Help - sticky valves


I have a Yamaha Maestro- its only about 7months old- silver.

its been absolutly fantastic- untill about a 2months ago- when its started getting sticky valves- All the time- i oil them as +when- so i havent over oiled them [oh its mainly the 2nd valve]

I cleaned the valves- and tried jif [cif] on them- and this worked for a bit- but it keeps happening-
[its not under oiled either]

it feels like its cathing on something- i have checked the valve caseing and cant see/feel anything....?

any ideas? its really driving me barmey.



Active Member
You do realise CIF is not the sort of thing you want to be putting on your instruments, let alone near the valves?

stick to warm water and washing up liquid (i find tesco own brand to be good, cleans instrument but doesnt harm it as it is quite mild in strength)

it could also be that you have inadvertently knocked your valves / damaged the sleeves/casings/valves themselves etc.


i asked an instrument repair bloke what to use- and he suggested cif- as did a few other students at uni. he said only lightly just to remove any grease/gack and to rinse really well with warm water.

I really dont think i have knocked the valves- but u never know.

i dont like fairy liquid- im sure i can smell lemons in my cornet for ages after......or strawberrys


Active Member
Have been told by experts 15 minutes on each valve with brasso is what they always try before they resort to lapping them. They say 9/10 they can get them running smoothly without the need for lapping. But DO NOT get it anywhere near the rest of the instrument.


Active Member
I know that sometimes I make my 2nd valve stick because I don't always push it down vertically, more at an angle.. could this be the problem in your case also?



Active Member
yeah, thats why i use the normal washing up liquid, not the scented ones! :wink:

i washed out with lemon washing up liquid once on an old flugel and couldnt get rid of the smell / taste for ages! and it seemed to sticky the valves up for some reson?

i may be wrong about the cif, but iv always been told that clening agents like that are harmful? if not to the valves then especially to the lacquer / plating? personally never had a problem as my trumpet is raw brass finish as is my mouthpiece, maybe someone can put us straight on this?


Active Member
pretty sure cif is fine.
Have you tried asking Al shel? He'll probably have a good idea, he's had just about every cornet problem there is.
I had a few probs with my new cornet - also second valve. It didn't stick as such - just came up slowly.

This will sound like a plug, but use Holton valve oil. All other oils I have tried didn't stop the valve playing up. Clean the cornet out first and get all old oil off the valves - sometimes if you mix different oils they can react with each other. Holton oil stinks like hell, so it must be good! (I recently tried another oil, cos I was getting fed up with the smell of Holton - guess what, it started coming up slow again)

You could also try stretching the spring a touch.

I have heard that toothpaste and toothbrush are ok for cleaning the gunk off valves - wash all the toothpaste off though - it goes sticky!


Active Member
also, after reading valve guide post, as obvious as it seems, are the right valves in the right places?

if they are in the wrong order and hav "settled" to the way youpush them down etc they may not run smoothly, eg if you push your 3rd vlave down at an angle, then put this in 2nd which you push straight, it will stick.

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
Have you looked at AlSyn???

It's a synthetic oil developed in the USA. I haven't had the chance myself, buty a mate told me he swears by the stuff. It doesn't droy out as quick, and you shouldn't need to use as much.

AU$30 buys the tiniest bottle, but it should last a year or two.

I personally would never have used Jif or anything on the valve unless desperate. Have you tried just flicking the valve and wearing it in? I also agree witht he angle theory.

Just a few ideas bouncing around.


OH my gawd- i wouldnt put cif all over my cornet- wouldn't wanna change a £1'000 instrument into a £10 ebay product!!! only on the valves..... :shock:

but yeah thanks again...

yes they are in the right way/right valve cases...
that is one small thing they do teach you at uni- if not how to play count :wink:

it may be as kirsty said- i will try and think more about my finger- positioming....

thanks anyway.

Ive used the cif now so they're fine again but if it gets stuck again i will ask Al, the fountain of all use-less knowlege... :wink: :) :wink:



Supporting Member
Cif should be ok as long as you rinse it off properly! I usually use toothpaste tho - same effect but smells a lot nicer!!! I'd second Caharley's plug for Holton valve oil :D


Dinie said:
Have been told by experts 15 minutes on each valve with brasso is what they always try before they resort to lapping them. They say 9/10 they can get them running smoothly without the need for lapping. But DO NOT get it anywhere near the rest of the instrument.

Yep, quite surprised more people haven't mentioned this one! Although just try polishing the valve on it's own first, usually does the job!
I play a Besson Prestige and often have trouble with the valves....this is normally due to the fact that I havent cleaned it when I should (i.e about once a week)

If Im at a concert I just use a dry clean cloth and clean them down....( run them under a warm tap if there is one avaliable) and re-apply the valve oil. I find that Al Cass Fast valve oil is the best on my cornet although its useless on my trumpet!! :D
my cornet has been sent back to Bessons because of the 2nd valve sticking, everything has been tried including lapping but nothing worked. Has been gone since begin of January don't know how long it will take to get it back but hopefully it will work then. :cry:


Staff member
I've used brasso carefully on valves before - flugel first valves are a pig - must be something to do with you blowing rubbish straight down a pipe onto the valve.:shock:

Make sure you're using your finger tips to push the valve down - they don't like being pushed down at an angle!

I use Blue juice valve oil - it's flippin' expensive but lasts, seems to work and doesn't make you're instrument smell like an oil refinery (al la Vincent Bach!)

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