Question#2(brass tube bending)
Question#5(olds trumpet parts)
Question#8(valves and acid)
By reading old tubaeuph archives, I just stumbled upon your sites. This is what I've been looking for! About 3 years ago, I got really fed-up with the idiosyncracies of the F-tubas I'd been playing. I took the money I'd been saving for a new F, and bought tools from Ferree's and materials from a local metal shop. Of course, some things had to be gotten from a tuba factory: piston valve block, 2nd valve crook. After about 6 months of "on the job training", I had an F-tuba. (I sent this all in to the TUBAJournal, but it got mercilessly rewritten in the editing process. Maybe you saw it.)
Anyway, I've since gone on to other tuba-building projects that have allworked out pretty well. But I've still got a zillion questions that no one wants to answer. I have the Eric Brand repair book, but it doesn't cover a whole lot of ground. 1) Is there a better way to bend bows than lead? I've been using the lead alot, but everyone says it's REAL toxic. I've heard of using pitch, but can't seem to locate any. People have alsomentioned exotic metal alloys that are non-toxic. I've heard the Japanese use a type of frozen- sherbet during bending. Metalworking books mentioncompletely filling the closed-off pipe with sand before bending. Can you give me some advice?
2) I made a HUGE CC tuba that worked out OK, but there is a real fuzzy spot on F and E just below the staff. Absolutely no center. I've tried makingdifferent leadpipes, even replaced a few interior bows with no effect. How do you track down a specific problem like this? Is there a formula to helplocate construction flaws? I've heard of a computer program developed by an Austrian firm that supposedly does this, but it costs $25,000.
3) Is there really an appreciable difference in brass alloys? My localrepairman just laughs when I tell him that I get the brass from the localwarehouse. He says it's cheap alloy, and can't be used for musical purposes, and that REAL brass has to be special-ordered from Germany. Well?
I can't imagine you have time to answer all these questions, but it's nice being able to ask them. I've suggested to several factories in Germany to have a 1 week master class in the summer, so that professional brass players can get an idea of how their instruments are made. They're so inbredthere, though, that the idea just sort of fell to the floor.
Anyway, great sites! I'll be back.
Thanks for visiting my web sites. I hope to get back to them soon and add more significant info. I don't have any trouble answering your questions and try to be as helpful as I can when asked. You seem to be a very ambitiousfellow! I don't know that many people who have made their own horns! On to your questions- The alloy of brass is most significant during themanufacture of the instrument. Some alloys are softer but work harden fasterwhile others stay pliable after many operations. The formation of a bell requires a alloy that will remain piable through many successive operations. For this purpose Low Lead Brass or Cartidge Brass are used. Cartidge Brass is slightly harder but contains no lead, an ingredient which can cause surfaceimperfections. A small amount of lead can make a copper alloy easier to machine(spinning the rim, cutting pleats, trimming bell bead). These are the most common but not the only alloys of choice. Your local repairman is misinformedabout the quality of metals in the USA. You can get a wide variety of metals off the shelf or have them made to order (If you have the money!). German brass is no different from the stuff you can buy here (although the Germanswouldn't mind your thinking their stuff was better!). I get my brass from Copper and Brass Sales. I may put some info up at the site about bendingmaterials. There are several different materials that work. I prefer pitch since it is about the least toxic.
Do you have any information on proper technique to bend brass tubing? I'm looking for any information, books or otherwise. I have kinked so manytubes that I don't want to try again until I get some information.
I think I can help you with this problem. My company does alot of this type of work(ie. bending and fabricating of brass parts for musical instruments).We can spin bells and draw tubing as well as take out dents! When bendingtubing with pitch, you have to remember that temperature is very important. Try and maintain a constant termperature of about 70 degrees. You can do this by placing the part to be bent in a bucket of water which you have broughtup to 70 degrees. If you are careful with this you will minimize the dimpling.There is always a certain amount of this when you ae using pitch since it is not quite as tough as lead. Lead is great for bending but is pretty toxic! I don't use it anymore for this reason. Once you have bent the tube, heat it up slowly to remove the pitch. It will be necessary to bring it up toannealing temperatures to remove the remaining pitch( if you have a vapordegreasor, you can place it in a pan in the unit and this will clear the rest of the residual pitch and catch it so as to not destroy the tri-chlor). Of course, you will have an annealed tube if you do not have a degreasor so cool the tube rapidly under cold water to slightly harden it for mounting.
I have owned a Conn 88H symphonic tenor trombone for almost a year, but still find the trigger position uncomfortable. Some times I accidentally allow the lever to rest against the back of my thumb, partially opening the valve and wreaking havoc with my sound. Has anyone else ever complained of this problem, and do you have a solution? I would love to reconfigure the trigger to allow more room for my hand. It seems that when I reposition my hand to keep the back of my thumb away from the lever I risk pinching my hand in the slide! I would appreciate any suggestions.
I have heard several different stories about the 88H trigger system. Somecompalin of getting their fingers stuck, although I think this may be nerves!Your problem is not unusual and can be corrected. It is important to work closely with a competent technician to find a comfortable position in which you can operate the trigger. If you let me know where you're from, I can refer you to a technician in your area. If there is none, I'll take care of it at MMIS. We can build a new trigger which is comfortable and easy tomanipulate. I have a customer in Rochester,MI who has very large hands that complains of the same problem. I made a curved brace that attaches to the slide(hand slide brace) which allows his hand to comfortably grasp the slide. His hand is extended so that his trigger is a little less cramped feeling. I know this is vague, but it is difficult to explain this----his thumb is extended keeping the pond of his thumb on the trigger paddle.
