Heavy v Light Valve caps and buttons (ie prestige)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Gabriel Soboe, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Gabriel Soboe

    Gabriel Soboe New Member

    Ok.... so we can read all about the science of heavy valve caps against light ones, and the lack of vibration, etc, etc, etc.... BUT in reality do they make a difference?

    What valve caps do you use on your prestige? Light or heavy? And why?
  2. andyh

    andyh Supporting Member

    I guess you're talking about the valve bottom caps; but as in the title, I think the buttons make a difference too. I went from a Prestige to a Smith-Watkins and just the feel of the buttons made more difference than I was expecting.

  3. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    don't you find the smith watkins REALLY poorly made and tight down the bottom end?

    and really hard to play top A's in tune (very sharp)?

    I had a trial period on one and the workmanship was shoddy to say the least.
  4. andyh

    andyh Supporting Member

    Actually, no. I like my S-W. Yes, top A's are a tad sharp but the bottom end is rich and tuneful (provided the trigger is used as required). To be honest mouthpiece choice is probably significant with this instrument.

    Where I do find it difficult is in pp or ppp, where it is hard to "strike" a note because of the low resistance to blowing. It also warms up faster than the Sovereigns so appears to be out of tune until they catch up ;-)

    For those reasons, I'm now trying out an Eclipse cornet and I have to say the valves are incredible (even compared to a S-W) and it 'slots' so much easier. It's not as rich in the lower octave but overall I'm a convert, and I think it's the red-brass bell that makes it sound so sweet :)

  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Don't know about the Prestiges, but I've heard some pretty heavyweight pro trombonists claim to perceive a clear difference on various models of trombone with and without heavy valve caps. What I hear from them is that adding heavier caps increase "focus" and "slotting", and is sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing - dependent on the model of instrument, and how many / which valves you add the heavy caps to.

    It doesn't seem intuitive to me, but these are people whose opinions I take seriously...
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  6. Gabriel Soboe

    Gabriel Soboe New Member

    I keep coming across the word 'slotting'.... what does this mean!?
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    How well the instrument 'locks in' on each note.

    For example, my alto trombone slots very badly on a high concert Db in 3rd position - I have to be very precise with my articulation and embouchure, otherwise it will split right through the middle with a horrible tearing noise (note that it's not an issue of struggling to reach the note; I can play the 5 semitones above this more reliably with good tone).

    The old cornetts (the short curved instrument with finger holes) and serpents (longer versions of the same thing) are very very bad at slotting. One flexibility exercise on the cornett is to play an ascending scale while fingering a descending scale!

    Does that explain the concept?
  8. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Whereabouts on a trombone do you fit valve caps? :confused:
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    On the valves...
  10. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    The number of people that don't know what you're talking about when you mention valves (or triggers) on a trombone....or they point at them and say "what's that??" LOL!
  11. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    was wondering about valves on a trombone myself? but of course there are triggers !!
  12. tgfoxley

    tgfoxley Member


    No problem with mine. I can't really see why the build quality would be poor on any S/W instrument; they are hand-made. As for being tight in the bottom end, I found S/W the best out of the Prestige and the Tork Eminence.
  13. TheFopp

    TheFopp Member

    I've used heavy valve caps on my trumpet before and they definately make a difference... its whether that difference is a good difference or bad difference, and that really will depend on the player and how they like the instrument to respond.

    Since college I've used a heavy mouthpiece on my trumpet as it felt to give me better projection, so a couple of years ago I decided to try heavy valve caps to see what difference it made (the suggestion was that it increased projection and tightened up slotting).

    Well, for me it certainly tightened up the slotting.... but by way tooooo much! I had no play left on the notes, and therefore couldn't pull them around in the way I like. It also felt as though I had to blow much harder to get the instrument to really sing.

    So for me they made a large difference but in the wrong way. Other people, however, prefer the feel of the instrument with them on. The only way to tell if you'll like them is to give them a try for a month or two.

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