If you are a trumpet player, you know that the valves are one of the essential parts of the instrument. If they aren’t working correctly, it can be tough to play. Recently, I started having trouble with my valves sticking. I didn’t know what to do about it and was worried that I would get a new trumpet. Thankfully, I found a great solution online and wanted to share it with you. Keep reading for more information!
The trumpet valve is sticking because the springs are not doing their job pulling the two halves apart when they are in contact with each other. This can be due to an issue with either the set of brass cups designed to push up on one side of the compression spring or with a loose compressible spacer setting in one cup.
The springs themselves could also be over-stretched and need to be readjusted, but in most cases, this is usually not needed for the valves to function correctly again.
It usually takes independent confirmation from someone else before you spend any money replacing something that may already work just fine, so try unscrewing valve cups and then screwing them back down-tightly.
A trumpet valve sticking is a less common cause of a heart murmur. The most common reasons are the lack of a valve or having two valves that can’t open and close properly. Though it’s not uncommon for people to have one ‘sticky’ valve without feeling any symptoms, it may be difficult to self-diagnose. The only way to know for sure is by listening to diagnostic equipment during an examination at your doctor’s office.
The difference between valves that are blocked and sticky is typically the frequency. Usually, when valves are blocked, they need help, but if your valves are moist, you just need to play them with lighter dynamics.
One way to stop valve sticking is to use a tugger. It may take some time for the felt on the bottom of the crank arm to set, but after an hour or so, it should be utterly stationary with no points in which it sticks.
Alternatively, you could unscrew the socket that connects the valve arm to its shaft and slide that off, then back on twist screwing carefully to not cross-thread it until you feel all resistance disappear; this will relieve even more any pressure on valves in case they still exist tiny imperfections in their surfaces due not only within manufacturing tolerances but also genetic luck (the best valves are lucky ones).
You may solve the problem by replacing the valve seat and seat ring. Please make sure these parts are clean and free of debris before reattaching them, though. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need a particular fixture from your manufacturer to help with the repair.
In some cases, a professional is required for this kind of work because it can be very tricky to repair valves without damaging them or causing other problems that would make rebuilding difficult. It might also require ordering new parts, which could cost more than you’re looking for in a simple fix.
The valve mechanism connecting the mouthpiece to the main body needs lubrication. Trumpet valves often get stuck because there is not enough (or any) lubrication.
To fix this, apply some paste wax to something like a toothbrush and use it to clean down into the slots on either side of the trumpet valve. Once you’re satisfied with your work, let some saliva coat everything and put it back together. Give it some time and eventually (within minutes or hours), it will move and feel smooth again.
The most common cause for sluggish trumpet valves is stiction. This is caused when lubricant in the valve guides below the valves wears out and evaporates, leaving behind a dry film on which the valves may stick or seize slightly.
Stiction can also be due to rust in the valve guides, but this is rarer with modern trumpets because of the chrome plating of all exposed metal parts. Nonetheless, if you do find any rust inside your trumpet, this would be easily fixed with some copper-based metal polish (such as Brasso) or even just using lemon juice and baking soda (an old-fashioned cleaning recipe). Any buildup of rusty areas will cause the springs to bind up when closed.
Trumpet valves can be lubricated with any number of commercial products for this purpose, but what you need to keep in mind is that each type has its recommendations. For example, many musicians find that petroleum jelly or hand lotion works fine in concert with regular oilings. Others prefer car engine oils or graphite dust because they soak into the metal better than other types of lubricant.
If you’ve consistently had problems with valves sticking when turning them closed, the likely cause is the excess air pressure in the horn, which compresses slightly when it enters through your finger valve and rebounds back out again when it leaves through the cone outlet.
Once every couple of weeks. On the other hand, trumpet valves can sometimes get stuck if they’re not oiled often enough, leading to squeaks and possibly little moisture buildup within the valve itself.
Packing down dust with your fingers is also recommended to eliminate any abrasive particles that may be settling on the valve casings during use. After an extended period without oiling, Packing down dust will cause more stubborn dirt to adhere better to both metal and leather surfaces. Dull valves will also need more frequent polishing than their newer counterparts, who experience no corrosion at all over time. If you fail to polish your valves regularly or do not buy a proper warm paste substance for the task, then too much dirt can accumulate over time.
It’s essential to blow each valve completely across before making the next sound. This relaxed resting of trumpet valves will prevent many valve issues, such as sticky or seizing valves, which will lead to more consistent and reliable playing.
There are two solutions if you’re finding that some valves stick. In contrast, others do not: try cleaning your horn with a natural product like an unscented soap and water solution, or give it a complete overhaul–turning screws slightly until it loosens itself up.
If you’ve had this problem with your trumpet, here are some suggestions to help. Have you tried any of these tips? Comment below and let us know if it fixed the issue for you!