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Sticking Valve; Keep or Sell?


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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:14 pm    Post subject: Sticking Valve; Keep or Sell? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I've been dealing with a chronically sticking 2nd valve on a Larson Brasswerks C since last September. I've taken the horn to multiple well-regarded techs in my area, but none of them could find any issues with the valve. The horn is currently back with a tech for an ultrasonic cleaning and additional inspection of the valve. When I dropped the horn off, the tech recommended just cutting my losses and selling. If the sticking remains after the work is done, I'm seriously considering moving on.

However, as a trumpet performance major in university, funds are rather tight. I've put about $2700 into this horn, and hopefully could get 2-2.5k back from a sale (Dillion Music currently has the same model listed for $2.7k, and it lacks the additional engraving work that the original owner of my horn had done).

The tech highly recommended skipping a less expensive C and just going for a "lifetime" horn - he highly recommended getting something from Thane. Doing so would likely require I spend a bit over what I might get back from selling the Larson. Alternatively, I could go for something less expensive, such as a CarrolBrass C, or just keep trying to get the Larson to work; the tech played the Larson and found it to be a pretty nice horn, so it's not like I would be holding onto a junker.

Would it be worth it to try and secure the funding for a lifetime horn like a Thane? Alternatively, would switching to a lower-end C like a CarolBrass likely be a noticeable step down from my current Larson?

Any advice/recommendations would be much appreciated.
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ayryq
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I don't want to buy it. Are you planning to tell prospective buyers why you're selling it?

Can you contact the previous owner, maybe ask what oil they used, or if they had problems?
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ayryq wrote:
Well, I don't want to buy it. Are you planning to tell prospective buyers why you're selling it?

Can you contact the previous owner, maybe ask what oil they used, or if they had problems?


I mean, yes - it's only fair to be transparent. A few techs have playtested the horn and have not had problems, so it doesn't seem to be an issue for everyone. The previous owner didn't have issues, and used La Tromba T1 for oil. I've tried that plus Hetman and Ultrapure, but no oil has really helped.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don’t remember Thane ever being discussed in any of the “which C trumpet should I buy” threads. It is possible I missed it, but perhaps it won’t be your forever horn like a more mainline/popular/well known trumpet might.

On the other hand it could be your dream horn too.

FWIW, a new Thane C is listed as “$3500 Built to order in raw brass” on Thane’s website. More than a grand over your estimate on what you can get for your current.

Maybe your tech has a deal for you, but if not…

Edit:

Oops, there is a “PERFORMANCE SYMPHONY C TRUMPET” for that price.

There is also a “STANDARD PRO SERIES TRUMPET” for $2500 that I missed.
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F.E. Olds Nut
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As well-built as Thane horns may be, I would not consider that to be the first or even third choice for a "lifetime" horn. The obvious contenders are the Bach 229 or Yamaha 8445, and if you want to spend more the Bach Chicago/Philly or Yamaha Artist series. Those are excellent instruments and almost universally accepted.

Your mileage may vary, I own Bach Strad C for the few occasions I need it, and it was a safe choice.
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Goby
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP already has a Larson custom, which are more "premium" than anything made by Bach, and all but the most recent Yamaha artist horns. Ken Larson sources valve blocks from a variety of different makers, so it's possible you got one built on a Chinese block and it's crapping out, or the instrument was somehow damaged in transit. You could send your horn to someone like Mark Metzler for a valve rebuild if the pistons or casings need to be honed and refit. Metzler does fabulous work, and his valve rebuild prices are a lot cheaper than Dr. Valve.


I don't see anything wrong with choosing a Thane C trumpet "for life". Logan himself is an orchestral player, so he obviously knows what sound fits best in modern orchestras and chamber groups. On top of that, Logan Thane worked at Monette for over a decade, so he obviously knows about building a quality instrument.


Hopefully you're able to have your horn repaired, and if you do end up getting a Thane, let us know how it plays!
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HaveTrumpetWillTravel
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could give Larson a call also, since he'd presumably know the history of the instrument and might have an idea of any issues with valve blocks or be able to give advice.

Other interventions:
-See if a classmate or teacher would play it for a week or two and give you their feedback, since it seems like others aren't getting the sticky valve.
-Try the "left hand playing" some to see if it's something with your own valve strike.

Since you've had it from September and there haven't been improvements, I'd be tempted to list it honestly, perhaps with a longer return period, and use your money for a good used Bach or Yamaha until you know what you want. What do you play on Bb? What will you use your C for?
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Thane - the tech knows Logan and thought he would be a good person to look to for getting a horn of excellent quality that isn't as ridiculously expensive as the Yamaha artist Cs. Between Thane's models, is the Meinlschmidt block worth the 1k upcharge vs the Carol block? I've got a Carol block on my Bb (Schagerl JM Meister) and have been completely satisfied. However, the Meinlschmidt looks to be about the nicest valve block you could make, so I'm wondering if it's worth it for a 'forever' horn.

Regarding what I play - I use a C whenever the need arises, so it could be anything from modern chamber ensemble music to standard orchestra repertoire. At the moment, I'm playing more contemporary music on the C, and often with a smaller group. The horn will definitely be used for more traditional orchestral stuff, but I don't plan on making that my main type of playing down the line.

I definitely see the reasoning behind getting a standard Bach or Yamaha, though I don't know if it's as entirely as important with me not focusing on traditional classical rep.

