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Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby besson900 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:13 am

Guys, Chinese tubas are more and more popular but they are produced from couple of years. Have you got some of them like Wessex or Eastman which you bought 2-3 years ago of even earlier?How it's looks like now? Pistons/rotary valves, laquer and materials after playing for a longer time than months they are still good like in German tubas after some years? I'm asking about instruments which you are playing like everyday, which are used to playing not just for looking good in your house
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby UDELBR » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:29 am

russiantuba wrote: In my experiences, the longevity and use in schools is not as ideal.


Not even the most expensive boutique brass instruments can withstand "punctured valves". If students are destroying instruments, that argues for buying cheaper instruments more often.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Worth » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:00 am

cktuba wrote:I have owned a Wisemann 900 for about 4 years. I did have to replace the leadpipe, the original was yellow brass and suceptible to red rot. It is now sporting a new B&S lead pipe. I have had no other issues of any significance. I am pretty sure the Wisemann 900 will outlast me.


Same. I priced this lead pipe through B&S Germany at like $300 or so if I remember right, but haven't yet pulled the trigger as I don't know the skills of the local techs well enough. In the meantime, I maintain it "palliatively" with valve oil down the lead pipe and keeping the interior, and my mouth, as clean as possible. I'm sure it will outlast me as well if I don't drop it down the stairs somewhere (other thread) LOL
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Mike C855B » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:21 am

Something else to consider regarding the long term with Chinese-sourced instruments - companies there come and go, a lot more than we're used to with European and US instrument makers. Parts will be an issue sooner rather than later.

I have another hobby (horrors!) where production for nearly all brands shifted to China in the '90s. Roughly every five years there has been a shakeup, where factories shutter without notice. Designer/importers are left scrambling to find new producers, repeating the production debug cycle every time. The resulting gap in retail availability usually lasts 1-2 years, with another year or so to fix product issues experienced by users.

I don't know if this has been the case with quality brass production yet since it is a relatively new thing, but this type of instability is nonetheless something to be aware given the history in other niche manufacturing there.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Mike C855B » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:43 pm

No dispute, just pointing out direct experience that the life cycle of Chinese manufacturers in niche-product manufacturing is short.

There is a lot more incentive to repair with harvested parts when the baseline product is thousands of dollars, versus less than a tenth of that in pastime hobby products.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Mike C855B » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:03 pm

Oh, I certainly understand that scenario. If you ever had the chance to visit the Fox factory, you get a rather eye-opening lesson in hand fitment. Definitely not mass production, there's a small army of jewelers modifying parts and doing hand-machining on every instrument's keyworks. I think that's the case with mid- and high-end woodwinds, anyway - lots of handwork. But the point I was trying to make is there is still a Fox factory to go to X years later even if they don't keep a stash of deprecated parts for 3rd-party repair.

Of course, this comes to the frustration which face all of us with high-end instruments - no two are alike, while most are good, some are truly "better". It's bad enough with brass. While there is some standardization in the manufacturing process, you will still realize differences between samples of "the same model". It's a whole order of magnitude worse especially with double-reeds - I had to audition six before deciding on the one we took home, and the differences were, truthfully, mind-blowing. An acquaintance whose business is all oboes all the time experienced the same thing - consistently inconsistent, multiple "identical" horns with only one he determined to be acceptable.

Conversely, I bought my tuba (and euph) "blind" - ordered each, and what I received played quite fine, or at least were something I could easily adjust to, no preconceptions coloring the assessment. In retrospect I have to wonder if a similar audition opportunity would have yielded different results.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Three Valves » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:29 pm

Two years played twice a week for about two hours.

Some lacquer failure from left hand grip.

Had to loctite a stop screw.

So far so good!!
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby tofu » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:03 am

Isn't it possible that within say a 10 year time frame that 3D printing will become so good / cheap / easy that a manufacturer/seller will be able to either at a parts distributor level or even on repair shop level be able to create the new part instantly on an on demand basis for many parts of their brass instruments. Eliminating the long delay or non-existent parts that they don't have either the desire to stock/keep current in inventory/or significant demand to make a run of parts cost feasible. Eleven years ago there was no iPhone/smart phone and now look at what you can do - so I don't think it would be a reach that 3D technology & cost & ease of use could make a quantum leap in a decade to the point where most of the major brass instrument manufacturers could have the wherewithal to do this for their instruments going forward.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby MackBrass » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:52 am

russiantuba wrote:
UncleBeer wrote:
russiantuba wrote: In my experiences, the longevity and use in schools is not as ideal.


Not even the most expensive boutique brass instruments can withstand "punctured valves". If students are destroying instruments, that argues for buying cheaper instruments more often.


The horn is repairable. Again, I am not blaming the company for the puncture. However, the reason we are replacing the valves instead of repairing them is that the valve plating is poor and only has a couple years left at most.

Let me also point out that our marching horns are convertible tubas from the 1970s that have literally travelled the world (Japan and England in the last 4 years), have several dents and. Such, but no valve issues (Meinl Weston makes good valves). Same for the marching baritones we have, but they are a bit newer. Same people play them.

I was a little nervous when I found out we had Chinese clones on taking my position, but finding out parts are readily available eased my concerns. Now that I have an issue, waiting months and poor communication makes me regret ever recommending them.



