Valve Alignment at Home

Gills

New Member
Bought a brand new Yamaha Neo Euphonium about 2 months ago. The first valve has a slide which is at 90 degrees to the valve casing. On removing the slide you can see that the ports are out of line by about a 1/16" (1.5mm). The valve isn't travelling far enough to line up. I am assuming that the other 2 valves are of a similar nature but as yet havn't the equipment to check this out. Is this acceptable with a new instrument should I wait for it to bed in more. Call the supplier. Adjust things myself? Any advice please.
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
Bought a brand new Yamaha Neo Euphonium about 2 months ago. The first valve has a slide which is at 90 degrees to the valve casing. On removing the slide you can see that the ports are out of line by about a 1/16" (1.5mm). The valve isn't travelling far enough to line up. I am assuming that the other 2 valves are of a similar nature but as yet havn't the equipment to check this out. Is this acceptable with a new instrument should I wait for it to bed in more. Call the supplier. Adjust things myself? Any advice please.
To be honest, it depends on what tolerances Yamaha sets - as felts wear the alignment changes anyway (in your case, it'll get better with use).

It's common to see a bit and it's more noticeable on smaller bore instruments - how does it play?
 

Gills

New Member
To be honest, it depends on what tolerances Yamaha sets - as felts wear the alignment changes anyway (in your case, it'll get better with use).

It's common to see a bit and it's more noticeable on smaller bore instruments - how does it play?
afternoons
The euph plays well but there is some resistance on some notes. Not as clean blowing as I had anticipated. Might give the supplier a ring and see what they advise.
 

Douglas Sewell

New Member
Sorry but clacking noise is the metal valve returning to its up position and not silenced by the felt that should be there. Otherwise all looks well. Waiting for Thomann reply
Thomann e-mail today asked for return of cornet for repair under warranty. Post paid label to Germany also included. Well done Thomann. Further report to follow but may take a few weeks for result. Back Tomy old Welklang in the meantime with tuning issues.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Which slide are you looking into? The one on the back of the valve, the compensating loop, seems the only possibility from the description? Is this with valve up or down? Unless the valve is depressed, there's no reason for it to line up - and this only tells you about an alignment used when you have the valve combination 1+4 down, so not a very common situation.
 

Gills

New Member
Which slide are you looking into? The one on the back of the valve, the compensating loop, seems the only possibility from the description? Is this with valve up or down? Unless the valve is depressed, there's no reason for it to line up - and this only tells you about an alignment used when you have the valve combination 1+4 down, so not a very common situation.
There is a small slide at right angle to the first valve casing. The valve is depressed.
 

Gills

New Member
Hi Dave. The Neo as opposed to the 642 has a 90 deg slide on the first valve casing. Think this has been added to aid tuning. On removing the slide and with the valve fully depressed, the ports do not line up and need to travel approx 1/16" to do so. I think this may take a long time to align itself due to running in. I also wonder how far the other 2 valves are out as this is not so easy to assess. Would you also be good enough to explain your 1 - 4 combination comment as I am struggling to get your meaning? Cheers. Mike.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
The Neo as opposed to the 642 has a 90 deg slide on the first valve casing. Think this has been added to aid tuning. On removing the slide and with the valve fully depressed, the ports do not line up and need to travel approx 1/16" to do so. I think this may take a long time to align itself due to running in. I also wonder how far the other 2 valves are out as this is not so easy to assess. Would you also be good enough to explain your 1 - 4 combination comment as I am struggling to get your meaning?
To the best of my knowledge the ports in the first valve and valve casing that you have mentioned only have air passing through them when the compensation loop is in use. On a four valve compensating instrument the fourth valve must be depressed for the compensating loop to come into use.

The above said valves and ports should all have a fixed relationship to each other so if the compensating loop ports in valve and casing don’t line up neither will the primary (other) air flow holes. :-(

I’m a bit old school in terms of valve alignment in that I use old technology rather than a camera attached to a phone or PC (the newer method is probably easiest but .... ). In the past I’ve measured everything possible and worked out where things should be on the down stroke and at rest. I’ve also carefully used a piece of wire with a right angle bend in it to check valve alignment from the adjacent valve’s casing. With a bit of skill and understanding the method works quite well - I might have explained the method more/better in some other thread.
 
