Flugel Horn Sticking Valves

KenIrvin

Member
I have a fairly new Yamaha flugel horn (YFH631S) which is fine if I play it every day but if I leave off for a couple of days the valves stick almost to the point of jamming. I have tried using only Yamaha synthetic valve oil as supplied with the instrument, or Blue Juice valve oil, or just plain water, but none of these seem to work. ( I never had this problem with my cornet). As far as I can tell it is the valve guides that stick in the slot as when I unscrew the top cap the valves come up fairly easily.
I wondered if anyone else has this problem. Is there a known solution to the problem or will I have to change my routine to leave the valves lose after each playing session?
Any advice welcome
 

julian

Active Member
I have a fairly new Yamaha flugel horn (YFH631S) which is fine if I play it every day but if I leave off for a couple of days the valves stick almost to the point of jamming. I have tried using only Yamaha synthetic valve oil as supplied with the instrument, or Blue Juice valve oil, or just plain water, but none of these seem to work. ( I never had this problem with my cornet). As far as I can tell it is the valve guides that stick in the slot as when I unscrew the top cap the valves come up fairly easily.
I wondered if anyone else has this problem. Is there a known solution to the problem or will I have to change my routine to leave the valves lose after each playing session?
Any advice welcome
Hi Ken, My wife has one of these although I play it occasionally now she is back on horn. The valves are great, but even when it was being played every day, before playing the valves needed wiping off and oiling. I think it's the price you pay for having such close tolerances on these instruments. But they really are great horns! It's good practice to wipe off valves and loosen caps after playing, as it is to run a pad saver type cleaner through the leadpipe. it stops the dreaded corrosion setting in.....
 
YES, definitely! I bought my YFH-731 new, and it would take no time at all for the valves to stick, due to the very close tolerances in the valve/bore interface. I had to remove the valves and thoroughly wipe them down, along with scouring the bores, followed by relubricating them at least once a day, and often twice, rarely three times. This was a daily routine for maybe a couple of months. Suddenly, after this period of time, the sticking stopped completely, and the valve action has been perfect ever since! Diligence and patience will reward you with spectacularly good valve action in the end. BTW - My YFH-731 has the best intonation of any horn of any type that I have ever played.
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
Excellent advice Mello. There's another thread on hear somewhere that discussed instrument maintenance and I commented at the time that nobody ever taught me how to properly care for my instrument. I believe your comments could / should be copied and pasted into a maintenance manual. I don't play any more either but will give your advice to my daughter and grandkids who do, it's invaluable. Thank you!!
 
I believe that what has been said already is good advice. If I may, can I just add a bit of info I learned when I used to play myself. ..... When a valve is oiled , the up & down movement - aided by gravity pushes the oil downwards to the inside bottom of the casing . Eventually building a tiny 'step ' or 'wedge' of disused oil. Resulting in the bottom of the casing being narrower that the upper, due to oil build up.
Many a horn player wipe the valve clean, puts a another drop of oil on it & re inserts it into the casing , gradually turning it to 'distribute' the tiny coating evenly,. Then when its seated, screws down the top cap onto the casing . All you have done is add more to the 'step' inside the casing , where the valve lands at the bottom of its stroke.
That is usually the cause.... therefore its good practice to clean inside the the bottom of the valve casings. You can easily check by unscrewing the bottom cap and inserting your little finger ( ideally with a very thin cloth over it ) and see the muck (black oil ) that has accumulated.
Also in general I always loosened the top and bottom caps after playing , to ease the spring tension , and prevent the bottom caps building verdigris.
Remember, a new instrument normally has a coating of oil already on the valve which really needs cleaning off before using regularly. PS ...It can be beneficial to change to Al Cass valve lubricant. Whatever your personal preference may be- be aware that Monel valves in particular will have absorbed their original oil and it will take a couple of weeks to clear . Finally , dont over lubricate , as it will only build up at the bottom of the casing faster. Please dont all start ripping into me if you know better. Just ignore me as I admit to being a non player, and I am only offering an opinion with good intentions.
If there's a step at the bottom of the valve casing, it's a lot more likely that it's the result of bore wear. The very bottom of the bore is never touched by the valve, so it's not subject to wear. If there is any oil buildup, it happens over a very prolonged period of time, and it's more likely to be aerosols from the player's lungs and mouth. Proper oral hygiene and proper instrument maintenance/cleaning will minimize this to the point of being inconsequential. Oiling the valves daily with 3 - 4 drops of a good valve oil (one drop is not enough), such as Al Cass (there are others), will keep them rinsed and lubricated. Any excess oil will be distributed through the horn's tubing, and if you really overdo it, will accumulate in the lower valve caps, waiting to drip onto your clothing and the inside of your instrument case. With normal use, a fine, black residue accumulates in the bottom valve caps, which should be cleaned regularly, but not necessarily often.

It normally takes a lifetime of use to affect the function of the valve springs. Loosening valve caps will have no measurable effect.
 
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