Tag Archives: valve alignment

Bob Reeves Brass Australia Tour 2017

You read that right! This November we will be bringing our Bob Reeves Brass goodness to the land down under!

We will be there from November 18th to the 25th with stops in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane.

350 Trumpet Mouthpieces at the ITG Conference
We’ll try to bring as many of these as we can!

This is a great opportunity to meet and consult with Bob Reeves, John Snell, and Brett Kendall. We will have several of our mouthpieces for you to try, as well as Van Laar trumpets and flugelhorns.

Of course, no Bob Reeves Brass visit would be complete without valve alignments! We will be doing valve alignments at all of our stops. You can reserve a spot to make sure your instrument gets aligned by contacting our

Working on a valve alignment today.
Working on a valve alignment.

host stores listed below. Not sure if you need an alignment? Bring it by and we’ll measure your instrument for free to tell you exactly how close (or far out) your valves are.

We will also bring a selection of our new Bob Reeves – Brass Ark trombone mouthpieces for you to try so be sure to share this with your trombone friends!

Melbourne – November 18-19

The Music Place
339 Clarendon Street
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
03 9699 9099

Adelaide – November 20-21

Gustafson Custom Horns
Room 123
38 Gawler Place
Adelaide, SA 5000
0449 171 774

Sydney – November 22-23

Play Wind and Brass
179 Parramatta Road
Annandale, NSW 2038
02 9550 0100

Brisbane – November 24-25

Brass Music Specialists
90 Appel Street
Graceville, QLD 4075
07 3278 1311

Fabio Bau Visits From Italy

Fabio Bau – Italian Trumpet Player Visits

You never know what each day will bring at Bob Reeves Brass. Last week professional trumpet player Fabio Bau was in town and decided to swing by the shop.

Fabio had us perform a valve alignment on his Yamaha Bb trumpet and was shocked by the results. We then consulted on mouthpieces and he ended up altering the shank on his Bach mouthpiece for classical work and picked up a Bob Reeves 42/S for his commercial work.

Be sure to watch for Fabio on Italian TV…he might be wearing his Bob Reeves Brass polo shirt!

The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast; Episode #33: Bob Reeves

Episode #33 — Bob Reeves

Trumpet Podcast Logo - Bob ReevesWelcome to the show notes for Episode #33 of The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast. This episode features trumpet and trombone mouthpiece maker Bob Reeves.

Listen to the trumpet podcast right from your browser:

Listen or subscribe to this podcast in iTunes by clicking here.

This podcast is brought to you by Bob Reeves Brass. 

Continue reading The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast; Episode #33: Bob Reeves

Doc Severinsen, and Harry Kim with Bob Reeves

Doc Severinsen was recently in town performing with his big band so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to hear him live. It’s amazing to think that Doc and Bob Reeves go back over 40 years! We’ve made well over 100 mouthpieces and 75 valve alignments for Doc through the years.

Another great friend and customer of ours, Harry Kim, joined Bob in the audience. You can catch Harry on TV playing with his Vine Street Horn Section.

Be sure to check our our interviews with Doc Severinsen and Harry Kim on our trumpet podcast, The Other Side of the Bell.

Bob Reeves Brass Japan Visit 2015

The summer heat is starting to die down here in Valencia, California as Bob Reeves Brass prepares to visit Japan again.

Bob Reeves Waiting for a Train in Japan
Bob Reeves Waiting for a Train in Japan

From September 19th to the 28th Bob, John, and Brett will be in Japan to do valve alignments, consultation, and presentations. This will be our fourth year in a row visiting our dealer in Tokyo, Japan, Joybrass.


The following day, September 21st, we will be giving a presentation with Noah Gladstone of the Brass Ark debuting our new trombone mouthpieces as well as a talk on trumpet equipment and custom work.

Click here to read Joybrass’s blog post about our visit here.

If you would like to schedule a consultation or valve alignment, please contact Joybrass at tp@joybrass.co.jp or via phone at 03-5480-2468.

