How to Identify the Valves on a Trumpet

There are three valves on the trumpet that can be identified by their location, or by removing the valve and looking for identifying marks on the instrument. Knowing the correct valve placement is important, both for learning to play chromatic pitches and for cleaning the instrument properly. If you place the valves in the wrong position, you will end up with a trumpet that will not play any pitches. Since there are several valve combinations possible, you should learn how to identify valves.

Step 1

Locate the valve closest to the lead pipe. This is the first valve. The second valve is in the middle and the third valve is closest to the bell.

Step 2

Remove the valve caps on each valve by turning in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the valve out of the valve casing.

Step 3

Identify the number that appears on the top of the valve at the base of the valve stem. You may have to pull up the cloth ring that acts as a cushion between the valve top and the valve cap. Often, only two of the valves are numbered since the third valve is implied based on the numbering of the two other valves.


Avoid confusing the valves during oiling by taking each valve halfway out of the casing and applying oil to the sides of the exposed valve. Valves do not need to be removed completely to be oiled.


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