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Author Topic: Alignment Questions  (Read 1241 times)
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Hettbone
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« on: Jun 03, 2017, 11:29PM »

Hey, I was wondering if any experienced tech guys/gals and other experienced players could give me their opinion on slide alignment.

Is misalignment or bowing something that is common that will inevitably occur over time due to daly use or ONLY from mishandling and being a dope? I feel I take great care of my slides. I'm super careful (maybe excessively) and I try to make sure that my slide feels perfect every day, just so you guys know where I'm coming from. So, I feel like when a slide of mine goes out of alignment it's probably not my fault but I don't want to rule out the possibility I'm doing something wrong unknowingly. Basically what I'm asking is: what are the causes for misalignment?

 Anyway, a second question I have is: Are the repairs for this type of damage only a temporary fix or are they permanent? I'm not an expert but I have heard that the metal will rebound (I'm not sure if I'm using the right terminology) after a while and go back closer to the way it was before it was repaired. Is this true?

These are probably stupid questions for a decent technician but I've always put 100% of my brain power on performing, not on any of the tech stuff. I know relatively nothing about this stuff and I don't really have any great (working) technicians near me that can help me out or let me pick their brain. As someone who is high maintenance with slides and needs the best feel out of his slides as possible I thank any insight on this subject in advanced as it would probably ease my mind a bit. (hopefully)

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DaCapo

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« Reply #1 on: Jun 04, 2017, 12:46AM »

Good question. :)
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john sandhagen
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 04, 2017, 06:46AM »

Most brand new tubes have a little bow in them.  I straighten them and try to leave them for a few days to see if they'll spring back.  Some tubes have a very strong memory, while others are more pliable.  Damage causes a much higher memory in a very small area...

With good care and good slide technique there's no reason for a slide to get out of shape.  I've found that when I attempt to play something out of my ability, I manhandle the slide and throw it out.  And being honest, there's always the occaisional bump going into the case, a tight space onstage or pit, an exuberant fan or music stand...it's just hard to keep a slide perfectly safe.

My Clients make my slide better.  I can let my slide go for quite a while, but when I get a clients slide good, then pick my horn up...OK, time to investigate.  I'm more concerned about playing and don't let small issues bother me, but they do add up.

FWIW, I consider alignment whether the slide is parallel and on the same plane...bows/oval tubes etc need to fixed before alignment, but alignment should not change once properly set-up.  Sorry, semantics.

Don't let worrying about your slide interfer with your enjoyment of playing.
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John Sandhagen,
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 04, 2017, 06:56AM »


Is misalignment or bowing something that is common that will inevitably occur over time due to daly use or ONLY from mishandling and being a dope?


John has covered this to some extent, but the very concept of alignment is a tricky one. I've had a few customers return trombones claiming that the slides had bad alignment, only to find that the alignment was fine, and the problem was lubrication. Diagnosing an alignment problem is not easy, and it requires specialized tools--especially when you're looking at whether the spacing between the tubes remains the same. What makes you certain that the alignment is no longer correct?
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Hettbone
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 04, 2017, 12:30PM »


 What makes you certain that the alignment is no longer correct?

I'm not sure, exactly. I do know that it is probably not a lubrication problem or a problem with the cleanliness of the slide as I clean the outer tubes and reapply trombotine almost every day, depending on how it feels. And as you assumed correctly, my slide does feel out of alignment to me. I didn't say that in my first post but I should make it clear that that is the case. Another thing I should mention is, the slide is a relatively new Rath R1. It felt incredible for the past few weeks as I had been playing a lot last month so I was cleaning it and really making sure to get it feeling the best it could be.

Anyway, I don't have any tools or even a good enough eye to spot these things but I guess what makes me feel it is an alignment problem is the way it feels. It feels like it's rubbing a slight amount on the upper tube and when I put the outer slide only on the upper inner tube it feels a bit wonky. Not a huge amount, but enough to make me feel like there is a new problem that wasn't there before. Another reason is when I take the slide off (both tubes now) the inner tubes sort of spring a bit as it comes off. It never used to do that and would come off very cleanly.

