Valve alignment revisited

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    When the valves on a Bb trumpet are perfectly aligned, and you look into the portals of the middle valve casing, what should you see when the valve is up, and when it's down? When it's up should the upper portal be perfectly alighned with the valve hole, or only partcially, and should the bottom portal be totally blocked by the valve wall or not? This question refers to virticle as well as lateral alignment. And while your at it, if you are, does this apply to all ports and valve holes?......................tom
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2007
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are a watch repairman, each hole on the valve should line up perfectly with its respective tube for the flow direction of the air. Whether the other holes are blocked or not is not significant because they are not in the resonance loop.
    If you are Bob Reeves, you may choose not to line everything up perfectly, because that particular horn works better slightly "detuned".
    If you are ROWUK, you are frustrated because you do not have the time to try all of the possibilities out yourself!
    I should be getting my Prana3 this month. I will look what Dave Monette did and post it. His stuff is real no comprimise workmanship. I watched them align my AjnaII last time but didn't look how the valves lined up afterwards.
     
  3. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    Is my logic off when I think that valve alignment's main objective is to make sure that casing ports and valve holes are perfectly aligned so the horn has its optimum air flow? To accomplish this pads and guides are used. Properly done this should leave the valve buttons at an equal hight. I would think that when this is done correctly the nature of the horn takes over as far as slotting and pitch. This being said, I don't see why valve alignment is so difficult to do.
     
  4. Mark Bradley

    Mark Bradley Pianissimo User

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    I send all my instrumentst to Charlie Melk and have the valves aligned, even if they're brand new. His prices are reasonable and the horns always play better. Some diffenences are more noticable than others of course (likely due to how far out of whack the valves were in the first place). A recent stunning difference was my Jupiter 846RL flugel-- the alignment really, really improved it (and it was less than a year old).
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2007
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Crow,
    whether or not all the stems are at the same height depends on the manufacturing tolerances. If the horn was 100% at manufacture (not always a safe bet) then you would be right. We are talking about 100ths of an inch.
    My Bach Bb (Strad Model 72* - I sold it 10 years ago) had to have the ports machined to get them lined up perfectly - manufacturing tolerances??!! I am sure that that horn is not unique!
    How precise we can expect may be the better question here. I am not sure if even Dave, Leigh or Felix keep this info on file, although it would be a real selling point!
     
  6. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    One day I'll get to see one of these alignment proceedures. Then, and only then will I understand this mystereous magic that no one can (or wants to) explain. In the meantime I'll control my "mechanic's curiosity," and focus on practicing..................thanks to all for?.............crow
     
  7. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    It's not hard at all IF you are doing it on a decent horn, you've got the right spacers and equipment to see both the up and down positions and you know how to use a micrometer/caliper.

    The problems start when the port spacing and the slide spacing aren't equal, as in my Schilke. When those differences are small, as in my Schilke, the tech has to reach a compromise. Mark Hammelev did this for me and the result is fantastic.

    I took one of the black lacquer Holton Committees to Mark and every valve was a compromise. He worked on the valve ports themselves, which had lips here and there where the wholes in the valve surface didn't align with the port through the valve (improved with some filing). There was a leak, etc. All the things taken together took a horrible trumpet and turned it into a very good trumpet. (It went from 40th percentile to 90th, in my estimation).

    Mark looked over and played my Stomvi Master piccolo and declared no need for a PVA. (It's possible that a PVA was done by Reeves, since Cambrass offers that service on new Stomvis).

    So, some horns are very easy and only take a few minutes. Others require learned compromise.

    With Monette, mentioned earlier, I'm guessing that there are not port/slide alignment issues and that lead to compromise on the alignment and the process will be very straightforward. (For a trumpet that expensive, I'd expect them to get that parameter absolutely right).

    Dave
     
  8. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    dcstep,
    Are you saying that a valve leak was remedied by Mark's alignment work?
     
  9. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    No.
     

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