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York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:22 am

i was redirected from David's forum to bring this question to you guys, i thought that sounded like an excellent idea. i knew about, but had forgotten this "channel" was available...

i have a couple of circa 1912 +/- little York Eb 3 valve tubas. i submitted pictures and was told they were 641 - maybe 642 models... 3/4 size.

in their present condition, one is good, plays fine, but it's a high pitch instrument. valves are fine (for me) and so far as i can tell, it's all original and actually, when cleaned, looks pretty good. no bad dings anywhere... i like it because it's barely bigger than the King 2280 euphonium i like to play. easy on the shoulders and back, it's so little.

the other is intact, but in pieces. it was found in a basement storage room corner in a very old music store.

i'm trying to decide what to do with them.

here's a couple of things i've conjured up, perhaps you can tell me if they're worth doing and how expensive it would be to have them done...

(A.) since i have a donor instrument, i've thought of adding valves to the playable one... nothing about me says technician, so i have NO idea how realistic this idea is, or how expensive it would be.

(B.) retuning the instrument by extending slides to bring it to 440, or even changing it to an F. once again, i'm clueless if this is worthwhile or not.

(C.) retuning the instrument by using valve/slide sets from more modern horns? i was told this was a popular thing...

sooo, is any of this doable? is any of this affordable? is any of this worthwhile? the only other idea i had was to use one as a post for the mailbox at the end of the driveway and make a yard fountain from the other or a floor lamp for the practice room.

?? whatcha think ??
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby opus37 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:50 am

I recently restored a 1906 version of the same horn. Mine was low pitch so in some ways was easier. You have to answer the question, what do you want? if you want to play a little Eb, they have a big sound and are fun to play, but you may have to fabricate longer slides to make it play in tune. Are the valves any good? Do you want an F tuba. Well you can cut it, if you know what you are doing. Several here have done that with good results. This will not be less expensive than making a playable as an Eb. Add a valve, good idea and has been done. You are taking a risk, these sometimes do not work well tone wise and ergonomically. Use a modern valve set. Higher probability of having a great horn. More expensive and time consuming. Talk to a knowledgable tech who has experience. You likely will not get your money back from any of these options, you are doing it for yourself, so what do you what and what are you willing to pay?
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby the elephant » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:30 am

None of the York or Holton "Monster" models (or the King) cut to F well at all, ever. The taper of these horns is maxed out, meaning that there is really no good place to remove 18" from the bugle without seriously screwing with the taper.

However, these 3/4 Eb Yorks can be cut to F pretty easily and can be excellent F tubas. If you have a HP version that is all the better if you plan to cut it. It will sound and play a lot like a Yamaha 621 F but have a smaller tone that is *much* sweeter. Pitch is a mixed bag. If you start with a doggy one it will only get worse. If you start with a super-amazingly-in-tune-wonder-tuba it will only get worse, but if you are very thorough in your research and do excellent work it may come out close to the original.

Remember that an F tuba without a 5th valve will pretty much suck as your low Bb will become the "problem" note that low Eb is on a BBb tuba: 124 or 14, either or both with a slide move, and the low C will be 4th and could end up feeling like you have an open water key. If the low C 12 *and* the low Bb 13 are *really* good you may not have issues with the low C after an F cut job.

Remember also that an F tuba without a 4th valve is a spittoon.

I would plan on changing to a 5 valved configuration if you cut the horn or you will be displeased with its lack of utility.

If you are not comfortable doing this work (or having it done, to include scavenging adequate parts) I would leave it as an Eb and have a long MTS made for it. All the slide will have to be pulled a bit after the MTS has been corrected. In my experience, pulling slides this far makes some things squirrelly, so having new slide legs cut would help a lot. You do not have to alter the outer slides, just make the inner ones the correct length. Of course, this will look weird, but it will be more stable if the tubing is thick and not chamfered at the ends. If the tubing is very thin and has a bit of a chamfer on the ends lengthening the tubes may not be necessary, but you will have more-or-less permanently stepped sections inside every slide that are pretty long.

