Improving an instrument

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bardsandwarriors, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. I realise I'm on dodgy ground here, as the sensible advice is always to take your instrument to a professional, to get it tuned up and so on. So I *don't* recommend copying me and fiddling with it, unless you have a calm and rational disposition :p and a good understanding of physics, or engineering; and if you do, only to make changes which you can reverse, to put them back as they were.

    However, I have no money for professionals, or to buy a better instrument, so I sometimes wonder how to improve the intermediate model that I have.

    My most recent experiment has involved adjusting the valves. Taking a few detailed measurements, I realised that all of the valves press down further than necessary and overshoot the correct position by about 2mm. A little research on the web told me that budget valves are often made this way, so that they can be adjusted if required. (If they were made too short, it wouldn't be possible to adjust them, so they are generally made slightly too long.) So I've taken a lot of measurements, and umm'ed and ahh'ed; filed down some plastic spacers to exactly 2mm, and added them underneath the internal valve felts. As a bonus, the valve travel is reduced from 17mm to 15mm, making the valves easier and faster. If the experiment doesn't work, I can simply remove the spacers; but I have a feeling, when I test it properly, that my cornet is going to play better than ever.

    Another thing I'm wondering about is plugging the main water key. The space where the water collects must disrupt the intonation on certain notes, and if the cork went up into the hole to partially fill the space, it would play slightly better again.

    Has anyone else made modifications like these, or does anyone have interesting ways of improving their instrument?
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2006

    JOCKBLAST! Member

    Sounds to me you have a lot of time on your hands my friend!
    You can have a look at the piece of **** I play on anytime!!!!
    Can't understand you but I'm sure you make sense.
  3. I have lots of time :D
    And yes, I'm fairly sure I make sense inside my own head! How the words come out of my mouth, or my typing fingers, is another matter altogether.
  4. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    1) I like the spacer idea - effective and reversible! (Here endeth the serious response.)

    2) Water key cork - carve yourself a replacement from a wine bottle cork, since you appear to have the ability and patience. Make the central section a bit higher, see how it goes! (Has the added benefit of having an excuse to imbibe a bottle of vino - it'll go off without a cork...) And if it's not good enough, do it again tomorrow. And the day after. And the dya sftre. NDa teh dya aftre. Hic!

    3) How about insuring the instrument for twice its value, and then 'accidentally' dropping it in front of a bus - get a decent instrument for relatively little outlay :biggrin: , and no more hard work :tup
  5. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Because that's called 'Fraud'? ;) And can be an imprisonable offence! :eek:
  6. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Yamaha make a rubber waterkey with a little raised bit in the middle to fill the hole. Seems better than spending hours with a wine cork. Anyway, my mind is usually not that sharp after drinking a bottle of wine!:biggrin:

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