Trumpet Discussion Discuss How do you apply valve oil? in the General forums; Fellow players, this may seem like an elementary question, but I've seen a few players in my area do this: ...
How do you apply valve oil?
Fellow players, this may seem like an elementary question, but I've seen a few players in my area do this: They apply a few drops of valve oil in the leadpipe and then blow through the instrument before playing. This process is repeated after they are finished playing. I was told when you remove the pistons for oiling you run the risk of scratching the pistons. The players who oil their valves through the leadpipe say they have had no reason to remove the pistons for oiling. Does anyone else concur with this method to apply valve oil?
Dale Schmidt, P.E.
Bridges to build and Rivers crossed...
when i am on gigs and i want a quick and easy way i will remove the1st valve slide and drop some in there, hold down the 1st valve to oil the 2nd, so on and so forth.
Blowing oil through the leadpipe is a GREAT way to help prevent red rot. Usually it is best if you do this after washing, thoroughly rinsing, and air-drying the horn. That way the oil provides a film on the inner surface to help keep the condensation from meeting the brass.
I don't suppose it hurts to "fog" the horn before and after playing. I would still oil the valves the regular way however. Think of it... the oil can only go THROUGH the valve ports once it gets there; it can't get between the surfaces of the pistons and the valve cylinders except by "accident".
Mezzo Forte User
I've seen people putting it through the holes in the valve bottoms. I tried this myself, and got valve oil all over the place - don't recommend it!
It depends a bit on how good your valves are and how much oil they need. Some valves work a lot better when evenly coated. Some a drop of oil will work. Oil, on the valves and in the leadpipe will help prevent oxidation. Even Monel, while being highly resistant to oxidation can oxidize. Oil helps retard that.
I actually think pulling the valves up and giving them a good oil is a good thing. It oils the valves very throughly and this is good for lubrication and protection. Does it scratch the valves? I don't think that would be a problem it you handle them carefully. Monel is not only oxidation resistant, it is quite hard.
Being primarily a tenor player (trombone) I have thought about it a bit. The slide is being moved great distances all the time. Trombone players "ram" the slide once a week or more to remove grit and dirt and build up. Then put slide cream or a very thick oil on it. That stuff attracts dirt. Years of moving the slide, talking it off and cleaning it, putting new lube on it, and a slide will STILL more likely oxidize than scratch.
As for red rot, I always recommend Herco's spitballs. Blow them through the horn a couple times a week if you play a lot (or marching season for some). It gets the silva out. I blow one through about 6 times, then put valve oil on the spitball and blow it through a couple more times to coat the inner slides, tubes, and leadpipe with oil -- helping to resist red rot. I hold down the vales so the spitball goes through every tube.
Jason at Bells Superlube ( www.bellssuperlube.com ) made his oil come in a spray bottle -- no precision application for Superlube! Why? Because after being a trumpet tech for years, he determined that even the best valves need to be throughly coated. You have to remove the valves and spray them away from the horn (oil goes everywhere). But boy do the valves get a great coating.
Food for thought.
I would tend to think that by oiling the valves by putting oil in the leadpipe, the oil is going to serve to break loose any gunk that is in the horn up to that point and carry it to the valves, which is going to cause undue wear on them due to additional debris. If I'm in a hurry, I simply pull the valves halfway out of the casing, dribble a generous amount of oil on the valve, and the pop it back in the casing.
If I'm not in a hurry, I actually pull the valve out, dump a generous amount of oil on the valve, usually until it drips a bit, and then reinsert it into the casing. I do this because it actually rinses off the valve, carrying away excess dirt and deposits. Of course, once it gets to that point, it's usually time for a good washing.
Me personally, I wouldn't recommend the oil through the leadpipe trick. I have also oiled through the first and third valve slides, but usually, it's almost as fast to just pull them partially out of the casing and oil them that way.
"What we do in life echoes in eternity"
"At my signal, unleash hell."
- Maximus Decimus Meridius
Normally when I don't have time I just put the oil in through the bottom of the valves (it doesn't get all over if you move your valves as soon as possible after you've put the oil in). I've come to like this due to most time constraints, though after I was my trumpet I liberally apply oil before putting the valves in.
All the best,
If you're going to make a mistake, go big.
Actually, I change my answer. I just found some sludge-like stuff in my valves the day after I posted my last answer, from the oil that I put in from the bottom, so don't do that (it's not much fun to clean). The best way is probably to half pull out the valves, rest it on your knees so they're on an angle, and put a drop or two on, where gravity will bring it all the way down and around the valve. Blowing oil through the leadpipe might work too, I've only really tried it once so far.
If you're going to make a mistake, go big.
I remove the valves, pull the piston entirely out oif the casing, put a good amount of oil on the piston, then rub it with my finger tip over the piston surface so the entire piston surface is coated and there are no dry spots.
You don't have to do this everytime you oil them, but every so often it is a good idea to do it this way to make sure there is no dry spot that would cause saliva to adhere to it.
I learned this technique from the MusiChem website. They recommend it after cleaning a horn. (They also recommend using your finger to coat the inside walls of the valve casing as well).
BTW, oiling valves through the holes in the bottom valve caps tends to loosen the gunk that collects at the bottom of the valves and deposit it right back onto the valves.
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