Archive for trumpet

Four Ways to Improve Your Bach Stradivarius Trumpet

Posted in Advice, Mouthpieces, Trumpets and Equipment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by Bob Reeves Brass

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!

Shop Visitors: Bill Ortiz, trumpet artist and Santana trumpet player

Posted in Photos, Player Updates with tags , , , , on December 5, 2012 by Bob Reeves Brass
Bill Ortiz hanging with the guys from Bob Reeves Brass. From left to right: John Snell, Bill Ortiz, Bob Reeves, and Brett Kendall.

Bill Ortiz hanging with the guys from Bob Reeves Brass. From left to right: John Snell, Bill Ortiz, Bob Reeves, and Brett Kendall.

We had the pleasure to work with the fabulous trumpet artist, Bill Ortiz. Bill has a number of albums out of his own that we highly recommend. Check out his website for more information. We are listening to his latest CD, “Highest Wish,” right now. You can also catch Bill on tour much of the year with guitar-legend Santana.

He sounds great on his valve-aligned Martin and now has some Reeves pieces to make his job even easier!

Frequently Asked Questions #1: How Long Do Your Valve Alignment Pads Last?

Posted in FAQs, Photos, Trumpets and Equipment with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2012 by Bob Reeves Brass

This will be the first in a series of blog posts answering questions that we receive time and time again.

One of the most common questions we get about Bob Reeves’ patented Valve Alignment process is, “How long do your pads last?”

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.

Bob Reeves Brass Pad Material vs. Others

While normal felt pads, Neoprene pads, and rubber pads can change daily because of moisture, temperature, and other factors, the proprietary material that we put into an instrument during an alignment is much more stable. Under normal situations, we have seen our pads last anywhere from five to ten years! This means that the valve alignment will stay true just as long. Some customers wear through the pads faster, but this is usually caused by a reaction with their body chemistry (some people naturally wear through materials faster). Even then, our pads will remain stable longer then the pads that came with the instrument.

The Beauty of a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment

Here’s the thing — even when the pads do eventually wear out, you don’t need to send your instrument to us again, ever! All you need to do is give us a call and order a replacement set of pads. Pop these into your trumpet and it’ll put the alignment right back to where it was the day it left our shop. We have a database of almost 20,000 instruments that have been aligned by Bob Reeves Brass.

Trumpets, a Piccolo Trumpet, and a Flugelhorn Ready for a Bob Reeves Alignment

Bb and C trumpets, a piccolo trumpet, and a flugelhorn ready for a Bob Reeves Valve Alignment.

Have Your Valves Been Aligned By Bob Reeves Brass?

You can check whether your instrument has been aligned by us using our online serial number look-up form or giving us a call.

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

From The Archives: Irving Bush Photo

Posted in Photos, Stories with tags , , , , on August 25, 2012 by Bob Reeves Brass

Irving Bush was a fantastic trumpet player for many decades in L.A. He played commercially with the Nelson Riddle and Harry James big bands before joining the L.A. Philharmonic where his tenure lasted 20 years. Irving also designed his own line of popular mouthpieces. His relationship with our shop dates back to the time of Carroll Purviance.

This is a photo of a very young Irving Bush playing the trumpet in what looks to be a big band setting. The photo is signed to Carroll Purviance: “Thanks to a wonderful friend and teacher, Irving R. Bush, 5-11-52.”

Irving Bush Playing Trumpet

Irving Bush playing trumpet circa 1952 prior to his tenure with the L.A. Philharmonic.

Bob Reeves with Maurice Andre and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Trumpet Section

Posted in Photos, Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2012 by Bob Reeves Brass
Maurice Andre with Bob Reeves and the SFSO Trumpet Section

Bob Reeves with Maurice Andre and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Trumpet Section. From Left to Right: Bob Reeves, Don Reinberg, Tom Heimberg, Laurie McGaw, Maurice Andre, Edward Haug, Phil Shoptaugh, and Chris Bogios.

Here is another photo from our archives. It was taken on April 18, 1975 at a party after Maurice Andre’s performance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Many of the musicians pictured are good friends and customers of mine that I’ve worked with through the years.

Reeves Customers Around the World: Greece

Posted in Photos, Player Updates with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2012 by Bob Reeves Brass

There is a small but thriving community of commercial trumpet players in Greece and they all play Bob Reeves & Purviance mouthpieces. Here’s a photo that they sent to us from backstage at a concert with trumpet player Bobby Shew. Thanks guys for sending us the photo. I hope we can visit soon!

Bob Reeves Customers in Greece with Bobby Shew.

Bob Reeves Customers (L to R): Manos Theodosakis, Dionisis Kokolis, Vagelis Katsarelis & Yiannis Karayiannakis with Bobby Shew (seated).

From the Archives: Salko, Fagerquist, Armstrong, Zarchy, Stevens

Posted in Mouthpieces, Photos, Stories with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by Bob Reeves Brass

For many years we’ve had a signed photo of Zeke Zarchy standing with Louis Armstrong hanging on the shop wall. Bob loves telling the story of how Zeke had an artist paint in his left hand, which at close look, seems rather larger. Here’s the photo:

Louis Armstrong and Zeke Zarchy

Louis Armstrong and Zeke Zarchy photo signed by Zeke.

Well, we were doing some winter cleaning and came across the original photo that was used:

Trumpet players: Jimmy Salko, Don Fagerquist, Louis Armstrong, Zeke Zarchy, Manny Stevens

From L to R: Jimmy Salko, Don Fagerquist, Louis Armstrong, Zeke Zarchy, Manny Stevens

Apparently, Zeke had cropped out the rest of the trumpet section! On the left is Jimmy Salko who was a customer of Bob’s for years playing on his mouthpieces and getting valve alignments on all his trumpets. Next to him is Don Fagerquist, a fabulous trumpet player who Bob heard often around town.  In the middle is Louis Armstrong. While working for Purviance, Bob made Louis Armstrong’s last 6 trumpet mouthpieces. They were all Puviance 4*K4 mouthpieces or variations on them. Next to Louis is Zeke, who Bob knew for years and made several mouthpieces for and line up all his trumpets. Finally, on the far right is Manny Stevens. Manny was also a long-time customer of Bob’s, playing on Bob’s pieces and having alignments done whenever he picked up a new horn.

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