I am not aware of any plating on these valves so this maybe just a misinterpretation. As to replacing the valves, i stock them so give me a call. Whomever you bought them from probably just hasnt ordered them as they should only take a few weeks to get as they are easy to order.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby besson900 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:18 pm

I asked about it because one of my friend is considering York copy from Wessex or Eastman and he's afraid that he will have to change it after few years but that is a lot of money (10k $ or Euro). In my class we had one guy which had 6 valve F tuba made by "Tim Henderson"( i cant find informations about this company or guy, probably is not exist now) and the valves were noisy as hell and "miniballs" after 2 years of every day playing for about 6-7h were to throw away. We dont have any expierence about cheep(comparing to other brands) instruments which are popular now so thats why i asked You :)

(BTW - how many posts i have to post to have 3 valves here under my name on forum? :?: :?: :tuba: )
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby MartyNeilan » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:33 pm

besson900 wrote:the valves were noisy as hell and "miniballs" after 2 years of every day playing for about 6-7h were to throw away.

That works out to about 14 years of use at a more modest hour per day, so I wouldn't say it is too bad. Any metal will wear if not lubricated (and how many people lube their linkage?)
A couple of drops of something like Hetman's linkage and bearing oil #14 or ball joint oil #15, or even some sewing machine oil will work wonders towards quietness and longevity.
How long would your (insert car brand here) last with absolutely no oil in it?
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby NCSUSousa » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:09 am

I've had my TE-2110 (Tuba Exchange brand - now discontinued model) for over 7 years now. Here's the rundown:
The lacquer is really crappy (similar to The Elephant's post above). It's flaked completely off at every regular contact point. It's not coming off everywhere, just where I touch regularly, including to lift the horn out of the case.
My 4th slide rubs against the top bow when I pull it way out (B-natural, Db and Eb an octave below the staff) or when I remove the slide to empty condensation. That has led to some scratches on both the slide and the top bow. It makes a slight rattle sound (slide against top bow) if I pull it to that point and take my hand off while I play the note. I'm probably just going to sell this tuba (upgrade) before I ever have that fixed.
When I took my tuba by Tuba Exchange for its first deep cleaning, Mike replaced the rotary valve bumpers. The factory bumpers were crap, but the replacements have lasted nicely.

My cheap wood+foam case is actually holding up. I'm wondering if my wheel upgrade was a saving factor. Big thanks to Ohio Travel Bag - same company Bloke recommends for case parts - I got some better wheels on their consumer sales webpage - hardwareelf.com. (Yes, that's the same company.) My new wheels are way better than what came on the case originally.

My dad has had his Mack 210 for about the same amount of time.
His is silver plated - the finish has sustained much better than my lacquer. His case is long gone - the plywood along the piano hinge area ended up falling apart. Overall, It's a good tuba and has lasted well in the hands of someone who used to play for the US Army band. His valve paddles are the weaker design that The Elephant mentioned (nickel plating on brass) and flex a bit much. Some have bent over time. My valve paddles use a different design and don't flex as much - I like the valve paddle design on my tuba, but the nickel plating has flaked off of one of them already.

Edit - It may be worth noting that Tuba Exchange acknowledged the lacquer issues on the old 2110 in their write-up of the new version. I can post a link if anyone needs it, but they're not a forum sponsor, so I'm not sure if that's allowed. Either way, it's important to note that issues are specific to a make/model of instrument, just as issues with cars are specific to make/model.
Last edited by NCSUSousa on Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Scubatuba » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:30 pm

So, if I read this correctly, the elephant has a wonderful playing tuba that has nothing right mechanically- how is that possible to still play and rely on? And still you are happy with it? And what about the part about the puncture happening - at a college level? Who are these zombies?

And this tidbit by Unclebeer: Not even the most expensive boutique brass instruments can withstand "punctured valves". If students are destroying instruments, that argues for buying cheaper instruments more often.
I guess he lives in a throwaway society like sooo many others.......
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby The Big Ben » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:16 pm

Scubatuba wrote:So, if I read this correctly, the elephant has a wonderful playing tuba that has nothing right mechanically- how is that possible to still play and rely on? And still you are happy with it? And what about the part about the puncture happening - at a college level? Who are these zombies?


Elephant is really picky. Pickissemo. Unless the rotors freeze up midperformace or the linkage falls off during a fast part or some such but the sound coming out is good, the shortcomings can be dealt with. I imagine he looks it over before and after playing and, if there is a problem, fixes it. That "skills" thing.

Scubatuba wrote:And this tidbit by Unclebeer: Not even the most expensive boutique brass instruments can withstand "punctured valves". If students are destroying instruments, that argues for buying cheaper instruments more often.
I guess he lives in a throwaway society like sooo many others.......


That's a band director thing. If the director and program can't set the tone so the instruments are respected, may as well get a $2500 tuba instead of a $9000 because they both will have punctured valves. And the program should start looking for another director. "Teaching how to play" should include teaching how to respect the instruments.(Remember, James said the horn was like that when he got the job.)
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Wyvern » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:25 pm

You cannot generalize about tubas made in China. There are a number of different factories, and even production from one factory will vary between brands and over time.

Just for Wessex, the quality today has no relation to the quality when we started - or even a couple years ago. For example the silver plating is now as standard double the thickness, or triple the thickness on high-grade production
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby UDELBR » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:54 pm

Scubatuba wrote:And this tidbit by Unclebeer: Not even the most expensive boutique brass instruments can withstand "punctured valves". If students are destroying instruments, that argues for buying cheaper instruments more often.
I guess he lives in a throwaway society like sooo many others.......


Ho-hum. Fortunately I am troll-proof. 8)
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby Scubatuba » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:09 am

I guess I just don't understand- what is a punctured valve and why would someone do that?
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Re: Chinese tubas after few years of playing

Postby k001k47 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:35 pm

Scubatuba wrote:I guess I just don't understand- what is a punctured valve and why would someone do that?


To let the air out. Duh
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