first valve blues..............

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Out of the three, why do I find my first valve sticking most often? I've cleaned scrubbed, experimented with oils, changed my finger positions, springs, and still there is occassional sticking of the first valve. IT DOESN'T HAPPEN RIGHT AFTER CLEANING AND OILING. But eventually (2-3 days of playing) it will happen intermittently. My horns are all "vintage" horns. It doesn't happen on my Olds Ambassador or my Holton Collegiate. What's your hunch?

  2. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Older valves over time will wear and have looser tolerances , you might want to oil your valves more often and or try a thicker oil made for older valves.
  3. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Crow, that happens to me also on my Reynold's. Most of the time, no problem and the valves are in good condition. Putting heavier oil on helps some. The looser tolerance idea would seem the most likely to me. On my Besson cornet, it is the 2nd valve that acts that way. It has been said that different players of the instrument over the year have different stroke patterns which the pistons get "used" to, and may be the problem if our strokes are different.
    Guess that's the fun of of using old horn's and not being able to afford valve jobs to fix the most critical operational part of the instrument. My other horns don't have that problem, so you take "pot luck" sometimes in buying a horn you can't play first.:play:
  4. Kent

    Kent New Friend

    Apr 25, 2007
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm playing a 35 year old Schilke and the previous owner used it extensively (and is also a great brass tech and maintains it for me). His advice, which I have followed consistently, is to use an oil designed for older horns with worn valves. Initially he suggested Alysen and now that Yamaha has come out with an oil (the one labelled as for "vintage" horns), things have gone well. My friend's advice is that you baby the older valves so after a cleaning I apply the oil liberally to the casing and valve but only apply a drop per valve whenever I play.

    With these worn valves there is occasional minor sticking but it has been rare. The exception being the spring on the first valve needed replacing (this was the first thing that has had to be replaced as everything else is still original) as it was slowing the valve returning to the open position. I also found having a more upright finger position helps. pressing with side pressure causes these valves to slow on their return considerably.

    Good luck!
  5. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

    Mar 1, 2007
    As I run through fingerings in my head, is the first valve used most often? If so, then perhaps:

    1) The oil gets "wiped off" the first valve quicker, resulting in sticking.

    2) The first valve would show the most wear, therefore more "wobble" and the valve would stick.

    No real proof, though. I'm just speculating (but hey, it sounds good).:oops:

  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    the answer is simple. The second valve is used at least as much as the 1st, so that is not it. The answer is in the geometry of your hand. You use the first valve a lot AND push it down at an angle with your finger. The second valve generally gets pushed down straighter and the third is not used quite as often. If you take the valves out and compare them, you will see the wear (the shiny part of the valve) very distinctly on each of the valves. That will give you an indication how uneven the pressure is (the Selmer Radial 2 degrees is a much more intelligent design in this respect).

    The cure: synthetic oil that lasts a long time (like LaTromba T2). There are others that do an excellent job and may even be faster, but I have never found anything as RELIABLE for old instruments. I usually get a week of service before it sticks.
  7. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA

    That was my first thought, also, Steve. After looking at a fingering chart (all normal, no alternate fingerings) and counting how many time the fingerings are used this is what I came up with:

    38 notes from low F# to high G... 18 times we use the first valve, 20 times we use the second valve and 8 times we use the third valve.

    That being the case, it appears the second valve is the one used the most... of course that is going to be subjective to the music being played and the notes most often played by the individual.

    I think the wear patterns differing from one individual to another probably has more to do with it than anything. Hope switching oils helps you out Crow....:thumbsup:
  8. Publius_

    Publius_ Banned

    Jan 21, 2009
    you use the first valve the most out of all of the fingerings and sometimes it can even be the casing itself or just the way the valve oil builds up on the valve itself.
  9. Gary Schutza

    Gary Schutza Pianissimo User

    Apr 6, 2007
    Kansas City
    I have a Holton C Trumpet that I've been using on the job for years. About 2 years ago the 1st valve started to stick occasionally. After replacing everything I could think of (springs, guides, etc...) I realized that it only happened after I put in a mute or took one out. My horn is a tunable bell and there isn't as much bracing on the bell. When I put in a mute quickly the bell was slightly tweaking the 1st valve casing. I've thought about adding a bit of bracing where the bell tube lays alongside the 1st valve slide, but the problem hasn't happened since I've started releasing the pressure (torque?) on the bell after inserting/removing a mute. I don't really want to start adding thngs to the horn as it plays great right now. I'm hesitant to fix what ain't broke.

  10. RHSbigbluemarchingband

    RHSbigbluemarchingband Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 17, 2009
    my first valve on my old aristocrat is the only one that never fails, my third valve literally split in half from corrosion so it is brand new, and some kid which i hate now dropped my trumpet while we were arcing on the second valve slide, so now that valve goes through more oil then the rest of my trumpet does in a month

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