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Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby TubaDude » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:10 pm

Hey Fellow Tubenetters;

How would one go about finding out how long this model of horn was in production and how many were made? I ask because I was getting a some work done on mine and the technician noticed that the valve casings were bent and the way they were bent it definitely came from the factory that way. Needless to say the valve job took a lot longer than planned. I bought the horn new and it was tested and packed on 06/29/2001 according to the registration card I got with the horn. Serial no. is in the 658xxx series.

Thanks in Advance,
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby Norlan Bewley » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:25 pm

The Holton Harvey Phillips model 330 CC and 331 BBb tubas were in production from 1998 to 2009. I got one of the first 331 tubas made in 1999 and I also got the last one made in 2009 when I asked Conn Selmer to build one for me after they had been discontinued. They had just finished the remaining orders at the Eastlake plant in Ohio after the Elkhorn, Wisconsin plant had closed. The one made at Eastlake was built much better than the one from Elkhorn.

I don't know how many were built, but I know it wasn't very many. The 330/331 tubas suffered the same fate as the 345 tubas in their day. They were only built when they had enough orders, and they pulled workers off the line from other instruments (probably Horn) to build them. This didn't help quality control much and is one of the reasons so few were available at conferences for trial. My guess is 100 to 300 (if that) were made.

The players that got one must hold onto them because they rarely show up for sale. That's why I asked Conn Selmer to build the last one for me. The team at Eastlake was very receptive to the improvements I requested, including improving the leadpipe angle. I wanted to leave it so if it ever went back into production they would build them that way. I showed it to Harvey in 2009 and he liked the changes.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby the elephant » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:56 pm

I heard between 175 and 200, but that is completely anecdotal.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby TubaDude » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:32 pm

Thank you for the information you guys, this list is an incredible resource. Norlan, did Conn/Selmer build you a 330 or 331? Did they fix the leaky valves issue?

I'm going to be getting mine back next week, I had the valve casings refitted and replated, metal guides replace with some hi tech Teflon material, the bumps on the valve ports leveled out to increase the direct airflow path through the cluster, all of the extra solder that was left in the valve crooks was removed, additional bracing added to the lead pipe and fourth valve to tighten up the overall tone, lightweight oversized valve buttons, and a tuba valve slide pull for the second valve to replace the original French horn pull that was put on the horn. I stopped short of putting a fifth valve on the horn for two reason, space and cost. That valve cluster is so tight there really isn't a heck of a lot of room to add a fifth valve coming out of the fourth valve, I guess the Getzen CB50 trick could work on the way into the 1st valve, but hearing that there aren't that many of these bad boys out there, I might just keep it a 4 valver.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby Norlan Bewley » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:02 pm

Conn Selmer built a 331 for me in 2009.

In 2003 Harvey and I went to Holton to show them the modifications I had done to the 331 at our local repair shop by Gary Dafler at Hauer Music in Dayton (a Master repairman!). Greg Hilliard, the Engineer who worked with Harvey designing both tubas built a pair of them for Harvey with the new modifications. These included valve spring holders in the valves (valve bottoms and bottom caps), relocated water keys to where the water actually collected, a better lead pipe angle, the third valve tubing shortened, and the thumb ring replaced with the adjustable thumb ring from the PT tubas.

The next year I went back to Holton and Greg replaced my valves with the new ones that had the spring holders. He did this for me right before Conn Selmer acquired Leblanc, which included Holton. These valves were much better than the original ones. They were much smoother and tighter fitting.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby TubaDude » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:22 pm

That is some fantastic horn history. Sounds as if you guys nailed the valve issues. The valve caps top and bottom have always seemed too thin for the horn, spring holders these peak my interest, I never thought of such a concept. Any spare parts still laying around, LOL?

It's a shame that economics being what they are Conn/Selmer made the decision to trim their tuba line down to the 5J, totally alienating the CC demographic. Could be that they saw the 330 and the 331 as real competition to their established portfolio so rather than cut their other models' market share they just shelved the Holtons. I work in the consumer package foods industry and see this stuff happen daily with product lines across the country.

Now I really can't wait to get my 330 back later next week. Thank you again for the history and development of 330/331. Would you happen to know if there is a user group or a self help group for 330/331 owners, LOL again?

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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby bloke » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:28 pm

I remember the advertising boasting that they were the first computer-designed tuba.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby bort » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:55 pm

I always wondered if, given the Holton name on the bell, many of these ended up as school tubas... Hence the lack of them "on the street."

I tried one about 15 years ago, and only remember not liking it.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby Norlan Bewley » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:37 pm

They were not computer designed from scratch. The 330/331 tubas were based on a 1911 Holton BBb tuba that belonged to Johnny Evans, who Harvey worked with in the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Circus band. Johnny was an ex Sousa band member as was the rest of the band (except for Harvey). He preferred Holton and played a Holton sousaphone and tuba. They remained close friends and he left the tuba to Harvey when he passed away.

