In Defense of Amado (and other Plunger-Style) Water Keys

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Ladies and Gentlemen - clean you trumpets!

    Here is a blog I have just posted regarding sticking Amado water keys.

    The blog is located at:
    In Defense of Amado Water Keys

    Here is the text:
    I have heard and read many complaints about Amado and other plunger style water keys. There are all sorts of versions from other companies - Stomvi have one, so does Jupiter, I happen to use water keys manufactured by Riedl in Germany.

    I often tell people that valve problems are caused by either:

    Dirt, Damage, or Distortion.

    Well, these plunger water keys are exactly like our valves: they push in and are sprung out to enable the ports to line up in such a way as to open and let the water out, then close to enable playing. When they decline to move, it is likely because of a buildup of dirt/corrosion.

    If we treated our piston valves or our tuning slides with the same amount of neglect they would stick also.

    Clean your instrument frequently.

    Oil your valves and water keys.

    Grease your slides.

    Amado water keys are held together with a ā€œCā€ clip; other versions use a screw cap or plug. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages:

    ā€œCā€ clip versions are awkward to re-assemble - but will not come apart from fidgety hands.

    Screw versions will come apart easily - but the parts are so small they can often be lost.

    The reason that I prefer plunger water keys is that my trumpets play better with them. I think that the forces on the tubing exerted by traditional water keys are detrimental to the overall response of the trumpet.

    If your water key is sticking, your instrument is telling you that it wants to be cleaned.
  2. mickvanflugel

    mickvanflugel Forte User

    Jul 1, 2011
    I do like the Amado waterkeys on my Carol Brass trumpet and Jupiter flugel.
    That said, I do not see anything wrong with traditional waterkeys either.
    Both kinds of keys have their pros and cons.
    At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal preference which you like better.
    Just mi dos centavos :-)
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The C clip models tend to leak oil, but is a small inconvenience except when wearing light colored trousers.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I agree with the premise that the standard water key has big disadvantages. Tension and the chimney are two.

    The Amado key is also not perfect, even with optimal care. I have trouble getting all of the water out on one blow - and often have wet fingers. Even with synthetic oil, the Amado needs DAILY oiling. One hot day in the trunk of a car, and you have NO PLAN B! Boiled shut and no way to quickly dislodge it.

    I think that we can do better and as I approach retirement, I have some ideas...........

    Just so much:
    no tension
    low cost
    low maintenance
    no wet fingers
    easy to convert
    low parts count
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I have nearly 50 years experience of conventional water keys, and about 37 years experience of amados. None have ever let me down in performance. I suggest there are two possible explanantions:

    1) I'm very, very lucky.
    2) I look after my stuff.

    My own view is that if you neglect 2), you've no chance of enjoying 1). Play the odds.
  6. jaemard

    jaemard Mezzo Piano User

    Jul 2, 2012
    San Rafael, CA
    I hear the Pollard water key works pretty well, it's Amado style.
  7. WannaScream

    WannaScream Pianissimo User

    Nov 27, 2013
    I had a Getzen that had sticky Amado keys from day 1 (though it was used), even with using a little needle oiler. The Calicchio I foolishly traded for it didn't even have a spit valve.
  8. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    I have used the Pollard key and have one on one of my development trumpets. It is not quite the same as the Amado. Whilst the Amado and other plungers have a groove in the plunger to allow the water to pass, the Pollard has a plain steep taper which unseats to allow the water egress.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I've never had issues with any modern Amado water key - the only ones I did have an issue with were on an old Getzen Eterna flugel that was owned by the school, and that was probably due to poor maintenance. With that said, I'd rather have an old style water key over Amados any day of the week and twice on Sunday, regardless of any supposed performance enhancement they offer.
  10. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    I used to regularly clean my Amados with alcohol. Am I wrong?

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