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Gills

New Member
To the best of my knowledge the ports in the first valve and valve casing that you have mentioned only have air passing through them when the compensation loop is in use. On a four valve compensating instrument the fourth valve must be depressed for the compensating loop to come into use.

The above said valves and ports should all have a fixed relationship to each other so if the compensating loop ports in valve and casing don’t line up neither will the primary (other) air flow holes. :-(

I’m a bit old school in terms of valve alignment in that I use old technology rather than a camera attached to a phone or PC (the newer method is probably easiest but .... ). In the past I’ve measured everything possible and worked out where things should be on the down stroke and at rest. I’ve also carefully used a piece of wire with a right angle bend in it to check valve alignment from the adjacent valve’s casing. With a bit of skill and understanding the method works quite well - I might have explained the method more/better in some other thread.
Hi 2nd Tenor. Thanks for the reply. The ports come into play when the 1st valve is depressed. The extra tubing via the slide may be a tuning aid for 1st valve? Confusingly though the bottom port does lead to the 4th valve. My main concern though, is if there is some misalignment in the 1st valve what about the other 2. Wonder if Tom King would drop me a line about where he found the boroscope on e bay, as I can only find ones that operate at 66/70 deg angles rather than 90.
 

Douglas Sewell

New Member
I'm aware that valve-alignment makes, potentially, a big difference (especially if way off) and noticed significant improvements in almost every instrument I've done it on (2 sops, 2 Bb's, a Flugel - on a particular Courtois flugel no improvement, it was still awful).


What you've posted is a thorough and well thought-out method and it'll work... however, a few criticisms:
1) It's only as good as your measurements.
2) Any mistakes in measurement or recording will result in errors in your alignment at the end of it.
3) It's very slow. Whether you're writing this out on paper and calculating yourself or rolling the numbers through excel, it's going to take time.


I do mine myself, but use a different method.



First things first - the basics:
Valve alignment affects open (up positions) just as much as it does when the valves are pressed.
The down positions are effected by the thickness of the felt on the topcap (or in the finger button), the up positions by the felts on the valve stem (the one you don't see when the valve cap is screwed on, which rests against the underside of the cap).

You can see the alignment of the down position of the second valve easily - pull the slide out, press the valve down and have a look. The 1st and 3rd aren't quite as easy to see.

To see the "up" position, how the valves align when not depressed, you'll need to look through the port of the valve next to it... which means you need something that enables this, fortunately a suitable tool is available on Ebay for <£10 (search for "borescope" and you'll find USB cameras that will do the job -- note: you need one that comes with the 90 degree mirror attachment, which most seem to).
***Warning: The head of this is metal (probably aluminium), so be careful not to scratch the valve casings***

The images you'll see are like this (not the best picture):


As you can see, this valve is sitting too high, the misalignment is an obstruction.... as this is the "up" position, this means the felt is too thin.

There are two solutions:
1) Get new felts and fit one on this valve. If they're old anyway, I'll start there (as I have some anyway).
2) Put something thin underneath the felt to boost it up. Curiously, the valve stem is the exact same size as a standard holepunch... so hole reinforcers work nicely.

Now put it back together and look again - is it right?


Removing valve 2 you can align 1&3, either 1 or 3 (or both if you like) can be used to see #2.



To do the down positions:
Push the valve down, and use the borescope to see the alignment (without the mirror on #3, depending on your eyesight maybe not at all on #2... on some instruments #1 is difficult to see).
If the valve is sitting too high then the felt is too thick - either use a thinner felt or thin the felt down (rubbing on emery paper or very fine sandpaper will do this... coarse sandpaper will make a mess of it). If the valve is sitting too low then the felt is too thin, either replace with a new (or thicker) felt, or stick bits of sellotape to the cap so that the felt sits higher.


