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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:05 pm

Ben wrote:Responses from Alexander can take a while. You may end up waiting a week up to a month, depending on their holiday vacations. They will get back to you. I believe when I emailed them (in english), they contacted me directly with their aproximite answer from some of the "old workers" There was no direct record of my instrument, but they did confirm the design was consistent with the story I have been given when I purchased the instrument.


Cool - like we have talked about before - I don't really care what age it is - I would just like to see what they say! The one thing I have learned is how confusing the looks of them are. I imagine that in the old days each horn was built by ONE artisan - not an assembly line thing so each could be very unique. Each artisan would probably have an apprentice who would then build the same way their mentors did. This is the only way one could explain the differences in instruments of the same vintage. I have seen in these forums where instruments differ in a year or two (like yours) but are different. Then, an instrument made 10 years later resemble the earlier of the other two.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Daniel C. Oberloh » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:46 am

Just thought I would add to the mix...

A few years back, I restored a truly old Alx BBb. Guess on its age was about 1910. String linkage, no wreath on the original bell (had to be replace with a new Alex bell as it was toast). The new bell I put on has a wreath. Pretty much everything else was saved. I rebuilt the rotors and levers as well. The bell was not engraved but simply stamped with a die reading Alexander Mienze (sp?). I have included an image taken at its completion, just prior to shipping. Cool horn.Happy Holidays.

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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:53 am

Daniel C. Oberloh wrote: I restored a truly old Alx BBb.



That is one gorgeous horn! Funny how they have gone from paddle to clockwork back to paddle. Perhaps it was dependent on what people ordered? Seems the only thing consistent about and Alex was the inconsistency - and the sound!
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby j.picard » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:09 pm

This year, I bought a 164 (Kaiser) BBb Alexander made for the danish army in 1960: the year is printed on the bell. My tuba is exacly like yours except for the size and the silver plating.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Chris Mayer » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:43 am

Hi everybody and I wish you a Happy New Year.

Now after the Holidays, I have taken some detailed pictures of the garland of my presumably 1938 Alex 156 (3+3 valves). As Ted indicated, the garland is smaller than that of current models (25 mm versus 35 mm).

The 1938 engraving on the garland is about 4 mm in height and at the rear side of the garland. Gebr. Alexander is commonly known, whereas the oak leaf engraving left and right to "Gebr. Alexander Mainz" is also special.

I have set up the Tuba to play in 1, 1/2 and 1 1/2 with the left hand (valve 1 to 3). Right hand is 1 1/2, 1/2+, 2 1/2 (valve 4 to 6).

Gives some very good fingerings such as 5+6 for fis below the stuff (instead of 2+4) or the change from right hand 4+5 to left hand 1 for des to es above the staff (VW) which, for me, works much faster than any 2+3 to 1 triggering on a standard set-up.

BTW, after 32 years of hard Tuba playing ( I am 46 now), I have decided last July to move to french horn (Alex 103) to explore new frontiers and have not played tuba since then. My tuba mouthpiece feels like blowing into a car tire. Anyway, with the tuba buzzing experince, change is progressing very well in terms of tone quality and range and I am exploring all the wonderfull literature for horn (Mozart 3, Strauss 1, Saint Saens, Franz, Schumann, Charbrier). And the best thing of all, after having played BB, CC, F and Es Tuba over the years, I am immediatelly familiar with F and B Horn in Bass Key, Horn in E, Es, B or C on F and B side.

In writing this, I might be willing to trade my F Tuba, as it would only sit arround, for a nice french Horn. I am curious if that would work, as I know there are some french Horn -Tuba double players on this board

Now as I have opended up 2 new topics I will stop. If you want to have more info on the F-Tuba, please send me an email.

regards

Chris
Attachments
Alex 156.jpg
Alex 156.jpg (187.72 KiB) Viewed 1150 times
Garland Oak leaf 1.jpg
Oak leaf engraving
Garland Oak leaf 1.jpg (73.77 KiB) Viewed 1150 times
Garland 1938.jpg
1938 engraving (4mm hight)
Garland 1938.jpg (201.26 KiB) Viewed 1150 times
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:21 pm

the elephant wrote:That's cool. Ted's experience with them is much more than mine. They had trouble with my letter in english back in 1996, so I sent it on in German, which netted me a much quicker response. I probably got the one family member who took Icelandic as his second language in his school days. HA!

This horn looks very 1960s to me, save for the clockwork springs, so I would guess late 1950s, as I said. My BBb was a 1958 and my CC was a 1959. The BBb had the clockwork springs and the 1959 (made for US-use) had the spiral springs. I think they used both for a short period of time.


OK - let's throw another monkey wrench into this. Got an email from Alex today - they think it is from the early 70s. I know this this not the case because the guy I bought it from bought it in 1969 and it was very used at that time (the clockwork springs were already worn out)- so it has to be much older than they believe it to be. At least that is what logic tells me. And then, you have the story told to my friend from the person HE bought it from. Like I have said before, it really does not matter to me how old it is - I love the horn and love to play it and that is all that matters.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby tubadoctor » Tue May 29, 2018 10:30 am

Hello Tubenet folks!

I'd love to revisit this thread and all of the knowledgeable folks on it, if you wouldn't mind. I have had two CC 163's in the past. Loved em both, but got rid of them each for different reasons. Most recently, I picked up a silver plated BBb 163 that was in a pretty sad state, but still played great!

https://imgur.com/gallery/86CpMWN" target="_blank

Can anyone hazard a guess at the age on this one? Leadpipe is not original, obviously... Unsure if those extra long ferrules are original or modifications early on. Cloclwork setup is all original. I'm debating on swapping it out for a modern Miraphone set and uniball linkage, but I just love the look and feel of the old spatulas enough at this point to live with them as is... Thanks in advance!
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Heavy_Metal » Wed May 30, 2018 11:20 pm

Might be older than you think. It looks a lot like mine, and we think mine dates back to around 1900, give or take.

Those clocksprings are different from mine- mine have adjustable spring tension.

Does yours have a kranz on the inside of the bell as well as the outside?
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby tubadoctor » Thu May 31, 2018 6:41 pm

no kranz on the inside on this one.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby tubadoctor » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:47 pm

any Alex gurus out there able to chime in?
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby TheBerlinerTuba » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:30 am

Hello tubadoctor,

your Alexander 163 looks to have been made in the 1920s. It's hard to be sure from the photos, but most of the contrabass tubas built by Alexander before WW2 tend to have a slightly tighter bend in the top and bottom bows and yours seems to have that more 'narrow' bend. After WW2 they opened up 2-3cm in width, but this hard to tell from your photos. If the paddle assembly is original, the spring barrels have no profile which is a dead giveaway for 1920s. Into the 1930s they start to get a smoother rounded shape which lasts until the 1970s.

Perhaps the tuba was built for a military kapelle in high pitch, thus the later lengthened slides, but is only a guess. In southern Germany until the early 1930s most groups tended towards A=450ish and after WW2 many horns were modified to bring them down to 440Hz

Regards from Berlin,
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