Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by thepublican, May 29, 2014.

  1. thepublican

    thepublican New Member


    Has anyone on here had their instrument fitted with JoyKeys in place of water release keys?
    if so did they work for you?
    i am considering reto-fitting them to my Tenor Horn.


  2. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I don't have them - I looked at the website and I think there's a few drawbacks:

    1. I get the impression they drip whenever there's water in the instrument, so you can't choose to empty into a rag or bin. So bad news if you're playing in a carpeted environment or on polished wood floors.
    2. The plugs look like they're made from tiny sintered ball bearings. It wouldn't take many days of playing for the spaces inbetween the ball bearings to fill up with slime and then the instrument wouldn't drain at all.
    3. Not sure how fast the drainage is - using a regular water key I know that if I open the key and blow then the instrument be emptied. If I couldn't force the instrument to empty I think I'd feel a bit powerless.

    Besides - blowing out the water is one of the automatic things I do when I'm preparing to play a phrase - I don't think I could get used to not having to / not being able to do that any more. Just my tuppence worth.
  3. Sandy Smith

    Sandy Smith Member

    Hi Bill,
    about 20 years ago I had the traditional water keys on my tenor horn changed to the amado type ( a little button ). Started off fine but then started to stick to the extent that I would end up on contest and concert stages with pockets full of opened up paper clips to poke them free ! not ideal so about 18 years ago I had all the water keys removed entirely from the instrument.
    I always found it just as easy to remove and quickly replace any slide which had a build up of water. Never got caught out with this solution - e.g. missing an entry, etc. but you obviously have to be careful how far in or out the slides are replaced of tuning etc.
  4. simonium

    simonium Member

    Interesting you should say that Sandy, because in my admittedly limited experience I have found euphoniums without 3rd slide water keys have better intonation in the higher harmonics using the 3rd valve than those with 3rd slide water keys. I would be tempted to undertake a similar change to see how matters were improved.
  5. thepublican

    thepublican New Member

    Thanks Brian and Sandy,

    Never had trouble with the amado type on a 1950s Kruspe French Horn I used to own. I'm used to just removing the slides and rotating the instrument to empty out, but as a recent convert (12 months) to the joys of the Tenor Horn after 30 years French Horn playing I can't yet intuitively remove and replace the slides as quickly and accurately as I'd like!

    To address Brian's points, yes I can understand where you are coming from, but if such French Horn making giants as Gebr Alexander and Paxman are agents for them there must be something to be said for them! However I've yet to hear of or see a Brass Band instrument fitted with them.


  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I think Will Spencer has fitted them to a few instruments - not sure if any of them have been brass band ones though.
    If you are interested, it might be worth contacting him -
  7. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Fourth item for the list - they'd empty whilst your instrument is in its case, which you probably don't want.
    Fifth item - Joykeys have a running cost - you need to buy new plugs periodically. Versus regular waterkeys that need a new cork (costing pence) every few years or so.

    I don't think the market is trumpet/cornet/trombone really - because for them the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. But I can see the appeal for French horn players, because they have lots more emptying to do than a cornet. It would be reassuring to know that the instrument was always ready to play. I expect that on a French horn you might have joykeys fitted on the slower-to-fill slides, and then you'd only have to empty the main tuning crook.

    As for the Amado keys, for years I owned a Getzen trumpet that had them fitted. Never had any problems - as long as you maintain them and put a drop of valve oil on them from time to time they're fine. I like the fact that you can reach up and empty both third and main slides at the same time with a single finger-and-thumb pinch - really neat. You do have to be careful not to empty onto the palm of your hand though...

    Another advantage of the Amado keys is that they don't degrade over time. Corks in regular waterkeys do compress and gradually lose their seal. But then again that's not a problem if you have rubber rather than cork bungs in the waterkey...

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