US 3447415 A
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United States Patent US. Cl. 84465 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention is directed to a practice device and exerciser for enhancing the dexterity and/or coordination necessary for playing a wind-type musical instrument such as a horn, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone and the like. The practice device comprises essentially of a housing having one or more bores extending therethrough in which a valve means is reciprocally mounted for limited movement in each of the respective bores and a spring means is provided for individually biasing each of the respective valve means with means for individually adjusting the bias or force of the springs acting on the respective valve means to vary the amount of force or pressure needed for actuating the valve means.
This invention relates to a practice device or musical valve finger exerciser for enhancing finger coordination and/or dexterity needed to play a musical wind instrument. The device may also be utilized as a therapeutic means for rehabilitating injured and paralyzed fingers.
Heretofore many musicians and particularly the student or beginner encountered much dilficulty in developing the necessary finger coordination, dexterity or culture necessary to master the playing of a Wind instrument, such as a horn, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and the like. This was due primarily to the construction of the wind instrument and the unique finger movements needed to coordinate the operation of the valves of the Wind instrument necessary for producing the true rich tones of the instrument.
To some extent the difiiculty was also attributed to the lack of or limited opportunity one has to practice in private the playing of a wind instrument so as not to annoy others. The nature and construction of such Wind instruments also is such that the true tones can be achieved only if the valves are positively and fully actuated. Partial actuation or improper coordination in operating the respective valves adversely alfects the sound produced by such instruments and also could result in injury to the players lip. As the valves of such lwind instruments are generally spring biased, the player must therefore be able to overcome the force of the bias acting on such valves to effectively and properly operate the valves. Because ones fingers are not normally accustomed or developed so that they may be coordinated with the necessary degree of power or movement to satisfactorily overcome the bias of the spring normally acting on valves of the instrument, considerable practice and experience is required.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a device for enabling one to effect continuous development of his lnger culture and/or dexterity necessary for mastering the playing of a musical wind instrument which is relatively simple in construction and positive in operation.
Another object of this invention is to provide a nonplaying musical valve actuator having one or more silent valves in which the spring forces or bias acting thereon can be adjusted in simulate those forces which act on the valve of an actual musical instrument, and which forces can be varied or adjusted in accordance with the development and ability of the player so as to provide rice for a continuous development of finger dexterity and/or coordination.
Another object of this invention is to provide a nonplaying musical valve finger exerciser in which the valves of a given instrument are simulated, and wherein the force of the spring biasing the same can be adjusted by means [disposed exteriorally of the body portion of the exerciser.
Another object of this invention is to provide a musical valve finger exerciser which can be operated in complete silence.
The foregoing objects, and other features and advantages of this invention are attained by a musical finger valve exerciser or practice device adapted to effect the continuous development of ones finger dexterity and/or coordination necessary to enhance the playing of a musical wind instrument comprising essentially of a housing having one or more bores extending therethrough. A valving means is mounted in each of the respective bores for limited reciprocal movement relative thereto with means for limiting the reciprocal movement of the valve means within its respective bore. A spring means is operatively disposed within each of the respective bores for normally biasing the associated valving means in a direction outwardly of the housing, and adjusting means is provided for varying or adjusting the force with which the spring normally acts on the valve means for biasing the same.
In one form of the invention the housing is provided with an elongated slot formed in the side thereof to communicate with the interior of the respective bores with means for effecting the adjustment of the spring bias comprising a movable bushing, for compressing an associated spring slidably adjusted along the length of the bore by means of a set screw which extends through the slot that engages and fixes the bushing relative to the housing in the adjusted position thereof. The arrangement is such that the adjusting means for each of the respective musical valves can be individually affected externally of the housing of the finger exerciser.
In another form of the invention, the adjustment is effected by means of a sleeve which is slidably disposed about the valve means, which in one position adjusts the tension of the spring to impart a minimum bias on the valving means, and which in another position thereof adjusts the tension of the spring to effect a maximum bias on the valve means.
In still another form of the invention the valving means is cooperatively associated with respect to the spring means biasing the same so as to effect the adjustment of the spring bias operating on each of the respective valve means in predetermined stepped increments.
A feature of this invention resides in the provision of a musical valve, finger coordinator in which the bias of the spring operating on the respective valve means thereof can be infinitely adjusted between the minimum and maximum biasing positions thereof.
