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Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:08 am

Is it possible to date an older Alex tuba? Mine is supposedly from the mid teens and looks almost exactly like those from the 50s - the only number I see is the one on the paddle assembly, which I know was replaced at one time. The previous owner had it 42 years and had a lot of help coming up with that date, but I would like to try to confirm it myself. Maybe I just need to get a life! 8) :tuba:
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:22 am

Ben made that suggestion - and to contact the US rep. I will be doing that in the next day or so.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Casca Grossa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:30 am

Make sure you bring flowers, wine, and wear a tie. Dinner and a movie is always good. :P
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Ted Cox » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:59 am

It's nearly impossible to put an exact date on Alexander tubas made before 1975. 1975 is the year serial numbers showed up, but even those numbers are tricky. You'll have a number most likely on the valve cluster that all match. These numbers don't mean a thing; they are put on to keep track when the valve assembly is put together. Don't believe any "romantic" notions regarding what that little number means. If the bell has a v shaped gusset, you know the instrument is pre 1975. It was around that time Alex outsourced their bells to Meinl and how they were made changed. If you put up some photos, I'll take a stab at it.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby tbn.al » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:04 am

You have to be very careful when you date an Alex. Some folks round these parts wound up married to 'em.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby TubaRay » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:50 am

Casca Grossa wrote:Make sure you bring flowers, wine, and wear a tie. Dinner and a movie is always good. :P

I'm married now, and have been for some time, but I always preferred dating girls. Not that I don't find an Alexander tuba attractive, mind you.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:53 am

Casca Grossa wrote:Make sure you bring flowers, wine, and wear a tie. Dinner and a movie is always good. :P
How did I know that was coming? :tuba:
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:21 am

Ted Cox wrote: If you put up some photos, I'll take a stab at it.
Ted

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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Casca Grossa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:25 am

tstryk wrote:
Casca Grossa wrote:Make sure you bring flowers, wine, and wear a tie. Dinner and a movie is always good. :P
How did I know that was coming? :tuba:

At least your weren't looking for a friend with benefits.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Tom » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:26 am

I found the factory to be most helpful when I contacted them with the exact same question about my own Alexander. It was sold to me as a 1960s Alexander 163 CC when, in fact, it's a 1983 per Alexander records.

What leads you to believe that it's from the mid teens?
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby bloke » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:34 am

TubaRay wrote:I always preferred dating girls.


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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:36 am

Looks 1950s or 1960s to me. The really old ones that I have seen had much different ferrules and braces. Mine was dated by the factory. I sent photos and the anecdotal information to them. They gave me their best guess. Since they had produced zero 163 CCs the year mine had been purchased, it probably came from a batch of six they had made the year before. So they have some information to check against, but they also had one builder who did tubas at that time still working there, and he looked at the photos too.

But records of manufacture or living memories of employees from the era you think yours came from will probably not exist. They will look at engraving of the bell kranz and rear caps as well as the detailing of the braces and ferrules. They have also changed the details of the leadpipe-to-bell brace, the sleeve over the end of the mouthpipe, the feet of the thumb ring and lyre holder, and the size and shape of the keel. Even the water key and bracket can help. Send photos of all these details along with excellent, clear full shots of the front and back of the horn.

Write to them in German if you can. Trust me on this one... :tuba:
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:48 am

Tom wrote:What leads you to believe that it's from the mid teens?

Just what the guy I bought it from told me - he owned it for 42 years.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:51 am

tstryk wrote:
Tom wrote:What leads you to believe that it's from the mid teens?

Just what the guy I bought it from told me - he owned it for 42 years.

So he got it in 1970? Sure you did not misunderstand his pronunciation? Just asking...
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Ted Cox » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:54 am

Your tuba isn't from the teens. In the Alexander store, they have a tuba from I believe 1910 in a glass case. It's completely different, mostly the shape of the bell. I would say your tuba is from the 50's.
My friends at Alexander speak better english than we do, so don't worry about writing in english.
It's nice to know the age, but it really doesn't matter as long as you enjoy the horn. Older isn't better or worse as they are all interesting and different just as they are. You have a beautiful, old tuba.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:34 pm

the elephant wrote:Write to them in German if you can. Trust me on this one... :tuba:


ummm..... Houston, we have a problem! I know absolutely NO German.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:36 pm

Ted Cox wrote: Older isn't better or worse as they are all interesting and different just as they are. You have a beautiful, old tuba.
Ted


Thanks, Ted - that is how I feel about it!
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Ted Cox » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:02 pm

Thinking about this horn a bit more, I think the biggest clue to its age is the linkage. I don't know at what point Alexander changed the linkage and valve paddles to what we know today. They probably don't know either as it was a long time ago. My oldest Alex is probably from the very late 50's, I think before 1961. I don't have the clock springs on mine so it is surely older. It's too bad they didn't put serial numbers on these old horns. Back then I doubt anyone gave a thought to any of the instruments made being played in the 21st century.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:04 pm

the elephant wrote:
tstryk wrote:
Tom wrote:What leads you to believe that it's from the mid teens?

Just what the guy I bought it from told me - he owned it for 42 years.

So he got it in 1970? Sure you did not misunderstand his pronunciation? Just asking...

No - I have known him for almost 30 years and he thinks he is the 3rd owner of the horn. I have been coveting this tuba for that long, and he just decided to sell it - was a no-brainer for me. Several people have helped him come to the 1917 date, and he would not tell me a story about such things. I just like to do my own research and see what conclusion I come to. I just emailed Alexander and sent the pics I have - told them I would take any pics they needed to help date it. This is fun!
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:28 pm

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.
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