I vote for cutting one and restoring the other. The one that will be staying in Eb needs to be the one with the better valves, and the one to be cut needs a different valve section. Both, to be any good, probably need the piston clusters (no slides attached) sent to Anderson's for rebuilding as they almost certainly leak and will contribute to uneven response/projection and weird intonation that is unpredictable as it is based on your lubrication providing a block to leakage at the ports: some days you will have more and some less, and the pitch will vary with this.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby windshieldbug » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:40 am

Mike,
For what it's worth, those little Eb's in 1912 (and +/-) were known as model 30s (and were then renumbered to 640 HP, 641 H/LP)

They made a bunch of then because they were they were light and easy to carry, so you could march with one, carry it to/from gigs without much problem and had a good sit-down horn as well. Not to mention the Bb treble/Eb bass transposition trick worked great for bands and schools.

You should be able to compare the slide length of your good one to the one in pieces to see if the other one is either HP or H/LP. One of the two may be HP, but have markings on the slides to tell you how far to pull them out for Low Pitch. It was customary at that time to leave enough length slide length to pull out for Low Pitch if you needed to play that way. All you may have to do is use a tuner and pull the slides, even the tuning slide. Even if the tuning slide is too short, a "ladder"-type extension could be made for it, then you leave the original horn original; no harm/no foul.

Wade mentions the potential unreliability of an F conversion for the other, You need more valves and you still don't know what it's going to sound like or how the intonation will be. I'd be inclined to just get one Eb to 440...
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby KiltieTuba » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:53 pm

Are you selling either? I have a front action York set in Eb already that would work better on a tuba than another helicon.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:11 am

KiltieTuba wrote:Are you selling either? I have a front action York set in Eb already that would work better on a tuba than another helicon.



I don't know what I want to do for sure. My intent is to get into a smaller tuba. At first, I thought I'd sell these to help the cause and asked the guys on David's tuba forum about them. There had been some discussion about Conn tubas of about the same Era +/- a few years.

Some of them mentioned lengthening slides to bring it to pitch, or cutting it for F... I got to thinking about it and decided to check that possibility out and as you say, 4 valves, or even 5 improve playability....

So I'm here asking about potential... It appears to be a gamble as whether it will turn out to be a good horn or not. I don't know if I want to invest in this. I'll have to decide that.

Would there be enough value in the 2 instruments to help pay for something like a Conn 2J? I need the smaller, lighter instrument to ease the strain on my back. The 2341 is fine as long as I can mostly roll it, but picking it up and carrying it begins to be an issue. These are not much larger than a euphonium.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby YORK-aholic » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:42 am

I took a high pitched one (15" bell, 28" tall) and flipped it around with a valve set I made from 2 King 1240 BBb tubas (cutting the valve circuits down obviously) and a rotary valve from a Miraphone 183 Eb for the 5th valve (between 4th valve and the King Main slide). I also used the King dogleg and first bow. I kept in Eb.

It plays very well, solid intonation, very even response up and down the scale and the low range is quite good. I was very happy with the results. It is a small horn and sort fo sounds like a euphonium on steroids.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:49 pm

YORK-aholic wrote:I took a high pitched one (15" bell, 28" tall) and flipped it around with a valve set I made from 2 King 1240 BBb tubas (cutting the valve circuits down obviously) and a rotary valve from a Miraphone 183 Eb for the 5th valve (between 4th valve and the King Main slide). I also used the King dogleg and first bow. I kept in Eb.

It plays very well, solid intonation, very even response up and down the scale and the low range is quite good. I was very happy with the results. It is a small horn and sort fo sounds like a euphonium on steroids.


what would be a ball park figure on contracting a job like that?
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:20 am

another dead end... i just want some kind of ballpark figure to decide if which would be best... refurbish one of these instruments using the other for parts, or sell both and use the $ to buy a smaller instrument for myself.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby opus37 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:01 am

