In a valve quandry.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Patasalada, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. Patasalada

    Patasalada New Friend

    Sep 7, 2009
    Looking for advice. A couple of months ago, I purchased a new top-of-the-line Yamaha flugelhorn. Right out of the case I noticed a couple of small issues with the valves. The second valve was a bit sluggish compared to the first and third. I wrote it off to "perhaps a weak spring" and resolved to order some new springs. The other issue I noticed was related to the first valve. If my first finger does not push the first valve more-or-less "straight down" and pulls the button a bit to the right when depressing the valve, I can feel a slight, although short-lived hesitation of the valve to return upward.

    Again, I wrote if off, thinking "probably just needs to get worn in."

    Last night, however, when playing with a group, and playing a prolonged note using second valve; when released, the valve stuck twice (staying down by itself) for about one second each time.

    This is a brand new horn which has been treated like a newborn baby. Never dropped, dented scratched or handled roughly. No marks, nothing.

    I would appreciate any ideas people could give me regarding causes of the problems and solutions. My situation is complicated by the fact that I live in Mexico and have no instrument repair people within a few hundred miles of my home.

    I understand that this next request is next to impossible, but here goes. If anyone reading this knows of a good instrument repair person in Guadalajara (an 8-hour bus trip from here), I'd appreciate a lead. I'm willing to go if I must.

    Thanks all.
  2. ewanmains

    ewanmains Piano User

    Jun 9, 2009
    Kilmarnock, UK
    If it's brand new & only a couple of months old, I would be putting it in a box & sending it straight back to Yamaha for either a fix or replacement!
  3. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    I have a Yamaha Bobby Shew Flugelhorn that I bought about ten years ago. My problem is with the first valve freezing if not played regularly. I have switched to Hetman Light Piston oil and that seems to help. I have the same problem with my Yamaha F/G trumpet. My opinion is that Yamaha valve tolerences are so small that their valves need more attention(oiling and cleaning) than other brands. The Yamaha French Horns and Baritones at the middle school where I teach have similar valve issues.
  4. walldaja

    walldaja Pianissimo User

    Feb 25, 2008
    Kokomo, IN
    You didn't say what type valve oil you're using. I had the same problem with several other horns, only common denominator was they were new and had tight valves. I switched to synthetic "Space Filler" for tight valves. That stopped most of the problems. The other side of that is they really want to be clean. I have noticed a slight discoloration on the pistons which is easily removed with wadding polish and that ensures 100% performance. Here's a link for various polishes wadding polish - Google Search
  5. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    Depending on how thoroughly the manufacturer preps the instrument, when you buy a new horn there can be manufacturing gunk inside the tubes that finds its way to the valves. You can't see it but if you wipe the valves with a clean white cloth it will be slightly darkened. You need to clean the instrument a couple of times in the first two weeks if you want the cloth to be perfectly clean when you wipe the valves.

    If you don't do this, eventually the gunk will be flushed away due to periodic oiling and regular cleaning, but it can take some time for this to happen. In the meantime, the valves may not operate as well as they are capable.
  6. kneelknurd

    kneelknurd New Friend

    Sep 10, 2009
    Tifton, GA
    Sterling is right. Had a Yamaha Flugel for years. Mucho TLC on the valves, baby.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Piston valves are in fact a product of the dumb design division. There is no forced lubrication, the tighter the valves the more susceptible they are to binding, the moisture that we blow into the horn turns the oil into sludge, reoiling the valves without removing them just keeps the sludge in place, for a short time, a bit thinned out, but not for long.

    The solution is simple: if you are using petroleum based oil, clean the valves and casings and reoil EVERY DAY. The petroleum distillate evaporates in less than 24 hours. If you are using synthetics, clean and reoil every couple of days to get the sludge out.

    There is only one thing that a tech can do (assuming no damage): remove material by re-lapping the valves. That makes more room for sludge and a bit of play to keep the valve from binding when pushed down in a non-straight way.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Yamaha valves are the best of the big companies out there. They are very tight fitting for an air tight fit for many years of playing. You do know how to take care of them. When you first got the horn did you give it a thorough bath to get out any stuff that may have been left in the horn by the factory? Such as buffing rouge. When you first started to play the horn did you clean the valves and casing out everyday. to get out the metal dust that builds up as the pistons break into the casings? This should be done evryday for around two weeks or until there's no residue of metal dust on the valves. Do you oil your valves everyday you play?

    I have a Yamaha flugel that's 25 years old and I've never had a problem with the valves.
  9. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    I've only owned one new horn and when it was new I had to clean the valves a lot. you would wipe the valves and see a black color on the cloth. After a week or so, this crap was finally gone and I've had no problems since. But you should clean the heck out of it for at least a week and if the problem persists take it back to the store. You shouldn't be expected to keep a horn if the valves are faulty.
  10. guitarsrmine

    guitarsrmine Piano User

    Dec 29, 2008
    Franklin, Pa
    I had the same problem with my brand new Jupiter trumpet awhile back. Tried 3 different valve oils ,and then I ordred Ultra Pure, and no more sluggish valves. It also work great on my Getzen Super Deluxe, and my 1968 Olds Ambassador!!:play:

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