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Trumpet, valves and maintenance

Trumpet, valves and maintenance

Valves are the most sensitive part of a trumpet, cornet or flugelhorn. Even though valves require little maintenance, it is important to always keep them in good condition.

Tight or sticky valves are often the result of improper use of valve oil or neglected maintenance.

Trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn and valve oil

  • When used properly, valve oil keeps the valves smooth. Too much valve oil results in tight or torpid valves. Insufficient valve oil causes tight or squeaky valves that are either slightly or completely stuck in the valve block. New instruments require somewhat more valve oil. This should be applied once every week. When the valves are properly oiled for use, it is up to the user to decide how often they must be oiled in the future. Generally speaking, the valves only have to be oiled again after cleaning the valve block and valves. For example, after rinsing the valve block under lukewarm water, the valves must be removed and new oil should be applied. Cleaning is only necessarily once every two to four weeks. Do not apply oil to the valves too often.

Periodic maintenance of trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn

  • Periodic maintenance ensures that your wind instrument remains in good condition. It is recommended to completely disassemble the trumpet, cornet or flugerhorn once every one or two months and soak it in warm water (see link below). Proper cleaning of the pipes and valves ensures that any accumulated dirt can be removed and that your instrument remains in top condition.

  • When the valves are sticky, the valves and block may be cleaned with a soft cloth and a little bit of white gas. Always use a non-fluffy cloth. Gently clean the valves and inside of the valve block and subsequently oil the valves with new oil. Please note: always make sure the outside (silver of lacquer) of the valve block is not exposed to white gas.

  • Do not oil the valves too often. Do this sparingly. Oiling your instrument too often will have an adverse effect. When oiling too often, old residues will remain inside the instrument, with sticky valves as a result. In these cases, people often think they need to apply even more oil, which only causes the problem to worsen. As long as you follow proper maintenance procedures, these problems shouldn't occur. In severe cases, it may take a while before the valves operate smoothly again. However, they should become smooth again with proper maintenance.

  • It is better to perform one-time extensive maintenance and apply sufficient oil to the valves for smooth operation than to occasionally pull the valves upwards and add a small drop of oil.

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