Oiling habits...........

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 3, 2006
    Be honest and accurate. When do you oil your valves? How much do you use? How do you apply it? Do you oil as a routine, or, do you oil because you sense that it needs it, or, do you just wait until the valve sticks or is slugish? Do you automatically oil before a gig? Do you wipe the valve and casing before you oil? I've never seen a video of a famous trumpet player that has had to deal with a stuck or slugish valve on camera. I know the horns must be beautifully machined, and such a horn doesn't malfunction, or, do they oil before the performance? All my horns are "Vintage" horns. I clean them frequently, and oil them at that time. I don't usually oil them again unless they stick or are slugish. I usually put one to three drops on a valve, insert it into the casing, turn it once or twice, lock it down, and finger it a few times. That's what I do. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I'm sure the overall answer is "do whatever works". But I thought this exercise might yield some wisdom. At the very least it will be interesting. Try not to be too hilareous or sarcastic in your answer. Consider this an exercise similar to looking into someone's bedroom window to find out if there's a better way to put on your draws, if you wear them.

    tedh1951 likes this.
  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I oil them when I clean the horn, about once a month, or when they need it...not often at all.

    I unscrew the top and pull it 3/4 of the way out and squirt the oil on it as I rotate it. (actually... hold the bottle tip against the valve as I rotate it)

    If they get sluggish on a gig and during a tune I have no problem with squirting oil in the bottom valve cap hole during a couple measure's rest.
  3. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    My trumpet needs regular oiling, every few days of playing. I oil it as soon as I notice slight stickiness.

    I also oil it any time I'm going to play with or for people. It's amazing what timing those valves have!
  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    The point being missed, thus far, is that with brasswind instrument valves we are dealing with a set of precision fitted,( lapped ), pieces of machinery that require lubrication for several differring reasons. Starting with, the need to function with absolute freedom and accuracy, the need to seal moderately high air pressures, to not wear excessively, and for the lube to carry away various forms of contamination. The various different valve lubes on the market all have differing qualities. Some are wonderful cleansers. Some lubricate well over extended periods of use or lack of use, thus reducing wear. Some are specifically formulated to accomidate existing wear and still stioll seal and function rapidly. Considering all that a set of valves need in proper lubrication, it behooves the operator to lubricate with a proper lube for his/her individual needs and at a frequency that keeps the valves clean and protects from wear while providing fast smooth action.

    In my case, I lube regularly with each practice session and wipe down the pistons and the bore before each lubing. Just because of my fear of having a valve malfunction during any performance, I always fresh up the lube immediately prior to that performance. It has always worked for me.

    tedh1951 likes this.
  5. Publius_

    Publius_ Banned

    Jan 21, 2009
    Well once a week is usually recommended by manufacturers in their handbooks or whatever they are. For example the H.N. White says to pull out the valve once a week and clean off the old oil. I started doing this and noticed my valves were a little better and the oil lasted longer like that. I also wondered what happened to the oil that was used up from the valve that I didn't wipe off. I always guessed it stuck to the valve but I might be wrong, it might be something for someone to look into
  6. YamaMan

    YamaMan Pianissimo User

    Nov 29, 2008
    I try to oil every day or at least every other day. Someone told me that you should oil every single time you play, but, as someone who often plays several different times throughout the day, I think that would be a waste of oil.

    Crowmadic: There is a video on YouTube of Bobby Shew. I couldn't find it just now, but I've seen it before. Towards the very end of the song, his third valve sticks, and you see him fumbling with it before finishing the song. After the song, he announced "Well, I've picked up a lot of tricks over the years, but I never learned how to play a high B flat with that third valve down."
  7. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Like Bobby Shew, Maurice Andre was once found to have stopped one of his concerts to pull and oil a stuck valve on one of his custom built trumpets. He did behave as a pro by making a comment about being in a hurry to get into the concert and failing to properly prep his instruments.

  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I oil as a routine, just like checking the oil on an automobile is a routine operation. At least twice a week take the valves completely out of the casing, remove the bottom caps swab trough until they are bone dry, wipe down the valves until they are dry then squirt oil on the valves as I slowly turn them. This makes sure that oil is spread over the entire valve and casing.

    Just because the valves go up and down does NOT mean that they are protected - only an intact coating of oil can do that!
    tedh1951 likes this.
  9. Sungman

    Sungman Pianissimo User

    Dec 23, 2008
    I oil my valve every once in a while,and it stays well lubricated but when I have to do some faster pieces like the flight of the bumblebee, or more like try, I tend to reoil my valves to get that lightning fast valves.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  10. fels

    fels Piano User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    Long time ago, a tech suggested oiling every day or more. I have followed this advice using Al Cass oil. I recently was noticing some sluggish valve action had the instrument cleaned by a tech using immersion technique. Just picked up the trumpet and applied oil - came back with no oil application. Seems like it is better. Tech may have also changed spring coils. Trumpet is a Bach Strad 37 - 20 years old.

    I suspect that heavy oil use leaves residue that will build up over time - but do not know for sure. I have thought about changing to a synthetic but do not know enough about them. Will welcome suggestions.

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