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6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby bloke » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:32 pm

For quite a long time, I've nursed a theory that an upper bow (on a 6/4 size tuba) that is too large in volume/bore will cause the 3rd partial to sag.

Conn 2XJ tubas have very fat top bows as do Holton 34X tubas. Conn 2XJ tubas were built with more consistency than were Holton 34X tubas, and all Conn 2XJ tubas seem to sport the same amount of third partial flatness whereas Holton 34X tubas seem to vary from "somewhat" to "very" flat.

My fairly-new-to-me M-W 6/4 tuba (sporting the basic bugle apparently used for all 2165/2265/6450 tubas) sports a "slightly flat" 3rd partial when COLD (particularly, obviously, when I FIRST pick it up to play it in the WINTERtime, as I generally only keep my home heated to c. 60° F.). As the tuba is warmed up, the overall tuning creeps up, but when this tuba is FINALLY warmed up, the 3rd partial is NOT flat. A very clever and observant tuba-playing friend of mine owns a similar tuba and has made similar observations. However, he has gone a step further: He pointed out to me that his 3rd partial is flat UNTIL the top bow does NOT feel cold to the touch. :shock:

Does this (a warmer/faster/higher-pitched air stream in the upper bow raising the pitch of the 3rd partial) seem to support my theory of 6/4 tubas/proportionally too-large upper bow=flat third partial, or is this just another "tight-leather-belt-around-the-bell" sort of observation?

bloke "with apologies to those who subscribe to the tight-leather-belt-around-the-bell theories"
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby BRSousa » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Seems plausible.

It would be neat to find as many Tubas with a fatter top bow and test this out. Also test them against similar sized Tubas with a thinner top bow.

What is the degree of pitch variance caused by player and mouthpiece?
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby kingconn » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:01 pm

pour some water in the horn and turn the horn until the spot you think is too large is on the bottom. this will make for some uncomfortable playing positions but will give you an idea of where to look to find trouble spots.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby goodgigs » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:34 pm

kingconn wrote:pour some water in the horn and turn the horn until the spot you think is too large is on the bottom. this will make for some uncomfortable playing positions but will give you an idea of where to look to find trouble spots.
mike

Well there's some out of the box thinking and It might work but.........Water being liquid might tend to absorb or distort the sound waves.Worth a try.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby k001k47 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:39 pm

Maybe that heated blanket you were looking for earlier could help speed up the warming process. :)
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby iiipopes » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:07 pm

Of course, this begs the question: if it is the large upper bow being too large, what is the fix? Take it off, trim the seam to make it marginally smaller, rebraze it, and reinstall it?
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby bloke » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:28 pm

k001k47 wrote:Maybe that heated blanket you were looking for earlier could help speed up the warming process. :)


I got one, and that is its specific purpose. :)
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby tuben » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:15 pm

What about the same flat partial on Alex 163 CC's? That upper bow is much 'leaner'.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby tubaguy9 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:18 pm

bloke wrote:...is this just another "tight-leather-belt-around-the-bell" sort of observation?

Maybe tie a belt around that upper bow! :P :wink:
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby arpthark » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:21 am

I know a repairman who was experimenting with installing shims inside the bows of 6/4 tubas (Holtons and Conns) to make the inner dimensions of the bow smaller, in order to bring up the flat 3rd and 5th partials.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby NDSPTuba » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:31 am

I haven't thought much about it before, but I have noticed that sometimes I have to work at putting my G in tune and other times I don't even have to think about it. I'll have to pay attention and see it that phenomenon follows your observation. I'm thinking it probably does, because it is usually when i first start playing when I notice the intonation issues.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby sloan » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:07 am

If only you had a 6/4 tuba that needed to have it's top bow replaced...perhaps you could experiment.

Or, a soon-to-be-scrap top bow sealed with packing tape. One might apply a ball-peen hammer judiciously to decrease the bore until that pesky 3rd partial perked up.

Once you know just the right size dent, you could travel the world improving intonation with your hammer.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby Deleted dp » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:30 am

sloan wrote:Once you know just the right size dent, you could travel the world improving intonation with your hammer.


:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby bloke » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:37 am

DP wrote:
sloan wrote:Once you know just the right size dent, you could travel the world improving intonation with your hammer.


