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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Valve Spring ??? in the General forums; Just thinking outloud here, but has anyone ever taken the spring out and stretched it ever so slightly in order ...
  1. #1
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    Jul 2008

    Valve Spring ???

    Just thinking outloud here, but has anyone ever taken the spring out and stretched it ever so slightly in order to get just a little quicker response? If it is a stupid idea then say so, but I thought I would put it out there.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2005

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    Yes, I have done it on older horns. if I needed to do it with a newer horn I would get new springs.
    formerly known as old geezer Dave
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  3. #3
    Mezzo Piano User Bach219's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    I stretched my valve springs out about a year ago and I have noticed a HUGE difference between my valves and my friend's valves. His valves are so smooth (I guess that's how they would feel if I hadn't stretched them out!) but, I can move my fingers so much more faster on his horn than's unbelievable! But I ordered a kit with springs and other stuff and it should be coming soon!

    Anyways, what I'm trying to get to here, is that, at the beginning you really are going to suffer with slow fingers but quicker responding valves. But in the long run, your fingers will become stronger and faster on the more smoother springs!
    Last edited by Bach219; 01-07-2010 at 06:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Fortissimo User Brekelefuw's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    If you make the valve action too light, they will bounce when returning to the open position. You don't want this happening because it affects the playability of the horn.
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  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    I like really strong springs, but my local tech ran out of the stronger springs. So he charged me for a standard spring and he took the regular ones and streched them. So, it works, but they eventually went down so I had to strech them again, just dont do it to much.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2006
    Greenfield WI

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    Stretching is temporary. Better to get new springs, they're not expensive.

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  7. #7
    Fortissimo User MFfan's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    I have stretched springs on my old horns (all are old) and gotten good results. On my well used Besson 609 I got early in 2009 , the installed springs were much too stiff for me, not comparable to my other ones. I got some generic ones from thebandroom and have been happy with the valve action since.
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  8. #8
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: Valve Spring ???

    We need a metallurgist here. The tensile strength of a spring is based on material, thickness and the tempering of the wire. Stretching the spring does make them harder to push down. I have not read anyware that then they move "faster" though.

    I have stretched springs on older horns to get more life out of them. Faster action has always been a function of regularly cleaning the valves and pushing them down with the tips of my fingers. If I needed to stretch a spring, it was only an emergency measure. I then replaced them all shortly afterwards.

    I imagine to get more true tension in the spring, they would have to be heated/cooled in a specific way to give them the temper properties that years of use weakened.
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  9. #9
    Piano User TotalEclipse's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Brisbane in OZ

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    Streching the spring gives it 'pre-load' which will give it a higher tension which in turn will make it return faster....but it requires a greater effort to push it down so the speed you make up on the up-stroke is lost on the down-stroke.
    As said above on older horns that spares are not available streching does work.
    On my newer horns I usually strech or over compress new springs to 'tune' them to suit what I like.
    There is no reason (except for money) that you cant have springs custom made to the tension of your chosing from the outset.....You just need to order 1000 of them.

  10. #10
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    Cincinnati, OH

    Re: Valve Spring ???

    As previously mentioned, the stretching of springs is at its very best a stop-gap measure. I've done it a few times on both enclosed and bottom-loaded springs, but the results were never anything I would be satisfied working with in the long term. Nomatter how carefully you stretch it, the coil gaps are never evenly distributed, and the rarely maintain a 90-degree angle. Aside from having to fight this with your fingers, it could incrimentally change the wear patterns of the valve over time. By stretching the spring, the proportional limit of the of the spring is altered, as is the stress/strain ratio.

    The standard cylindrical springs are available from WWandBW - you have a choice of either the Allied Music brand (cheapest) or the Conn-Selmer brand (with higher markup, naturally.) If you prefer barrel-shaped springs as I do, I believe "The Bandroom" sells those. Also, if you really want to go the extra mile, it might be a good time to evaluate the valve guides. If your valves move anti- or clockwise within the casing, the guide has likely "tracked" and is not rendering proper valve alignment. If you play a Bach, the nylon guides are available from WWBW. If you play another brand or are interested in brass guides, the only source I am aware of at this moment is Kanstul. Some of the other members may know of specialty shops (Brass Bow?) that carry them in multiple models. When I install new springs, I apply a light coat of Lubriplate on the ends of the springs to cut down on break-in noise. For the gun guys out there, this is the same lubricant the armorer's manual prescribes for the M-1 Garand and M-14.

    I'm not a metallurgist...but it seems that materials science seems to be more discussed these days than heat treatment in spring production. The standard copper springs we are accustomed to now are ancient technology, and I really wonder sometimes exactly WHY they are still industry standard at this point (other than cost, of course.) I am currently on a mission to source some sort of pre-oxidized or coated Music Wire (ASTM A228) in the proper specification. It doesn't need to be shot-peen or heat treated because the cold-drawing process, which I imagine would raise the price on other materials. I don't know of any other readily-available materials that operates at higher tensile strengths in a valvespring diameter.

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