Gizmos & Gadgets - 4BR puts four top valve oils through their paces


Four top brand valve oils are given a test by 4BR to find out which one we think offers the best value for money.

NormansFour of the best selling valve oils on the market are given the once over to find out which we think is the star performer.

We got our hands on four of the best sellers on the market from our friends at Normans Musical Instruments and given them a good test run on a set of cornets.   

Good to see that all four come with a warning printed on them not to drink the contents (its not a good idea to try).

Prices vary – as did the contents themselves - from oil you could run a Lamborghini sports car on to the stuff Christiano Ronaldo puts in his hair.

So which one was the 4BR star buy?

For more information one each of the products go to:

Denis WickDW4930 Denis Wick Advanced Formula Valve Oil
Price: £4.53 (inc VAT)

The valve oil that comes with the big claims for the micro particles that are said to ensure that it does its job better, and longer, than any of its rivals. A bit like like Castrol GTX then….

Certainly works well and does last a long time, but for £4.53 for a 50ml bottle it also comes at a premium price too.  

We’ve worn cheaper aftershave.

Why you have to shake the bottle like a Dry Martini before you should use it is a bit of a mystery though, and we wonder if it really is suitable for both piston and rotary valve instruments as they claim.

Did the job that it said it would – but at this price you shouldn’t expect anything less.  

HoltonHolton H3250 Electric Valve Oil
Price: £2.62  (inc VAT)

Valve oil through the medium of electricity eh?

Not really, but it’s a natty bit of American PR bluff for an oil that has been produced since 1898, when most Yankee brass players were still lubricating their valves on whale blubber and bison fat.

Must have been almost magical way back then, but times have changed and the claim that it ‘permits moisture to work for you not against you’ seems more like an advert for under arm deodorant than instrument oil that evaporates quicker than a pint of cider on a navvy’s tongue.

Cheap and cheerful (and only 47 ml in the bottle) if that’s all you are looking for, although unlike cider, it is the only one that comes with a child proof tamper cap.

Al cassAl Cass Fast 341 Valve Oil
Price: £4.30  (inc VAT)

The valve oil that certainly lived up to its PR billing of being ‘Fast’ – although we were not as sure about the other claims that it could also be used as a slide or key lubricant under any weather conditions (like playing in a sandstorm in the middle of the Sahara desert?)

By all accounts it was developed in collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie and we didn’t use to see him too often playing dressed as an extra from Lawrence of Arabia.

Did the biz though – keeping your valves working quicker than a Polish plumber on overtime, and didn’t evaporate into thin air sharper than an illegal immigrant on a building site.

All that and it offers around 59 millilitres for the price too.


Blue JuiceBlue Juice BJ2 Valve Oil
Price:  £4.47 (inc VAT)

We love the claim that Blue Juice has been ‘scientifically blended’ – as if we were to believe that in reality it had been blended in a whiskey still by Delia Smith in her Norwich kitchen.

And it’s certainly blue too – although we don’t know if this has any effect on its performance, although at £4.47 a 59 ml bottle it certainly looks different (although it shouldn't in any circumstance be confused with a bottle of WKD alcopop).

Did the job, although we found that it had to be used a bit more frequently than we did either the Denis Wick or Al Cass.
We were a bit worried about the ‘Carry On’ double entendre blurb that claims it gives ‘...staying power to minimise the need for re-lubrication’, and the assertion that it can ‘retard bacterial growth’.

Just clean your instrument out regularly and stay away from easy ladies....


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