:lol: :lol: :lol:


If I hit myself in the head with it hard enough and often enough, the "flat third partial" thing won't matter much...
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby iiipopes » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:27 am

sloan wrote:Once you know just the right size dent, you could travel the world improving intonation with your hammer.

No joke: The Besson Comp I used to own had perfect 5th partial intonation. It was also a tad stuffy. I took it to my tech for new corks, check for leaks, etc. He noticed a bad dent in the knuckle between the 1st and 2nd valve. He fixed it. The tuba blew more freely, but the 5th partial pitch sagged. I took a ball peen hammer, and ever so gently tapped the knuckle to reintroduce the dent, but not to the degree it was obstructing the port before. My pitch came back, with very little stuffiness. I sold the tuba cheap to a friend of mine so I know where it is if I ever desire to borrow it back!
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby tbn.al » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:43 am

Not just tubas and not just top bows. I once had an old 88H with a spring loaded 1st position, ostensibly to affect the dreaded 5th partial D. I found myself over time usuing it as much for the 3rd partial F as the D. Agreed, it is not as bad as the 6/4 tuba issue, 'cause when you are playing a giant tuning slide, who cares. I have had other trombones with flat 3rd partials, but it's never been too much of a problem to lip the F up though on those without a springy first position. Conical vs cylindrical?
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby Bob Kolada » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:38 am

tbn.al wrote:Not just tubas and not just top bows. I once had an old 88H with a spring loaded 1st position, ostensibly to affect the dreaded 5th partial D. I found myself over time usuing it as much for the 3rd partial F as the D. Agreed, it is not as bad as the 6/4 tuba issue, 'cause when you are playing a giant tuning slide, who cares. I have had other trombones with flat 3rd partials, but it's never been too much of a problem to lip the F up though on those without a springy first position. Conical vs cylindrical?

My first F contra had a -stupid- flat 3rd partial, to the point where I played that C with the valve and had to bring the other 3rd partial notes in about 2-3" each. That's one of the reasons I didn't keep it. :D
All of my other trombones are fine (slightly sharp at worst) on that note as well as the D most trombonists are always whining about. Actually, every other horn I've played for a while was also fine on that 3rd partial except for a few Miraphones; they didn't seem sharp exactly but 13 locked in much better. One in particular I played that F, the C below, and low F 13. C was easier to slur to surrounding notes and low F seemed to pop better. I only used the 4th valve for B, E, low Eb (124 and relax or lip up, 1st slide was very very slow), and D.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby bloke » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:54 am

Old "hand-made" Miraphone 186-CC tubas sported a low third partial, and they also featured a top bow that was more of a "flared out" version of the BBb top bow (as compared to the modern ones that are not plagued with this problem).
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby bloke » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:28 pm

A knowledgeable tubenet subscriber posted some information in this thread and then deleted it. I gathered some stat's to verify the correctly-stated (deleted) post, and they are listed below:

The model 6450 bottom bow large side sports a 5.85" outside diameter and a 4.10" small size outside diameter.
The model 2165 bottom bow large size sports a 6.05" outside diameter and a 4.45" small side outside diameter.

The bottom bow large side diameter difference is c. 2/10" (less than 1/4") and the bottom bow small side diameter difference is c. 11/32" (less than 3/8"). It is concluded, then, that the 6450 (while still absolutely a 6/4-size tuba) is "shrunken" from the sibling model 2165 at both the large and small ends of the instrument.

EDIT:
It is starting to appear as though these M-W 6/4 tubas vary quite a bit and that some of the differences may (??) just be...well...just differences :| ; Another friend (with a 2165) reports in-between dimensions: 4-3/8" o.d. (small side) and 5-9/10" (large side).
Last edited by bloke on Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 6/4 tuba topic: flat 3rd partial...large upper bow

Postby jeopardymaster » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:42 pm

Interesting. But I really hadn't noticed the bottom line g to be consistently flat on ANY horns other than the Alex 163 - and even that is rather inconsistent. Maybe it's a lack of experience on my part, I dunno. It's actually just a smidgen SHARP on my Neptune, though marginally troublesome to me only in Eb Major.
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