New Trigger for Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium
As I have mentioned in the past, the owner of Sterling, Paul Riggett, is constantly looking for ways to improve his brass instruments. Being a small company with limited resources (operating in a less-enthusiastic economy than one might prefer), Paul has had to be creative to accomplish this sometimes. A company this size can't throw money at new machines and tooling every time a new idea or fad springs up. Then again, these days especially, NO company can do that.
But the Virtuoso euphonium has recently been showing up with an improved trigger mechanism. Some folks thought the original Sterling trigger was too stiff, so Paul lightened the spring. But the major change is in the tuning "preset" mechanism. I refer to the mechanism that lets you set the overall tuning of the instrument to the piano or ensemble. The new trigger has a simple thumbscrew. You loosen it, move the slide as desired, and tighten it. This action takes my about 3-4 seconds. It also makes it a breeze to take the slide off for cleaning or lubrication - just turn the screw a quarter turn and pull the slide off.
Below is the slide, showing its end of the mechanism:
Here is the "leftover" piece on the horn once the slide is removed (it has "flopped" down because of the free-moving pivot at the left end in this photo):
Here is the tuning slide in position, pulled only slightly:
Here is the tuning slide in position, pulled out considerably:
I had a chance to try the new trigger at ITEC 2010 and then for a longer time at my home during a testing period of a few weeks. The trigger works as smoothly and dependably as my original Virtuoso's trigger despite the lighter spring, and the lighter spring does make it a bit easier to use. I used the Quick Horn Rinse system that I picked up at ITEC to clean out the horn. The easiest way to do this, as recommended for weekly use by the QHR maker, is to take out the tuning slide and flush the horn's leadpipe and valve tuning, letting the water exit from the small tuning slide tube. As mentioned above, taking the slide off took me but a few seconds.
The new version of the slide seems to like the same lubricant I use on my own trigger: trombone slide cream. It allows free and easy movement and is easy to apply. It is also impervious to any ill effects from using too much (a fault of mine).
Nice work, Sterling!