When Holton approached Harvey about designing a new tuba, he decided to use Johnny's Holton as the source since it was a Holton and he liked it. They took the tuba apart and Greg used cad-cam technology to measure and digitize each part to then do the design work on the computer. I don't know what Harvey changed from the original as I never played it, but I believe the changes were minor rather than major. I do know they still had the bell mandrel for it from 1911 at the Holton factory and used it to make the bells. They found it in a closet. Hopefully it is now at the Eastlake plant. It weighed 500 pounds!

Harvey never got the 1911 Holton tuba back. It was supposed to be restored as part of the deal. Harvey asked me to see if I could find out what happened to it before he passed away, but no one seems to know what happened to it.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby bort » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:15 pm

Very interesting story with a sad ending. So sorry (for Harvey's sake) that the tuba was lost. Has to be somewhere, right? Sad state of American tuba manufacturing, by this company at least...
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby TubaDude » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:57 am

Martin Wilk commented that my 330 looks like a compacted old Holton DelNegro but on a compacted frame, with Norlan's post that makes perfect sense. That is a sad ending to the story, the original horn parts are probably in several different horns. I ended up picking up my 330 two weeks ago after it's rebuild, what an awesome instrument. Before I picked it up several players had stopped by the shop, played the horn, and really liked it with modifications that were made.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:46 am

I worked on a Del Negro (C) back in the early 80's.
I can't really see much resemblance, other than they're both tubas.

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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby TubaDude » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:18 am

True they're not 100% but as stated before Harvey did make some "minor" changes. If you straighten out the spaghetti nest around the leadpipe on the old Holton and bring the bugle width down to 3/4 - 7/8 and increase the bugle height up the same ratio to the bell you'll be close to the 33x series. The valve set itself appears to be identical. I believe Eli has, or has had both models in his collection over the years.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby bisontuba » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:18 pm

Norlan Bewley wrote:They were not computer designed from scratch. The 330/331 tubas were based on a 1911 Holton BBb tuba that belonged to Johnny Evans, who Harvey worked with in the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Circus band. Johnny was an ex Sousa band member as was the rest of the band (except for Harvey). He preferred Holton and played a Holton sousaphone and tuba. They remained close friends and he left the tuba to Harvey when he passed away.

When Holton approached Harvey about designing a new tuba, he decided to use Johnny's Holton as the source since it was a Holton and he liked it. They took the tuba apart and Greg used cad-cam technology to measure and digitize each part to then do the design work on the computer. I don't know what Harvey changed from the original as I never played it, but I believe the changes were minor rather than major. I do know they still had the bell mandrel for it from 1911 at the Holton factory and used it to make the bells. They found it in a closet. Hopefully it is now at the Eastlake plant. It weighed 500 pounds!

Harvey never got the 1911 Holton tuba back. It was supposed to be restored as part of the deal. Harvey asked me to see if I could find out what happened to it before he passed away, but no one seems to know what happened to it.



Maybe out at the National Music Museum?

The Holton Company Band Library (Elkhorn, Wisconsin)
The Holton Company Musical Instrument Collection and Archive (Elkhorn, Wisconsin)

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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby Roger Lewis » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:27 pm

I played a number of these horns, both, BBb and CC and noticed that the 3rd valve slide was too long. I contacted the factory and they checked the specs and I was right. They sent me new, shorter 3rd valve slides for all the horns I had in stock at WWBW. This solved the problem.

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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:56 pm

Roger Lewis wrote:I played a number of these horns, both, BBb and CC and noticed that the 3rd valve slide was too long. I contacted the factory and they checked the specs and I was right. They sent me new, shorter 3rd valve slides for all the horns I had in stock at WWBW. This solved the problem.

Roger


different computer? :wink:
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby basslizard » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:45 am

bisontuba wrote:
Maybe out at the National Music Museum?

The Holton Company Band Library (Elkhorn, Wisconsin)
The Holton Company Musical Instrument Collection and Archive (Elkhorn, Wisconsin)

Mark


Sounds like a good road trip to me. It's been almost 2 years since I went there. Wouldn't be hard to convince family to go, last time they were rehearsing on the gamelon and they invited my son to play. They have a partial listing of their collection online at http://nmmusd.org. No tubas listed, unless you want to count the serpents.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby the elephant » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:15 am

bloke wrote:I worked on a Del Negro (C) back in the early 80's.
I can't really see much resemblance, other than they're both tubas.

Image


The tarnishing made me do a double-take. On first glance this appears to be something that would have appeared in a skit on Laugh-In, probably posed with Goldie. Then I noted it was a dirty tuba and not a hippie tuba...
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby hrender » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:51 pm

bloke wrote:
Roger Lewis wrote:I played a number of these horns, both, BBb and CC and noticed that the 3rd valve slide was too long. I contacted the factory and they checked the specs and I was right. They sent me new, shorter 3rd valve slides for all the horns I had in stock at WWBW. This solved the problem.

Roger


different computer? :wink:


One guy measures and writes it down, another guy reads it and puts it in the manufacturing spec, another guy reads the spec and either makes the thing or programs it to be made. Lots of room for error.
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Re: Holton TU330 Production Run Length / # Made

Postby Norlan Bewley » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:53 pm

I forgot to list shortening the 3rd valve tubing, not just the slides, was also a modification to the 331 I had them do. It was too flat.
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