Another feature of this invention resides in the modified embodiment of the invention wherein the bias of the spring means operating on the valve means may be adjusted in either a minimum or maximum position.
Another feature of this invention resides in a musical valve finger exerciser and coordinator in which the bias.
of the spring can be adjusted in a series of predetermined stepped-up increments.
Other features and advantages will become more readily apparent when considered in view of the drawings and specification in which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of the musical valve finger exerciser illustrating a given embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional end view taken along line 2--2 on FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional end view of a modified form of the invention in which the spring is adjusted to a position of its minimum bias.
FIG. 4 is a view similar to that of FIG. 3 but illustrating the arrangement wherein the spring is adjusted to its position of maximum bias.
FIG. 5 illustrates an end section view of still another modified embodiment of the invention.
Referring to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a musical valve practice device constructed in accordance with this invention. As shown therein, the finger exerciser 10 is constructed to simulate the valve actions of a trumpet or similar wind instrument. While the illustrated form of the invention is constructed to simulate the valve action of a trumpet, it will be readily understood and appreciated that the finger exerciser 10' may be outwardly formed to simulate the appearance of any wind instrument other than the trumpet, as will be readily apparent herein.
The finger exerciser or practice device 10 comprises a housing 11 which may be formed of any suitable material, but preferably of a suitable plastic. The housing 11 illustrated is provided with at least three spaced bores 12 extending longitudinally therethrough. As best seen in FIG. 2, the lower portion 12A of the bore is counterbored to define an internal shoulder 13 disposed intermediate the length of the housing 11. The bore 12 is thus provided with a reduced portion 12B adjacent the upper end of the housing and an enlarged portion 12A disposed in the lower part of the housing.
In each of the respective bores 12, there is provided a valving means 14 to simulate the valve action of a musical instrument as for example the trumpet. As best seen in FIG. 2 the valving means 14 comprises a stem 15 which is reciprocally mounted in the upper end 12A of the bore and which stem 15 is provided with a valve button 16 connected to the upper end thereof, and a valve head 17 comprising a flanged headed screw threaded into the tap hole 18 formed in the lower end of the valve stem 15.
In accordance with this invention a coil spring 19 is disposed in the enlarged portion 12A of the respective bores 12 so as to exert a spring bias on the valve head 17, whereby the arrangement is such that the spring 19 normally exerts a bias tending to force the valve means 14 outwardly of the housing 11.
A means is provided for effecting individual adjustment of the bias with which the respective springs 19 act on each of the valve members, 14.
As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the means for effecting individual adjustment of the respective spring bias comprises a bushing 20 which is slidably disposed in the enlarged portion 12A of the respective bores 12. As best seen on FIG. 2 it will be noted that the slidable bushing 20 defines the end closure of the respective bores 12.
Formed in one side of the housing 11 so as to be disposed in communication with each of the respective bores 12 is an elongated slot 21. A set screw 22 having a winged head is arranged to extend laterally through the slot 21 to engage a threaded hole formed in the bushing 20. Accordingly, as best seen in FIG. 2, it will be noted that the bushing 20 can be vertically adjusted within its respective bore 12 so as to vary the compressive force with which the spring biases the respective valve means. By properly tightening the set screw 22, the adjusted position of the bushing 22 can be maintained within the enlarged portion 12A of the respective bores. It will be apparent that the biasing force of each of the springs 19 operating or biasing each of the respective valves 14 can be readily adjusted by vertically positioning the bushing 20 at a desired elevation within its respective bores and securing the same thereto by screw 22.
To enhance the silent operation of the finger coordinator, a resilient washer 23 is disposed adjacent the lower surface of the respective valve buttons 16 and which Washer is formed of any suitable silencing material, such as rubber or the like. A similar washer 2 4 may be disposed adjacent the internal shoulder 13 of the bore 12 so as to define a seat against which the flange head 17 of the valve means abuts to limit the movement thereof in one direction. A suitable handle means 25 is connected to the side of the housing 11 so as to enable one to hold the finger exerciser 10 in much the same manner one would hold the musical instrument which the exerciser is arranged to simulate.
From the foregoing description, it will be readily apparent that the finger exerciser 10 is constructed and arranged so as to simulate the valve action of the trumpet in which a player may vary the forces operating on each of the respective valve means by adjustments disposed entirely externally of the housing. In the arrangement described and illustrated with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2, it will be readily apparent that one can easily and quickly effect the adjustment of the desired bias on each of the respective valve means.
