German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements Bookmark and Share

German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:07 pm

bookmark for a thread
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customer instruments to be repaired: There are still two universities, a high school('s concert instruments), and a middle school here. The building still looks "full", but (to me) it looks "better than it did two weeks ago".

Once these instruments are all repaired and back at their schools, I'll start on this next "vanity" project. That having been said, I might do some quick/minor things to it in-between schools' repairs.


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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:05 pm

This (based on how many I've ever encountered: one) seems to be a fairly rare bird...a Melton from the 1970's ("MEINL-WESTON / A DIVISION OF GETZEN").
The bore sizes are 14.7mm (valves 1 & 2 - .579") and 15.6mm (valves 3 & 4 - .614").
The mouthpipe is long, and (was) tapered down to .435" where it met the (small shank) receiver.
Most everything past the large side of the mouthpipe is larger than most euphoniums.
For a short distance past the main slide, it's roughly-the-same-size (or very slightly smaller) than a typical euphonium, but - after that - it expands at a greater rate than most any euphonium, and - at the same distance from the bell rim that a typical compensating euphonium bell's small-end would be, this instrument is about 25% bigger around. The bell rim diameter is 11-1/4" with no real "pancake"...more the bell flair shape of a typical so-called "German" tuba.

The instrument features its original lacquer, I've removed some dents and bell creases, and today I effected the first alteration:
I expanded last inch of the small end of the mouthpipe tube by about .005" (to about .440") and replaced the small shank receiver with a large shank receiver.
Instead of a small shank Schilke 52E2 mouthpiece, I'm now able to use a large shank Schilke 59 mouthpiece...and the sound is much better.
Further, the pull on the main slide (prior to the receiver and mouthpiece change) was epic. Now, A=440 (for me, with a Schilke 59 mouthpiece) is about a 1-1/8" pull, which is reasonable. I plan to add a 5th rotor (parts ordered), and I may or may-not build in some additional length. As it is, it's OK. The (so-called) "gap" between the end of the Schilke 59 mouthpiece and the beginning of the mouthpipe tube is only about 1.5mm (1/16"). The exit-bore of the Schilke 59 mouthpiece and the origin-bore of the mouthpipe tube are both .440", so the meet-up between the two would rate as "luxurious", and almost "precise" (and I'm aware that many believe there should be something of a "gap" in place).

The scale (intonation) is not perfect, but also not quirky, and the offered intonation is as good as with any compensating euphonium I've ever played. The 5th rotor (which will be a whole step in tune with the 4th valve depressed) will offer even more options.

Quite a few alterations will be done:
- Besides the addition of a #5 rotor with a r.h. thumb paddle...
- the #1 slide circuit will be (spacially - left-to-right) compressed - and with a narrower slide bow - to allow room for the #5 slide circuit
- the #3 slide circuit (which is currently oriented upward) will be oriented downward (as seen on other "tenor tuba"/"rotary baritone" instruments). This has a specific purpose, which (as with the #1 circuit alteration) is to make room for the #5 valve right-hand thumb linkage and paddle.
- When I'm completely satisfied with the instrument, I will probably strip and re-lacquer the bell and bow (bow, SINGULAR, because the bottom bow, top bow, and dogleg on this instrument are all bent from one continuous cone of brass...incredible craftsmanship. :shock:), to eliminate scuffing and imperfections.
- I also have some new (Meinl-Weston/Melton, actually) springs for the rotor paddles, as someone replaced the originals with some titanically-strong (way too stiff) King trombone water key springs.

Here are two pictures:
1. The new large shank receiver (plain style, similar to those found on Meinl-Weston instruments, but actually, made by Conn-Selmer for the King 2280 euphonium and for the King 1124/1127 marching baritone. :shock:
2. The current A=440 position of the main slide, which is manageable.

I'll take a couple of pictures of the entire instrument soon.
The is absolutely the only thing I can do to this instrument (not even installing the new springs) for a while...many-many school repairs to do...

