Fixing up old horn

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Chricket, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. Chricket

    Chricket New Friend

    Jun 5, 2013
    Hi... not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes. I found an old trumpet in a thrift store, and was hoping to try and make it playable again. I looked up the serial number, and I guess it's from the 1970's, and also looks like it hasn't been played since then. It should be noted that I know very little about trumpets, and am just thrill seeking with this project. I surveyed it, and toyed around, and found that the keys would not budge, and there is some evidence that it could have been in some sort of basement flood, and not dried immediately, but there doesn't seem to be much rust, and I what I see could potentially just be some chipping. After looking online, it seemed the thing to get the keys to budge (and disinfect it) was soaking in a vinegar/water solution, so I did. After a few hours, it was certainly cleaner, but the keys were just as stuck as before. I have tried removing them from the casing, but to no avail; these keys do not want to leave. I searched around the interwebs, and found this forum, and now am looking for potential help. Might anyone have some information on this subject?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Chricket! If you aren't a trumpet player (which I suspect because you call the valves keys) your best bet is to fork out the money for a tech to loosen the frozen parts. Look over their shoulder and learn the technique. There is a certain amount of "feel" involved, and if you don't know how a well working trumpet feels, then you really can't fix it up properly.

    Have fun!
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    What brand of trumpet is it? Some horns are worth the effort and others belong on the wall at Cracker Barrel. Oh, :welcome::welcome::welcome::laughwave::laughwave::laughwave::wave::wave::wave::thumbsup:
  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Turn it upside-down and squirt some penetrating oil into the holes in the bottom valve caps. Leave it upside down overnight to let the oil try to work its way down the valves. If they are still stuck after that, it's best to take it to a music store to see if the tech there can do anything with it. They can also tell you if it's worth spending the money on to get it playable.
  5. jimc

    jimc Mezzo Piano User

    May 21, 2009
    Spokane, WA USA
    Penetrant, heat, and tapping are the main tools. But! The materials are lightweight and soft, and experience is what keeps you from applying too much heat or force and ruining something. Best if you consulted a professional, they'll tell you whether it's a cost-effective proposition. If they (as has happened to me) give it a thumbs down then you can take it home and go to town on it, knowing that you won't regret it no matter what happens. Be patient! I would use a hardwood stick (no sharp corners, maybe a dowel) about thumb-thick and perhaps about 8" long, held between finger and thumb, and start tapping on the valve to try to drive it in. Remove the button first. Tapping, not hammering! You want to get the valve caps off, top and bottom, tapping on them with the stick can get them loose. Use lots of penetrant, and time. Try a little each day. It will probably come loose, and you'll get a lot of satisfaction bringing it back from the dead. I trust you didn't pay much for this, I've gotten better trumpets than yours sounds like for $20 at the thrift store.

    If the valves are stuck due to being dropped, thus deforming the valve casings, it'll never loosen up. This was the case with my $20 Ambassador trumpet, and the $20 Getzen cornet. In the case of the Getzen $80 at the shop and it was good as new. I fixed the Ambassador myself, first by making it worse, then by renaming it "bugle". :-)

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