Light, a horn I use ALL the time. I figured I had just worn the valves down.

    Well, I showed up at Steve's place on Saturday AM (I did call ahead and make an appointment). He looked my axe over and suggested I go out to lunch. He then proceded to spend an hour and a half fixing my horn so I could use it at work in Saturday night. It played at LEAST as good as when I first got it. I just got home from a big band gig and it still feels better than ever!

    I couldn't be more thrilled with the service provided by Steve. He was also very reasonably priced! In short, Steve is a good man and does EXCELLENT work. I've already given him two more horns (my Stage 1 GS cornet and my Tanabe/Chicago-Brassworks model GSC Bb. I expect them to be better than ever, too.

    I know many of you already know of Steve's work, but in light of recent events for me, I wanted to remind you of Steve's business.

    Dr. Valve! DEFINTELY my new choice for trumpet maintenance and repair.

    FWIW coming from me.

  2. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    Nick, what was the issue with the valves?

    I had a similar problem lately with my Cali Light... I washed and cleaned it thoroughly twice and it seems to have fixed the stickyness.

    My guess is I drank too much beer at various gigs and sugar accumulated in the casing. :)

    It all seems fine right now. Crossing fingers.
  3. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    Thanks for the review!
  4. m13a8

    m13a8 Pianissimo User

    Oct 27, 2007
    The valves on my Getzen have been feeling less than awesome lately, and I've been really tempted to send my horn to this guy! I'm glad to hear the reviews, but I'm still weary of sending my baby through the mail to get to him...maybe some day I'll get the guts to!
  5. mattdalton

    mattdalton Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2005
    Newcastle, WA USA
    Steve has done valve jobs on two of my trumpets - Bach Bb and Selmer piccolo -- and did outstanding work on both of them. So while it comes as no surprise to read your recommendation for him, I am glad to see your post so others can hear of him. Mine were older instruments, yours newer, but he does great work regardless of vintage.

    m13a8 - you're wise to be cautious about shipping a horn, and it pays to be careful in how you do it. If you pack the trumpet carefully following the instructions on the Dr. Valve web site, it should be well protected and make the trip there and back without any problems. I live in Washington state and had to ship my trumpets to Illinois for the valve work. they were packed as carefully for the return trip as when I sent them out.
  6. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    The issue with my Cali Light was subtle. I've been using Al Cass valve oil which dries out completely after a relatively short period. I am VERY hard on my horns, and this isn't the best thing in the world for me. Steve found the seal to be almost like new - GREAT compression in the valves. However, apparently in the CASINGS some tiny bits of tarnish had appeared. Steve told me that when the oil dries out, water can attack the brass a bit inside the casings. He re-lapped the valves in, did an ultrasonic cleanout, fixed a couple of tiny little dents, cleaned up the Amado water keys and polished up the horn like new, and it PLAYED like new when I got it back! He dropped everything he was doing an spent two hours straight getting me ready for my gig last Saturday night so I would have to do even one gig with Felix's woinderful horn. Winans is "da man!"

    Now, what I was pleased to find out was how GOOD the valves were! This is a tribute to what Felix prdouces! Steve was impressed with the valves. This was a relatively minor glitch and he spotted it immediately. He could have sold me on a complete valve re-do, but he didn't! In fact, his fee was EXTREMELY reasonble for the work he did.

    BTW, I am now an avid user of 5-Starr Super valve oil (for three days now!)!



  7. m13a8

    m13a8 Pianissimo User

    Oct 27, 2007
    I'm seriously considering sending my trumpet out to him soon! I wish I lived closer so I could get an estimate without having to send my horn out...I guess I'll save a bunch of cash and hope I don't have to spend all of it when I finally do get around to sending it in. It sounds like he does excellent work!
  8. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Nick. Give Dennis Wick's Oil a try. They sent out a free bottle to everyone in the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, and everyone I heard feedback from including myself is in love with it. My valves have never felt so good.
  9. Rushtucky

    Rushtucky Pianissimo User

    Sep 15, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Dr. Valve is absolutely one of the best technicians around and VERY professional. I usually have my trumpets worked on by a local music store in downtown Indianapolis who do good work. On a recent trip to Chicago I took both of my Bachs and visited (pre-arranged appointment highly suggested) Dr. Valve. I left the trumpets on Monday and picked them up on Friday on my way back to Indy. Both trumpets, especially my Mercedes, have never played better. It was almost like I have two new horns!
  10. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005

    Have you talked to Steve recently? His website seems to be down and I'm hoping to send him a couple horns in the near future. I can't seem to find his phone number or email either...


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