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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:35 am

Finally got the 20j and the valve to the shop! Hopefully I will get an update on Sunday at our rehearsal (me and my tech play in a brass band together). He is working very closely with Anderson's and was going to contact them today. They are going take measurements and swap notes. He said there's a good chance that the valve block will need to be removed so they can hone the casing and lap the valve to the exact same specs.

His first move will be to straighten out and repair the damage and then evaluate the casing and valve and see what the next step is. It's going to be a big project but I'm just glad to finally make some progress on it. Hopefully if the casing is in good order then they can replate and lap the valve to size and drop it in without removing the valve block, but that will all depend on the wear and measurements of the casing.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:28 pm

Ok. Sorry it's been so long on the update. So we have another complication. The valve is much more bent than we initially thought. That and my tech thought he had the sleeve and lapping block for it but it turns out the largest he has is for a 20k. That said the cost of the repair is going to go way up if we have to search for and buy the tools. Also I'm pretty sure this is the only 2xj in the area (or at least that we have ever seen) so he would be buying all of these tools for just one job.

So I guess I'm back to looking for a valve unless I can find someone with the tooling and want too to take on this project.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby tubapix » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:18 am

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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:39 pm

Thanks but I only need #1. And I already contacted the guy with the #2 and he doesn't have any others.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby royjohn » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:16 pm

Ah, Andrew, this is very depressing...I contacted my local repair guy and he is going to look in his stash and also check around to see if he can find one...I might hear back from him today and if not, it might be late next week, as he only works W-Th-Fri. Is this the same as the souzy valve for the same year?
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:43 pm

Unfortunately no. 20k valves are slightly smaller and the ports are all wrong. I have a 22k valve section and was really hoping that would work. That and 20k valves are much easier to find.

Thank you for asking around for me.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:30 am

Ok so I finally got something started on this project. I sent the #1 and #2 valve (for refrence as they wore very nearly the same) off to Mr. Oberloh so he could work his magic on it. Hopefully as long as everything goes as planned I should be good to go. (Fingers crossed extremely hard).

Once I get them back I'm going to have #1 miced one last time before the valve ever touches the casing. Not out of mistrust but to ensure this doesn't happen again as well as get the valve alighned and a solder job done on the receiver and then it should be playing again.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby Lee Stofer » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:08 pm

Upon reading this post for the first time, I am so sorry to read about all the mental gymnastics you've been through over this tuba. I have good used 2XJ 1st pistons in my shop, I have the Ferree's valve sleeve and mandrel for that tuba, as well as the capability to do everything that this tuba needs and return it within less than a week.

To answer other posts, this tuba isn't a candidate for MAW valves. The whole theory behind Martin Wilk's valves is maintaining perfect roundness through the valveset, which the Conn short-action valves by design do not do. By the early 1930's Conn engineers had come up with an oval port design that works, and like the MAW valves does not have bumps or interruptions in the valve ports.

To answer still other posts, I'm pretty certain that Conn did not change the diameter of their short-action pistons, the variations encountered being pistons that have been replated larger to fit honed-out worn casings on other 2XJ tubas.

And, to comment on that perceived issue with Conn 2XJ's that has become a particular pet peeve of mine - if a Conn 2XJ is in 100% good working order, there is no issue with the F at the bottom of the staff - period. After doing restorative work to nearly a dozen of these tubas in the past 18 months, none of them left the shop with anything less than really good intonation, from the bargain-basement 20J with little lacquer to the gorgeous satin-silver 26/27J, they all played well. And, having played several Conn 20J's, a Conn 21J, multiple Conn 24J's and 25J's and a 34J over the years, all professionally, I believe that I could rightfully be designated a Conn-artist :wink:
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby TUbajohn20J » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:48 pm

Lee Stofer wrote:..And, to comment on that perceived issue with Conn 2XJ's that has become a particular pet peeve of mine - if a Conn 2XJ is in 100% good working order, there is no issue with the F at the bottom of the staff - period...


This!! Couldn't agree more. The F at the bottom of the staff on mine is perfectly in tune. I have to assume that the ones that play flat have leaks or the valves aren't aligned well.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:45 am

Lee Stofer wrote:Upon reading this post for the first time, I am so sorry to read about all the mental gymnastics you've been through over this tuba.


Don't be. I think I actually pm'd you about this horn and you told me you had the tools to do it but that was before I knew that my tech didn't have the tooling. After that...I completely forgot. I've been sending out so many messages about this horn that a lot of them slip my memory. I will definitely keep you in mind if something goes wrong this time though.

If I remember correctly this horn used to play well in tune with itself and the group. I was never much one to use a tuner but I do play alot by ear (a long with recordings or on piano with no music) so I've learned to hear pitch pretty well. Then again I could have been correcting it without thinking of it. That and the horn has spent the last 5 years in a band storage room so who knows if it got a few new dents in "all the right places" for these horns.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:42 am

Ok so my valves arrived alot earlier than I thought they would. Mr. Oberloh has been providing me with updates and pictures which he has allowed me to share here. So far all of the repair work has been done, the valve has been honed and the copper plating is done. It is ready for nickel plate next week. He us going to plate it about .0003" larger than the second to make sure it isn't loose in the casing. If need be it can be lapped if it's a little over size.