The operation of the device is such that one may readily practice and/ or coordinate the valve action in accordance with any given music in complete silence, and in a manner whereby the finger culture may be continually developed by varying the forces of the spring acting thereon.
The construction of the device is such that a beginner, by positioning the respective bushings at the lowermost adjustment provided, needs apply only minimum pressure to actuate each of the respective valve means. Therefore, as ones finger coordination and/or dexterity develops, the bias of the respective keys can be individually adjusted in accordance with the finger development of a given individual. It is desired that the tension of the springs 19 be such that in the maximum biased position thereof, the force which the spring exerts on its respective valve means is greater than that found in the valve means of a conventional musical instrument. Thus,- when ones proficiency develops on a device 10, as herein described, a point where the bias of the springs acting on the respective valve members is greater than normally found in a conventional trumpet, the application of the skill thus acquired when applied to an actual horn or trumpet will render the playing thereof smooth and easy.
FIG. 3 illustrates a modified form of the invention. In this form of the invention the device 30 is constructed so that the spring 3 1 acting on the valve means 32 is adjusted at either its minimum or maximum bias. As shown, in FIG. 3, the housing 33 is similar to that of FIG. 1, with the exception that the upper end of the bore 34 is counterbored so as to define the internal shoulder 35. The valving means 32 reciprocally mounted within the bore comprises a stem 36 which extends longitudinally through the length of the entire bore 34 so that the lower end 36A extends beyond the lower end of the housing 33 and the upper end 36B of the stem 36 extends outwardly beyond the upper end of the housing.
A retaining means in the form of a retaining ring 37 suitably secured into a complementary groove 38 adjacent the extended lower end 36A of the stem 36 functions to limit the movement of the valve stem 36 outwardly of the housing. The upper end of the valve stem 36 is threaded for receiving the valve button 39.
In accordance with this invention the spring 31 is seated against the internal shoulder 35 and the valve button 39 to engage or bias the valve stem 36 outwardly of the housing. A sleeve 40 having an inturned annular flange 41 on one end thereof is adapted to be disposed about the valve stem 36 so as to define a shield for the upper end of the spring 31 extending beyond the upper end of the housing 3 As seen in FIG. 3, it is to be noted that the arrangement is such that the tension of the spring 31 acting on the valve head 39 is at its minimum bias. To adjust the force of the spring or increase its bias on the valve stem 36 of the embodiment of FIG. 3 to provide for maximum bias thereon, the sleeve 40 is reversed so that the spring 31 is compressed between the inturned flange 41 of the sleeve 40 and the internal shoulder 35 of the housing 33 as best seen in FIG. 4. Accordingly, in this form of the invention the respective valves 32 are provided with two settings only, namely a maximum bias setting and a minimum bias setting. However, it will be understood that intermediate bias settings may be attained by providing additional sleeve members 40 of varying lengths. Accordingly, depending upon the length of a given sleeve, the difference between the minimum and maximum bias can be varied accordingly.
FIG. 5 illustrates a device 50 in which the bias of the spring 51 acting on the valve member 52 can be set at predetermined set intervals. As best seen in FIG. 5, the housing 53 of this embodiment is similar to that described with respect to FIG. 2. However, in this form of the invention the valve stem 54 is made somewhat longer than that described and illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. Accordingly, it will be noted that the length of the valve stem 54 is such that the upper portion 54A thereof extends beyond the internal shoulder 55 defined by the counterbore 56. The lower extended end 54B of the valve stem is provided with a plurality of vertically spaced grooves 56 in which a spring retaining or stop ring 57 may be disposed. Accordingly the uppermost groove 56A is provided with a limiting ring 58 to limit the outward movement of the valve, and the stop ring 57 is selectively positioned in any one of the other remaining annular grooves 56 to vary the compressive force of the spring 51 disposed between the stop ring 57 and the threaded screw 59 which defines the closure for the respective bore openings of the housing. Depending upon the position of the lowermost retaining or stop ring 57 the compression of the spring acting on the valve stem is varied accordingly.
In this form of the invention a round tube or rod 61 is connected to the side of the housing 53 to simulate that part of the horn adjacent the valve portions thereof.