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elmsandr

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« Reply #5 on: Jun 04, 2017, 12:43PM »

Not directed at the OP specifically, as I don't know you at all, but just to add to the thread and Euph's point... after playing with hundreds of different trombonists over the years from novices to world class professionals, most trombonists apply slide lube incorrectly.  Usually too much, often in the wrong place on the slide, and rarely on an adequately clean slide.

As for the OP, some slides hold alignment great.  I have a couple old Bachs that don't ever seem to need any care.  I have another old Bach that seems to need a tweak every time I look at it sideways.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 04, 2017, 12:52PM »

With good care and good slide technique there's no reason for a slide to get out of shape.  I've found that when I attempt to play something out of my ability, I manhandle the slide and throw it out.  And being honest, there's always the occaisional bump going into the case, a tight space onstage or pit, an exuberant fan or music stand...it's just hard to keep a slide perfectly safe.

Don't let worrying about your slide interfer with your enjoyment of playing.

Totally agree with you. There's tons of little things that could possibly happen and they are hard to avoid. I wish I could not worry as much about my slide but when you invest so much of your life into getting good at something, the little things start to become not so little anymore. I guess a big part of it is not knowing what I did, or if I did anything at all, or if I should try to find someone to take a look at my slide, which is always tough for people who don't have a "slide guy" that they can come to.   
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Hettbone
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 04, 2017, 01:09PM »

Not directed at the OP specifically, as I don't know you at all, but just to add to the thread and Euph's point... after playing with hundreds of different trombonists over the years from novices to world class professionals, most trombonists apply slide lube incorrectly.  Usually too much, often in the wrong place on the slide, and rarely on an adequately clean slide.

Definitely. I'm willing to consider the idea that maybe I do something wrong or did something on accident. I use trombotine and I apply a conservative amount to the slide. But just out of curiosity, when you say "on the wrong place on the slide" do you mean on any of the part of the slide other than the stockings? I know some people who apply it to the whole slide and others who only do the stockings. Some say the other way is wrong. I never really formulated my own opinion on whether or not one way is wrong but I've always applied it to the whole slide because it's always felt better to me that way. I'm not sure if this is what you meant though. Curious to hear your take on this. Anyway, sometimes I experiment with different ways to lubricate the slide but recently I've been doing it the same, every day for the past month. The slide felt great up until now. 
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 04, 2017, 01:24PM »

The thing about trombotine is that it gets redistributed where it is needed, and you always need less than you think. If you are applying it to the entire slide, you are likely putting too much on. Any more than a couple of "smears" per stocking gums up my slides, especially newer ones. If you extrude about 1mm of trombotine from the tube, that's about 2-3x what you need to lube a good slide.
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Hettbone
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 04, 2017, 01:56PM »

The thing about trombotine is that it gets redistributed where it is needed, and you always need less than you think. If you are applying it to the entire slide, you are likely putting too much on. Any more than a couple of "smears" per stocking gums up my slides, especially newer ones. If you extrude about 1mm of trombotine from the tube, that's about 2-3x what you need to lube a good slide.

I guess I agree. When I say I apply it to the whole the slide though I mean by the time I rub it into the stockings, It's barely visible but I still rub it down the whole slide anyway, even though it's probably not making it's way all the way down. I barely use any.
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Blowero

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« Reply #10 on: Jun 04, 2017, 02:27PM »

Most of the players who bring slides to me and try to diagnose their own problems are wrong. Unless you have a leveling stone and precision calipers, it just isn't possible to reliably determine if you have an alignment problem. The only thing you can check with the naked eye is whether the ends of the inners are in line with the tops of the outers, and I would do that by holding both vertically next to each other. The fact that the inners appear to spring apart could mean they are out of alignment, or it could mean that you aren't holding the slide perfectly straight when you pull off the outer slide. And even then, that would only tell you that it's misaligned in one plane. You have 4 tubes and 3 dimensions; there are so many things that could be wrong that it just isn't possible to diagnose without tools.

