How to Oil Your Valves for Trumpet or Cornet
How To Oil Your Valves.
Here you will find a step by step guide of how to easily oil your valves on your trumpet or cornet. Your valves will need oiling about once a week and it only takes a few minutes. It is important that you oil your valves correctly otherwise your trumpet will not work properly. I will show you the exact place to put the valve oil so your valve works the best it can and I will also show you how to put the valve back in correctly I have also taken a video of myself oiling the valves on my trumpet so you can easily follow what to do.
I am a trumpet teacher with over 10 years experience and I am also trained in brass repair.
Before You Start
It is important to only oil one valve at a time, especially if you haven't oiled your valves before. This way you can be sure that you don't get the valves muddled up and end up putting them back in the wrong order. If you did this the trumpet wouldn't work. You can also check that the air still flows though the trumpet after you have oiled each valve if you do them separately by simply blowing air through the mouthpiece. If the trumpet feels blocked then you will know exactly which valve is not in correctly.
Unscew the valve cap and and lift the valve halfway out as shown in the picture. Add a few drops of valve oil on the wider part of the valve as shown. Blue Juice is a good valve oil to use as it is of good quality and is a reasonable price!
Putting the valve back is the trickier bit. As you can see in the picture each valve has a number stamped on it. Make sure that the correct valve is in its right slot. Valve one is nearest to the mouthpiece and valve 3 is nearest to the bell. When the valve is in correctly the number on the valve will face the mouthpiece.
With the number facing towards you (as in the picture above) push the valve back into its casing and turn the valve a quarter of a turn clockwise until it clicks and locks in. The valve shouldn't be able to turn now. The number on the valve, which you can't see now, will be facing the mouthpiece. Before you screw the cap back on, blow through the trumpet to check that the air can still flow through it. If the trumpet is blocked double check that the valve can't turn around and that the number on the valve is facing the mouthpiece. On some trumpets the valves can lock in back to front so be careful. To finish off, tighten the valve cap, carefully taking your time and making sure the valve cap is on straight. Repeat on each valve. I recommend watching the video clip below.
This technique will work on about 99% of trumpets. On some trumpets the valve number won't face the mouthpiece receiver when clicked in. In this case just turn the valve until it clicks and then check that the air can still flow through the trumpet. If it is blocked then turn the valve a half turn again.
How To Oil Your Valves
Cleaning Your Valves
Some times no matter how much you oil your valves they will continue to be spongey or stick. This is normally when your valves need a clean. To clean your valves you will have to take them completely out and give them a wipe with a cloth, wiping off all of the old oil. You can do this dry with a cloth or a piece of clean old sheet. You will also need to clean the inside of the valve casing too. Remove the valve and unsrcew the bottom valve cap. You can then pull a cloth through the valve casing with a cleaning rod. If you don't have a cleaning rod you can push the cloth through with a pencil. Again, you can do this dry with an old piece of sheet making sure you don't leave any fluff behind. Don't rest the valve on a dirty surface as it will pick up specks of grit. It's normally best to have a cloth handy to rest them on. Once cleaned, put the valves back and oil the valves as described before. This can often make a dramatic difference to your valves as it only takes a little bit of grime to make the valves bad. Never clean your valves with something abrasive like wire wool as this will scrarch them and make them worse.
Oiling The Valve Through The Bottom Valve Cap.
Oiling the valve through the bottom valve cap isn't advised. Though it can work it is not nearly as effective as the method shown. Grime and old oil gathers in the lower valve cap so washing this through your valve by oiling from the bottom is not a good idea. I would only ever oil from the bottom valve cap in an emergency and would expect to oil them properly soon after.