Tim Roethler Posts

Tips On Oiling Piston Valves

That your valves need oil is not in question. If it moves, it should be lubricated. Today we’re talking about piston valves (like on a trumpet) and the different types of valve oils. Let’s get started.

There are hundreds of brands of valve oil available. Some are synthetic others are petroleum based and each has its own advantages. For many years petroleum based oils were the standard. They smelled bad and stained your clothing, but worked fine. Some were more refined than others and some had added smells – everything from chocolate to cinnamon! Some even had additives to make them smoother and slicker. However, all petroleum based oils have a tendency to dry out and leave the additives behind to foul your valves.

For the majority of our school music instrument repairs we have chosen to use a synthetic oil. It does not smell, does not stain your clothing, is long lasting and works fine. Unlike petroleum products, it comes in thin (for new valves) regular (for student instruments) and heavy for instruments that have worn valves). We think for most players and students that synthetic oil is the best choice. We use Hetman and Accent oils in the shop for this reason and is what is provided in our starter packs.

You might be wondering if there is a right or wrong way to get the oil from the bottle onto the piston. There are many ways to do this: Some right; some not so right.

Generally, the best way to oil your valves without taking the undo risk of dropping them is just to lift them part way out of the casing and apply a liberal amount of oil to the part with the holes in it (called ports). Then you can turn the pistons around a few times and put them gently back into the casings. (See video below) If you are careful, the guide will “click” back into place and you are ready to go. If you were not careful and the valve stays misaligned, air will not go through the horn. If that happens, there is no need to panic. The valves are in the right casings, you just have to turn them half way around and again listen for the “click”. The secret is not to take the pistons out and lay them on a table or you lap. This is when pistons can get damaged or out of order and when re-installed, the instrument will not play.

Our advice is to stick with taking them half way out and applying the oil exactly where it is needed on the pistons and casings.

If you have any questions about caring for your instrument, please call 1-800-382-1099.  We’d be happy to help!

Be Prepared For Cold Weather and Contest Season

We originally posted this article back in November of 2015.  It remains to be good advice to revisit as cold weather approaches.

snow-tubasImage credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenpete/5522933139

In case you haven’t noticed it’s here again. COLD WEATHER! Just a reminder that leaving your instrument out in the cold weather can lead to serious repair problems. Especially with woodwind instruments like wooden clarinets, oboes, bassoons and more. If the temperature gets too low it can actually freeze the moisture in the wood and cause it to crack.

When a cold instrument is taken inside it should not be put together and played right away. A rapid rise in the temperature can cause the wood to crack also. It needs to acclimate to the inside temperature. The body on the instrument should be held in your hands and blow some warm air through the bore for a few minutes before putting it together to play.

Like we mentioned this time last year, string instruments are subject to the same conditions. Cold freezing temperatures can cause the wood to crack and also cause the seams where they are glued together to come apart. Just like the woodwind instruments when taken inside after being out in the cold they need a few minutes to acclimate to the inside temperature before being played.

Also……….In case you haven’t noticed something else is almost here again. CONTEST SEASON! Now that marching band is behind us and all the Holiday Concerts are all scheduled it’s time to remember that contest season starts up in January. So getting your instrument in before time and having it in top playing condition can lead to a more successful and less stressful contest season.

Tips On Caring For Your Saxophone

Daily care and maintenance of your instrument is very important to how well your instrument performs. Watch this quick video below for a few, quick tips on caring for your saxophone.

 

You can find more care and maintenance videos for saxophone by clicking here.

Here We “Grow” Again

The last several years has seen steady growth in our volume and demand for quality string repair. Up to now our string repair crew occupied a small corner in our main repair shop. This is tough to do when you have a couple of basses to repair at the same time!

To remedy that situation we have moved our string repair crew into their very own space. This provides more elbow room with enough space to work on three or four basses if needed! All to meet the growing needs of our string customers and offering quality repairs.

Here’s a little peek at our new string shop!

Quick Look Around

 

360 Video

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Repair Tip: Proper Saxophone Neck Assembly


This week in the repair shop we had a saxophone that came in with a severely bent neck. While we can usually straighten a bent neck this one is bent so badly it will need to be replaced. This can be a fairly expensive repair if not covered by our service plan. Some necks can cost $300-400 or more.