The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast; Episode #8: Tedd Waggoner, Bob Reeves on Valve Alignments

Episode #8 – Tedd Waggoner

Welcome to the show notes for Episode #8 of The Other Side Of The Bell – A Trumpet Podcast. This episode features an interview with Tedd Waggoner discussing his career and aspects of the Bach history, and Bob Reeves talking about the importance of the valve alignment.

Listen to the trumpet Podcast right from your browser:

Continue reading The Other Side of the Bell – A Trumpet Podcast; Episode #8: Tedd Waggoner, Bob Reeves on Valve Alignments

Four Ways to Improve Your Bach Stradivarius Trumpet

Here at Bob Reeves Brass Mouthpieces we provide many services and products that can improve the playability of your trumpet, including the most popular professional trumpet model, the Bach Stradivarius. Over Bob’s forty-five plus years of experience, he has found that these methods create real and immediately perceptible results.

1) Clean your trumpet and keep it that way!

If yesterday’s tacos and last Monday’s cheeseburger are still in your trumpet, they’re not helping you play better. An acid wash, or chemical cleaning, like our Premium Service acid wash removes all the gunk built up inside your trumpet. Part of our service also includes brushing out the inside of the entire body and slides of your trumpet, and the exterior brass legs of your slides. When your horn is clean inside and outside, we then lubricate all the slides and valves, getting the instrument into ready to play condition.

Once your instrument is cleaned out, you need to keep it that way to keep it playing consistently. For decades we have sold our Leadpipe Swabs to trumpet players, instructing them to swab out their horns at the end of each playing day. Our swabs remove the moisture and food particles from your leadpipe, stopping them from getting further into your horn, causing build up on the interior of your horn.

Another product we now offer to players is Blow Dry Brass. Blow Dry Brass is designed to be used on a cleaned brass instrument, drying out the inside with alcohol loaded foam BIT’s. The foam BIT’s are blown through the instrument, removing moisture, and the residual alcohol then drys out the inside of your horn, keeping it clean from day to day.

2) Bring your horn in for a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment!

Every horn manufactured today needs a valve alignment. Your 1960s Olds Ambassador, your early Elkhart Bach Strad, even your $30,000+ decorated Monette PRANA has misaligned valves. Not only will our valve alignment improve the way your horn plays, but it will keep it consistent from day to day. Bob first discovered the valve alignment working with top studio musicians after he opened his shop in Hollywood. These musicians would come into Bob’s shop complaining about consistency issues, and, knowing that the players weren’t changing, he looked to the instrument. When he aligned their valves, their equipment hunts would end. They no longer needed to play to how the trumpet was aligned each and every day, and had much more direction concerning improvements to their setup.

3) Find the gap that works for you!

Once you’ve had your valves aligned, you can really start making your equipment work for you. After a valve alignment, many players find it possible to play on a more efficient mouthpiece than previously. While a complete mouthpiece change may be deemed unnecessary, many players find it beneficial to “dial in the gap”. Our sleeve system allows the player to experiment with the gap, allowing them to find the correct gap that works for the trumpet, mouthpiece, and — most importantly — the player. Converting for sleeves also allows you to use one mouthpiece in two horns with the correct gap on both instruments. Not all trumpets are the same and not all mouthpiece receivers are the same; this is why the gap must be discovered on each individual instrument you play.

4) Accessorize!

Now that you have your horn cleaned, your valves aligned, and your gap dialed in, (or you just want a quick experiment) Bob Reeves Brass offers two products that improve the slotting of your trumpet. The Cylinder Reinforcer and Receiver Ring both work in similar ways. The receiver ring is a small silver plated ring that fit onto the hexagonal end of your Bach’s receiver, while the cylinder reinforcer, on a Bach trumpet, is a replacement bottom valve cap. Neither of these accessories cause a dampening affect to your trumpet, they instead solidify points on the instrument, preventing the loss of energy that you put into it. The junction between the mouthpiece and the receiver is a point where energy is commonly lost, but a receiver ring will solidify that junction, allowing the energy to continue through the horn. In the same way, the bottom of the third valve casing is a location where energy is lost, but the cylinder reinforcer prevents that dissipation.

