Valve Re-alignment and other horn tweaks.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by piccolomaster, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. piccolomaster

    piccolomaster Pianissimo User

    Jan 23, 2008
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Hello Everyone. This is my first posting.

    In 2008, I attended the ITG 33 in Banff, Alberta Canada. I met up with Ron Partch who happens to specialize in brass repair work. He looked at my piccolo trumpet and noticed that the valve alignments were quite off. He said that the felts were too thick thus causing the valve portholes to be misaligned.

    I was skeptical at first but whenever I played my piccolo trumpet, I felt like I was always fighting lots of resistance in sound.

    A year ago I purchased a Bach Chicago C trumpet. It plays really well but again it has some resistance in sound.

    This past week, I took both those horns to have it realigned. When I received my horns, I tested the horns out and was pleasantly surprised. Both horns were easier to play and more in tune!!! I was totally shocked!!! My C trumpet response is quick and it sounded fantastic!!! The piccolo trumpet spoke much easier that before!!!

    Thank you Ron for doing such a wonderful job on both horns.

    My question to everyone out there is what was your experience in having your horns readjusted by a qualified brass technician???

  2. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007
    My experience has been very good. I use Jim Becker at Osmun Brass, and he has done my horns for me. He's a great guy, and does great work!

  3. Namder

    Namder New Friend

    Sep 8, 2010
    Are you suggesting that it needs the services of a qualified technician? The alignment of the valves by fitting of differing thickness of felts is so basic and so obvious. I do it with all my new horns. The said technician will be laughing all the way to the bank.
  4. Brian H. Smout

    Brian H. Smout Piano User

    Welcome from the Wild West,
    I have had valve alignments done on my instruments and feel they are worthwhile. Ignore the ignorant and there are a few here to be sure.

  5. Namder

    Namder New Friend

    Sep 8, 2010
    There is no need to call me ignorant for pointing out the simplicity of the task, hopefully saving members money.
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I've never bought a horn with misaligned valves, but it is an easy (though "mysterious") thing to fix.
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Valve alignment is one of those things that can range from simple to impossible. It depends on a lot of things. True, if the issue is just the thickness of the top felts and one has access to felts of the proper thickness (where are they identifiable and accessible??), they are easy to replace. On the other hand, if the issue is the inner felts/corks, that is very difficult to diagnose (how do you see and measure the misalignment?). Further, if the misalignment is axial, felts/corks will not even help at all.

    So, whether it helps depends on how badly the misalignment is, what is required to resolve it, and how skilled you - or the technician - is in being able to apply the proper corrective action.
  8. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    A real valve alignment doesn't use felts, it uses synthetic material because felt compresses over time and degrades.
    You can tweak the thickness of the synthetic material in .0005 increments, as well as different firmness ratings for the feel you want.
    It also involves precise measuring tools such as a boroscope and digital callipers that readout to .0001 at least.
    Each cap is also stamped so that you won't mix them up when disassembling the horn.
    Alignment can also be done laterally on the valves.

    Proper tooling to do a real job costs money. This is where the price comes from. Technicians have to pay back large tool costs as well as support themselves.

    You buying replacement felts from ebay is NOT a valve alignment.
  9. Namder

    Namder New Friend

    Sep 8, 2010
    I was replying to the original poster who had his misalignment diagnosed by a "technician" as incorrect felt thickness. He went on to say he had this corrected by the technician along with another of his horns. I was only suggesting he could have done the job himself for very little cost. I have no problem with members here spending their hard earned dollars but we should be careful in giving the impression that the simplest of maintenance work needs to be undertaken by a technician.
  10. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    Ron Partch is one of the finest brass technicians in the world. I have seen his valve alignments, and there is no felt involved. All synthetics.
    A normal person can not get the level of accuracy that a technician can because we have invested in specialized tools, and have the experience that the average player does not about the mechanics of horns.

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