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Old Conn partials

Postby bigboymusic » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:03 am

Ok, I just purchased a 1921 Conn Bb Monster Bass for a great deal. Got the horn home, pretty good sound, Bb's are pretty on, low register is awesome, highs are awesome. So as we all know, it has the droopy f right below the staff. Every other note is workable, but even 1-3 it is fairly flat. Still like it, but if this is a horn I would like to use for summer bands and dixie, is there at least a moderate cure for this? Change in lead pipe maybe? I'm going to experiment with mouthpieces today.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bloke » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:10 am

The quality of sound of some of the old very large tubas is charming, and offer that string bass type of sound that is perfect for old-school wind-band music.
The intonation offered, often though, is appalling.
The thing, though, is not to pay a 2017 price for a brand-new very large tuba that offers appalling intonation.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bigboymusic » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:14 am

That's why my couple hundred that got this doesn't offend me!
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bloke » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:15 am

I suspected, and bravo.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bigboymusic » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:28 am

Problem fixed and has made the new owner very happy....

IMG_1789.jpg
IMG_1789.jpg (27.46 KiB) Viewed 881 times


Wick 3 small shank......
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby Three Valves » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:27 am

I give notes with less than stellar intonation the quarter note played as eight note and eight rest treatment!!

:tuba:
Who needs four valves??

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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby Sam Gnagey » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:28 am

bigboymusic wrote:Problem fixed and has made the new owner very happy....

IMG_1789.jpg


Wick 3 small shank......

Did it drastically change the timbre?
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bloke » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:41 am

Smaller mouthpieces make it physically easier to push a letter-named pitch away from where it would normally sound, but do not change the frequency at which a letter-named pitch would normally sound (at least, not in relation to all the other pitches).

As with any other mouthpiece, after extended play, fatigue will eventually become a factor when pushing frequencies away from where they prefer to sound...and I've found this (next paragraph) to be true as well (particularly with a flat third partial tuba)...

When a smaller mouthpiece is employed to "fix" it, at first, I'm playing all the other pitches where they sounded with my larger mouthpiece...
...but - after some time passes - I find that all the other pitches also rise (as my ear "forgets" where the overall pitch level was with the normal-sized mouthpiece, (simply) everything is sharper, and that same troublesome (flat) pitch is just as relatively flat as it was before.

bloke "just sayin' " :|
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby Three Valves » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:14 am

Is this a good time to discuss why "alternative fingerings" basically adding length to distance traveled, sharpens the pitch instead of flattening it??

Talk about counter-intuitive!!
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby pwhitaker » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:30 am

Different partials.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bigboymusic » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:45 am

I sat in with the concert band for a bit today with the Wick. The tone quality is 'slightly' a different feel, but remains nice and broad. It's not my old 36J dark resonant old Conn sound, but a very pleasing warm 'heirloom' sound as they say... As I expected buying a 100 year BAT, it's just learning where (like Bloke said) the horn wants to sing and getting it to sing where I need it.

Being that the life of this horn will be dixie/pep band/circus marches.... I can live with the trade offs....

$375 well spent...
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby iiipopes » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:07 pm

Have the partial series with 1st valve alone and 2nd valve alone been checked, along with 2+3 combination checked to make sure none of the individual valve circuits are flat which could exacerbate 1+3 still being flat, when the tendency of 1+3 is to be a little on the sharp side unless a slide is pulled or there is compensation otherwise?
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bigboymusic » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:41 pm

My instinct tells me that the third slide is probably a little long. 1-3 is spot on for C, low F as well, but 1-3 F is 40 cents flat and the D in 3 which is usually good is also 40-50 flat. 2nd valve series is fine...
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bloke » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:24 pm

A whole bunch of old 4-valve American tubas' #1 and #3 circuits were too long...with the only manufacturers' concept of the purpose of the 4th valve being "extended low range".
i.e. The #1 and #3 circuits on those tubas were too long - just as they were (as an attempt to make 1-3 and 1-2-3 not suck so bad) on the 3-valve versions.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby TheGoyWonder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:30 pm

but that's just a large 4/4 right? much smaller than 2xJ? interesting it would be so similar.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby roweenie » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:53 pm

I don't think it's accurate to paint all old-school American 6/4 horns with the same brush. Some makes sport superior tuning over others.

The taper on each individual brand varies, and therefore their tuning proclivities will also vary.

:arrow: Is it possible that the closer we get to "point and shoot" intonation, the further away we get from "interesting tone color"?

In support of bloke's statement, almost every old-school tuba I've seen (regardless of key) sports a 3rd valve circuit that is longer than it theoretically needs to be (with the Conn/Olds/Bach small .656 bore 4/4 horn being one of the most egregious examples of this).

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

FWIW, I theorize that the "Conn flat 3rd partial" occurs somewhere in the taper between the bottom bow and the bell throat.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby bloke » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:15 pm

Holton (totally different bell shape and different size bow) behaves the same way...

...but this guy's tuba is not a 6/4-size tuba.

Some really early 186 C tubas (and even some 70's vintage...it's really unpredictable) suck the same way.

The best nearly-100-year-old contrabass tuba intonation...??

4/4 Buescher...IF (per their design) two feet of capillary bore is removed from the front end and they are converted to 16' C instruments...

...at least, in my experience.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby Donn » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:36 pm

My ca. 1941 Holton runs if anything a bit sharp, on 3rd partial F. More likely it has been in tune when other notes wanted to run flat, but at any rate, it isn't flat. (I've had other intonation issues - but they seem to be going away, now that I've been playing it for a couple years.)

For that matter, I believe one could find examples on Tubenet of Conn 2XJ players who don't have this issue. I'm not saying it's a myth - unless we're saying it reliably happens anytime someone picks up an old Conn or other Big old American Tuba, then it's a myth.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby pwhitaker » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:00 pm

I've owned a 50's Conn 20J, 30's Martin Mammoth, your Holton and currently have a 1928 Conn 38K. None of them had the infamous flat 3rd partial F. All of these has recording bells. The only flat note on any of them was the 3rd valve 5th partial B in the staff (Holton and Martin).
Last edited by pwhitaker on Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old Conn partials

Postby royjohn » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:45 pm

If we're now talking Conn 20J and it's family, it's necessary to check soldering on the bell and bows, valve alignment and leadpipe dents as well as significant dents elsewhere before deciding that the horn itself is faulty. I believe it was Lee Stofer who stated that if the Conn 20J is set up without leaks in the tubing, dents in the leadpipe and around the valve slides, and with good valve alignment (which is tricky with these short throw valves), it just doesn't have a flat fifth partial (the F).
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