Cause of stuffiness? Bookmark and Share

Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Tubajug » Thu May 23, 2019 4:23 pm

I'm getting a bit flustered with my new helicon. It plays very stuffy. I thought maybe it was just the leaky neck, but after taping it up, it doesn't play any better. It just feels like there's something blocking the airstream. I've flushed it with water, blown compressed air through it, checked the valves for alignment and in the correct casings, but to no avail. My next thought was to shove a ball down the bell to block the air and use the compressed air again the the hopes that keeping the air in the horn will help knock loose whatever might be there.

Is there any other cause for stuffiness? Any other tricks I might try (short of taking it apart...)?
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Mark Finley » Thu May 23, 2019 4:33 pm

are you 100% sure the valves are original? I had an old Eb once that somebody threw in a 2nd valve from an upright tuba, not knowing the ports are in different places on a front action tuba.

Does moving the valves change the stuffiness of the tuba at all, or is it consistant?

put a ball bearing into the largest tube you can after the valve section. spin the tuba and see if the bearing comes out.

Or, get a boroscope from Amazon
User avatar
Mark Finley
Low Brass Teacher
Low Brass Teacher
 
Posts: 5295
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:08 am
Location: Arlington TX

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Tubajug » Thu May 23, 2019 5:10 pm

The valves look original, they have serial numbers on them to match. Good idea with the ball bearing. And yes, the stuffiness stays the same with the valves down. I did put a borescope through it as well (another reason I'm getting a bit perplexed).
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby the elephant » Thu May 23, 2019 7:11 pm

I think you have a large but permeable or thin blockage way down the bell. I have found music lyres and goosenecks stuffed way down sousaphones that became trapped badly due to a later dent. In one case, trapped behind the neck were three sheets of marching band music. Water and compressed air will NOT remove something metal that is wedged behind a dent, and will have a lot of trouble if one of the "sharp" ends gets wedged into a branch joint if the joint is not fully closed under the big ferrule.

In your case I would get some LARGE brass nuts from a hardware store. Starting with the largest one you have, tie some string to it. (Tape over the threads; new brass nuts usually have rather sharp threads and these can cut your string and then cause all sorts of issue when the nut become wedged in the horn if it gets to a place of the same size.) Cut the string or cord to the length of the body up to the approximate OD of the nut facets. Go fishing. Don't get it stuck! As you confirm that there is no obstruction in the horn up the the size of the nut, decrease the size of the nut and go fishing a bit more closely to the valve section. On an Eb horn this could be done with three nuts, one that is able to drop through the dogleg and out the MTS, one that is about a half inch larger, and then the largest one you can locate that is not more than about two inches across. I have done this many times and frequently caught some sort of Obstruction Fish. (Do not eat what you catch. They taste like old school lunches and spit.

PS - I have also fashioned a hook out of very stiff brass coat hanger wire and soldered it to the nut, dropping it in with the hook going in first.

Image
I got nothin'…
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 14203
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Tubajug » Thu May 23, 2019 10:37 pm

I got it! I rolled a ball bearing in to find where the blockage was, then tried knocking against the item using the ball bearing and a magnet. I tapped around the area with a rawhide mallet, and used more compressed air with the ball inside. What finally got it out was adding another ball, then rocking the horn back and forth to knock the balls against it until it finally came loose!

I'll post pictures tomorrow, but it was a little political button of Roosevelt and Wallace from 1940!

Thanks for all the help! I gave it a quick toot and am excited to really get it going now that I know it plays!
Last edited by Tubajug on Fri May 24, 2019 12:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby roweenie » Thu May 23, 2019 10:57 pm

User avatar
roweenie
pro musician
pro musician
 
Posts: 1859
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:17 am
Location: way down yonder in the cornfield

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Mark Finley » Thu May 23, 2019 11:10 pm

Thank bloke for the tip. He gave me that one when I had a student drop a C battery down the bell of his euphonium some how, and of course it got stuck
User avatar
Mark Finley
Low Brass Teacher
Low Brass Teacher
 
Posts: 5295
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:08 am
Location: Arlington TX

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby iiipopes » Fri May 24, 2019 10:02 am

In addition to obstructions, a mis-placed, mis-repaired or mis-aligned brace can also cause stuffiness, as can a leak from a deteriorating solder joint. Congrats on finding an historical political button. As you continue to play the helicon, watch for these symptoms as well as valve condition and alignment issues mentioned above.
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 Modified Helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Wessex BR115 & B&H 3-valve comp w/ Wick Ultra SMB6
King Super 20 trumpet w/ Bach 3C/76
Fanned fret bass and electric guitars
User avatar
iiipopes
Utility Infielder
Utility Infielder
 
Posts: 8156
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:10 am

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Tubajug » Fri May 24, 2019 12:02 pm

Thanks again for all the help and things to watch for in the future. As promised, here is a picture of the obstruction and one showing its location. I'll put these over on my thread dedicated to this project as well.

Image

Image
Last edited by Tubajug on Fri May 24, 2019 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Mark Finley » Fri May 24, 2019 12:04 pm

Incredible. That might have been in there for 80 years.

How does it play now?
User avatar
Mark Finley
Low Brass Teacher
Low Brass Teacher
 
Posts: 5295
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:08 am
Location: Arlington TX

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Tubajug » Fri May 24, 2019 12:08 pm

Mark Finley wrote:Incredible. That might have been in there for 80 years.

How does it play now?


It very well could have been! I only played it for a few minutes and the neck is still just taped up, but with one bit in it, it played pretty closely in tune (just a tiny bit flat overall still). It has a very sweet, light tone to it. It plays pretty open (certainly compared to before!) and the pedal Eb just pops out. I haven't done much to it in the way of cleaning yet, so now I feel like I can proceed with earnest knowing that it will actually play!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby bloke » Fri May 24, 2019 7:52 pm

1. Tubas will still play at "B+" with poorly-aligned valves or small cracks.
2. Water pressure almost never frees obstructions.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44304
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Tubajug » Fri May 24, 2019 8:33 pm

bloke wrote:1. Tubas will still play at "B+" with poorly-aligned valves or small cracks.
2. Water pressure almost never frees obstructions.


Good to know! Thanks!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun May 26, 2019 9:42 pm

I found a TubaChristmas 1983 button in the back bow of a Miraphone 183 once. It was hanging inside like a stove pipe dampener. When I tried to pass a ball through the horn... the damper slammed shut and NO air would pass.
Dan Schultz
"The Village Tinker"
http://www.thevillagetinker.com
Current 'stable'... Rudolf Meinl 5/4, Marzan (by Willson) euph, King 2341, Alphorn, and other strange stuff.
User avatar
Dan Schultz
TubaTinker
TubaTinker
 
Posts: 10348
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:46 pm
Location: Newburgh, Indiana

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby bloke » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:45 pm

Cause of stuffiness?


two or three kollich degrees...??
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 44304
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Postby iiipopes » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:49 pm

bloke wrote:
Cause of stuffiness?


two or three kollich degrees...??

No, those cause retentiveness, not stuffiness! :P
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 Modified Helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Wessex BR115 & B&H 3-valve comp w/ Wick Ultra SMB6
King Super 20 trumpet w/ Bach 3C/76
Fanned fret bass and electric guitars
User avatar
iiipopes
Utility Infielder
Utility Infielder
 
Posts: 8156
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:10 am


Return to Repair, Modification, and Construction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests