Valve Alignment on Vintage Horns

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by adc, May 23, 2018.

  1. Clarkvinmazz

    Clarkvinmazz Forte User

    May 11, 2013
    Oberlin, Ohio
    As for the solder, the only change would be if the composition of it was changed when put back together. Say the original used 50/50 solder and you used 60/40. I don’t think this would make a huge difference, or even a noticeable one, but you never know.
  2. Mellophone Man

    Mellophone Man Pianissimo User

    Mar 31, 2010
    Scottsdale AZ
    I own a 1930's vintage LA Olds French Model trumpet which has been in my possession since 1959. I have been playing it regularly for a LONG time and had it completely reconditioned, including a valve job by Anderson, about 10 years ago. After reading and learning about valve alignment, I checked the valves myself visually about a year ago and could see that I had issues. I had the valve alignment checked and corrected by a brass instrument repair shop that I have dealt with for a long time and trust. The difference was noticeable immediately when I got the horn back. It plays much more in tune below the staff, pedal tones are easier to generate, and the horn slots better in all ranges.
    Jolter and J. Jericho like this.
  3. adc

    adc Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 12, 2017
    Elizabethtown, Pa.
    Vintage horns many times have a misalignment when the alignment on the stem lined up with the top of the caps. They wanted it that way
  4. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

    Nov 27, 2008
    Manchester, England
    I don't much bother with alignment, for me a horn is a horn and once a valve is aligned it immediately starts to go out of alignment anyway, felts are compressible and they compress and over time the alignment drifts out more and more.

    So lets say the alignment is perfect because I just had it done, but the air flow is constricted within the valve by the little hump that allows two airways to share the valve space.

    And then there is the accumulation of water in the third slide when it comes time to drain it, it has pretty much filled the space of the third slide. and what about that dent that I never bothered fixing that reduces the bore size too.

    For me the air has many constrictions as it traverses the instrument such that small errors in the alignment will give little impact.

    At the end of the day it is entirely subjective, if you believe there is a problem then there is a problem, and if alignment makes you happy then you will perform better and it turns out it was important after all.
    Dennis78 likes this.
  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    The effect of miss-alignment of a valve has nothing to do with the constriction of the air flow, it produces a reflection in the standing wave within the instrument due to the change in impedance at that point.

    See Dr Richard Smith,s paper "Its All in the Bore" available on his web site.

    Regards, Stuart.
    Jolter, tobylou8, J. Jericho and 2 others like this.
  6. adc

    adc Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 12, 2017
    Elizabethtown, Pa.
    At the end of the day I agree with Bflatman. I painstakingly aligned some of my horns expecting to see a difference.

    I am sure stumac is correct...its subjective.
    Dennis78 likes this.
  7. OldSchoolEuph

    OldSchoolEuph Forte User

    Apr 1, 2011
    I am reminded of a lecture with a prop horn with multiple holes in it. Uncovering some had no effect, uncovering others shifted partials or imposed a pseudo-length and new fundamental. Uncovering most just deteriorated tone. It about placement of a disruption more than anything else - so sometimes alignment will matter, many others it wont (unless drastic)
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  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I had the valves on my Bach cornet checked by the local repair shop a number of years ago. I took it in because it wasn't responding the way I thought it should and a note or two were out of tune. They were way out of alignment in the up position, and I had them aligned. The cornet played noticably better after the alignment.

    Soon afterward, I bought one of those lighted dental mirrors and checked the alignment on my old Bach trumpet (my primary trumpet). I was happy with the trumpet, but I wanted to try out the new toy. They were off a bit, maybe half as much as the cornet was. I bought a selection of felts and aligned the valves. I hated the way it played afterward, and luckily, I had saved the old felts and noted which valve they came out of, "just in case". I put them back in and all was well again.

    I'm not sure if it actually played worse with the alignment, or just different and unfamiliar, but I wasn't happy with it whatever the reason. As someone previously posted, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Jolter likes this.
  9. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    I want everything to be as close to perfect as possible. This lets me focus on playing and not on the equipment. Something not quite right? Gotta be me, 'cause it ain't the horn!
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    But what is perfect? If we have perfectly consistent bore and bends, the trumpet is really out of tune. 4th line D and 4th space E and Eb are very low in pitch. The third space C and G on top of the staff are too high.

    Intonation improves when the artisan leaves horn theory and does what is necessary. Less tight valves could help soften the slots - making a slightly out of tune instrument playable. I know of several Bach C and D trumpets that need this type of help. Of course, we can open the throat of the mouthpiece and get a similar effect.

    My point is that only a play test shows what is really necessary. Not everyone has the data basis to evaluate what they play however.
    OldSchoolEuph likes this.

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