For the sell as is, expect to average $200 for each horn. You may have to wait a while because there aren't a lot of folks looking of these horns as parts. If you fixed one up as a 3 valve Eb, you might get $500 or so. Cost depends on the work needed and as you can see, there are varied opinions on what is needed. The biggest cost would be a valve restoration. If you did that, you would not get your money back. Adding a 4th valve and the conversion to front action would likely cost $1000 to $2000 depending on who does it and the extent of the work. That does not include the valve set. I have no idea on the conversion to an F. In my opinion, adding a 4th, modifying with a new valve set, or turning it into an F is a labor of love. You would not get your money back when you try to sell it. It's like restoring old tractors, you put a lot of money into something you cherish. You never expect to get your money back.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:01 am

nworbekim wrote:
YORK-aholic wrote:I took a high pitched one (15" bell, 28" tall) and flipped it around with a valve set I made from 2 King 1240 BBb tubas (cutting the valve circuits down obviously) and a rotary valve from a Miraphone 183 Eb for the 5th valve (between 4th valve and the King Main slide). I also used the King dogleg and first bow. I kept in Eb.

It plays very well, solid intonation, very even response up and down the scale and the low range is quite good. I was very happy with the results. It is a small horn and sort fo sounds like a euphonium on steroids.


what would be a ball park figure on contracting a job like that?


I wouldn't have a clue. I did all the work myself. I had no prior experience. However, I probably spent at least 5x the hours someone trained would have. Lots of time mocking things up, fitting, refitting, soldering, unsoldering, re-mocking up, etc... Also, there weren't any dents for me to worry about. Also, while I was careful with not getting solder all over the place (it is a silver bugle and raw brass valves and valve tubing) it won't win any beauty contests...

But if I had to guess, a lot. I doubt I'd have paid someone to do it, as you wouldn't know how it played until it was done.

Last thing, while I'm thinking of it. Originally I put it together with the "short bell" bugle (horn is 28" tall) and it played great. Since the bell was pretty close to my face, I've swapped out the tall bell (horn 32" tall), which of course made it flat, but also seems to have thrown some partials off a bit. I will soon put the tall bell back with its original tall bell bugle with the valve cluster and see how that works. If that isn't pretty darn good, I'll go back to the short bell bugle and just deal with the bell close to my head. Can you imagine paying someone to do all of that faffing around?
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:52 am

OK... thank you, that's what i was looking for. i'm quite mechanically challenged, to the point, my wife actually encourages me to call professionals instead of going the D.I.Y. route to save money. we've found it's cheaper and quicker in the long run, and i like it better because i don't have to listen to the professional make fun of me for screwing things up and telling me how he should charge me more for fixing up after me....
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby Chemicalbrotner » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:12 pm

Are these tuba available to buy?
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby bloke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:50 pm

I have a "project" Conn tuba (small 5/8" bore / 14" bell...small throat) with four top-action valves.

It's *NOT at the front of the line, as far as my "project" tubas are concerned.

It's going to be an F instrument, the partials are pretty nicely in-tune in F, and I'm not really sure about a 5th valve.

The idea is to cover "in-the-cracks" music (Mendelssohn, some weird quintet pieces such as the Dahl, etc., etc...)
None of those pieces feature low Bb's. If I need a low Bb, I have a euphonium, an F tuba, and all sorts of other tubas.

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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby Heliconer » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:14 pm

Sent a pm
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:25 pm

I'm tired of storing these... Any interest? Shoot me an offer. I'll have to see how much shipping will cost.
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby YORK-aholic » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:46 pm

You said one was high pitch (28" long). Is the other in low pitch (about 32" long)?
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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby the elephant » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:23 pm

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Re: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

Postby nworbekim » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:01 pm

The silver instrument on the left is the little York Eb. The other is a king 2280 euphonium (it may be for sale shortly)... The other York is pretty much the same but if memory serves me, it's a couple of years older. Both are from around 1910-1915 from what little I could find at the hornucopia (sp?) website.

This one plays, the other is in pieces, but I'm pretty sure I have most of the parts. It was that way when I got it. I thought sometime it might make a lamp, but I couldn't do it.

I've never shipped a tuba, there's no cases, I'll just have to wrap them in bubbles and pack them in peanuts unless you want to come get them. I have a friend that has gotten into the business of transporting RV's for a dealership and travels all over. He said he would transport things cheap for me if it was on his route.

This is a link to David Werden's forum where I made inquiries about them.

http://www.dwerden.com/forum/attachment ... 1523379132
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