I've got a Eterna by Getzen trumpet and a flugle horn that were in a storagefor 20+ years. They seem to be flat, by a half tone. Is there any reason why this should happen, and can you repair such a problem? How would you go about doing it?
Thanks for writing concerning your Getzen flugel and trumpet. Getzen has had a long history of mishaps and generally poor quality craftsmanship. This is not to say that a number of their horns didn't play great. They just put more emphasis on production. Your horns can most likely be fixed by shorteningthe tuning slide tubes or tuning slide bow. In the case of the Flugel, you may want to investigate getting a new mouthpipe. There are several smallinstrument makers which make pipes which can improve the intonation and tone.Tottle Mouthpieces also makes a couple different mouthpieces which make mostGetzen horns play a little more reliably in tune. Try the Tottle "p" backborewith a comfortable combination of rim and cup. I hope this information is of some use. If you decide to get the horn "Repaired" please consider MichiganMusical Instrument service. We can perform the necessary work to get your horn back in tune and blowing freely!
Thanks for info on horn repair presented through the homepage. Wonder if someone would have ideas of where I might be able to get a few parts for an old trumpet I recently picked up. The name on it is "Jupiter" made by K.H.S Musical Instrument Company. In particular, I'm looking to replace the spit valves which are a side-push button contraption that I've never seen before, instead of the lever type that I've usually encountered. I'd also like to get some felt pads for the inside and outside of the valve keys. I should be able to find the pads around here [I would think], but I suspect the spit valves might be harder to come by.
Any help appreciated.
The waterkey is called an "Amado Waterkey". They are available by mail from Allied Supply or Ferees Supply, both of which are mentioned at the RepairPage. You may want to take this info. down to your local repairman who probablyhas these in stock. Felts and cork are the bread and butter of the repairbusiness so ask your local guy for these too. The cost on the waterkeys may surprise you so watch out! They run around $14 the last time I had to order. The Jupiter Instrument Company sells its instruments throughUMI(United Musical Instruments), if I'm not mistaken. Most of the instrumentsthey sell are pretty good quality. They are considered student and step upquality horns.
Do you offer a instrument repair training course via mail or video???
I use to tool around in high school with the director and learned a littlebit, but I think I would like to learn more...
I do not offer repair courses although Red Wing Technical in Wisconsin still does. There aren't too many schools still offering repair due to the costs involved in supplying the labs. I do have one apprentice at the presenttime. I will possibly take on another in the summer although I am not sure at this time. I do teach a course at Wayne State University in instrumentrepair for graduate education majors. This course is being offered in the spring term. This course covers most of the basic repair techniques used in the average shop. If you would like to learn more on your own you may want to buy the Erik Brand Repair Manual from Ferees Supply. The address is available at my Repair Web Site----http://ic.net/~cmctuba/brass/repair.html.These guys will deal with anyone, not just repairmen with letterhead. You may also want to get their catalogue which has tons of great tool info. which you will find very interesting and useful.
I have a King Cleveland 605f from years ago, and want to cut it up. What is the price comparison (in real numbers, please) between shortening this horn and buying a real alto ($1,000-2,000). First, is it possible? Then,whatis necessary: Slide shortening, 1/2 step valve build, and crook moving? I'd also like input on removing the outer bell ring,to decrease circ. of the bell. Is there much else involved in the conversion/rebuild?
Unless you are planning on doing something special when building a new horn, I would simply buy one that is close to what you want then make minorchanges. The difficulties involved in removing a bell rim then re-spinning a rim are very costly. A mandrel has to be made to fit the bell throat of the existing bell, then a apparatus has to be constructed to hold the bell in place while spinning. The tools alone would run around $1500(these are real numbers!). The actual cutting down of the horn would be billed on a per hour basis($40 per hour). I am not a fan of "Cutting Down" horns since it is seldom an improvement. There are enough good altos out there thatconversion should not be necessary. It seems to me, I see them all over theplace! Give me a call at the shop if you're still interested in doing something.
Help. A local repair shop ruined my Bach Strad. Is there anything that can be done to rebuild valve casings? The repairman left my horn in a "Brite Dip solution to remove the laquer which was severely worn. I think he left it in over night. A lot of material was removed. The valves leakpretty bad now. Is the horn history. What can be done? Does plating thevalves build up material on the inside bore through te valve. Is the geometry(lining up of valves sacraficed with nickel plating. Does anyone sell oversizedmonel valves for this horn?
The repair shop most likely put your horn in chromic acid. This typeof acid will eat the surface away from brass and nickel very rapidly (thus giving it that nice yellow color most people associate with an "Acid Bath"). Your horn is not necessarily destroyed. Slides as well as valves can be replaced. If the valves are leaky, they can be replated and refit without much trouble.This does affect the size of the ports, aka-liners(Liners- tubes which providepassage through the valve). The size of the liners diameter will be effected in direct relationship to the amount of material used to "Build Up" the outervalve surface. This can cause the horn to play "Stuffy" but does not have as much effect as you might think. Selmer (Bach) does sell replacement valves for this horn and can be ordered slightly oversized (although, I think these may be nickel plated in contrast to the original Monel).