Valve alignment...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bach219, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    Well, here's what happened my band director was tuning the woodwinds, so I decided oil my valves and clean my trumpet up a bit. So I flipped the trumpet upside-down and unscrewed the caps on the valve casings and ran my finger in the casing to clean the inside bottoms of it. Before I screwed the cap on, I pushed the valve down and I saw that when I did it, that the valve turned a little bit either to the right or left. Valves # 1 and 2 are okay, it' just # 3 that did it.

    So to clear up a little, if I were just playing in a regular position, and I pushed valve # 3 down, it wouldn't go straight down it would turn and at the same time go down. I mean it's not like a drastic turn, but enough to hurt my tone. My questions are; Is this something I can fix? Do I need a valve alignment?

    P.S. Almost forgot, when I'm playing I can feel a little pressure (just enough to barely notice it), almost like theirs something stuck. And in order to fix it I have to wiggle or my valve buttons and that turns the valve inside.


  2. blanier

    blanier New Friend

    Feb 7, 2008
    There's always a little play but if it's more than the other valves you could have a worn or broken valve guide -- that's the plastic piece that the valve spring sits on top of and that fits into notches in the sides of the valve casing to keep the valve in the correct position as it moves up and down. Valve guides for a TR300 are inexpensive and very easy to replace.

    Compare the guides on all three valves and see if the 3rd valve guide is noticeably smoother, rounder, or is missing a piece as compared to the others. If you are very confident that you can disassemble the valves, unscrew the valve stems from the valves and remove the guides to compare. Remember to keep the stems, felts, caps, bumpers, and buttons with the valve that they came off of. Don't switch them around since the valve alignment depends on the whole set and switching them can change the alignment -- It might not affect anything, or it might change a lot of things, so make a habit of treating the valve and all of it's components as a set.

    If you are not confident in doing this or if the stems are stuck just don't try it. DO NOT USE PLIERS OR A LOT OF FORCE -- drop by a repair shop to have the stems unstuck and the guides looked at. Have them show you how to take the valves apart and put them back together so that you can do this each time you clean the horn. If the guides are worn, get replacements and install them. They have a top and a bottom and a left and right so make sure that they are in the valve correctly (if you put them in upside down, the spring won't seat on the top of the guide; if they're backwards left to right, the valve will lock in backwards and you won't be able to blow through the horn). You won't do harm to the horn if you put one in incorrectly, but you'll have to take the valve back apart and correct it.

    If the guides are good, check for gunk in the notches in the valve casing that prevents the guides from locking into the casing. In any case, the valve should not rotate more than the thickness of a file folder.

    Good luck!
  3. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    Nov 16, 2005
    don't bother with an alignment on a tr300, it will cost more than your horn is worth!!!
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is nothing in the valve that could automatically turn it. There also has to be some play in the valve guide or the valve will stick. There is NOTHING about a valve turning that will hurt your tone or playing. A precision valve alignment COULD make the blow a bit more consistent - but that means your daily routine has to be pretty awesome for you to really notice.
    Many of us forget how much our bodies change in the course of a day. Hydration, sleep, workload - even if we have not been to the toilet for a couple of hours can change how our bodies react when playing.
    So let's put valve alignment where it belongs - nice to have, perhaps the last 2% for players above 90%.
    If your horn is OLD, or the valves poorly taken care of, there could be a wear pattern that could make the valve stick. In that case a new valve guide would bring the horn closer to the original spec!

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