Valve alignment recommendation - California?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by jgotteach, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Just do it - I guarantee your son will thank you and it will be money well spent. Considering that the horn in question is also a Strad, you might want to check into having the gap with the mouthpiece checked as well and to see if you might want to have a mouthpiece cut for sleeves to dial that in - all money well spent.
  2. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    Bob is a great PVA person besides an outstanding tech, you might want to check with Flip Oakes also since he is in Cal. Can't go wrong with either one.
  3. jgotteach

    jgotteach New Friend

    Mar 27, 2010
    Wow, there is a lot of expertise here! I appreciate the discussion on the various schools of thought of valve alignment. I don't know any of the details of what type of alignment the trumpet needs, just know that my son's respected teacher thinks it would be greatly beneficial.

    trickg, could you please explain what the mouthpiece gap is, and what is involved in "cutting sleeves"? (My son says he has two Bach mouthpieces and one Schilke.)

    We were planning on having the trumpet chemically cleaned as a part of the service.

    Thanks to everyone for all of your help, and for the shipping link gchun!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  4. simso

    simso Pianissimo User

    Jul 1, 2009
    Australia, Perth
    Im just really really surprised that some one over there can make a name for them selves just out of doing the basic alignment work, are the repair techs in the USA that bad,

    Originally I thought the OP was talking about having the casings trued up with each other which is not a small job and justifys posting there instrument, but aligning the pistons in there chamabers. Geee's.

    Heres a photo of what we use to align pistons in there chambers at all positions. As I said its basic stuff

    For some reason I cant upload the photo What gives..
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  5. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    There's valve alignments, and then there are valve alignments.
    The precision required (and knowing what are the optimal compromises since all manufacturers don't build exactly to spec) means that you need special tools and a number of hours. Bob Reeves reaaaally knows what he's doing and can make OK horns great ones and good ones better.

    Plenty of people can do basic valve alignments (I believe there are some threads on that in these forums) but to really maximize a horn you need to go to a top tech. Whether or not the player end is capable of noticing the difference depends on the player (not just the level, some people are more horn sensitive than others)
  6. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    okay my take ... I live in So Cal.. so Bob Reeves is close by. I had a Mt Vernon Bach.. my instructor said he is the man to send it to.. it needed dents repaired... the bell was a mess and I got it silver plated... and the valves aligned..
    I liked the way the horn played even before the repair ... he did an incredible job on the dent repair,,, the bell bead came out perfect .. the silver plating was perfect...
    the valve alignement.. well all I can say was I felt good it was done but I didn't notice a difference... Bob Reeves is awesome so don't get me wrong ...
    but I will take my horns to a local shop and pay $30 for a normal valve alignement.
  7. gchun

    gchun Piano User

    Dec 10, 2003
    Very true. Each tech has a different way of doing alignments. Wayne Tanabe's are different from Bob's, Dr. Valve's are different from Bob's. Find the one you like the best. I prefer Bob's approach.

    Also, Bob uses materials that keep the alignment stable for awhile. Thirty years ago, he used Bach-style rubber bumpers on the top caps, but found out that those were affected by oils, etc. and he came up with a new material. Bob also machines the top caps, bottom of buttons, and top of stems as needed (and replates them, too.)

    The greatest changes will be felt on horns that start out poorly aligned. Even if your horn's alignment is close, you have to ask yourself how long will that alignment last due to unstable materials.

    Only you can decide if the extra cost is worth it. They are for me.

  8. NotMyName

    NotMyName New Friend

    Jul 7, 2011
    Excuse my ignorance, but I always wondered: when your valves get professionally aligned, won't they just get unaligned when you oil your valves?
  9. gchun

    gchun Piano User

    Dec 10, 2003
    You are not ignorant.

    If you mean, by removing your valves to oil them, does it mess up the alignment. The answer is NO.

    Now, if you over-oil your valves and enough oil gets on the felts/pads/corks, THAT can affect the alignment if it makes the pad compress. The challenge is to use a material that is minimal affected by that excess oil, yet is still relatively quiet when you press the valves. For instance, metal shims would hold an alignment well, but they would be way too noisy.

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  10. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Honestly, I can't imagine Dick Akright in Oakland not being able to do anything that needs to be done. Having said that, I personally think valve alignment is over rated. But then again, I've played a pre-alignment and a post-alignment horn and couldn't tell the difference. But, there are also those who swear by them.

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