This whole process will take about half an hour the first time, and can be done in less as you get used to it.
The picture seems to show the valve too low, is
I'm aware that valve-alignment makes, potentially, a big difference (especially if way off) and noticed significant improvements in almost every instrument I've done it on (2 sops, 2 Bb's, a Flugel - on a particular Courtois flugel no improvement, it was still awful).


What you've posted is a thorough and well thought-out method and it'll work... however, a few criticisms:
1) It's only as good as your measurements.
2) Any mistakes in measurement or recording will result in errors in your alignment at the end of it.
3) It's very slow. Whether you're writing this out on paper and calculating yourself or rolling the numbers through excel, it's going to take time.


I do mine myself, but use a different method.



First things first - the basics:
Valve alignment affects open (up positions) just as much as it does when the valves are pressed.
The down positions are effected by the thickness of the felt on the topcap (or in the finger button), the up positions by the felts on the valve stem (the one you don't see when the valve cap is screwed on, which rests against the underside of the cap).

You can see the alignment of the down position of the second valve easily - pull the slide out, press the valve down and have a look. The 1st and 3rd aren't quite as easy to see.

To see the "up" position, how the valves align when not depressed, you'll need to look through the port of the valve next to it... which means you need something that enables this, fortunately a suitable tool is available on Ebay for <£10 (search for "borescope" and you'll find USB cameras that will do the job -- note: you need one that comes with the 90 degree mirror attachment, which most seem to).
***Warning: The head of this is metal (probably aluminium), so be careful not to scratch the valve casings***

The images you'll see are like this (not the best picture):


As you can see, this valve is sitting too high, the misalignment is an obstruction.... as this is the "up" position, this means the felt is too thin.

There are two solutions:
1) Get new felts and fit one on this valve. If they're old anyway, I'll start there (as I have some anyway).
2) Put something thin underneath the felt to boost it up. Curiously, the valve stem is the exact same size as a standard holepunch... so hole reinforcers work nicely.

Now put it back together and look again - is it right?


Removing valve 2 you can align 1&3, either 1 or 3 (or both if you like) can be used to see #2.



To do the down positions:
Push the valve down, and use the borescope to see the alignment (without the mirror on #3, depending on your eyesight maybe not at all on #2... on some instruments #1 is difficult to see).
If the valve is sitting too high then the felt is too thick - either use a thinner felt or thin the felt down (rubbing on emery paper or very fine sandpaper will do this... coarse sandpaper will make a mess of it). If the valve is sitting too low then the felt is too thin, either replace with a new (or thicker) felt, or stick bits of sellotape to the cap so that the felt sits higher.


This whole process will take about half an hour the first time, and can be done in less as you get used to it.
Photos seems to show valve too low meaning felts are too thick unless photo shown upside down?
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Hi 2nd Tenor. Thanks for the reply. The ports come into play when the 1st valve is depressed. The extra tubing via the slide may be a tuning aid for 1st valve? Confusingly though the bottom port does lead to the 4th valve. My main concern though, is if there is some misalignment in the 1st valve what about the other 2. Wonder if Tom King would drop me a line about where he found the boroscope on e bay, as I can only find ones that operate at 66/70 deg angles rather than 90.
I used this search on eBay to find something like, but after that you’re going to have to sift through the results manually and refine the search: Endoscope usb | eBay

I absolutely think that the other valves will be out of alignment too.

My guess is that the slide length available is for the mating of parts rather than any tuning.

For Douglas above it all depends on picture orientation ........

I seem to be answering a lot for Tom, perhaps he’s not on the web at the moment - holiday time, etc.
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
The picture seems to show the valve too low, is

Photos seems to show valve too low meaning felts are too thick unless photo shown upside down?
Nope.

In the foreground (lightest gray) you can see the inside of the tubing that links valve casings together.
Looking at the near-side port in the valve itself, at the bottom you can see bottom of the valve-port standing slightly proud of the bottom of the casing-port (ie: too high).
Looking at the far-side port, you can see the valve casing showing within the valve-port at the top (the port is sloping down and away from the camera) again suggesting it's too high.

