Most new trumpets these days come with both a 3rd slide ring as well as some kind of hook or ring on the 1st slide for tuning on the go. Many older trumpets were manufactured without a way to tune your 1st slide while playing. Here at Fix This! Musical Instrument Repair, we recently had a Bach Mt Vernon trumpet come through the shop that was this way. It probably goes without saying that this kind of horn is in high demand by many players from the serious amateur to the high end professional. However, without the option to tune the first valve, this horn would not be suitable for many of the players who would appreciate such a fine instrument.
Fortunately, we have a solution. Our brass repair technician fabricated a hook for use with the existing setup on this Mt Vernon. This particular horn does not have a reversible 1st slide so it was necessary to go a little further than just soldering a stock hook on the outer tuning slide. It is possible to change the 1st slide to be a reversible slide, but it was desired to keep the horn as original as possible.
First, a piece of nickel rod was selected and cut to size. It must be long enough to bend around the crook and have the hook close to the valve section.
After sizing, the rod is sanded down about half way in order to have a flat surface. Once it has been sanded it gets heated and bent to match the contour of the crook.
In order to make the piece look like it belongs on the trumpet, the end of the curve is then shaped with files and a sanding strap. Different buffing compounds are then used until the desired shape and appearance is achieved.
The hook part comes next. It is cut from the same rod. It is bent and shaped the same way as the extension rod. Jim modeled the shape by comparing it to a stock Bach hook for a modern 37 to try to make it as close as possible to what would be on any other Bach trumpet.
Now that we have the rod and the hook, it’s time to braze them together. It is better to braze this part together as opposed to soldering. The brazed connection will make these two pieces one solid piece of metal.
Once the hook is complete, it is time to shine it up. It is then soldered to the crook of the slide. The only thing left to do is wiping off excess solder, final buffing, and spray lacquering so everything stays shiny.
Nickel was chosen because this particular horn was lacquered brass with nickel ferrules and outer slide tubes. These hooks can also be made of raw brass or silver plated.
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