Where the Rubber Meets the Rotor: Knowing which rotor bumpers to buy

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At Houghton Horns we use a very sharp razor blade to precisely trim bumpers, so only try this at home if you are comfortable shaving 1 mm slivers of material off your instrument with live steel. Students should ask their band director for help, and band directors should feel free to contact their repair shop if they don’t feel 100% confident in what they’re doing.

But let’s say you’re an experienced player with few years of horn maintenance under your belt and you’re ready to try changing your own bumpers. Maybe you’re well on the way to becoming a professional musician and you want to fine-tune your sound. How do you know which bumpers you need?

OPTION ONE: Consult the booklet that came with your instrument, or the manufacturer’s website.

OPTION TWO: Ask your repair technician what is currently in your instrument.

OPTION THREE: See the chart below.

Save this chart as a last resort, because every valve is unique and manufacturers change materials all the time. For example at this very moment we have a Bach Stradivarius trombone in the shop which uses Holton T-cork bumpers instead of the 6 mm neoprene bumpers you’d expect from the chart.

When in doubt, use whatever bumpers are already in your instrument.

BUMPERSDESCRIPTIONBRANDS
4.5 mm red medium siliconesofter feel, a little bouncy, very little noise, may warp with ageConn 6D, 8D, 10D, and 11D horns
Engelbert Schmid double and triple horns
5 mm red medium siliconesofter feel, a little bouncy, very little noise, may warp with ageHoyer 6802, G10 horns
Verus V, VII, and K horns
5.5 mm red medium siliconesofter feel, a little bouncy, very little noise, may warp with ageAlexander 103 horns
Paxman (UK model) horns
Stomvi horns
rotary trombones
5.2 mm Buna neoprenedurable, will not deform, comparatively hard with little bounceYamaha French horns, trombones, and tubas
6 mm black soft neopreneslightly noisy, but very durable and often used on low-maintenance student hornsBach Thayer valve trombones
T-cork black soft neoprenetough, holds alignment wellHolton horns
What Houghton Horns generally uses for various models.

Want to be 100% sure before you purchase? Call our repair shop at 817-993-6400 ex 2 for advice.

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