Beginners Question

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by ronniemac, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. ronniemac

    ronniemac New Member

    Hello all. I am new to this thread and am actually posting this question on behalf of my 11 year old son who has just started playing the cornet.

    He has started having trouble practicing because one of the valves on his cornet keeps on "sticking". I have read somewhere in the archives on this forum about oiling valves? As my sons cornet is a lone, I am not sure when it was last oiled.

    Can someone please advise me as to how I go about doing this and what oil I should use? Is it simply a case of dropping a couple of drops of WD40 onto the valve and pressing it up and down a few times?

    Many thanks,
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I wouldn't advise it! Go to a local music shop and buy proper instrument valve oil.

    Alternatively, buy some online. Windcraft sell a few brands (type "valve oil" in the search category).
  3. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Speaking as someone who once tried this - nononononononononoooo!!!!

    Vale oil mixes with water - WD40 like most oil repels it (it's one of the selling points of it, gets damp engine ignitions going).

    WD40 is great on valves for about 60 seconds - then it turns to the consistency of Vaseline, which gums them up completely solid. And I mean completely! Not good on a concert (which is where I was after trying it on mine). Had to play the next piece on my 2md's cornet while he cleaned my valves. Not popular!

    Go to your local friendly music shop and buy proper valve oil, it may be £5 a bottle but it's worth every penny.
  4. ronniemac

    ronniemac New Member

    Thanks guys. OK I'll get some oil tomorrow - how do I apply it? Do you just put a couple of drops on the valves and press them up and down a lot?

  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    If the valve (& casing) is clean, a few drops will do.
  6. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    Also, make sure your son is using the pads of his fingertips to play, as incorrect technique results in the valves being slightly 'warped' and they stick more often....i.e. his valves should be pressed straight up and down, not even slightly pushed forwards or backwards, left or happens A LOT lol! Try playing an instrument that someone else has played for baritone was like that and I ended up having the valves completely serviced just to be able to play it!
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    >>WD40 like most oil repels it (it's one of the selling points of it, gets damp engine ignitions going).<<

    WD40 was never designed as a lubricant - "WD" stands for "Water Dispersal" agent - the lubrication was an inadvertent side effect !!
  8. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    As for oiling the valves - don't rely on putting oil down the stem of the finger pad or through the hole at the bottom of the valve - you need to unscrew the top of the valve (not the finger pad, the top of the cylinder itself) and half lift out the valve inside, apply a few drops of oil onto the surface and then replace it. If the instrument is old \ dirty it may be necessary to take the valve out, clean the valve itself and the case, and then dry it before applying the oil.

    The tricky bit, depending on the instrument involved, can be getting the valve to go back in the right position - there's usually a small groove in the case that matches a tooth on the valve to make sure its positioned right so you have to rotate the valve as you put it back in to make sure this fits.

    The most common beginners mistake is to take all 3 valves right out at once to clean \ oil them, and then spend 20 minutes working out which one goes back in which hole - the 3 valves aren't interchangable!!

  9. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    The valves should have the numbers (1,2, or 3) stamped into the middle of the valve stem, behind the spring.

    One thing to watch, there's two types of valves, one has a single groove in the bore that the tab on the plastic ring around the stem fits into, the more modern (and imo worse) type have a plastic t-piece that goes through the valve stem, and hence has a groove each side to fit into. Although the grooves are slightly different sizes it is possible to put them in backwards, 180 degrees out, with interesting results!
  10. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    IMHO ask his teacher to show him how to CLEAN and maintain the instrument....if the valves haven't been oiled then it hasn't been cleaned either.
  11. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Best advice so far.
    One of the first lessons I give each new student is how to oil a valve.
    It is also one of the first things that parents tend to ask in any meeting - word of advice for any teachers - if you ever have to do parents evenings, take an instrument with you and be prepared to demonstrate how to oil a valve MANY times. They just don't seem to believe their children when they are told what to do

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