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My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:39 pm

Finally after nearly 2 years of moving these parts horns around my house, my project is underway! My plan was to take the valve section from an old, beat-up King 2341 BBb and merge it into the body of a 1915 York Monster Eb. I am primarily an Eb player, both in brass band and in quintet. It's my hope that this horn, when finished, will be a great, all around horn for daily use in any situation. It will be easy to transport because it'll be much smaller than the Willson Eb or CC tubas that I use, and since Eb tubas are so versatile I won't have to keep/carry multiple horns.

Here's a photo of the King valves/mouthpipe after I removed them from the rest of the horn:

Image

Here's a couple of photos of the York Monster Eb:

Image

Image

I chose the King 2341 because I wanted increase the bore size of the York from .656" to .687", and increase from 3 front-action pistons to 4 front-action pistons and a thumb operated 5th rotor. I chose this particular York because it had a rotary 4th valve (.709" bore) added by a previous owner. It's configuration was a bit strange, but that could be changed.

I had originally intended to try to tackle this project on my own, but after spending some time removing the valve sections, taking measurements and attempting to decide where and how much to cut off the valve section, I chickened out a bit. I really want this to be a good looking AND good playing horn that I can use as my everyday player. Eventually I want to send it off to be refinished in the same sort of "frosted" silver plate finish with shiny silver inside the bell that the York had from the factory. If this were just a fun project for me to work on, and it wouldn't matter how it looked or played, I'd do the work myself. Maybe after this one is done, and I'm not looking for a great playing horn, I'll try another on my own! For now though, I decided to take this project to a professional to make sure it's done right.

That's all I have so far. I'm excited to get my first update to see how everything is coming together. I'll post updates and photos as I get them.

Andy T.
Last edited by ajtuba on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby Tubajug » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:05 pm

Very cool! Are you planning on using the rotary valve that's already on your York? That's very convenient to have!

It's funny you mention smaller, because these Yorks (similar dimensions to the Holton Monster Eb I used to put my horn together, though mine is a BBb, not Eb) aren't all that small in terms of physical size. The bell flare is roughly 20". And putting a five-valve cluster on there will certainly add to the weight, but they are compact, if that's what you mean. I like my Holton/King combo very much.

I look forward to seeing your finished product!
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby Tubajug » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:08 pm

Another thought I just had (and maybe you won't need to do this since you'll have a fifth valve on your horn) was that you might see about having Mr. Epley "unwrap" the fourth valve tubing so that it has easier slide access. That's one thing I'd like to eventually have done on mine.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby bort » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:11 pm

Seems like a perfect job for Norm!

Let us know how it turns out!
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:40 pm

Jordan, Norm and I actually talked about the 4th valve circuit when I dropped it off at his shop last week. I am in favor of having the 4th valve brought around to the front next to the 3rd slide, but want to avoid having a large, bulky, Conn 5xJ-like set of tubing out front. Norm's solution was to keep the 4th tubing around back where it is on the 2341, but when he cuts the circuit down to the correct length for an Eb horn, he will re-position the slide so it will be a top pull, making it easier to reach if needed.

Andy T.
Eb bass, Brass Band of Columbus

King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby roweenie » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:58 pm

Having a fourth valve pull on the front (top) with a King valveset is very doable. There is already present a stationary 4th valve crook on the top.

It's just a matter of arranging the tubing in such a way as to make it a removable crook.

The horn pictured below is in BBb, but I don't see any reason it can't be done on an E flat tuba as well.

I've never been able to figure out why they didn't do this on the new redesigned 2341 (or the 52J, for that matter).

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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby TubaBum » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:34 pm

That is a beautiful horn. The King valve sets are always a great choice, IMO better than some Yorks.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Wed May 04, 2016 4:52 pm

Status update on my project horn..... There hasn't really been much progress. For those who don't know, Norm somewhat suddenly had to move out of the shop where he was located in Louisville and relocate - right before he was to begin work on my horn. Moving and setting up all that equipment and tooling in a new location is time-consuming. I recently got word from Norm, that although he is not fully set up in his new location, he began to disassemble the King valves in preparation to convert them from BBb to Eb. Although I'm disappointed at the slow progress, I am glad to see work is starting to happen. When it comes down to it, I've waited over 2 years to see this project happen, so I can be patient for another couple of months as Norm gets settled in his new location. Norm says he'll soon be able to start sending regular updates, and I'm excited to see how my horn will start coming together!

Andy T.
Eb bass, Brass Band of Columbus

King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby TheGoyWonder » Wed May 04, 2016 10:36 pm

I don't get it. You had a completed project horn with the extra rotor. Instead of saying "Wow, am I lucky this worked out. SUCCESS!" you double down for a totally incremental gain?

