Valve guide - metal or plastic?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Alex Yates, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

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    [​IMG]

    In this photo, the part labeled "30" is the "Valve Guide". The Yamalone I USED to own (which was Jim Thompson's instrument - i.e. heavily tweaked to his specifications) had brass valve guides where most other instruments have plastic. Why is that? Do the metal guides offer something? Do the new Yamahas have plastic or metal guides? I have never disassembled one, so if anyone can answer that for me, it is much appreciated. I don't know why, but I have a teency suspicion that having metal guides could have an affect on SOMETHING. I don't think Jim/Bob would have put them there without reason. Any insight? opinions? theories?
     
  2. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    I think Metal guides affect the sound in a more postive matter (especially in terms of response) but are more noisy. I think that's why most manufacturers use plastic. I remember taking out the plastic guides out of my old Bachs and replacing them with Jim Becker annealed (sp?) metal guides.

    Call me silly but I'm sure EVERYTHING affects EVERYTHING! ;)
     
  3. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

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    Trent, my thinking leans in the same direction as yours. I DO think response is positively affected with metal guides as well. I don't remember my Yamalone being noisy enough to bother me as long as I dropped oil in there now and then. :dontknow: Hmmmmm.........
     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    From my son's experience: metal valve guides don't have as strong a tendency to snap the locating tangs off while cleaning the horn the day before a big school concert! Kanstul kindly sent us two replacement sets, one plastic and one metal. He/we can't tell the difference but he prefers the metal set.

    I suspect strongly that the plastic (nylon) ones are less costly to manufacture. However... metal ones can be made more precise in terms of the amount of radial "slop" (and hence, alignment) that they allow. The "noise" tradeoff is probably no stronger than the argument between felt top pads vs. hard rubber or nylon pads: precision vs perceived noise. I don't think the audience would be able to hear the "thunking and clunking". Still, I can see where a heavily-mic'd horn would benefit from being as "quiet" as possible in terms of mechanical sound.
     
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I have two older Bach Strads (a Bb and a C) that have brass guides. I bought a Bach Strad short cornet a few years ago that has nylon guides. I decided that the "old school" brass ones were probably better, so I bought an old Bach set from a local repair shop. I put them in the cornet and guess what? The horn didn't play as nice, or "smooth" as before. It had more of an edge (and had a little more valve noise, of course) than it had with the nylon guides, which is not good in a British-style brass band. So, out came the brass guides and back in went the nylon ones. This was a long-term comparison, too. I tried the brass guides for about 6 months before switching back. I suppose the next step would be to try nylon guides in my old trumpets, but trumpets should have an edge, and I like them the way they are.;-)
     
  6. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    Alex,

    Do you know if the valve guides were annealed on your Yamalone?
    -T
     
  7. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    In my B6 Schilke, I replaced the nylon valve guides with titanium guides from Wayne Tenabe.

    According to all who heard the horn before and after, the metal ones gave the Schilke a real edge in the upper register.

    They were a little noisier, but I think that was just to my ears. No one ever mentioned that they could hear the valve guides. In fact, I could only hear them when I wasn't playing the horn, just moving the valves. When I played the horn I never heard them.

    -cw-
     
  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    OK here is my guess:

    When trumpets were first made plastic wasn't invented yet so they were all metal.
    As years went on and plastic became more popular makers used plastic. If I were making a trumpet with a valve layout like a Bach I would use plastic because there is less noise and I would rather the guide ware out and not the valve.

    I can't see any way this would change the sound. All it does is hold the spring while you push down the valve.
    This would put some tension on the casing but metal or plastic is the same pressure. Are people thinking that there is some kind of transference from one side of the casing to the other? Could be, maybe.

    I would think changing springs to increase or decrease the tension on the valve casing would change the sound more.
    My Monette has plastic guides and it's different then a Bach set up. The guide goes almost all the way around the valve.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I have tried both on various instruments with no change in "feel". Different springs seem to change things though. I think the plastic guides can be made with tighter tolerances before binding, they are quiet and easy enough to replace.
    Maybe there are some instruments that could benefit from the added mass metal guides offer?
    To be honest, this is the kind of stuff that Felix, Andy, Dave, Zigmat and the like need to think about and solve. THAT is why I buy a handmade trumpet made just for me. Alex I agree with you: if Bob Malone used metal guides on THAT horn, he probably knew why.
    Maybe metal is better because it gives a path to discharge the static electricity from those fast moving valves before our lips get a shock.........
     
  10. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Yee HAW!
    So maybe that's why some guys have a wire that usually runs from their trumpet around behind them to a little box clipped to their belts?.... to discharge the static electricity?:dontknow:
     

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