Brief review: Monster valve oil

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Another item that arrived for review not long ago was Monster valve oil.

Backing up, horn players typically use three or four types/grades of oil on their instruments. This “Ask Dave” article explains the topic further, but in short you need:

  • light oil for the valves
  • heavier oil for the bearings
  • slide grease

And, if your horn has mechanical linkages on the valves:

  • ball joint linkage oil

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The Monster line (website here) includes three grades of light oil (original, faster, and smoother), slide grease, and “slide oil.” The last item, while seeming to not be a product you could use on a horn (it is for kick slides on a trumpet), it is a heavier formulation and I found it worked well as a bearing oil (although it would be easier to use as such if it was in a needle point bottle).

I have given the line a good trial on various of my horns. It works well, and in particular the slide oil effectively quieted the noisy bearings on my 19th century style single F horn used on my recording project last week (series starts here). I also like the slide grease quite a bit.

Exactly how Monster oil compares to Hetman for example I can’t really say, I am not a chemist. The interesting side point I think is how the line is presented compared to others that horn players more typically use. Hetman comes across as being a bit more scientific in nature, and of course they have products that are aimed specifically at rotary valve use with needle point bottles. On the other hand, I know horn players who like to use Fat Cat oil because it has a kitty on the bottle. I don’t think any one of these three brands is the best, but you certainly give a bit different impression to your friends and colleagues if you have oil with a kitty on it compared to oil with a monster on it or oil in a white and green bottle.

Finally, I would mention that Monster oil has also produced a series of “Brass Chats” videos, part of their marketing but also a service to the brass world. Check them out here, this video below being a great teaser.

University of Horn Matters