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:13 am

Here are general obverse/reverse pictures of this Melton ("Meinl-Weston") baritone (American nomenclature: "tenor tuba") as it currently exists.
The overall height is 29-1/2" (75cm).
5th valve rotor/circuit/linkage parts, 1st valve "crowding" parts, and 3rd valve "flipping" parts are ordered and being manufactured in Germany.
I should have all of those parts in September - just about the time that I'm through with sousaphone-hostling duties.
As can now be seen, the 11-3/8" (29cm) diameter bell sports no "pancake", thus it is quite a large-volume bell.
Again, the playing characteristics are very good.
Admittedly, I've never played an Alexander (for comparison), but will probably have the opportunity to play an Alexander in a month or so.

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bisontuba » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:46 pm

Nice
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bort » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:59 pm

The one from eBay?
B&S GR-41
^ For sale! viewtopic.php?f=4&t=94739
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:56 pm

Pictured here are the parts being fabricated in Germany:

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby roweenie » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:48 pm

FWIW, I've often thought about the prospect of putting a side-action piston valve set on one of these tenor tubas.... :twisted:

However, as far as I can see, finding a suitable valve set presents problems. King baritone (.562) would be too small - the next (readily available) size, Conn tuba at .656, too large.

I'm sure there's a Chinese-made one somewhere inbetween, but getting one is the problem. Also, there is (was) a small bore E flat Conn set made at .625, but with 4 valves are as rare as hen's teeth (and is also probably too large).
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby iiipopes » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:21 pm

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:11 pm

iiipopes wrote:How about this for a 5th rotor?
https://www.hornguys.com/products/stauf ... -euphonium" target="_blank


' interesting, but the thumb valve doesn't head anywhere close to my thumb in playing position, it's about $150 over budget, and I could only use it when the 4th valve lever was also depressed.
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:14 pm

Just to clarify,
I really don't expect this project to be "hard" or to impress anyone.
I'm simply buying pre-manufactured stuff and installing it (albeit painstakingly) on an existing instrument. I'm really not making anything here... but it might be interesting to some, nonetheless.
I suspect that it would be more interesting to more people to simply play-test a rotary-valves baritone that is not a Miraphone or a Jinbao Miraphone knock-off.
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:25 am

I have TWO (alternate) 1st slide crooks (both: narrower than the original)
1/ the one seen in the weird picture
2/ a really skinny one (think: #2 slide crook), just in case I need even more room for the #5 slide assembly
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:06 pm

I've had these replacement rotor springs for several weeks, but had a bunch of (college/university) sousaphone-hostling deadlines. :roll:
My next repair deadlines (middle schools) are Tuesday, so I decided to squeeze in this little project.
I dislike installing new rotary springs; it's just an unpleasant job... :(
...but the springs that were included with this instrument were
- apparently some sort of French horn springs (too few turns - physically unattractive), and
- too stiff (Stiff springs, physiologically and psychologically, tend to cause me to react by "playing hard", and I much prefer to "play pretty". :oops:)

This is certainly not any sort of "off-the-shelf" instrument (though a Melton/Meinl-Weston product), and (other than custom-bending) I had to settle for the closest-to-a-good-fit springs that I could acquire. The closest-to-fitting were Melton/Meinl-Weston TUBA springs, but the span (on either side of center) was about 1/2 a millimeter too wide. What I did was to allow the springs' ends (during installation) to point straight up (rather than pointing them down and "stabbing" them in place), cajole/finesse (with JUST BARELY enough schmoozing allowance) the too-tight springs in place, and then (as pulling on the ends stiffens the action and reduces the number of turns) pulled the springs down to a nice "moderate" (read: not too stiff) tension, as (simultaneously) the width of the loops shrunk down to perfect fits (see picture)...and I also set them up like Miraphone used to set up their tubas: with slightly softer spring tension on the fourth valve, so that when holding the fourth valve down, the hand's muscles (for other fingers' movements) is not overtaxed...

