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Rotors

Postby bigboymusic » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:57 pm

First, let me apologize... I know the oiling thing gets mentioned here regularly, so some of you may wish to skip this post..

I have a problem to admit.. I have played now for 39 years, I have played both piston and rotors for all this time. I have taught tuba from beginners to my years as an adjunct tuba dude.. In all this time, I will admit to you Tubeneters, I have no real idea on the proper way to care for rotors... I owned an Alex for 15 years.. every few months I would squeeze some valve oil down the slides and wiggle the rotors for a minute or so.. I never encountered any issues.. but I know that is not correct care of a good friend..

My school has just purchased a Chinese Bflat with 4 rotors (JB Hirsbrunner clone) I love the sound my kids get on it and I played it for a couple summer gigs, and overall the only problem I had was what you always hear, first valve is sticky.. I am sending the horn in to have the valves worked up like I was advised before we bought it, but once it's back I have to be able to tell these young tubists how to take care of their rotary instruments...

What is the group consensus on where, how, what... dangerous questions for dangerous minds....
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Re: Rotors

Postby bloke » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:07 pm

Regardless of the build quality, I'm really not an advocate of rotary tubas being used in school situations. (...too many tubas knocked over...to many rotor stems broken off...too much mangled linkage...too difficult for some local mostly-combo-oriented stores to fit - if even acquirable - new rotors into the casings)

Yes...I sell tubas with rotary valves to schools, but the schools are requesting them, and I'm not suggesting them.

...rotary valve tubas with not-the-best-build-quality rotors...well... :roll:

The paddle assemblies on some Asian instruments are very malleable. Occasionally, the lever arms (which drop down from the finger paddles) are bent so far sideways that the linkage itself is actually binding.

If "first valve only", though (and assuming that this wasn't occurring when the instrument was new), I'd first guess "lime deposits", and any tuba (of any build quality) is susceptible to that.
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Re: Rotors

Postby bigboymusic » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:27 pm

The tuba was new on June 1. It played fine, but there was a 'gradual' slow bind if that makes sense... it started out fine. during an evening concert that got to about 98 degrees, it began to stick during the concert.. since then it has been a little draggy
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Re: Rotors

Postby Tubanomicon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:34 pm

You purchased the tuba new on June 1, correct? When was the evening concert? If it was just recently, it could be the fact that the tuba needs to be properly lubricated and cleaned. If it wasn't, it could have something to do with the make of the tuba itself. What brand is it? I had a Chinese clone of a Miraphone 191 a year ago. The fifth valve became immovable, so I had to take it to a repairman. Unfortunately, that's sometimes the trade-off associated with purchasing a clone.
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Re: Rotors

Postby 58mark » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:45 pm

because only clones need lubrication?

i just taught a 6 day masterclass for a high school. Day one 7 students show up with yamaha 641 tubas that had been sitting in cases since the end of May. Half the valves didn't work, and it took a hell of a long time to make them work
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Re: Rotors

Postby Tubanomicon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:42 pm

Mark, what did you do to get them working again? I'm guessing they weren't completely frozen?
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Re: Rotors

Postby 58mark » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:40 pm

a lot of oil dumped down tubes, and a lot of working the valves from the stop arms (not the paddles)

yeah, they were frozen. Couldn't even get all the back caps off to oil the bearings, so it was a slow job
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Re: Rotors

Postby Art Hovey » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:35 pm

Is it possible that first valves tend to get stuck soonest because traces of saliva arrive there first and then dry out soonest because fresh air arrives there soonest during storage? I think it helps to run some clean water back & forth through the rotors to rinse them out after playing a rotary tuba.
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Re: Rotors

Postby Tubanomicon » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:37 am

Wow, that sounds like a great way to start a masterclass, Mark. :)
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Re: Rotors

Postby Dan Tuba » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:00 pm

Depending on how often you perform or practice, the "recipe" is as follows:
1-2 times per week oil both spindles on each rotor w/the appropriate oil(I use 3&1 Oil, and it seems to work fine...at least for the past few years)
1-2 times per week remove the main tuning slide and poor a "generous" amount of "valve" oil through the tuba(hold the 4th valve down,then release while holding the 3rd valve down...), paying careful attention not to "flush" tuning slide grease into the rotors.
1-2 times per week oil the ball joints w/the appropriate oil(3&1 works for me, plenty of others to choose)
1-2 times per week oil the spring/ bearing at the base of the paddles. Make sure to pull the spring back slightly on each paddle to ensure oil is applied to all moving parts.

***After each performance or practice session, be sure to empty all slides.

This process has worked for me. Yes, it takes time, but it usually keeps the tuba working well. From my experience, synthetic oils don't work as well on Chinese rotors as conventional oils. Especially if the tuba is not played on a regular basis. However, synthetic oils may work fine for you. I hope this helps.
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Re: Rotors

Postby andrew the tuba player » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:22 am

I also have a question about rotor maintenance.
What is the best way to wash the horn? Some people choose to remove the valves each time but I've heard that this can be bad for the horn.
Also are there any special steps concerning the mechanism itself?
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