Cure for Stiff Tuning Slide

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jack E, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I spotted a problem a few days back on the tuning slide of a tenor horn (this was after I'd cleaned and greased both the slide and the bores it goes into). If each leg was inserted one at a time, they slid in easily- in fact, the larger of the two legs felt quite loose. If you put the slide in as normal, and tried sliding it in and out rapidly, it seemed fine. If, however, you tried to move it slowly, a small distance, as you do when adjusting the tuning, it stuck - and then suddenly jumped a short distance.

    The only thing I could think of to account for it was that the two legs on the slide were slightly out of alignment - so I duly took it along to Alan Gregory's, together with a baritone which needed a bracing plate re-soldered.

    When I explained the tuning slide problem to the very helpful bloke in Gregory's, he had a look at it, said, "Hold on a moment", and went out the back. A few minutes later, he came out with the horn, and said "Try it now."

    When I tried moving it, I had to push a bit harder than normal, and the slide moved very slowly, but was completely controllable, and could be placed exactly where you wanted it to go. So, what was the miracle cure? He'd wiped off the normal slide grease, and replaced it with the Heavy Tuning Slide Lube made by Ultra-Pure Oils - and that was it, sorted!

    This is the stuff:
    Ultra-Pure Heavy Tuning Slide Lube | Ultra-Pure Oils

    I mentioned this to our MD, and he said he'd never heard of that fix - so I dare say that plenty of others haven't, either, and thought it was worth passing on.

    A word of warning, though; I bought a pot of the Heavy Slide Grease to keep with the tenor horn for future use, and the bloke in the shop was right - be careful about being too lavish with it, because it's incredibly glutinous, and will stick like glue to your clothes or your hair if it comes into contact! But it's still the cat's pyjamas for a problem like that :)

    And another point; this product was mentioned on a trumpet forum, the poster saying that he'd used it to sort a tuning slide which was too loose. One of the mods on that forum was very critical, saying that if the slide was too loose, it should be fixed in a repair shop, as the heavy slide lube could not be relied on to hold it in place, and sooner or later it would fall out and get damaged. Needless to say, the mod in question had never even seen the stuff, let alone used it - there is absolutely no way that a slide greased with that product will just 'fall out'.

  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Forget damage, loosely fit slides cause it to play worse.. moisture will wriggle into the grease anyway so it's an every time you play kind of fix.

    Still, the general point is good - it's often alignment, but good greases cause less problems.
    TrumpetNick likes this.
  3. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    TBH, Tom, though the grease may absorb some moisture, it would take an awful lot of moisture to make it thin enough to let the slide move under its own weight; when I say it's really, really sticky, I'm not exaggerating. Yet the weird thing about it is the way that the movement feels heavy, but yet is so controllable.

    And surely it's common enough for players to have to adjust the tuning slides from one day to the next, or even during a session? I've noticed in main band practises, and watching concerts, that our main band players do.

    With best regards,

  4. TrumpetNick

    TrumpetNick Member

    Antalya, Turkey
    I have very good results with La Tromba (switzerland) slide and cork grease both on my trumpet and trombone.

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