Frequently Asked Questions
These are questions that come up, but feel free to contact us with anything that you might want to know.
If this is so much better, why don't all manufacturer's use the PWK?
This is a very expensive part to make. The average cost on a Chinese made Amado is only about 5.00 USD, so most makers opt for the cheaper parts. Several makers are now using the PWK because of the obvious advantages in value and performance.
Why is the Pollard Water Key better than an Amado Water key?
The interior design of the Pollard Water Key is conical. This unique geometric engineering solves the two major problems with the Amado: the lack of seal and the sticking of the valve, either closed or open. The Amado Water Key is a piston sliding in a cylinder, so it has to be loose enough for the piston to slide, yet tight enough to not leak; this can lead to an inadequate seal. With the Amado, the piston, as it slides to release water, remains in contact with the cylinder wall. If it is dry or if there is debris, the piston can and will stick open, usually at a very inconvenient time! Often the valve won't work for this very reason when the horn is taken out of the case. The piston must manually be forced back, hopefully freeing the valve, at least temporarily. The Pollard Water Key seals against the hole in the tubing where water comes out of the horn and instantly pulls away from the wall. Another problem with the Amado is that it uses a metal snap ring that is very hard to remove and can rust or break over time. ALL internal components of the Pollard Water Key are stainless steel. The end plug can be removed with a coin, no special tool needed!
Will the Pollard Water Key work on all brass instruments?
Yes. The capacity of the Pollard Water Key is slightly larger than the Amado due to a larger hole size. The Pollard Water Key will work far better than the Amado on larger instruments such as tubas, euphoniums, trombones, and tenor horns.
What about the old-fashioned lever type spit valves? Why would I want to replace them?
The reason the Amado exists is because it eliminated the lever type spit valve's cork problem, spring problem, and short tubing problem. The cork seal on a lever type spit valve will harden and/or come loose and have to be re-cemented or replaced. The springs that hold tension against the lever and seal can break, and the short tubing that the cork seals against can cause tone production problems. The Amado was a simple solution to these problems, but has problems of its own. The Pollard Water Key is superior to both the lever type water key and the Amado Water key.
Who can install the Pollard Water Key?
Any good brass repair center can install the PWK. If you don't have a good local repairman, we can recommend a professional, or you can send your slides to us and we will get a Pollard Water Key installed for you in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. Plating is optional and will cost extra. If the valve is on the body of your horn and not on a slide, send the entire horn to us and we will take care of it for you!
Why is the Pollard Water Key so large compared to the Amado Water Key?
The Amado is just exactly the dimensions needed for the 1/8" hole size. The PWK is has a 15% larger hole, and has better water capacity than the Amado.
What if my horn is gold or silver plated?
Pollard Water Keys come in Raw Brass, which your repairman can install on any horn, and can laquer if desired, but they are available in silver plate and gold plate to match your horn.
Which Brasswind instruments will benefit from a PWK?
All brasswind instruments will benefit potentially. Tuba, Euphonium, Baritone, and Trombone have larger tubing, so the PWK has a larger "pocket" for install on the larger tubing. Some of our most enthusiastic users are larger bored instrument owners. French horn players are now discovering the benefits of the PWK!