If the valve was too low then yes, the felts would be too thick (as this is an up position and therefore the inner felt... if it were a down position, it would be the opposite).

In practice (with the camera) this is a bit more obvious and easy to work out - if the alignment is slightly out, you push the valve down a smidge and you'll see whether you're looking at it upside down or not :p
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
Just bear in mind that felts will wear in over time. While new they'll pack down much more quickly, when older they're more stable...

So if the valve is sitting a fraction high with valves down (or low with valves not pressed) then the felt wearing will bring the alignment closer to correct - this may be in some ways preferable to having the alignment perfect from factory and working itself further away from as the felts age, if the alignment is correct at the point where the felts are worn in and stable.

Obviously this doesn't apply anywhere near as much to rubber pads as it does to felts.
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
I used this search on eBay to find something like, but after that you’re going to have to sift through the results manually and refine the search: Endoscope usb | eBay
Yep, that's the idea.

What you're looking for are ones with a little screw-on cap with a mirror inside it, allowing you to see at 90 degrees from the camera.

(I'm not keen on the idea of the ones with a mirror on a stick, all else aside they look bulkier to me)

I absolutely think that the other valves will be out of alignment too.
Probably... but then that might be "to be expected" if the intention is for the alignment to be approximately accurate when the pads are worn in....

But presumably it's possible to get a valve that's a decent distance out just by getting unlucky - each part will be built to a certain tolerance, if everything is out in just the wrong direction it could add up into something noteworthy (though normally there'd be some degree of cancelling out, I would think).
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Hi Dave. The Neo as opposed to the 642 has a 90 deg slide on the first valve casing.
I'm moderately puzzled by your comparison - the Yamaha 642, like every other quality 4-valve band-style euph for the last hundred-and-plenty-more years, compensates on the 4th valve. Which is to say that the 4th valve loop runs back through the other three valves, which each have an extra tuning loop on the back (under the right hand) that is only activated when both the 4th valve and the valve it's attached to are in play. Hence my comment about "1+4". Try playing your euph with this slide removed - play a Bb on 1st valve - does the air all come out of that missing slide? I suspect not. Play an F on 1+4 - I would suspect that it does.

The 642 and 842 (which is what I assume you mean by "Neo") have identical tubing geometries in this respect, just like e.g. the Sovereign.
Here's a back view of a 642: Yamaha YEP-642 S II NEO
And here's a back view of an 842: https://www.yamahamusiclondon.com/sites/ymlv5.93/productimages/big/BYEP842TS_a.jpg

Here's a nice little online demonstration with pictures of how the compensating system works. Click through using the arrows.

Think this has been added to aid tuning. On removing the slide and with the valve fully depressed, the ports do not line up and need to travel approx 1/16" to do so. I think this may take a long time to align itself due to running in.
Added in the 1870s! There are two geometrical possibilities here - either i) the valve is not aligning properly; or ii) the holes in the casing don't match the holes in the valve uniformly down the valve. (i) is more likely, is more fixable, and would mean that all holes are misaligned along the valve. (ii) could mean that only the hole you can see is misaligned.

Does the valve descend too far or not enough? You can practically test whether you can improve the resonance - to make it go in more, undo the valve cap and take off the screw cap of the valve casing. With this removed you can now push the valve in further. Pushing it in less far is easier... If you make the hole match (it may be an idea to enlist a friend's assistance), does the blowing resonance improve? Although you can't see where the other valves sit in the same fashion, you can test the resonance in the same way.

You may not find that there's anything wrong. If you need to make it go in less far, a thicker felt on top of the valve may help. If you need to make it go in more far, there may be mileage in seeing if the felt on top is too thick. But ultimately, I would recommend getting a professional opinion on it rather than seeking our internet advice. As it's new, it's presumably still under warranty? It is unlike Yamaha to produce mechanical imperfections - they're a very reliable maker. But they do happen. See what the shop make of it.
 
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