Instrument Issues.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Flyingscot1974, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. One of my players has a Yamaha Baritone, which - after about 15-20 minutes playing - the valves slow right down. They are fine up to that point, then they just slow to the point that they stop rising to the top!
    We have had the instrument overhauled and cleaned, but to no avail.
    What can be the problem and what can we do?
  2. simonium

    simonium Member

    Have you washed the trumpet through with its valves in place? I do this with my euphonium because it enables to clean the linking ports between each individual valve casing and a lot of ****e can accumulate there and there's no other way of reaching them. Blast water down the lead pipe and fill the instrument up and then empty through inverting the Bart. Do this with valves open and then all down while pumping water in. I also wash every item - valve, both valve caps, guides, springs etc individually and dry on lint free cloth. I degrease entirely once every six months and wash the banjo internally once a month. For me the critical area is the mouthpipe which I clean through once a fortnight. Anything that's there goes into the valves. I wash my mouthpiece after every play.

    It is important to clean the channel the valve guide goes in - on more than one occasion I've found this clogged up. Don't use a heavy oil like Blue Juice or La Tromba as deposits build up. This may not work but I never have slow or sticking valves.

    If the instrument has been overhauled I'd wash it through again anyway - if the valves have been lapped there may be compound floating about.

    My list of must haves for cleaning a flute successfully is - flexible bore brush, valve casing brush, brass soap, degreaser, Selmer tuning and cork grease, Ultra Pure valve oil, lint free cloth or gauze, cleaning rod and a hosepipe and somewhere to make a mess.

    Finally I replace all felts, soft stops and spring dampeners every three months or so. Like a car a brass instrument benefits from regular and quality servicing.....
  3. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    I think you will find it to be a built in defence mechanism, as a baritone player myself I can vouch for it. In most cases the 1st 15minutes or so of any rehearsal is spent on Hymn tunes or the like, then once the MD decides to start working on some pieces with (lets say some quite twiddly bits in it) the valves start to play up and"hey presto" us baritone playes have the perfect excuse. But don't tell to many people
  4. You know, that was my suspicion...
  5. Mello

    Mello Member

    simonium ( Simon Philips is right, all good advice ). One other thing: Your Bari is Probably Bottom sprung, and as with all valve instruments with fine tolerances., when valve oil is applied to the valves ( either in or out ) the normal operation of the valve ( up & down) pushes any residue to the bottom of the piston and the inner casing. Just take the valve out , remove the bottom cap, put a finger in your handkerchief , insert inside the casing twist it round and remove. Odds on it will be black. That is because the build up can often form a ridge, hardly noticeable, but it narrows the casing causing the springs and valve to rub. Which slows the action. Unfortunately what often happens, is that when the valve becomes sticky , ( slows up ) , the player applies more oil in an effort to free it, when in fact it can make things worse by making the tolerance smaller and the ridge of oil build up thicker. The best tool you can have is a valve cleaning brush, and use it form both ends, specially the bottom end. I know of some Trumpet players who leave the lower caps off to help prevent build up. Mind you, Trumpets are usually Top sprung of course. Personally that is going to extremes , and I cannot say it works, but they believe so , and continue to leave them off. You couldn't do that with a bottom sprung instrument obviously.
  6. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    so next time the player rolls his / her eyes and utters those immortal words "bah, its gone again" you know the real reason. I also believe that there is a lot of on going research to find a believable excuse for drummers !!
  7. It sounds like this particular instrument's valves have such a fine tolerance that when it gets warm and the metal expands a problem is created. It's probably best to use a little grinding paste to free things up.
  8. simonium

    simonium Member

    In my experience that's probably not the case. I wouldn't advise using any paste of any sort unless you are an instrument repairer. If the tolerances are that fine, experimenting with lapping compound isn't a good idea. Rarely have I seen an issue with slow / sluggish / sticking valves that hasn't be entirely or mostly alleviated by a thorough cleaning. Occasionally when York instruments first came out there was an issue with valve guides being slightly too big and needing adjusting. More problems were caused by using incompatible lubricants. La Tromba and Blue Juice are horrific oils because they're so insidious.

