Introduction: How to Oil Valves on a Euphonium
In this Instructable you will learn how to oil the valves on a euphonium.
Oiling valves helps with cleaning the inside of the instrument and keeping the valves quick so that you can play the fast runs. Some pedagogues recommend that you oil your valves once a day and others recommend you do so once a week. It depends on how much the instrument is being used. If the valves are being used for a lot of the day every day, then use valve oil weekly. If you use it only a couple hours for the day, you should use it daily just to keep up maintenance. You just have to judge your playing and determine what works for you.
Step 1: Placing the Horn
Sit in a place where your legs are at a ninety degree angle. Your legs should make a platform for the horn to lay on.
Lay the horn in your lap horizontally with the valves facing upwards. The bell should be to your right.
Step 2: Open the Valve Oil
Opening the valve oil before you start saves time and effort during the process of actually oiling the valves
Step 3: Get the Valve Out
There is a cap at the bottom of the valve holding the valve in place. In the picture above, it is circled in red. Gently unscrew this cap until the valve comes up. You will need to pull the valve out about two and a half inches.
Pull the valve gently out. The valve can be damaged easily so be very careful in this process.
NOTE: Do not twist the valve or touch it with your fingers. Twisting it can cause scratches that will eventually cause harm to your instrument. Touching the valve with your finger can leave dirt and grime from your skin oils which can dirty your instrument.
Step 4: Oil the Valve
Put a four or five drops of oil up and down the valve. It is not necessary to drench the valve in oil. A few drops will help conserve the oil so that your bottle lasts much longer.
Again, do not twist the valve.
Step 5: Putting the Valve Back Inside
There is a valve guide on the thick cylindrical valve. It looks like a small wedge of plastic; in most cases it is the color white (circled in red). This valve guide will go into the hole that is slightly bigger than the guide itself. This enables the holes in the valve to line up with the pipes so that air flows in the right direction.
Once the valve is back in it's place, screw the cap back down. It will help to hold the valve all the way down until the cap catches the thread.
Step 6: Rapidly Push the Valve
After oiling the valve, you will want to rapidly push the valve down to make sure the oil is spread out throughout the entire valve. Rapidly push the valve for about five seconds. You may want to even blow air through the horn to be absolutely sure the holes are lined up with the pipes.
Step 7: Repeat Steps 1 - 6 for Each Valve
You should always oil each valve every time you go to oil the valves. Never oil just one valve so that the instrument usability stays consistent from valve to valve.
Use these resources for further explanation on this process:
Practical Hints on Playing the Tuba by Donald C. Little (it says for tuba but it works for all valved instruments)
https://thereformingtrombonist.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/a-short-guide-to-maintaining-piston-valves/ (online resource if you don't want the book)
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