Minor Trumpet Overhaul

Sometimes referred to as simply a cleaning and tune-up, the minor trumpet overhaul at Low Key Music, is more than just that. We first evaluate the overall condition of the trumpet noting any damage to the body including dents, bent braces, or alignment issues. We also look for red rot or corrosion in the tubing or broken/cracked solder joints. We check for stuck slides and for proper valve alignment. We check for wear on the valves and for blow by or compression. Once the assessment has been made, we will discuss any items that may require work outside of the scope of a minor overhaul.
 
The next step in the minor overhaul is the complete disassembly of all the slides, valves, and anything else that can be removed. The trumpet is then degreased and chemically cleaned by submersion in a safe solution of classic brass or cleaner. After cleaning, minor dents and solder repairs are done. The minor overhaul typically covers up to two small solder repairs and most easily accessible minor dents. Parts other than springs, felts, and corks are extra cost.

The third step in the minor overhaul process, is re-assembly and setup. Good valve alignment is critical for the trumpet to be free blowing and to accurately voice the notes also known as slotting. The valve alignment is set by using various thicknesses of cork or felt washers on the valve stem and upper valve cap. The valve springs are replaced to restore feel and give proper speed of valve return. The water key or spit valve spring and cork are replaced. We prefer to use synthetic water key corks which last much longer than natural cork. All the slides are greased and installed. The valves are oiled and installed and checked for smooth action. Finally the trumpet is play tested and packed for safe return to its owner.
Low Key Music
Instrument Repair & Restoration
Since 1995
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lowkeyrepair@gmail.com
Some information on "Red Rot"
You may see some pink spots on your brass instrument or some bubbles in the silver plating. In some cases, pink spots could just be discoloration due to tarnish or mild surface corrosion. However, in some other cases it could be more serious. The proper term for red rot this is dezincification. It occurs when a chemical reaction has depleted zinc from the brass. Since brass is a copper-zinc alloy, removing zinc leaves copper. If you want to learn more you can check out this dezincification. Why is de-zincification bad for your trumpet? When the zinc is removed, it leaves the remaining copper in a porous state. This can be weak or brittle and a pin hole will form or even a crack. Of course this is not good. The only proper fix is to replace the section that has red rot. In most cases it is a mouthpipe or “leadpipe” or a slide crook. If it is in a part that cannot be easily replaced, a patch may be required. Sometimes lead is added to brass to help prevent dezinctification, but that is usually not a good ideal for musical instruments since exposure to lead is hazardous. Some instruments are more prone to the problem than others. It is best prevented by keeping the instrument clean on the inside. Red rot truly is an enemy that lurks in the dark refines of your instrument and may not be found until it is too late. Practice good horn hygiene to help prevent it.
 
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