Valve guide - metal or plastic?

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

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    If I remember correctly, the hype with Derlin was that it could be cast (injected) with extremely good tolerances, and provide less wear, noise and friction as metal. So far, so good, but the manufacturers did sloppy work on the parts the valve guides fitted into, on the casing and the valve itself. Result: lots of play. The nice thing about metal guides is they can be milled to fit what they fit into.

    Of course it doesn’t matter if your valve guides are plastic or metal if you keep getting chocolate on them, Alex!
  2. Clarino

    Clarino Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 9, 2003
    Sheffield, England, UK
    The valve guides on my Yamaha Custom Z are metal, and the valves move more quietly than those on my LA Benge, which has nylon guides. The sound is much better on the Yamaha, but that could have more to do with other factors than just the valve guides.
  3. music matters

    music matters Pianissimo User

    Apr 26, 2004
    ON Canada
    I remember someone saying that metal valve guides gave a slightly darker sound than plastic?

    My old Yamaha 6335 had metal as standard - I kept the standard metal but a friend with the same horn changed his to plastic and he preferred them. I think my horn did play slightly darker but it could have been a darker sounding horn! I think the only way to find out if metal is better is to try them on that specific horn and compare.

    My Bach 37 has plastic, as did my Eclipse.

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I'll bet it is the combination of guide material AND the valve oil that changes the sound. I've heard that Al Cass/metal guides works better for mere technicians.........
    Alexes belgian chocolate valve oil sounds sweet with any valve guide!
  5. TrumpetJimmy

    TrumpetJimmy New Friend

    Mar 25, 2006
    I have had the same experiment on my 6340ST Yamaha which came with plastic. I placed the metal valve guides in the horn and the horn seemed to resonate more. It had an overall better sound as well. Just to make sure the switch was no fluke I removed the metal guides and played with the plastic for a month or so. I made the switch again to the metal and I had the same results. Do I think this will be the case with all horns? no...but all horns are different. I know the 6340 likes the metal.
  6. musicteachct

    musicteachct New Friend

    Jul 2, 2009
    Does anyone know where I can purchase valve guides? My local music store will not sell them to me because he wants to charge me an exorbitant amount to fix them for me. HELP!
  7. Tom_MacNiven

    Tom_MacNiven Pianissimo User

    Dec 13, 2003
    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
    Hi Alex hope you're well. This is something I've been interested in for a while. I bought brass guides for all my Bach instruments a while back and noticed a very positive difference, especially on the flugel. I wonder if the company who make the valves for Eclipse would supply brass guides? Have you asked Leigh what his thoughts on the matter are?

  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I would be really surprised if you got an answer from Alex on this forum.
  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    As a former tech I have another opinion on the brass VS plastic valve guides. The brass guides are usually made of a rather hard cast brass that is then machined to a given profile for the subject horn. In most cases the valve guide rides in slots cut into the spring cage. This is to align the valve laterally in the casing. In my experience the plastic guides soon wear, allowing the piston of the valve to rotate somewhat, thus, poor lateral alignment and poor performance. I have made new brass guides for some of my vintage horns, using the worn away originals as a template, and finishing them with jewelers files prior to heat treating them.

  10. Mr. Stomvi

    Mr. Stomvi Pianissimo User

    Nov 14, 2003

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