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I stopped using valve oil over a year ago. I didn't like the gray sludge that it formed when I put a few drops down my leadpipe every day as someone suggested, and I did not like having to clean my pistons whenever they dried out in warm weather. I also did not like having the oil dissolve my slide grease and cause my silicone rubber "felts" to swell and soften.
I've been using ordinary liquid dishwashing detergent diluted with water since the spring of 2008 with no ill effects. Now when the valves dry out and stick I can tap them down and they start moving freely immediately. There is a very slight accumulation of soap scum in the bottom valve caps after a year, but it's much less than what used to accumulate there when I was using oil. There is absolutely no accumulation on the pistons; they stay really clean and shiny. (When I was using oil, there was a gradual buildup of "lime" on the pistons, which had to be removed periodically.)
Note: I use only piston-valve tubas.
I might have to try this method sometime. My Thor has the good ol' sticky valve situation every now and then. Maybe this will fix it!
- Matthew "curiosity struck again" Gray
Arkansas Tech University (BA-Music, 2006-2011)
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM-Tuba Performance, 2012-2014)
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (DMA-Tuba Performance, 2014-2016)
B&S MRP CC
How is the wear factor on the valves when lubricating with this dishwater solution?
How does the absence of oil influence inner bore corrosion? Corrosion inside the piston casings?
My wife, the chemist, poses the question:
She buys the cheapest one she can find but tells me some of the upper scale detergents have hand lotion in them.
My question: What ratio of detergent to water?
Interesting report, Art.
Always make a good sound; audiences will forget if you miss a note but making a good sound will get you the next job.
Does it dissolve beer? If I can find something to keep the valves lightning fast and still drink beer during the "fun" gigs I do, I've got to consider that!
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 modified helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Fanned fret electric and bass guitars
If you ever see a King Super 20 trumpet
in silverplate serial #330XXX,
please let me know!
One of the 'old timers' I used to play German and Dixieland music with used nothing but water and few drops of dishwashing liquid on his pistons. They always looks bright and clean and never seemed to cause him any problems. I never tried it, though. Thanks for refreshing my memory. Never hurts to try new things. One thing, though... poor old Bill died about a year ago. I hope it wasn't from ingesting soap!
Come to think of it... were the bubbles on the Lawrence Welk show coming out of the tuba?
I mentioned that "whatever works for you is OK".
That being said.... unless you bring your own valve oil and slide grease for me to use on your horn.... it leaves here with 'Superlube' on the slides and an appropriate blend of UltruPure lamp oil and motor oil on the pistons. In the case of rotors... there will be 30 weight on the spindles and linkage points and a dab of lamp oil in the rotors.
I've never received any negative feedback about the lubricants I use causing any problems mixing with whatever the horn gets once it leaves here.
Question for the guys that use Motor Oil:
Do you use non-detergent motor oil or detergent motor oil?
-FWIW I only know of non-detergent oil because my '37 Buick can't use regular detergent oil (no oil filter to catch the crap it washes around).
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Holton 345 BBb 4V
Miraphone 188-5U CC
Meinl-Weston 45S F
My point in asking is that I have never heard of using dish soap as a lubricant. I was hoping the repairmen that post on here would give their opinion on using dish soap (For an informational standpoint. (Pros vs Cons). I understand that whatever works for you is OK.
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