Review of the Reeves Valve Alignment

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

  1. ustacouldplay

    ustacouldplay New Friend

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    Jun 14, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I just hand a thought regarding VA's. I understand about production tolerances and compound errors causing some valves to be way out of line with the bores. But peep this:

    There are 4 ports to each valve: UP-IN, UP-OUT, DOWN-IN, and DOWN-OUT, I'll call them.

    Sure, a skilled craftsman can shim the valves to be precisely aligned with ONE of the IN or OUT ports on both the UP and the DOWN stroke. But if either the valve or valve casing is not perfect, then even though the UP-IN is aligned, there is no guarantee that UP-OUT is too. And if it's not, then I really don't see a practical way of getting them both aligned together.

    It's sort of like a relationship between a man and a woman (or m/m, w/w, or whatever, if that's your thing...) As long as they are both independently healthy, happy people, they can probably figure out a way to mesh. But if either one of them has serious personal "issues" and is so far out of whack on their own, then no amount of adjustment by the other is going to greatly improve the relationship.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  2. ustacouldplay

    ustacouldplay New Friend

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    Jun 14, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    OK. I just took a shower and thought about this some more. (Don't worry...I'm not naked). The situation is worse than I had originally thought!

    There are 6 ports on each valve!
    UP-IN, UP-OUT <-- passthrough from previous valve (or leadpipe) to next valve.
    DOWN-IN1, DOWN-OUT1 <-- in from prev. valve, out to extra tubing
    DOWN-IN2, DOWN-OUT2 <-- in from extra tubing, out to next valve (or bell)

    And that's just one valve! So all 6 of those port locations have to be manufactured perfectly...TWICE! Once in the production of the valve and once in the production of the casing. If any of those locations is off, then ...well... now I'm repeating myself.
     
  3. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003

    Wouldn’t the laws of Acoustics and Fluid Dynamics state other wise?
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Right you are! Way up in this thread, among all of the other stuff I have posted, I mention that Reeves discovered that some ports are more important to align than others, and that through experimentation, he came up with what he felt was the best combination so you are correct when you say that it isn't as simple as one might think. When I talked to KO that day, he wouldn't get into specifics about which was which or why, but he did make mention of all of the different combinations and therefore you have to be a bit choosy about how to align the valve, and this is also why Wayne Tanabe's PVA is likely to be a bit different than a Reeves Alignment.

    Good catch! :-)

    From my earlier post:
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Daff, in the letter that the Reeves shop sends out with your trumpet, they say that if you have problems with anything, or don't notice an improvement in response, focus, intonation and endurance to let them know. At that point they will help you to "dial in" the valves. I don't know their procedure for this - I would imagine they send you some spacers with slightly different sizes (valve specific) that you can test yourself so you don't have to go through the time and pain of sending the trumpet back and forth.

    Anyway, while you might have a point when you say that the measuring gadgets don't play horns, people do, I believe the fine folks in the Reeves shop do take that into account, however I also think that in most instances, their stock valve alignment is probably improvement for most people and most horns.
     
  6. ustacouldplay

    ustacouldplay New Friend

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    Jun 14, 2005
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    OK, the more I learn about VA's the more viable they sound. I guess if you think of VA's as attempting to attain "mechanical perfection", then I'd have to say that paying several hundred dollars for one is silly. First, it's an impossible goal and second, even if it were possible, it's nothing any fairly handy person with some time and a nice set of precision measuring tools couldn't handle.

    But if, as several of you seem to think, a VA involves subjective decisions to adjust an individual instrument to be the best that IT can be by taking into account and mitigating it's inherent imperfections, then a VA may make sense.
     
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    well not only time and measuring tools, but the material and spaces that are put at the top of the valve( under the valve cap) and the material put in place of the felts.

    You might not reach mechanical perfection, but you can at least get closer to it :oops:
     
  8. ustacouldplay

    ustacouldplay New Friend

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    Jun 14, 2005
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    I did forget about that. But as I understand it, at least one of the major "valve aligners" uses Delrin which is a very inexpensive and easily tooled, but very stable, material. But I get your point. There is more to it than a few minutes with a caliper.
     
  9. Daff

    Daff Pianissimo User

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    Jul 10, 2004
    I'm thinking my terminology is perhaps conflicting with your knowlege of these laws Jason. I merely intended to imply that there is a complex series of events ocurring in that valve body and I'm hard-pressed to believe that the optimal 'settings' on an instrument are related to exact alignment of the ports and valves.

    When you have some fiddle-around time, do the 'experiment' I suggested.

    There are two schools of thought regarding the necessity for 'extreme-precision' alignment. There are very accomplished, well-known, horn-tweaking shops, serving well-known artists, that disagree with the necessity for extreme-extent precision alignment.
     
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Well, ok then, who are they?

    We could disagree about this all day long, however, if you look at the page of well known artists who have utilized Bob Reeves at one point or another, either for mouthpieces, or for gap adjustment or vavle alignments, it becomes clear to me that Bob probably knows about as well as anyone what it takes to make a trumpet sing.

    Something else that I might mention is that since the process is patented and somewhat secret, how do we know that Bob isn't building in the proper amount of turbulence or whatever by having the valves slightly (but specifically) "out" of alignment in certain ways? Maybe it isn't about perfectly aligning the ports, but rather slightly misaligning them in certain specific ways that have been shown to "sweet spot" a trumpet.

    The proof is in the playing and I for one have been sold on the process. There is a noticible change for the better in the way my trumpet plays - maybe it's only in my mind, but I believe it to be true. So do the thousands of others who have opted to pay for the service.
     

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