There are lots of things you could inadvertently do to throw off alignment. All you can do is be careful how you handle the slide, keep it clean, don't drop it, and don't hit it on things. I've also seen brand new slides that were simply built wrong.

I have heard enough techs whose opinions I trust say that they have experienced the metal reverting to an earlier state after repairing it, so I believe this is possible. But I haven't seen this personally. I have had customers return after I repaired their slides, for different repairs, and when I check the slide alignment, it is still exactly as it was when I did the original work. My own slides seem to hold their alignment as well. I don't consider any slide repair I do to be "temporary". However, the tubes can be repaired too many times or corrode to the point that they are no longer repairable, and have to be replaced. Your horn is fairly new so that shouldn't be the case. One thing I do experience a lot is that the outer tubes tarnish on the inside. Regular cleaning helps slow down the process, but it still happens. This causes slides to become sluggish and feel "scratchy". It is often mistaken for an alignment problem when no alignment problem exists.

In short, don't obsess about the causes and cures of slide problems. Just find a good repair person and leave it up to him if your slide isn't working the way you want it to.
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Blowero

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« Reply #11 on: Jun 04, 2017, 02:38PM »

Oh yeah - also, I agree that slathering slide cream all the way up and down on the inner tubes is a waste of time and probably will result in you using too much cream. The outer slide isn't designed to even touch the inner slide anywhere other than the stockings. Any contact between the outer slide and the upper inner tubes is incidental. The outer slide rides on the stockings. Most of the lube you put up there would just sit there and not even be touched. What actually happens it that when you lube the stockings and work the outer slide over them, the entire outer slide gets coated with lube on the inside. Also, it isn't possible to rub lube "into" the metal. Chrome is very hard and it doesn't absorb lubricant. Just put a small amount on the stocking and it will be distributed on the outer slide by the action of moving the slide.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 04, 2017, 02:59PM »

Brad, I agree with your comments on lube with ONE exception.

When i was in High School (late Pre-Cambrian Era) I had an LA Olds Ambassador with F.  Every so often it would get REALLY sluggish.  The solution I found at the time was to slather the entire slide with Pond's Cold Cream (this was in the days when it worked), let it sit overnight, then clean off the excess.  I suspect I managed to get a better coat of lube on the inside of the outer slide this way.  It's a treatment I don't use nowadays and have no inclination to test again.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 04, 2017, 05:33PM »

The question that hasn't been asked is:

hard case, or gig bag? 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 04, 2017, 06:14PM »

With the added info that you have a Rath...I assume lightweight? The lighter the slide, the more imperfections show themselves.  Some are just...fussy, no way around it.  Give superslick a shot before resorting to Silicone lubes, it doesn't last as long as Trombonetine, but a bit thinner and may be more compatible.
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John Sandhagen,
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Hettbone
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 05, 2017, 09:01PM »

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. It is all very much appreciated and I am always amazed by this forum's collective knowledge and your willingness to pass it down. I'm going to try using even less trombotine and only on the stockings for now to see what that does.
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 18, 2017, 08:29AM »

Slides get bumped. I find most bumps are small and do not seem to be a problem. But I have had times when the horn was in a cold or hot car and when I went to play it it was sticking. After a little time for the temp to equalize it seemed fine. So I checked it. Find a florescent light and hold up your slide so you can see a line of light light going down the tube. Also rotate to check other axis. If it does not stay on the top edge of the tube the full length it is time to visit a good tech. Fixing small issues early will help the slide.


Many will say this is not the correct way to check a slide, but you are not trying to repair it. Just determining when to go for help.
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