Do you need to worry about your trumpet wearing out? At what point is your trumpet valve officially worn-out, and in need of replacement? Remember that normal wear-and-tear on your trumpet’s valves, even when you’re consistently oiling them, can cause them to begin leaking air. This can naturally impact performance.
So, do trumpet valves wear out? Yes, but when properly cared for, a trumpet can last for approximately fifty years. However, even under such ideal circumstances, you may still need to replace the valve at some point. You also want to look for the warning signs that your trumpet valve is on the verge of being rendered useless.
While your trumpet valves can indeed wear out, there is still a lot you can do. From trying heavier valve oils, to knowing where to go for professional repair services, there are steps that can diminish how long it takes trumpet valves to wear out.
How Do I Fix My Trumpet Valves?
First of all, make sure your valves haven’t been seated wrong. This problem is particularly prevalent among younger students. It is simply the matter of putting the valves back on incorrectly. Check them, and see if this is really what’s causing the problem.
Barring that, there are several possibilities for fixing a valve you want to consider. We’ll cover them in greater detail later, particularly oil for trumpet valves, as well as the best kind of oil. For now, let’s just go over the basic issues and how to address them:
- Are any buttons missing? If you recently purchased a vintage model from eBay or elsewhere, check to make sure all of the valve buttons are there and firmly in place. While many prefer to trust this work to professionals, it is well within the realm of possibility to do it on your own. Just remember that proper alignment is essential, or your trumpet isn’t going to be very much fun to play.
- Are the valves sticky? Another common complaint is that the valves of the trumpet are too sticky to function correctly. When your trumpet is playing correctly, the valves are going to move up and down with ease. They can get stuck suddenly in the middle of pressing, or a valve can get stuck right as you are about to press it. Again, not very much fun. The culprit almost certainly comes down to oil. We’re going to discuss that in greater depth shortly.
- Is air leaking out? Our final possibility comes down to how often you are oiling the valves, as well as how often you’re playing. How long you’ve owned and used the trumpet can also can the valves to become worn out as time goes on. A heavier oil for the valves might be necessary. Ultimately, if the air leakage problem is significant enough, you may need to have the valves replaced altogether.
While trumpet valves can eventually fall apart on their own, we want to emphasize the value of good maintenance. This includes finding and using the best oil for trumpet valves, as well as making sure you are cleaning the trumpet on a basis consistent with how much you’re using it.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Trumpet Valve?
Repair needs can naturally vary from one trumpet player to the next. The specific trumpet you own can have its own considerations when sending it off for maintenance or repair work.
Trumpet valve replacement and repair work rarely exceeds $120. The piston will be removed by the professional, who will then work to assess whatever the problem might be. Again, the cost can be anywhere from less than $50 to as much as $120. In certain cases, depending on the situation, it is entirely possible for the work to cost even more.
You’re going to want to do your own research, if you plan to bring your trumpet valve repair needs to a professional.
How Often Should Trumpet Valves Be Oiled?
Oiling your trumpet valves by yourself is not terribly difficult. It is arguably easier to do than to try and replace or repair the valves on your own.
If you ask someone how often your trumpet valves should be oiled, you may get different answer from one person to the next. Many experts suggest the valves should be oiled as often as three times a week. This is particularly suggested to those who play their trumpet frequently. At the very least, players and repair experts alike suggest at least one oiling of the valves each week.
What Types of Oil Can I Use on My Trumpet Valve?
You want to make sure your valves are being oiled by a high-quality product. Most of the oil products for trumpet valves on the market are mineral oil-based. However, an increasing number of products are now being created from a synthetic blend. Some prefer the tried-and-true mineral oils, but many believe the newer synthetic options give you the same results.
Home-based oils should not be used on trumpet valves. This includes stuff like olive oil and WD40. Despite the temptation to believe all oils are basically alike, these home-based choices can in fact seriously damage your instrument over time.
Silicone-based oil products should also be avoided, as these can create a problematic buildup of moisture. Too much moisture can create issues with corrosion across several different parts of the trumpet.
As mentioned before, a thicker oil might be a good idea. You will find several different oils for trumpet valves that offer different benefits and potential drawbacks. Make it a point to research these oils in greater detail on your own.
Applying Oil to Your Trumpet Valve
First, you will want to have the trumpet placed on a flat, even surface. You want room to work comfortably, but you also want a stable surface upon which to work. Some like to put a towel down, or something else that protects where the work is being done.
After you’ve unscrewed the first of the valve slides, the valve itself should be brought out just a little bit. You don’t need to pull out the entire way. Doing so can lead to accidental damage, but you can also wind up putting it back incorrectly by mistake. You should also only be pulling out a single slide at a time. What you don’t need is getting them mixed up.
Don’t put your oil product in the holes of the trumpet itself. This can make it almost impossible to use the trumpet properly afterwards. Instead, simply have a few drops of your chosen oil placed on the shaft of your trumpet’s valve.
Sliding the valve back, slowly and carefully, it shouldn’t be long before you hear a gentle clicking noise. After the clicking sound, all you have to do is tighten the valve’s cap.
Repeat the steps mentioned above. If you’re still stuck, remember there are a host of instructional videos and other resources out there.
Taking care of your trumpet, including the valves, ensures an instrument you will enjoy for years.