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Thread: Valve Problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    21

    Valve Problems

    So I've been on a 1990's (I presume, at least) Besson Sovereign Euphonium that my band has. It hasn't led an easy life.

    The last three months with the horn have been hell. After finally figuring out the dud notes and how to sort of get around them, the valves starting getting stuck, before the valve guide on valve 1 completely disintegrated at rehearsal one night. It broke apart and covered the valve in black plastic, after spinning in the valve casing.

    A repair shop took it for a service, put new guides in, which then ruined every valve. They got stuck straight after oiling, and I mean stuck. Hard to pull up again stuck. I then get another set of valve guides and replaced them myself. I use Hetman Light Piston oil, and I've just picked up the horn to practice, the first time it has been out of it's case since Christmas Day, and now the valves have rust on them, mainly around the top of the valves.

    Has anyone else had these kind of ongoing issues with a horn? Any thoughts on how to keep the rust building up? I have wiped them down as best I can and reoiled them, before it finally played ball.

    I like the sound I can get out of the horn, but I have a hard time loving something that puts up such a fight to be played. It also has a knackered, cracked lead pipe, but that's another story.

    On a side note, I am close to getting my own Yamaha YEP-642T (lacquered) later on this year, which will hopefully give me less strife!

    Thanks!
    Jarrod Handley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,186
    I’ve not heard of rust showing up on the Valves. Besson valves should be stainless and casings are brass. Weird too that the guides disintegrated. I don’t know what to suggest, sorry.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  3. #3
    I hate when valve problems show up!! Partly because there can be so many causes. But suffice to say I don't think your problems are typical of Bessons, so I'm guessing there is something going on other than a manufacturer defect.

    Did the shop do a complete cleaning (i.e. flush) the horn?

    As far as I know, Besson valves were monel in the 1980's and at some point went to stainless steel. Neither should rust, so I'm thinking you have some other kind of deposits.

    I think most valve guides need to be trimmed to fit the horn, so perhaps the shop did not bother to do that. In most cases like this, the following produces good results:

    • get the entire instrument cleaned. That is usually a "flush" of some kind, and consequently will not take care of the piston surfaces.
    • Clean each piston carefully (there are tips on some other threads for doing that) including the holes top & bottom, and the bevel around the top and bottom edge.
    • It's possible you need to use a mild polish on the piston surfaces. Once everything is clean, if the piston does not go into the casing easily when you oil it, that could indicate it has some kind of deposit build-up and needs polishing.
    • Clean the valve guide slot in each cylinder (again, flushing does nothing to help there).
    • Clean out the top and bottom caps for each cylinder.
    • Clean the springs. If they are plastic coated, look for any wear or discoloration in the plastic. It might be time to replace them.
    • Check the rubber bumpers on top of each piston. Any signs of flaking?
    • Once everything is clean and fresh, choose a slide grease and valve oil of the same type (preferably the same brand, too). I like Hetman myself, which is synthetic. But Blue Juice is a standard oil and works well (so then choose a non-synthetic slide grease of any brand, since Blue Juice does not make one).
    • If you use Hetman or standard valve oil, use it liberally. (I know that is not what most folks recommend for synth oils, but Lee Stofer detailed my valves and showed me to use lots of oil as I put the piston in.)


    Most of this is low/no cost. If your shop did not prep the valve guides properly or clean the horn (assuming you asked them to), then I might try a different shop if you still have trouble.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    21
    Thanks you both for your input.

    The rust thing threw me, as well. It probably isn't rust, as you both have pointed out. It was an orange/brown colour, so that is what made me jump to rust. I haven't seen anything like it, and some of the instruments I have been given to play over the years have been in far worse shape.

    Dave, the shop is question did rinse the horn, which was evident from how clean the tuning slides came back.

    The guides most definitely weren't trimmed to fit the horn. Fortunately, the ones I got fitted perfectly. All the bumpers are now new; which I did when I did the guides at home. I pretty much followed your guide as above, which I have done for almost every horn I have played for an extended period.

    The springs aren't plastic coated, however they are still in good shape, and I do use quite a bit of oil when I do the valves, which seems to help keep them right during more intensive weeks.

    I just can't get over how much this Euphonium seems to hate being loved. Some instruments do seem to acquire a personality, and this one seems to have done so with aplomb.
    Jarrod Handley

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,186
    Great post by Dave with excellent info.

    There are some people who have trouble with synthetic valve oils like Hetman or Yamaha due to body chemistry. I happen to be one of those people. I now use Blue Juice on my valves and still use Hetman slide grease (#7 on most, #8 on 2nd slide) with no problem. You can see an image of my yellow buildup in this post below (in case that’s what you’re seeing on your valves):

    http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...092#post126092
    Last edited by RickF; 01-01-2020 at 10:57 AM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  6. What are the valve casings made of? My Sterling has stainless pistons with Nickel Silver valve casings, which when oxidized, can take on an orange color. As I continue to bring the horn back from sitting for years most likely, the valve oil turns kinda orange.

    Hetman oils have some anti-corrosion bits in them, so if you can use them, I would stay with them. Broken valve guides though, that's just weird. They should be resistant to just about any type of solvent, and they shouldn't break down like that.

    I will say that when a shop cleans a horn, they can use a lot of detergents and ultrasonic cleaners. this removes any type of oxide layer that is on the brass or nickel silver, which can make it more prone to flash oxidation.

    Anyway, I hope you can get your valve issues sorted out. That's a great horn that deserves to be played!
    Sterling / Perantucci 1065HGS Euphonium, Yamaha YBB-631S BBb Tuba, and a bunch of trombones.

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