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How to Oil Your Trumpet Valves

Hetman valve oil is being applied to a trumpet valve with the trumpet positioned in the background.

How do I know when my valves need oiling?

New trumpet players often wonder how often they should be oiling their valves. The good news is, your instrument will tell you! If your valves are coming up slowly, or not at all, it's time to oil them. This can happen without warning, so make sure you have oil in your case at all times.

Keeping the Valves in Order

The valves are numbered 1, 2, 3, with number one being the closest to the player. We recommend for beginners to oil the valves one at a time so you can keep track of which valve goes where. Most trumpets do have the numbers engraved on the valves though, so if you have taken them all out, no need to worry. Just start with valve number one being the valve closest to you. 

The Process

Two images side by side. On the left, a green tick shows with a finger pointing to the top of the trumpet valve casing. On the right, a red cross shows where a finger is pointing to the top of the valve key.

1. To take out the valve, unscrew the top of the valve casing, not the valve key.

Hetman valve oil is being applied to a trumpet valve.

2. Place a couple drops on both sides, place it back into the casing and twist it around to lubricate the whole valve and casing. 

An arrow points to the cutout in the valve casing.

When putting the valve back in the casing, we use the valve guides to find the correct position. Inside the valve casing, there are cutaways which match up with our guides. The wider side of the valve guide needs to match up with the wider cutaway, and the narrow side of the valve guide matches up with the narrow cutaway.

A trumpet valve is shown up close, showing the engraving of the number.

Another way to align the valves in the casing is by locating the engraved number and facing it towards the player. If the valve is making a clacking sound when you press it down, this indicates that the top of the casing has not been screwed down enough. 

The trumpet valve cap is being screwed down.

3. Screw down the top of the valve casing.

"Oh no! I just oiled my valves and now I can't get any air through my instrument!"

This could be caused by one of two problems.

1. Your valves are in the wrong order.

Solution: Check that the numbers on the valves are in the correct order.

2. The valve guides might not be aligned with the cutaways.

Solution: Readjust the valves to make sure everything lines up with the cutaways.

That’s everything you need to know about oiling your valves! 

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