Best Valves



  • Once again, someone posted that their horn has the best valves of all of their instruments. I have many different instruments. Very old to virtually new. I have many different brands represented in the collection. None of my instruments has bad valves. The best valves?

    What does that mean? If you've said this, what are you talking about? What makes for great valves?



  • Yeah, I'm tired of reading about Getzen having the best valves, bar none.
    I've had two Severinsens whose valves were fine. But I've also had a modern Schilke and Yamaha with excellent valves, as well as two Connstellations and a Committee. All had valves that were as good as the Getzen.


  • Global Moderator

    Honestly, my Radial has the best valves. Those who know, know.



  • I said that earlier today in regard to my Schilke cornet valves. By "best" I mean smooth, fast, and reliable. However, "reliable" is the most important. My horns that occasionally have valve reliability problems are:

    Getzen D/Eb -- valves occasionally balky or "hang" on the upstroke; also the threads on the caps don't fit perfectly
    Olds Super -- valves occasionally balky or "hang" (but they have significant wear)
    Yamaha flugel -- valves occasionally balky or "hang" on the upstroke
    Kanstul flugel -- valves occasionally balky or "hang" on the upstroke

    However, I don't play these horns every day. They sit in storage for long periods of time, which doesn't help. After being oiled and played daily, they loosen up. (But the Schilke cornet also sits in storage for long periods, without problems.) My "daily driver" is the Bach 37G. It has very good valves, but the Schilke valves just seem a little smoother somehow.



  • What makes for great valves? Speed and reliability, a feeling of lightness, spring resistance appropriate to your fingers, not too stiff and not too soft.

    Now where did I put that can of worms?... Oh, yeah, here it is! Let's open it, shall we?

    In thinking about this subject, I reviewed in my mind which valves felt better to me, since they all met the qualifications I mentioned above, and I came up with something the "perfect" valves have in common: Monel. While all the horns I played with traditional nickel plate worked fine - no complaints - all the ones coated with Monel felt even more effortless than the nickel ones. And while the line between the two is exceedingly fine, it nevertheless is absolute in my experience.

    My question is: How can that be, if the valve oil prevents valve contact with the bores? I don't know if the valve clearance tolerances, which I'm sure varied at least a little from horn to horn, make a difference. With horns placed in my hand in a blind test, the nickel valves felt somehow heavier and cruder than the Monel valves, and yet they all functioned identically. 9ed99fca-fd86-4dea-8e29-19337f529322-image.png

    Comments? Questions?



  • @J-Jericho Absolutely agree. I always wondered why they used Monel, since it is metallurgically difficult to work with. But I have to agree that my (Schilke and Bach) monel valves are better than my nickel-silver (Getzen) valves or (!) stainless steel (Dillon) valves.



  • Having horns with Stainless Steel (Bauerfine) Taylor and Eclipse, Monel Selmer, Nickle Plate Selmer Cornet obvious valve recondition 1st valve, Bronze Boosey Solbron Holton Llewellen, if valves and casings are clean and free from deposits and lubricated all for me work well for me, no perceptible differences.

    What is more important to me is alignment, the Eclipse Tsylor and 1949 Olds Super have the best alignment of all my horns, happen to be the best players, currently investigating aspects of alignment, will start a new thread when I have more data.

    Regards, Stuart.



  • There are no "best" valves. Each type has its advantage and disadvantages. For a student horn, bulletproof stainless valves have a strong selling point. To a professional player that takes meticulous care in oiling and cleaning, no technology is better or worse.

    As far as design goes, the Selmer Radial 2° valve block had definite ergonomic advantages. I can't say that they are faster than Bach, Getzen, Monette or Schilke valves however.


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    If by "best valves" you mean action, that is simply a manufacturing/quality issue. However, I regard valve section as the heart of the trumpet. Different valve sections will encourage particular playing characteristics. For instance, all the trumpets that were made with Bauerfeind valves have a similar feel, all the trumpets made with Getzen valves have a similar feel, all the trumpets made with Carol valves have a similar feel. All three of those brands are very well made, and could be in the running for "best" action. I would stack my valves up against any of those brands, and in fact have only ever had one instrument back with valve issues - due to a dent in the valve casing from a loose mouthpiece.

    Players remark that all my trumpets play as if they are in the same family, and I have some very diverse designs. I attribute this to the valve section/cluster.



  • Frankly, good valves mean to me that I am not distracted by their action while I'm playing; that nothing calls attention to them, that they cause no impediment.



  • @Kehaulani Good answer.



  • The valves on my Selmer K-Mod are the best of any horn I've played or owned. Picked up a set of Hi Speed valve springs from ACB, and they're even better now. I've always wanted to try a Radial, but haven't had an opportunity (yet!)



  • Personal experience: the Bauerfeind on my post-WWII J. Keilwerth: short stroke, precise, light.



  • @Kehaulani said in Best Valves:

    Frankly, good valves mean to me that I am not distracted by their action while I'm playing; that nothing calls attention to them, that they cause no impediment.

    In total agreement with this, but if I was forced at gunpoint to say which of my horns feels more notably best I would have to say the 1952 Selmer Paris.



  • @Kehaulani - I am certainly no expert and don't have any experience with the really high class horns but in my limited humble opinion the valves from the vintage Olds Ambassadors are almost bullet proof. From the horns that I have worked on, if they had any reasonable care, these are some of the best. My 1961 Connstellation is also an example of great valves, there were quite a few years that I did not play this horn but I now play it nearly every day, I have never had an issue with valves, only had to oil them.



  • I think of good valves as fast, smooth and reliable. My belief is you should get a good set of valves on a good horn to begin with. Then, proper cleaning, oiling and care of not only the valves but the entire horn is crucial. That's what will keep them fast, smooth and reliable. I almost said my Benge has the best valves but I am biased because it is my favorite trumpet to play. I have a Getzen Eterna and Bach Strad whose valves are every bit as good as the Benge valves.



  • I have always considered "best valves" those that you would be hard pressed to make hang on the return, even with slightly imperfect technique (depressed at a slight angle perhaps) and that are not temperamental as to which brand of oil works well with them.

    I think that most professional level modern trumpets that I have played meet these criteria as well as many professional vintage horns.



  • @administrator said in Best Valves:

    Honestly, my Radial has the best valves. Those who know, know.

    I know what you mean although I like the Olds Recording, Mendez model, valves also. I mean the Olds with the offset valves.



  • Over a 100 used horns bought and sold, mostly vintage student horns with a few better ones in the mix, and i have yet to see "bad" valves either. If one sticks, there is a reason. Something that can be as simple as a worn felt allowing the valve to go a hair too far down. I had a few Conn trumpets i never fixed. Valve casings had to be warped, or bent, or something like that. But its rare.



  • Just remembered. Did get a King Cleveland 600 recently that looked great on the outside. Appears the plastic parts of the valves are melted, making even the caps extremely hard to remove. Or, someone filled it with epoxy. Strange. I like these horns though, they are good student horns. Tough and easy to play. I have bought and sold several, so its a parts horn till i find something that will dissolve whatever it is. Not really a bad valve issue, but interesting;)


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