The bulk of the musical talk
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So the Packer 274s I bought my daughter is still doing great. Craftsmanship is top notch and I have no complaints
My ONE concern was related to the valves. They just seemed heavy. I thought since it's a new horn, maybe it's just dirty or needs breaking in. I cleaned the valve casings the best I could, and didn't get much black stuff out, but that really didn't help them.
Not sure what to do to expedite the break in period, so in the meantime I decided to order a set of Lite Mead springs. They come in a pack of 4, with the 4th valve one being a little stronger than the others.
When the package arrived, it wasn't really clear which one of the 4 springs was for the 4th valve. there were no visible marking on the package, but later I found out that one of the 4 valves has a piece of paper rolled up inside it, and it had a number 4 written on it (All 4 valves had that paper, and I didn't see the number until I had removed all the paper. the springs all look alike, so I took a guess at which one was the heavy spring. I think I chose wisely
So here's the review. The lighter springs do help the feel of the valves. I was a little worried the heavier springs were compensating for valves that may not come up on their own with a lighter set, but that's not the case. Any improvement from this point forward will just have to come from hours and hours of playing the thing and seeing if the valves get quicker with age.
A lot has been written about break in on a new euphonium on Dave Werden's board. The short of it is you need to wipe off your valves and oil them every time you play for about 2 months. I had to do this with my Wessex BR140 Baritone. I found that blue juice oil to work best for this process.
As for springs, I found the springs that came with the horn to be way too light for me (being a tuba player). I replaced them with the Mead Baritone springs and am very happy with the response now. The Mead euphonium springs (regular) are different for each valve. The theory being you use the valves differently and different fingers are stronger than others. That's why the 4th valve spring you got was weaker, the pinky finger is weaker. These are expensive springs compared to other brands.
1893 Courtiere (J.W. Pepper Import) Helicon Eb
1906 York 640
1912 Martin Renowned Monster Eb
1932 Conn 28K Sousaphone
2010 Kanstul 66T
2016 Bubbie Mark 5
2017 Wessex BR140 Baritone
I've not tried the Mead springs "lite" variety, but the regular model Mead springs also came with a rolled up piece of paper inside. The strongest spring then was marked for the first valve. The idea being that your index finger is stronger & you use the first valve the most. Of course on a compensating euph the fourth valve is usually played with the other index finger.
Here's a link to a post about the Mead springs on Dave Werden's forum - original version. 4 page thread in total:
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