Valves?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Smrgol, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Smrgol

    Smrgol New Friend

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    Mar 29, 2007
    I'm having a bit of a problem with the valves on my trumpet (an older Bach stradivarius). Apparently, the casing needs to be replaced. I've had problems with the 2nd and 3rd valve coming up slowly while I'm playing, especially if it's a slower piece and I have to keep the valves down for longer notes, etc... and it's fine, everyone I've talked to has told me it's definitely worth it to get the valves worked on even though it's a bit pricey.. the thing is I have an audition coming up soon, and I would not have it back in time. Is there anything I can do until then to help with the valves? Someone recommended using a very thin valve oil, it hasn't really helped... is there anything else I can do?

    thanks!
     
  2. Brian H. Smout

    Brian H. Smout Piano User

    Hi,

    I have 2 older Strads at Charlie Melk's for valve work. In the short term, a new set of heavier springs will run less than 10 bucks. The valve rebuild quote is $375 with a rush fee in 2 weeks or $300 in 6-8weeks. Your call. You might try lapping the valves with Brasso if you know that you will definitely be getting a valve job in the future.

    Cheers,

    Brian
     
  3. trumpetlore

    trumpetlore Pianissimo User

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    bob reeves does valve alignments. I think he's based out of LA.

    often all a person needs is an alignment to solve a lot of these problems, and he's the best. I have a couple friends who he's done work for, and their horns were completely changed for the better. he's pretty easy to find, just google "bob reeves trumpet". (probably bobreeves.com or something)

    i think they're only about 50 bucks a valve plus shipping. very cheep!
     
  4. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    It may sound basic but in my experience 99% of the time slow valves are caused by them and the horn not being clean. It's a lot cheaper than a valve rebuild.

    Regards,


    Trevor
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Germany
    smrgol,
    (in German the word schmiergel means to sand or grind...........)
    even if the casings are really worn the valves generally go up and down without hanging when they are properly cared for and oiled. That is IF your hand position is not trying to defeat the laws of physics.

    First the horn,
    clean the valves and horn with warm soapy water and a good brush. Dry the valves off with a rag and run a clean rag through the casing. On all the horns that used Al Cass, I needed acetone to get all of the gunk off - be careful, if the horn is laquered, acetone can damage the finish. After everything is clean, let the horn dry overnight. It needs to be BONE DRY because oil floats on top of water and does not allow for a good oil to metal contact. If you are using petroleum based oil, you must oil every day as the petroleum distillate will evaporate, leaving moisture and the gunk (aerosols from what you have eaten) to lubricate - not a good plan. ALWAYS run a rag through the casing and wipe the valves off before oiling to get as much moisture out as possible!

    Hand position
    I have had students with the hanging issue and it was related to hand position. The valves are designed to be pushed as "up and down" as possible. That means a rounded hand position (like holding a baseball) and using the TIPS of your finger to push the valves down. Using the knuckles puts axial pressure on the valve mechanism and can cause serious hanging.

    The last possibility would be worn valve springs. They can be removed, stretched and reinserted for a temporary increase in tension. They do return to their original state relatively quickly however.

    NO BIG CHANGES BEFORE AN AUDITION!!!!!!!!
     
  6. Smrgol

    Smrgol New Friend

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    Mar 29, 2007
    hey everyone, thanks a lot for the replies! I will get the valves re-plated eventually, but for now the advice that's helped me the most is just keeping the instrument totally clean... the valves still stick, but there's significant improvement once I cleaned and oiled them. Also, my hand position has some effect, though when others have played the trumpet the valves still stuck. It's probably worse for me because I have small hands.. I've made more of a conscious effort to push straight up and down, and that will hopefully help too.

    thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  7. cobragamer

    cobragamer Pianissimo User

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Raleigh,NC
    I had that problem to because i found out i was double jointed so i pllay with my first knuckle now starting at the finger
     
  8. Smrgol

    Smrgol New Friend

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Well I had my audition, and despite my valves, it went well :) :)

    Now I've been told that it would take about 6 to 8 weeks to get them repaired... my first concert's coming up before then. The valves are playable and sometimes do and do not give me trouble, but they're not great.

    I'm debating now, whether or not I should send it out and borrow my dad's trumpet for the first concert of the year (not really as good as the one I have now)...

    ...or deal with my trumpet now, and send it off to be worked on after the first concert, so I could borrow my dad's horn for the Christmas concert, where the music is not as challenging. I figure I'd get the horn back some time during christmas break and I'd have it for all the concerts and my audition next semester. However, Jazz Band is still going on and I don't know if any competitions/shows or whatever are coming up yet, and when, etc. I'm probably overthinking this, as I do about everything.

    thanks again for the advice!
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Get the horn fixed. Maybe your dealer has a loaner for the repair time.

    Good valves make for better confidence when you perform! Worrying about valves even coming back up robs you of creative energy!
     
  10. Smrgol

    Smrgol New Friend

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Thanks for the advice! I agree with you, and my dad has the same opinion. I would rather get it done as soon as possible. I think the horns get sent out somewhere in Indiana for repairs. I was told it was about $70 per valve.

    Just one more question, though... getting the valves worked on to this extent, (the repairman told me it would be a "valve job" and I think a lot of work goes into it, I don't know very much about the nature of trumpet repairs...) will that change the way the horn plays in a negative way? that's probably just me being paranoid... but would it be harder to get air through it, be less free-blowing, play differently, or significantly change the trumpet negatively?

    thanks again!
     

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