In each of the embodiments disclosed it will be noted that a means is provided for varying the force of the spring operating on the respective valve members. In the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2, the arrangement is such that the bias of the spring 19 can be infinitely varied between its minimum and maximum biasing position. In FIGS. 3 and 4 an arrangement is disclosed wherein the spring adjustment for any given sleeve length is adjusted in either its minimum or maximum position, and by varying the length of the sleeve 40 the difference between the minimum and maximum force can be varied accordingly. In FIG. 5 the arrangement is such that the force of the spring can be adjusted at predetermined set levels.
While the instant invention has been disclosed as applied to a non-playing practice device, it will be readily understood and appreciated that the means by which the force of the spring acting on the valve are rendered adjustable can be readily applied to the valve structure of an actual musical instrument.
The instant invention has been described with respect to several embodiments thereof, and it will be readily understood and appreciated that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A finger valve exerciser for the continuous development of finger dexterity and coordination for enhancing the playing of musical wind instruments having valve action comprising:
a housing with a bore extending therethrough,
a valving means reciprocally mounted within the bore of said housing for limited reciprocal movement therein,
means for limiting the reciprocal movement of said valving means,
a spring means mounted within said bore for normally biasing said valving means in a direction outwardly of said bore,
and means operating on said spring means for varying the biasing force of said spring means on said valving means,
an elongated slot communicating with said bore,
and said means for varying the bias on said spring means includes a movable adjustable bushing which defines the bottom of said bore whereby said bushing is adjustable along the length of said slot, and
set screw extended through said slot to engage said bushing to externally effect the adjustment of said spring means.
2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said bore is counterbored to provide an internal shoulder intermediate the length thereof,
and said valving means includes a stem reciprocally mounted therein,
a valve head connected to the end of said stem for engaging said shoulder to limit the movement thereof outwardly of said housing,
a valve button connected to the other end of said stem externally of said housing,
and said spring means comprising a coil spring disposed between said bushing and said valve head for biasing said valving means.
3. The invention as defined in claim 2 wherein said limiting means includes means for silencing the operation of said valving means, said latter means including a washer of resilient material connected to said valve button and a second washer of resilient material to define a seat against which said valve head normally engages.
4. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said limiting means includes means for silencing the operation of said valving means.
5. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein:
said housing includes a plurality of spaced bores extending therethrough,
each of said bores containing a valving means disposed therein,
and means for effecting individual adjustment of the respective spring means operating on the respective valving means.
6. The invention as defined in claim 5 and including a handle means connected to said housing to facilitate holding the same.
7. A silent musical finger valve exerciser for the continuous development of finger dexterity and coordination for enhancing the playing of musical wind instruments with valve action keys comprising:
a housing having a plurality of spaced apart bores extending therethrough, the spacing of said bores simulating the spacing of the valves of a given musical wind instrument,
each of said bores having its respective lower end portion counterbored to define an internal shoulder intermediate the length thereof,
a vjalving means reciprocally mounted in each of said ores,
each of said valving means including a stem reciprocally mounted in the reduced end portion of the respective bores,
said stems each having an upper end portion extending beyond the upper end of said housing and having a lower end extending beyond said internal shoulder of its respective bore,
a headed screw threaded into the lower end of each stem, said head screw limiting the outward movement of the respective valving means relative to said housa button head connected to the upper end of the stem,
a plurality of elongated slots formed in the side of said housing, each of said slots being in communication and extending along the counterbored portions of the respective bores,
7 8 a bushing having a tapped hole slidably received in the nected to the lower end of said button head, and a second counterbored portion of the respective bores, resilient washer defining a seat about said valve stem adjasaid bushings being disposed in alignment with the slot cent the shoulder of said bore.
of the respective bore, a set screw extending through the slot of the respective 5 References Cited gore1 to engage in the tapped hole of the associated UNITED STATES PATENTS us mg, v a spring means disposed between the respective bushgstrqvsky ings and the head screw of the respective valving 2990744 7/1961 t fi 84 5 means whereby the bias of the respective springs 10 3197188 7/1965 i jg operating on each of the respective valving means can be individually adjusted from externally of said housing by effecting relative adjustment of the re- RICHARD WILKINSON Primary Examiner spective bushing. L. R. FRANKLIN, Assistant Examiner. 8. The invention as defined in claim 7 and including 15 means for silencing the operation of said valving means,
said silencing means including a first resilient washer con- 267-4