...so I now have a set of handsome springs, and softer spring tension: win/win

The piece of wire (an old trick...Did I invent this, or do others do it?) was used to "chase" the carriage rod, so the paddles didn't all fly off the instrument as I removed the carriage rod.

MY PURDY NEW SPRINGS: :mrgreen:
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ONE OF THE OLD TOO-STIFF/TOO-FEW-TURNS SPRINGS:
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LEFTOVER TRASH (THOUGH THESE SPRINGS COULD BE USED FOR KING TROMBONE WATER KEYS :idea:
...says bloke-the-environmentally-conscious - read: CHEAP - guy)
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By the time all of the school repairs are done, the 5th valve parts should be arriving from Germany 8), I have an out-of-state gig (combined with picking-up a bought vehicle, and attending a seminar :shock:) around the time the parts are scheduled to arrive, but (maybe?) they'll arrive in time for me to (at least) paw them a little bit, and post pictures of them.
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:09 pm

Miraphone boss, Christian N., reported to me that they will be making the parts for me (odd-looking picture, a few posts above) in September, so - a few days ago - I made sure that I had them paid. (Thanks for helping me with this project, Christian!)

Christian also agreed - for my cimbasso ref: :arrow: http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=85980 - to make me some perfect-fitting (European/ornate/lathe-turned/solid-brazed...you know...) braces to the exact 1/10mm to fit in two or three places where I had scrounged braces that were "close" (and filled with solder). Could I have made those braces? Sure...but so can Miraphone, and with less effort. :|

...so (again) I'm waiting for more parts for this fun-project tenor tuba, but I've been messing around...
I dragged out an old "Stewart Stand" and discovered that - indeed - it could prove to be helpful...which is causing me to wonder about soldering on (dispensing with the Velcro) a PERMANENT (adjustable, obviously) chair-peg.
I'm also auditioning various mouthpieces: I have my (discussed in other threads) Elliott contrabass trombone (oversize bowl) mouthpiece, a Canadian Mouthpiece (first series, which were Warburton) B1 (funnel cup) mouthpiece, and my trusty old Schilke 59 (bass trombone / bowl) mouthpiece. I'm leaning towards the 59, but all three play the instrument just fine.

I really can't do much more than this, right now...I still have (though DEFINITELY rounding the finish line (maybe) only ten instruments left to repair for ONE school, THREE tubas (two of which are St. Pete carriage bracket feet that I soldered back on just last year, but they decided to tear them BACK OFF, this fall...with the third one being a $500-repair needed totally-beat-to-crap Jupiter :( ) for another school, and :x an "institution of higher learning" has already re-torn-up seven (COUNT EM! :shock:) of their 19 sousaphones, and - with 12 players - they are down to "critical mass"...so (grrrr...) I will be expected to RE-un-destroy those seven (putting yet MORE of YOUR federal and state tax $$$ to use).
Seriously...I'm COMPLETELY ready to clean up my workroom (along with the rest of the barn) and move on to my own personal pile of (fun to work on, I anticipate) for-sale stuff that is here (German/Swiss/Belgian/French/English/Japanese/Czech/American/vintage-American stuff).

...Back to the tenor tuba: Someone has already offered to buy it. :lol:
(You know who you are... :roll: )
Hey! I haven't had MY fun with it, yet! :wink:

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:16 pm

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:14 pm

Besides always having wished to own a genuine German-made large tenor tuba ("baritone"), I have - in particular - been looking for one of these Meinl-Weston instruments due to the fact that Rich Matteson also owned/used one prior to his Yamaha era.