Maybe if you're facing valve rebuild anyways it would make sense. Otherwise you could build an ENTIRE project around the King valveset instead of a very incremental one that rolls the dice on an already successful project.

Other ideas: just put another rotor into the 4th valve. Maybe the linkages require creativity, but should be very low risk.
Going from .656 to .687 bore is going to do bupkis. it's a super short leadpipe, so nothing wrong with small-looking bore. There are multiple Bb tubas with .656 bore and big sound. And the horn is way bigger than any currently made Eb, big sound should never be an issue.

A better project might be get a Reynolds Eb recording bass, drop the completed 4v Eb valveset in for an instant direct fit (sic, but as close as it gets with similar configuration and same bore), and put either a 16" Olds bell on the tenon or keep the 20" bell flare and substitute a staight bell throat to the tenon. The partials actually line up pretty well on that one, and it might even qualify as 5/4...the wrap would be skinny and tall, so hard to compare against most Eb which are squat. Clearly sub-monster tho. But not castrated by requiring a tiny period mouthpiece!

Anyway Yorks are so valuable, don't make it less York. Previous modder was extremely discreet and tasteful, I'd love to see more work in that direction.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby Tabor » Thu May 05, 2016 12:43 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:I don't get it. You had a completed project horn with the extra rotor. Instead of saying "Wow, am I lucky this worked out. SUCCESS!" you double down for a totally incremental gain?

Maybe if you're facing valve rebuild anyways it would make sense. Otherwise you could build an ENTIRE project around the King valveset instead of a very incremental one that rolls the dice on an already successful project.

Other ideas: just put another rotor into the 4th valve. Maybe the linkages require creativity, but should be very low risk.
Going from .656 to .687 bore is going to do bupkis. it's a super short leadpipe, so nothing wrong with small-looking bore. There are multiple Bb tubas with .656 bore and big sound. And the horn is way bigger than any currently made Eb, big sound should never be an issue.

A better project might be get a Reynolds Eb recording bass, drop the completed 4v Eb valveset in for an instant direct fit (sic, but as close as it gets with similar configuration and same bore), and put either a 16" Olds bell on the tenon or keep the 20" bell flare and substitute a staight bell throat to the tenon. The partials actually line up pretty well on that one, and it might even qualify as 5/4...the wrap would be skinny and tall, so hard to compare against most Eb which are squat. Clearly sub-monster tho. But not castrated by requiring a tiny period mouthpiece!

Anyway Yorks are so valuable, don't make it less York. Previous modder was extremely discreet and tasteful, I'd love to see more work in that direction.



IMHO this is going to be a real success. I doubt the king valves will make it sound any less like York. The small bore size gain aside, Norm does really nice work, it will add a 5th valve AND with King valves will have the possibility of having the king MAW valves, which are pretty amazing.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby arpthark » Thu May 05, 2016 12:48 pm

Norm Epley is a wizard. I'll always put in a good word for him. We've known each other for about ten years and he's always been so nice, ingenious, creative and incredibly patient. I can't wait until he's operating at full capacity again in Louisville.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby roweenie » Thu May 05, 2016 1:07 pm

Tabor wrote:
IMHO this is going to be a real success. I doubt the king valves will make it sound any less like York. The small bore size gain aside, Norm does really nice work, it will add a 5th valve AND with King valves will have the possibility of having the king MAW valves, which are pretty amazing.


Spot on, on all counts.

The horn I built (pictured above) is a GREAT player. It has a King valveset, a 700 series York bugle, and a Yamaha bell.

The smaller valveset gives the horn a little better facility, and doesn't sacrifice the sound. I've tried an original York bell on it, and I actually prefer the Yamaha bell; it gives the sound a little more "tightness" and "clarity". I would say it plays like a King on steroids. Furthermore, if you can arrange to have the 4th valve slide placed similarly, you will have the 2 most important slides (IMHO) right under your fingertips.

I've also got a 5th valve on order for it as I type this.

I also think you won't be disappointed.
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Thu May 05, 2016 2:42 pm

Thank you all for your input. I was hesitant to pursue this project (it took over 2 years to even get started with the work!), and even spent a good year using the York as my primary quintet horn just like it was. Getting the York in the condition as it appears in my photos above was a good score. Ultimately, though, there were a few things that led me to acquire the king valves and move forward with the project.

