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Choosing the right valve oil for your instrument

There are many different options on the market when it comes to valve oils and believe it or not, each one serves its own special purpose. It can be all too easy to think that all oil are the same! Fear not, because this handy guide will break down some of the most popular oils so you can make it easy to choose the right valve oil for your instrument.

Valve oils generally fall into one of two categories – petroleum based, or synthetic. It’s important to remember that if you use an oil of one kind, you need to clean your instrument before changing the type of oil. Oils are good at lubricating our instruments but they don’t like to mix.

So what is the best choice if you play the trumpet?

One of the most popular all round choices is Al Cass Fast. This petroleum based oil is fine for most applications, and works best with brand new instruments, especially trumpets. As it is a lighter oil, using this on worn-in, older instruments with wider tolerances (space between the valve and its casing) will not be as effective. Put simply, it will work but you will be reapplying the valve oil more regularly than if you used the correct oil.

A synthetic alternative to Al Cass Fast is La Tromba. This long-lasting valve oil promotes itself as “The Finest Valve Oil” and will work for most applications. It’s a good all-round option if you don’t quite know which valve oil will work best for your instrument. If your instrument has monel or steel valves (which a lot of good quality student model instruments have), try La Tromba T2 Special Valve Oil – this oil is specially formulated to last longer and provide a smoother action.

Brass and Woodwind specialist, Blackburn

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