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:40 pm

WARNING !!! :shock:

I may resume putting the torch to this thing and souping it up fairly soon.
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:50 pm

5th rotor and slide/circuit installed, and mouthpipe tube heavily altered:

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The #1 slide circuit/assembly must be made narrower (with a narrower crook, and a longer 90° elbow) to accommodate the #5 slide/circuit.
What's really cool is that I have the parts.
8)

The #3 slide assembly must also be redone with a downward orientation (as you've seen with other rotary baritones/euphoniums/tenor tubas) to make room for the #5 slide thumb lever. Yep, I have all of those needed #3 slide assembly parts, and the #5 thumb level assembly parts as well. 8)

The difficult part was re-bending this mouthpipe (without ovaling or creasing it) to spiral around the bell a half inch higher (as the bell circumference obviously increases towards the flare, and thus the circumference of the mouthpipe curvature must also increase...and even the geometry of the mouthpipe receiver brace. I also had to change the curvature of the mouthpipe to dance around the back of the #5 slide assembly.

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Before I soldered the mouthpipe to one of the #5 slide tubes, (yep) I could barely see light between the mouthpipe and the tube.
relieved: The #5 slide slides just as nicely AFTER effecting that solder joint as before...and the end-to-end parallel of the outside slide tubes is just as good installed as it was pre-installed.
8)

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Even the brace between the #5 and #1 rotor casings had to be "messed with".

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I actually wanted the mouthpipe to wrap around the bell HIGHER for TWO reasons:
- The factory playing position was physically "low". What's that newfangled word...?? oh yeah..."ergonomics".
:shock:
- The factory pull of the main slide down to A=440 was longer than I liked. Now the main slide pull for A=440 is only a bit more than a half inch, and I can push in to A=442.

Image

Christian Niedermaier (Miraphone boss) has made this instrument enhancement project very easy for me. Again, the most difficult parts of the job (hopefully...which is why I procrastinated getting started on this project until today :oops: ) are now in the past, and the everything else is just tinkertoy work.

I did take advantage of having the mouthpipe tube off for a few minutes, and went back over some previous repair-person's (though very good, considering they could only burnish from the inside with the mouthpipe in the way) bell stem dent removal job.

This is actually pretty good bloketherapy:
- Unlike when struggling to resurrect import wadded-into-useless-globs-of-brass school-owned tubas, I actually have ALL the parts I need for this project, and do NOT have to improvise ANYTHING.
8)
- Once enhanced, this instrument (at least, as long as I own it) won't be wadded into a useless glob of brass.
- I guess (??), I'll have a new toy for crissmuss. :tuba:
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:27 pm

I managed to squeeze in the #1 slide rebuild before I had to leave for rehearsals.
It went well (no drama) and slides nicely.
Later, I'm going to ask Christian at Miraphone to please send me some cutesy little c. 8mm-to-10mm braces - but to exact dimensions - to brace up the #1 and #5 outside slide tubes. Could I make those braces on my lathe? sure. :D Do I want to? not when someone else can do it for me. :|

Check out the down-crook on the #5 slide. I could have spaced the #1 slide with a crook like that, and it would have ~just~ fit next to the #5 slide assembly...but I decided that I would rather not have everything jammed up against everything else.

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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby iiipopes » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:58 am

bloke wrote:Later, I'm going to ask Christian at Miraphone to please send me some cutesy little c. 8mm-to-10mm braces - but to exact dimensions - to brace up the #1 and #5 outside slide tubes. Could I make those braces on my lathe? sure. :D Do I want to? not when someone else can do it for me.

Especially since they do that every day, in great numbers, and the overall cost will be less than your time making them that you would bill otherwise for other repairs!!!
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Re: German tenor tuba/baritone improvements and enhancements

Postby bloke » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:44 am

iiipopes wrote:
bloke wrote:Later, I'm going to ask Christian at Miraphone to please send me some cutesy little c. 8mm-to-10mm braces - but to exact dimensions - to brace up the #1 and #5 outside slide tubes. Could I make those braces on my lathe? sure. :D Do I want to? not when someone else can do it for me.

Especially since they do that every day, in great numbers, and the overall cost will be less than your time making them that you would bill otherwise for other repairs!!!


yup. My pocketbook and budgeting-of-time-in-my-life overrule my ego...particularly now that I'm in my 60's.
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