Here are the repair pictures:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

After honing:

Image

After copper, ready for Secondary honing:

Image

I'll add more as I get them.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby royjohn » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:38 am

Great! I can almost hear that horn playing now! :D :D :D
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:27 pm

I heard back from Mr. Oberloh today. The valve is complete! They finished plating it and he got it honed to match the 2nd valve today. He also made me a valve stem (as mine and the button were missing) and had it plated as well. Now all that we're waiting on is the button to arrive and it'll be on its way back to me. Once it gets back I'm going to have the valve and casing measured to to insure that they match up and have all three valves alligned. After that all I need done is to have the receiver and it's brace resoldered and it should be good to go

Image

Just after plating

Image

Finished product after honing to match #2.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby royjohn » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:34 am

I was glad to see these pictures and to hear that your 20j will soon be playing again. I,m eagerly awaiting your report and planning to haul mine out of the corner where it's been hiding as soon as I get back to the US. If you come to Italy, don't drive the Amalfi coastal highway unless you just love thrills. I made it out alive, but next time I will take a very large bus. LOL. It wasn't just the rental car, I was worried about dents in me! :D :D
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:03 pm

Well I think the picture says it all.

Image

I got the valve back yesterday and it looked even better than the pictures. I dropped it off at my tech for some light oil lapping and alignment of all the valves picked it up about an hour later. I didn't have a lot of time to play it but I played it for about 30 minutes and it plays great! The sound is even better than I remembered. I didn't get to get the receiver soldered so right now it's just taped. Even so the seal is great. I can definitely feel the seal on the valves as I play. I'm going to put play time into it tomorrow. It does have a few intonation quirks since the receiver is taped but it really does feel and sound nice. I'm just glad to hear that nice big sound resonating through the house again.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby TUbajohn20J » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:07 am

Congrats on getting the old girl playing again. I know it sounds great. Nothing like the sound of a big old Conn!
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:27 am

I agree 100%. I also love feeling the notes vibrate through the horn while playing it.

For those that were asking I did do some mouthpiece comparison. I haven't put the tuning bit on it yet. But I have a Laskey 30H, Bach 24AW, a newer Helleberg, an old style Loud LM7, a Kelly 18 and an old Rudolph Meinl 3.

Both the 24AW and Rudolph Meinl 3 are too small for me on this horn. They really cut down on the maneuverability and made the sound a lot lighter than I like. I figured this would be the case for these.

The LM7 has a bit of a brighter sound but I also felt I little confined when trying to jump octaves and such. I was a bit surprised as I'm pretty sure I used to use this mouthpiece on it alot and I didn't remember feeling confined.

Both the Helleberg and the Kelly do well. The Kelly is a bit brighter with the plastic composition. The intonation was better on these two than the last three.

My favorite by far was the Laskey 30H. While it is very similar to the Helleberg, it had a much deeper more round sound that I prefer for this horn. Also the intonation was by far better than the others. I was able to do jumps and play alot faster with it without having any issues keeping a consistent tone. Also the low register comes out a lot stronger with this mouthpiece.

I think the only two that I really liked were the Helleberg and the Laskey. I'm sure that the receiver has a lot to do with some of the responce issues I was having with the others as well as I'm still getting back used to playing a horn this big compared to my 52j. Once I get the receiver repaired I will do another test and see how much the results change. I do remember that when I was playing it before I used to have a Perantucci PT-48 that worked very well with this horn. I may try to find one to play test with, but my mouthpiece availability is very limited. I have only one music store left in the area and they usually only carry 24AWs and every so often a Helleberg may make its way through. I also wouldn't mind to play with a Megatone. I've never used one before but I've heard good things.
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby tubapix » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:20 am

I played a 20J throughout high school. I used a Bach 18 and made all-county, all-state and several other honor bands with it. I also knew a couple other 20J players and they used the same mouthpiece (one retired military bandsman and the other was a retired band director). FWIW
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby royjohn » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:36 pm

So glad you finally got the valve issue sorted out! I have about 7 mouthpieces and never can decide which I like best in the 20J. I'm looking forward to your further reports on how yours plays when the receiver is fixed and especially whether you have the flat F or not. I don' t seem to be able to escape it and have been thinking of getting one of our resident experts to look at mine. Enjoy! :D :D :D
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Re: Conn 20j

Postby andrew the tuba player » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:00 pm

I have no hate for the bachs. In fact I quite like that mouthpiece for playing in the upper registers on my 52j and the few times that I got my old giant eb taped up and playing I used it on it as well with good results. Honestly I could use any of those and do pretty well in group. But for my sound and feel preference I really like the Laskey.

I put about 4 hours of play time on it today and I'm still quite pleased. The valve performed flawlessly. But I do have a flat F and the Gb/F# (2/3) in the staff was a bit troublesome at first. But once I figured out how to slot it right neither only them are a huge deal. I can really tell the F while playing alone but it's lippable so I don't really notice it while playing with anyone. I had forgotten how fun false tones are on this horn.

Also I am owed some "I told you sos". I put the tuning bit in and what a difference it makes. I actually was able to find a much more comfortable position with it and it changed the playing Characteristics for the better.

I think I have decided to take the plunge and strip the bell. I think it will help hide alot of the past reworkings and bring the appearance of the horn up as a whole.
1969 Mirafone 186 BBb
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