Now that your trumpet is in it’s best playing condition, you can focus more on playing the music, so go and have fun!

Frequently Asked Questions #4: Can You Reverse a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment?

So, you’ve finally decided that a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment is what you need to help your playing, but — what if you don’t like it? Can a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment be reversed?

The answer is: yes.

How far out are your valves?
How far out are your valves?

Before we do any valve alignment we take measurements of where the valves are before altering the horn. We give you this information when we finish the work and also keep a copy for our records. If you don’t like the way that your horn plays after a valve alignment, with those records, we can put it back to exactly where it was before we made any alterations.

That being said, we have only ever un-aligned trumpets in extremely exceptional situations. For example, when a trumpet’s valves are very far out, most players choose a mouthpiece that is very large to compensate for the extra resistance caused by the misalignment. And because the player’s setup is dependent on that resistance to work, removing it through the alignment completely changes how their equipment works for them. To get the familiar blow of their trumpet back, it may take a mouthpiece adjustment that would be very drastic, which some players would be averse to doing.

If you would like to learn more about the Bob Reeves valve alignment, click this link to the information page on our website. You can also contact us by phone or email — consultation is, and always will be, free.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured it in a future blog post!

Frequently Asked Questions #2: Does My Brand New Trumpet Need a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment?

Time and time again customers ask us the question, “Does my new trumpet need to have a valve alignment?”

The answer, surprisingly, is yes.

Bach Trumpet Valve Parts for Bob Reeves Valve Alignment
Trumpet valve parts from a Bach Stradivarius Bb trumpet with Bob Reeves Brass valve alignment pads.

Over the years we have done valve alignments on thousands of trumpets, and other piston valved brass instruments, and all of them have been out of alignment before we did any work. Whenever we do a valve alignment, we keep a record of the position the valves are in before we make any alterations — we measure the horn as it is when we get it. (When you get your horn back after an alignment, these are the measurements that we include on the yellow pre-alignment information card.) With all the data we have compiled over the years, we have created a chart that shows the average alignment of trumpets by manufacturer, which you can view by clicking here.

As you can see, all of the popular manufacturer’s instruments are out of alignment when they leave the factory, and that alignment is constantly changing. The only way to really know how your horn plays, and to keep it playing the same everyday, is to have a valve alignment done.

Why Did I Just Pay Several Thousand Dollars for a Mis-aligned Instrument?

Well, there are a few reasons:

“Close Enough” To Sell

First, even high-end trumpets are made in a matter of hours. It takes us at least 2-3 hours (and sometimes all day!) to properly align the valves. Instrument makers cannot add this amount of time and labor to their production costs. They do what they can to get their trumpets “close enough” to sell at a competitive price, but as we’ve found through the years “close enough” leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Accumulated Factory Tolerances

Second, valves are made of at least 7 parts:  the valve body, spring barrel, stem, upstroke pad, valve cap, downstroke pad, and finger button. Each part is made to certain specifications and can be passed through if they fall within a certain tolerance. A good factory keeps these tolerances to within a few thousandths of an inch. For arguments sake, lets assume that every trumpet is made in a great factory that produces parts to +/-.002″ (less than a human hair), and their quality control catches 100% of the parts that fall outside of this tolerance. Even in this case, you have the possibility of each valve being out of alignment by +/-.014″. We get this number by multiplying the 7 parts in a valve by the .002″ tolerance. For reference, we find that valves that are out of alignment by .008″ or more have a detrimental impact to the player.

The truth is, we have measured valve parts from the finest instrument makers in the world straight from the factory and their tolerances on these valve parts are considerably greater than the .002″ in our hypothetical situation above. One recent piccolo trumpet that was sent straight from a factory in the Midwest was out by over .040″!

If you have any questions about our valve alignment process and its benefits, we are always available for consultation over the phone and by email, and, if you are local to Los Angeles, you can bring your trumpet to our shop and we will measure it for free.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in this series, email them to blog@bobreeves.com and it might be featured in a future blog post!