An aspiring jazz trumpet player's blog about jazz improvisation and ear training.

February 19, 2005 Jazz Blog 7 Comments

Flugelhorn - gone for repairs

jupiter flugelhornSince I first purchased my Jupiter 846RL six months ago, the valves have been getting increasingly more sluggish. It's at the point now where I don't even consider it to be playable. Even with daily oiling (multiple times per day!) I can only get a few minutes of playing out of it before at least one of the valves refuses to come up.

I've tried a total of four different valve oils, including Jupiter's own valve oil (it came with the horn), Al Cass, Red Pro-Oil, and Hybrid 141-A7 Pro-Oil. Before each oil test, I carefully clean the horn. After cleaning, the valves work fine for the first day or two, but after a week, they're back to where they started.

Over the years I've owned and rented/borrowed at least 10 horns. I've never come across a horn with such lousy valves, especially nothing brand new like this flugelhorn. Since this horn has gotten a lot of good reviews, I'm guessing I just got a lemon. I really don't know how else to explain it.

I bought the horn from Music123, so I contacted them to see if they'd help me get a working horn. Even though I failed to fill out Jupiter's warranty card during the first 30 days (required terms), Music123 said I could send the horn to them and they'd forward it on to Jupiter for repairs. So, last night I shipped the horn back.

I fear that the repair shop will oil the valves, find that they move, and then send it right back. Naturally, I've sent a detailed note along with the horn, but the pessimist in me has its doubts...

Update 4/3/05: It's back!

Updated 12/5/05: It's gone...

Comment by Dave Rocha

Regarding the Jupiter trumpet with sticky valves: I have a Jupiter pocket trumpet and it does the same thing. I think it is just poor workmanship. In the case of the pocket trumpet, it only cost $400, so I can't expect too much.

It will work OK for awhile, if I wash the valves with water and get the old valve oil off. But it can be a drag playing it a lot when it keeps sticking.

I think Jupiter needs to improve it's engineering approach to valves.

Good luck with yours.

Dave Rocha San Francisco Bay Area

Comment by Rick

You know, I'd really like to get a pocket trumpet. Unfortunately, I don't have a compelling reason to do so. I don't travel much, and I probably wouldn't play it often enough at home to justify the cost, but still -- it's a tiny trumpet! Cool!

The Jupiter pocket trumpet seems to get the best reviews among the low-cost pocket trumpets, so I figured that's what I would end up with. But now that I've had problems with my Jupiter flugelhorn, and now that I see I'm not alone... I guess I'll have to reconsider.

I recently asked Zeus if they had any intention of introducing a pocket trumpet and basically got laughed at. Their response was something like "does anybody really play those things??" So, I'm out of luck there too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Comment by Dave Rocha

If I'm not mistaken, Holton puts out a pucket trumpet. You might see if you can find a web site for them

Check with your local music store about special-ordering one, too.

Good luck. Dave Rocha

p.s. If anyone knows of an interesting gig for trumpet this summer, I might be available.

(510) 538-2106

Comment by Bob Tracy

I have owned a Jupiter 846L flugelhorn for about 2 months now, and typically play it 1-2 times per week. For the price I paid ($649) I can't complain - it's got a really nice, mellow tone to it. I have not had any problems with the valves - I use the valve oil that came with the horn and don't need to apply it any more than I do on my Bach trumpet.

Good luck with yours - I'll be watching your site to see if/how this gets resolved.

Comment by Marie

If you have problems with sticky valves on your Jupiter Flugelhorn, I suggest the ALISYN oil. It's a synthetic oil for about 3 years. I just need a few drops two or three times a year and it's perfect. You'll get a wonderfull feeling under your fingers !

The problem I have with my JFH-846RL is the quality of the lacquer. Even new it had small imperfections and I worry it could become worst. Maybe I should have buy one with the silver finish...

However I like my Jupiter horn ! It's an amasing horn for the price.

Comment by Shon

I just bought a used silver finished Jupiter flugehorn (846S) and its valves remain will lubed, unlike some of the stories posted here about this horn (or the 846L or 846RL). It is identical to the pro model Yamaha flugelhorn that I owned and sold over 20 years ago.

However, the Jupiter pocket trumpet that I just bought has a little issue with just the 1st valve not staying lubed very well. If I play for more than an hour, I sometimes feel that I have to lube the 1st valve up a bit.

I've been using Zaja scented petroleum-based valve oil, and just bought its newest version of this oil that's supposed to be even better. Bobby Shew and others endorse Zaja's products, so I thought I'd give it a try. Seems to work well, and my issue with my pocket trumpet is more the horn than the oil.

Good everyone.



Comment by Miguelito

Hola! I can only say you seem to have gotten a foul horn.

THe Jupiter 846RL I bought brandnew is fine, perfect, everything you wish for in a good, mellow-sounding flugelhorn.

And I have used Hetman´s #1 only, my best recommendation as far as synthetic oils are concerned.

Good luck, hermano!

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