Review of the Reeves Valve Alignment

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I realize I already posted the following in the thread in the Cage, however, I thought that I would start another thread and detail my thoughts and review of the Bob Reeves Valve Alignment that I had done on my Schilke B6. I just didn't think that too many folks would read a review posted in page 10 of a Cage thread. And can we please try to keep this one from getting dumped in the Cage? Also, if anyone else wants to review their personal experiences and impressions about their PVA here in this thread, by all means, please do.

    I only got my trumpet back last night, and I'll know more after I have had the chance to wring it out on a gig or two, but here are my initial impressions:

    Posted last night:
    I got my Schilke back from Bob Reeves today after sending it out for a Valve Alignment. Here were the results according to the card.

    I'll list the valves in order, and the top number will be the upstroke, the bottom number will be the downstroke. Postive numbers indicate that the valve was too high, negative numbers indicate that it was too low.

    1st Valve
    -.005 Upstroke
    -.006 downstroke

    2nd Valve
    -.009 upstroke
    .026 downstroke

    3rd valve
    -.011 upstroke
    .020 downstroke

    What does this mean? Well, the difference between a ML and LB Bach Strad is what, .003 of an inch? (ML is.459, LB is .462) When you consider it that way, .026 of an inch is a pretty big difference.

    I played it a bit and after not having had it for nearly two weeks (anyone who believes 3 day shipping is really 3 day shipping is deluded) it's hard to say - I have practiced a bit, but not too much because I didn't want to get used to my Strad again - a horn that plays completely different than my Schilke.

    My instant impressions are this: it seems more open, but in a good way, although initially tuning C seemed a bit funky, almost like it didn't want to center. This might be because now that the horn is supposedly more open, I no longer need to pull the tuning slide quite so far, so I pushed it in a bit, and that actually seemed to help things. Does that sound strange? (Update - I went back down after taking short break to read with my 8 year old daughter - I LOVE doing that! - and I had no problems getting ANYTHING to center. This trumpet is the the most centered, best responding trumpet I have ever owned.)

    Anyway, I'll continue to wring it out and report back on my impressions. I have a gig on Thursday night, and again on Saturday, so the proof of the pudding will be in the eating - i.e. if it blows better on the gig, the expense will have been worth it.

    One last thing, just screwing around a bit, I took some stuff up. I have always had issues with getting the G above high C to center, especially since that is the max of my practice room range. It popped right away tonight, as did anything else I went for above high C.

    More later.
  2. old geezer

    old geezer Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2004
    I have had probably 7 or 8 valve align. done on different horns that I have owned. I have noticed from very little to huge differences in the horn. that is due to some horns being very close to way off in their align. before align. was done. in all cases the intonation was better even if I didn't notice much in the playing or sound of the horn. I am glad you noticed a difference [in a good way] even on a very well built Schilke. have fun with your "new" old horn. old geezer Dave
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Something that I would like to note is that even this Schilke, which I swear is now the best trumpet I have ever owned, had a few notes that centered very well, and some that didn't center quite so well - it was like the note had less of a center to hit. Does that make sense? Now, it's like every note has a big, definite center to it. Also, at times this horn would feel tight. (if that makes sense) My initially impression post Valve Alignment is that this quality of tightness has been replaced by a nice, balanced evenness.

    Again, I'll be better able to evaluate the perceptible differences between pre and post Valve Alignmentafter I've had it a bit, and especially after I have had a chance to gig on it.
  4. Oldgreentoad

    Oldgreentoad New Friend

    Aug 30, 2005
    Portland, OR

    Great post! I've been looking at a lot of used horns lately and some have had PVS's and subsequently have had higher asking prices. Your post has answered my questions about the whole process and its value. Please keep us updated after the gigs. Thanks
  5. JunkyT

    JunkyT Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    i don't know much about the process of a PVA, so excuse me if this is a silly question, but if i take my horn to my local guy and get a valve alignment done, is this the same as a reeves PVA? i heard people tack his name on the process like he's doing something different than everyone else.

    is he?

  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    It's my understanding that through testing, Bob Reeves discovered that some ports are more important to align than others, that the process is somewhat secret (Jesse, the young lady I spoke with on the phone, didn't even know the specifics and she works there and is a trumpet player herself) and that is is also patented. According to the guys at the Reeves shop, it's more involved than simply aligning valves to ports and that there are certain tried and true ways to do it that maximize response, focus and intonation to sort of "sweet spot" the horn in an all around way.

    So to answer your question, yes, a Reeves alignment is a specific thing and he probably is doing it a bit different than others. The list of folks who use his mouthpieces and services reads like the "Who's who" list of trumpet players

    John Faddis
    Doc Severinsen
    Snooky Young
    Roger Ingram
    Rick Baptist
    Dave Stahl
    etc. (too many big names to list)

    It's a pretty impressive list so they must be doing something right there.

    I suppose I could have had this horn PVAed elsewhere, but Reeves has such a great reputation for doing it that I would have been remiss to have sent it anywhere else for my first one and for the trumpet that I have really come to like.
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Ok, I'm back with more impressions of my Reeves Valve Aligned Schilke B6.

    Maybe it's all in my brain, maybe not, but if I thought that this horn was good before, now it's a beast!

    To touch on something that I had mentioned earlier, it doesn't appear that I was imagining things when I said that it felt like I needed to move my tuning slide in. I got out my tuner tonight and checked. In order to be in tune with my Schilke 14A4, I had to push in about 1/8 of an inch from where it used to be in tune - not a long way, but enough to be noticeable.

    The sound that I love about this trumpet is still there, but now there is more of it - again, it could all just be in my mind, but I just don't think so. I think that those adjustments really did change this trumpet, and for the better. It's like I can gas it all I want now and it will just take it, whereas before, it was like I couldn't quite cut loose with it. However, it still maintains that focused center.

    I have a gig tomorrow night - hopefully I didn't let my chops go to seed too bad in the the last two weeks because I really want to see what it is like road tested.
  8. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    here is alittle more info about all that is invloved.

    The term PVA refers to a valve alignment done by Wayne Tanabe, I think Reeves just calls his a valve alignment or Reeves alignment.

    Since Tanabe is now working for Yamaha, that leaves only one guy I would trust with this and that is Bob Reeves. If I needed one done I might also check out Larson, Melk and a few others, but there is no way I would trust a local guy with that kind of job.

    Pat, I am glad to hear it is working out so well for you. Welcome to the light :lol:
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Diz, you are absolutely right. My mistake!

    You know, if I decide to hot-rod my old Strad, an alignment will be part of that process.

    One thing is for certain, I am no longer skeptical about whether or not a valve alignment is beneficial - I believe that it is, and at some point all of my horns will be aligned.
  10. Daff

    Daff Pianissimo User

    Jul 10, 2004
    It appears that you've discovered what I mentioned in that other thread.

    "Any of you can do a simple test without spending a dime. Rotate the fingerbuttons in increments of, say, 1/2 rotation (180 degrees), or whichever increment you may chose, each one to varying degrees, to alter the alignment, then play the horn to test the blow and response at the various settings. 'Sweet spot' the horn, then pop out the three slides, depress each valve and observe the alignment. You may be surprized at the results.

    I am suggesting that absolute, perfect, microscopic, alignment is unneccessary and may even detract from performance. Who cares what measuring gadgets tell you? They don't play horns, people do.

    Resistance, and even turbulance, can actually benefit. Through this simple experiment, you may realize, as I did, that mechanical precision is unnecessary."

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