I've contacted Larson regarding the problem and followed the cleaning steps he recommended, and then the light lapping he recommended after the problem persisted (obviously done by a tech). The only other thing would be to ship the horn to him, but I'm hesitant to ship between the cost and the chance of damage.

I've been hesitant to do a valve rebuild due to the cost - I would prefer not to dump a bunch more into the horn. I couldn't easily find prices for Mark Metzler online, but the $650 for a Dr Valve rebuild is a good chunk of change.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other thing to consider is trying a different weight oil, rather than just changing brands.

- Since others have played the horn and haven't encountered the issue that would seem to point to something you are doing.

- Thinner oils are more prone to shear, where the film of oil shears, occasionally leaving the valve dry and causing sticking. Pressing at a slight angle can trigger this shear.

- T1 states it is a "classic" oil, which I take to mean it is not a thin oil needed for tight valves. Which might make my suggestion irrelevant.

Give the above, perhaps trying some different weight oils might be reasonable. I would suggest sticking with one brand that offers different weights. Start light and move to the thicker and see if it makes a difference. It might cost you $15-$20 bucks, but might also provide a stop gap while you save up for your forever horn. (and also might help when you sell it on)
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A.N.A.Mendez
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not send it to a valve specialist ? If you want to keep it, or not. Getting it to work properly could be no more than $100-300.00 . Then you would be in a better situation either way. If you decide to sell you would have no issues to tell the new owner. On the other hand you might fall in love with it all over.

I'm guessing heat has something to do with it. Testing it in a shop for 10 minutes is not the same as you playing it for a half hour...... When metal heats up all the tolerances change.

Good luck.
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improver
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with the last poster. I've got the same problem on a 37 I have. Get the valves lapped and hone the casing.
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Andy Cooper
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this sounds stupid but does the valve stick if you remove the 2nd valve slide? Does the valve still stick if you remove the bottom valve cap?

Another thing to try - swap the 2nd valve guide with another valve. This could change your valve alignment so keep track of which one is the 2nd valve guide.

"The only other thing would be to ship the horn to him, but I'm hesitant to ship between the cost and the chance of damage."

This really seems like the least expensive option if you are in the USA. Oh - opt for the insurance.
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improver
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I removed the 2nd valve slide and my second valve doesnt stick anymore. What does that mean? Andy
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice!

Some additional info about the horn - I've given Hetman 2 through 6 a shot on the valves, often in various combinations. I found a Hetman 3 and 4 blend to work well during the winter, but as temperatures increased the sticking returned.

If the sticking continues after I get the horn back from the tech, I'm leaning towards just sending it out for a valve rebuild. Even if the sticking is a 'me' issue and not a mechanical issue, it does look like it would make the horn much more difficult to sell. The tech played the horn for about 30 minutes with no issues after he last worked on the horn, so the valves don't stick for everyone, even when the horn is warm.

I've tried 3 different sets of guides and 2 different sets of valve springs without effect. Removing the 2nd valve bottom cap also didn't seem to do much. If the valve still sticks when I get the horn back, I'll try playing without the 2nd valve slide and see what happens.
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Andy Cooper
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the 2nd valve slide gets hit or forced just right you can end up with an occasionally sticking valve even if the slide does not show a dent.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Cooper wrote:
If the 2nd valve slide gets hit or forced just right you can end up with an occasionally sticking valve even if the slide does not show a dent.

My understanding that this will distort the valve casing. If that is correct I would think the issue would happen when others play the instrument.
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bet the OP is using a different case than the original owner
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Phoenix864
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 2nd valve should be perfectly straight - the casing roundness and straightness were checked by techs multiple times. However, I'm probably using a different case than the original owner. The horn didn't come with a case, so I sourced a Marcus Bonna double to use for the horn. I'm not sure what case the previous owner used.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really sounds like you have covered all the bases. My contributions are just in case something has been overlooked by you and your techs.

Is it possible that the palm of your right hand is putting pressure on the second valve crook? It there is a weakness in the joint it might be that a small amount of pressure could move the crook enough to cause an issue. When the hand is removed the casing and crook’s mating surface would look and measure normal. Also the tech might not hold the same way and thus wouldn’t see the issue.
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abontrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a rollercoaster of a thread.

So, you're a trumpet performance major taking advice from brass techs and internet strangers. I like your style.

Look, I've gone through plenty of world-class C-trumpets. I've owned 4 Yamaha Chicagos gen-1, a Bach Chicago C, 3 Bach 229's, 2 Bach 239's, Yamaha NY 2nd gen, pipes galore, and play tested countless others.

If you like the way this horn plays, feels, and sounds, stick with it and send it to a pro valve person as has been recommended. If you're actually a performance major and plan on performing orchestrally, you can't ignore that the VAST majority still use bach and yamaha. A "lifetime" horn doesn't really exist with C trumpet. You will change tastes, change preferences and if you win a job they will have their tastes and preferences.

Today is the FIRST time I've ever heard of Thane. The answer is no, you should not buy a Thane. If you really want a decent "lifetime horn" then stick with yours until a great yamaha or bach comes across your lap. If it's great, spend the money on it. Buying a new horn, whether that be a Yamaha, bach, thane, etc., is no guarantee you will be in love with it.

Like I said, the grass was always greener, but if you are pleased with your current lawn, invest the money into it. Don't expect the next lawn to not have issues.

But like, where is your teacher? Good luck!
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