First, it is really (functionally) only a 3 valve horn. The rotor is set up as a 4th valve, and is exactly in tune with 1-3, so in my mind there was really no point to it. In addition, the way the 4th valve mechanism was set up it was very difficult to use. After some time trying to get accustomed to how it worked with no success, I gave up and played it as a 3 valve horn exclusively. Second, all the valves are in pretty poor shape and I found them to be quite leaky. In fact, in addition to using the King pistons, Norm is also replacing the rotor valve as we found it unsuitable for use on this project. Finally, and this is just my own personal opinion, I do find that moving from .656" to .687" bore is a worth while gain. I know that it isn't much of a change, but in my research into this project I played a lot of horns in both bore sizes and I can really feel a difference. The slight increase opens the horn up just enough to lose the back-pressure without making the horn a real air-hog.

I have to say I am genuinely nervous about this project. I really want this horn to turn out to be a good player. Although I have been able to acquire all the parts for reasonable prices, and Norm's fee for the work is very fair as well, I'm not made of money. If this thing turns out to be a dog, I'm gonna be without my own horn for a while. I've heard predictions of how this project would turn out - both good and bad. Thankfully, the good far outweighs the bad. The unknown result of the finished product still makes me nervous though. I've heard nothing but good things about Norm and his work, and I know my project is in good hands. I know he'll keep at it until it's a good one.

AT
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King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Thu May 05, 2016 2:46 pm

Roweenie, that is a beautiful horn! Norm and I spoke about the position of the 4th slide, and it was his suggestion to move it to the top just as you have done on your horn. I think that's a great solution, and makes it even easier to reach than if it were out on the side. I was actually going to ask if you planned to put a 5th valve on that horn too, and it sounds like you are. I bet that's an amazing player too.

AT
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King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby roweenie » Thu May 05, 2016 4:38 pm

ajtuba wrote:Roweenie, that is a beautiful horn! Norm and I spoke about the position of the 4th slide, and it was his suggestion to move it to the top just as you have done on your horn. I think that's a great solution, and makes it even easier to reach than if it were out on the side. I was actually going to ask if you planned to put a 5th valve on that horn too, and it sounds like you are. I bet that's an amazing player too.

AT


Thank you for the kind words, and I'm glad to have been of some help to you! It is a very nice player - it fits very well into quintet and other intimate-sized ensembles.

I was initially on the fence about putting a 5th valve on it - there is plenty of pull on the 4th valve slide, so I guess that it's not really needed, throretically. But, since I was unfortunately born with the obsessive compulsive gene, I....just....can't....help....myself......... :D
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby bloke » Thu May 05, 2016 8:14 pm

I like the look of that wangdoodle branch on the back !
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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Sun May 22, 2016 2:11 pm

Bloke, that "wangdoodle" branch is pretty cool. Someone put some thought into bending that pipe. I don't know if Norm will be able to reuse it, but it would be cool if he could. The extra pig-tail at the top could maybe be modified to allow for changing the length of the 5th valve - perhaps allowing an optional 1 or 2 whole step length.
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King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
King 1250 BBb sousaphone
Conn 12H trombone

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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:12 pm

It's been a while since my last update, and a lot has happened with this project! First, I have to say a big THANK YOU to Norm! He has been hard at work, and last weekend I was able to see and play a rough mock-up of my horn. First, I have to say - it plays AMAZING!!! I had no idea what to expect, but it's a very versatile horn that has a huge sound, but will allow you to be subtle and delicate when you want to be. Intonation is very consistent. It achieves all of the improvements I was hoping for over the old York.

I really like how it looks, too. I like the routing Norm chose for the valve tubing. In talking with him about how he arrived at the design he chose, he told me that after much experimentation, particularly with the 4th valve, he settled on a design which reminded him of a Perantucci PT-22. At this point, all that's left for him to do is finish bracing the horn and clean up some rough solder joints, and then it'll be ready to go!

I have several rounds of photos from Norm over the past months as he has been working on my horn. I'll post them shortly. This project has been close to 3 years in the making - 2 years gathering parts and waiting before it was finally underway. I am very excited to get my hands on the finished product!

Andy T.
Eb bass, Brass Band of Columbus

King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
King 1250 BBb sousaphone
Conn 12H trombone

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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:23 pm

Here's a couple of photos just after work started and the horn is disassembled.

Image

Image
Last edited by ajtuba on Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eb bass, Brass Band of Columbus

King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
King 1250 BBb sousaphone
Conn 12H trombone

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Re: My King/York Monster Eb Project - Finally Underway!

Postby ajtuba » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:27 pm

Here Norm has already cut down the valve section tubing from Bb to Eb, and he is beginning to experiment with design ideas for reassembly.

Image

Image
Last edited by ajtuba on Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Eb bass, Brass Band of Columbus

King 2341/York 670 "Monster" Eb tuba, Parker CJH mouthpiece
E.A. Couturier "Conical Bore" Eb tuba
King 1250 BBb sousaphone
Conn 12H trombone

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