    If it's a Yamaha baritone with two piece valve guides - make sure the right ones are fitted - there are two different sorts. If the guides have been replaced check the channels are clear of any material that could hinder the guide itself. If the valve guides haven't been changed check there are no strands coming from the guide. Even the tiniest debris can foul a vslve's motion - something the size of an eyelash can cause chaos. The way to test whether the valve casing is true is to dismantle the valve - remove the stem, all guides and felts etc and see if the valve will travel all the way through the casing without interference..'

    good luck!
  9. Mello

    Mello Member

    Once again, Simon is spot on !! Keep away from the rubbing compounds.
  10. None of that deals with why it works for 15 - 20 minutes.
  11. Mello

    Mello Member

    If there is a residue build up in existence , and the player oils the valve before playing, it is common for it to slow within 15minute time span, depending upon the build up. The valve WILL operate normally at the beginning. A comparison is grease, congeals and contracts when cold - softens and spreads when warm. All we are suggesting is that this can and does happen. With NEW instruments, it can be even more of a problem due to the type of oil used to keep the piston and Casing from bonding during lengthy storage. The slowing down often occurs in the testing rooms when a potential purchaser may unpack a new instrument and try it for half an hour. The more the piston is activated ( particularly fast runs etc ) the sooner it starts to slow. until it is cleaned out along the lines previously mentioned by Simon ( who I don't know, but obviously knows his instruments) , and myself. Good luck anyway.
  12. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Sticky Valves...

    Is your player pressing the valves vertically? If there's a significant sideways force when the valve is depressed then the valve will become sluggish.
    I've seen players pressing on the very edge of the valve button and then wondering why the valves stuck...
  13. simonium

    simonium Member

    Only trying to help, sorry.
  14. pt88

    pt88 New Member

    More problems were caused by using incompatible lubricants. La Tromba and Blue Juice are horrific oils because they're so insidious.

    Hi, what valve oil do you recomend i though Blue Juice was one of the better ones.
  15. simonium

    simonium Member

    There are lots of variables to consider. Firstly type of instrument - I'm guessing from your Perrantucci user name you're a tubist? Age of instrument - is it old? Tolerances do change - I'm not sure an instrument warms up and expands enough in 15-20 minutes to cause sticking valves. If it is new the problem is often the very heavy oil instruments come with when they're transported. It's very thick in order to avoid evaporating and then seizing. A sticking valve is better than a jammed one.

    If hooter is new then the thinner the oil the better with very regular applications. If older and worn you can use a heavy oil and less often. My issue with Blue Juice and La Tromba is the deposits that build up - so many times I saw instruments come in for repair with blue gunge built up in valve caps. It is these deposits that cause so many sticking issues. And in answer to centralbankofdad, yes, this can explain why instruments slow up. I always regard Blue Juice as oil for people who don't like oiling their valves.

    My recommendations for oils are Denis Wick PTFE, BERP Bio Oil (suitable for older instruments), Ultra Pure and Al Cass Fast. I pretend to play the euphonium so the valves are large (ish) and the quick oils have never been anything other than effective. In my experience the vast majority of valve issues stem from maintenance in one way or another.

    Another thing I see a lot is people applying oil without removing the valve fromt its casing - either dribbling it down the valve stem or using the hole in the bottom valve cap. Always remove the piston fully and have a close look....and don't spin it about when returning it....
  16. pt88

    pt88 New Member

    Hi Simon,

    Thanks for the info on valve oil, yes I play a 25 year old Sov 994 with excelent valves been using Blue Juice for a few months will try Denis Wick PTFE
    see if it is any better.
  17. agentorange

    agentorange Member

    .........and yet I swear by la tromba for my euph (but I do use Ultra Pure on my Bari). :-?

    My personal belief is that different brands of oil suit different instruments. However, oils are not all compatible with each other so you should never use any old oil that comes to hand - find a brand that suits and stick to it. None compatible oils may emulsify, causing them to thicken, thus causing the valves to become sluggish and deposits to be left in the casings as described by Simon. So, as already mentioned, thorough cleaning is the key, but especially so when swapping between different types (brands) of oils.
  18. mattthebass

    mattthebass Member

    Got to agree with the regular cleaning angle, my beloved gets a full bath three times a year. Being a bass player I'm a little more hammer to crack an egg, a non-abbrasive cream cleaner used with a bottle brush, lightly! Gets rid of that ring that people have talked about and anything sticky in there. But don't forget to give the instrument a real good wash through after to get rid of all the cleaner, couple of changes of bath water highly reccommended.
  19. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    It's unfair to blame the oil for the inadequate (non existent) maintenance practices of the user.
    If I didn't change my motor oil for 100,000 miles it wouldn't be the oil's fault when engine damage resulted.
    Blue juice + regular instrument maintenance = no problems
  20. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    That's a really good point - had the player just changed instrument when this issue cropped up? Maybe he/she presses the valves down at a bit of an angle, or just a different angle from a previous player...
    I obviously play with my hand at an odd angle because I've experienced sticky valve problems with a few different instruments that worked perfectly well for other people, and on the flip side, I had my last horn from new and the valves were brilliant for me but the 3rd valve always stuck when anyone else used it!

    I would get some other people to play the baritone in question and see if the same thing happens for them, and the player could experiment with changing the angle of their hand/fingers on that bari and try playing a different instrument to see they get the same issue.

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