Valve Issue on older Bach Strad

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Music54, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Music54

    Music54 New Friend

    Feb 5, 2012
    Good day, all!

    I have just joined.

    I have a Bach Strad from middle 70s. Wonderful sound. Played it for 5 years through university and then it sat for most of the next 31 years, occasionally used for demonstrating to students. I retired, picked it up and started practicing about a year ago. Play 1-2 hours a day in various groups/practicing. I began to notice a 2nd valve issue, sticking occasionally. Spent a little time figuring out what caused this. Turns out when I press valve down but with a slight push (and I mean slight) toward the bell, instead of straight up and down, it slows coming up. If the push is toward mouthpiece it is fine, which I guess I don’t do.

    Took it to a very well known brass specialist in a big city near me. He did a thorough cleaning, removing dents etc ($300). No change, but stupid me forgot to tell him about the sticking valve. Took it back and showed him exactly how it was sticking. Not a mechanical type, but he talked about aligning. Not sure what he did. It is actually worse now. I am going back again with the horn late next week.

    The second valve sticking issue has been going on for over a year, through many personal cleanings and two tech repairs. It also includes the use of many common types of thin and thick oil. Nothing seems to work.

    Any ideas where he/I might go from here??


  2. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Clean both the piston and the casing to get them totally dry. With a felt tip marker, coat the valve piston completely. CAREFULLY reinsert the piston and press down a few times. CAREFULLY pull the piston to inspect for removed ink. That will show where any binding is occurring. Usually the second valve slide is very slightly bent back toward the first valve, caused by pressure on that second valve crook. Any decent tech can cure this in seconds.

  3. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    How do you set the horn down when you set it on it's side? most players will set it down on the right side of the horn. this means that all the weight of the horn is on the second slide. over time this pressure will push the slide back causing the second valve to bind. I very surprised that the tech didn't think of this first when you showed it to him. Is he certified. Also you should never lay anything on the horn in the case and close the case. Same problem will occur.
  4. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY

    And, as a rule of thumb:

    If your 3rd valve is the one that sticks, it is likely due to dirt (from your mouth). The dirt gets to the 3rd valve first.

    If your 2nd valve is the one that sticks, look for any pressure on the second slide as previously mentioned.

    If your 1st valve is the one that sticks, look for any distortion coming from the 1st slide (is the bell tail bent, pulling the slide receiver tube with it etc?).
  5. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    So, what is the recommended way of setting a horn down. I remember one teacher taught on the 2nd valve slide side saying 'always protect the bell." Never went that way, I lay it on the left side. So what is the standard?

    Let us know what the tech discovered.
  6. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Probably a good solution is to simply lay it in the case when you put it down, but I don't imagine the edge of the bell will be hurt if you place it down carefully anywhere else.
    I have always been taught to avoid laying it down on the 2nd slide.

    To me, having working valves is more important than any (minor?) damage that could occur to the bell edge, so this is what I would suggest.
  7. smokin valves

    smokin valves Pianissimo User

    Sep 11, 2011
    invest in a trumpet stand? as to the problem i have not had one fixed so i don't know. I did have problems on my 37 strad but they randomly went. i dont know how or even when, just that they used to stick and they don't now.
  8. brad361

    brad361 Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2008
    I agree that a horn should NOT be laid down on the second slide, but most players I've seen and / or worked with do NOT do that.

  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Sometimes a simple review of the right hand position solves all of the issues with no tech:

    1) Thumb between first and third valves?
    2) Little finger in the pinky ring (Cool down- this is an experiment for the second valve - not a range builder!)
    3) Fingers curled like holding a baseball so that you push the valves down with the tips of the fingers?

    I have found with many players that the right thumb wanders to the front of the first valve and that causes the second valve stem to be pushed down at an angle that binds. "Centering" the grip as I mention above helps keep the middle finger centered on the second valve. This usually stops the binding. Playing with the tips very often has great geometry advantages helping us to play faster and more precisely.

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