not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tuba?? Bookmark and Share

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not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tuba??

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:47 pm

Most people on ToobahNet have seen my "Mardi Gras" 4-valve Conn fiberglass 36/40K sousaphone.
Even with almost no light reflecting off of it, its surface (very difficult to photograph) looks sort of like this, and - with a spotlight...or sunlight...reflecting off of it - it knocks folks' eyes out. :shock:

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That's all well-and-good for 99% of the times I would use this instrument, but I had the goofy idea of using it in the opening concert of this years subscription series (as most American orchestras begin their seasons' first concerts with The Star-Spangled Banner) to play the national anthem...the problem being...the finish, which is neither appropriate for the venue nor for the piece of music...

...so a few months ago, someone sold me a (not 1920's, but) what I believe to be a 1950's (based on engraving) Buescher sousaphone bell with a 6-inch male collar (which fits a Conn 36K or 14K) and a magnificent 26-inch (not just 24-inch) bell diameter. If I manage to get all of the creases and dents out of it - AND polish/lacquer it BEFORE next Saturday night) I'm going to STAND UP and play the national anthem with my (26-inch BRASS bell) sousaphone - just as God intended. 8)
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So far, I've removed the VERY dark factory lacquer from the front-and-back of the engraved area, and completely removed the dents (and this was the worst-dented area) to my own satisfaction (somewhat of a high standard).
I suspect I'll have it done in time...
...I've managed to mow most of the property, and (having been more energetic than usual) ~nearly~ all of the customer repair work being completed (other than that which has been shelved - due to lack of customer response to questions I asked them in emails, or other customer-based reasons), I suspect I'll meet the deadline.
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...OK...Am I going to ask the Music Director about this? Heck no. :| He'll see it - for the first time - when I stand up with it at the concert (nope: not even in the one hurried run-through in the dress reh. :P
(FWIW, as long as something is very well-executed, he's a go-with-the-flow person, and enjoys surprises...even when they surprise him.)

next: after this...??
:arrow: I have ONE F tuba (that I built from Chinese and German parts) that someone (occasionally ToobuhNet contributor...an extremely nice person) may - ?? - be interested in...I need to lacquer it, though...

next: after that...??

:arrow: I REALLY need to put up the last few of a whole bunch of fence posts (abandoned, when "summer repairs" hit), and pull some fence around a couple of acres for Mrs. bloke...but that shouldn't take more than a couple of days (at least, to get it to minimum-usable condition for her purposes...and more can be done to enhance things when it's MUCH cooler outside.)

:arrow: I have a couple of 5V 1960's 186 C tubas that I've been saving back for quite a while...
I think I'll pull them down from the attic, and see about commencing with their restorations.
I've sort of made a "resolution", this year, to either sell off "projects" uncompleted (as you may have noticed), OR to complete them, and to either keep or sell them. (Please note that - so far - (at least) the cimbasso project HAS been tackled...and - btw - the music director goes gaga for it. ex: Were I to pull it out - this week - to use for the Borodin Polovetsian Dances, he would probably be ~fine~ with that...but...me?... :lol: absolutely no way. :roll: )

As to the 186 tubas...I might (??) make a thread and post a few pictures (scant, as were the cimbasso thread pictures). I'm not much of a picture-taker. Mostly, when I'm working on something, my hands are either covered with solder acid...or dirt...or brass oxide...or dent-machine grease (STP Oil Treatment), and I'm not in much of a mood to pick up my iPhone, when my hands are like that.
Last edited by bloke on Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but...a sousaphone bell...

Postby YORK-aholic » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:01 pm

bloke wrote:As to the 186 tubas...I might (??) make a thread and post a few pictures (scant, as were the cimbasso thread pictures). I'm not much of a picture-taker.


Live streamed webcam! :tuba:
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but...a sousaphone bell...

Postby bloke » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:40 am

YORK-aholic wrote:
bloke wrote:As to the 186 tubas...I might (??) make a thread and post a few pictures (scant, as were the cimbasso thread pictures). I'm not much of a picture-taker.


Live streamed webcam! :tuba:


:lol: :roll:
Even WERE it ACTUALLY interesting, the shop doesn't have any wifi (on purpose...so - when I go out there - I don't screw around here...though it WOULD be nice to use for live-streaming radio stations, as we're dozens of miles from radio broadcast towers...and the shop is a metal building).
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Re: BM/Symphonic (York Master) valveset...

Postby bloke » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:20 am

Let me try and figure out what I have it it...It's been a long time.
I'm not seeing the Y/M body laying around, so it's possible (not remembering, but...) that I already got a little bit of cash for that part of the instrument, but not sure at all.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but...a sousaphone bell...

Postby bloke » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:38 pm

OK...

first things first:

Today (before it got to be too hot...and I still took a towel out to the buffing room...to prevent perspiration from dropping on the nice becoming-shiny un-lacquered instrument) I went ahead and color-buffed the F tuba.

After a shower (so I'll be pinkish, again, rather than reddish), I'll be degreasing and (who knows? :shock: :?: ) maybe even shooting some lacquer, today.

:arrow: ...and no, I don't re-lacquer things that belong to other people...' too much work, and too much responsibility. If it's mine, it is what it is. If its mine and for sale, still: it is what it is. :|

yeah...I've had this 40-year-old bell sitting in my closet long enough...' might as well build a tuba around it. :|

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Last edited by bloke on Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:08 pm

oh...and I added a poll, too, so... :roll:

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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby Three Valves » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:00 pm

Since its a holiday, and you have all day, charcoal is fine. Else gas.
Who needs four valves??

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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:27 pm

F tuba is lacquered...
It was tough, but successful, and I had to use every trick in the book.
It's crazy-humid, here, and there is no 1,000,000 BTU recirculating/re-filtering HVAC system here.

3 P.M., and back from running several errands (fabric store - to spiff-up tails, Greyhound, dropped off some accessories with a band director, *haircut...)

HOT AS HADES: buff the sousaphone bell, so I can see to remove the rest of the small dents

HOT AS HADES: finish driving in the rest of the fence posts for Mrs. bloke's new pasture, so we can pull the last roll of fence

MAYBE...?? a siesta :oops:
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bort » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:01 pm

Above the eyebrows, you look like Saul Goodman. :)
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:58 pm

bort wrote:Above the eyebrows, you look like Saul Goodman. :)


seriously...a TWO YEAR gap between seasons...!?!?

At LEAST, they began recording episodes, again, back in April...

=======================================================

hamburger topic:

KROGER - in their markdown meat pile - had a whole bunch of pkgs of (3 patties each) huge hamburger patties with cheese and BACON :shock: 8) mixed in - priced at a lower price per pound as their lower-grade ground beef in the 5-lb. can't-see-the-meat tubes. I bought ALL of those pkgs.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby YORK-aholic » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:21 am

bloke wrote: finish driving in the rest of the fence posts for Mrs. bloke's new pasture, so we can pull the last roll of fence


New pasture? Might I ask what animals, if any (and assuming it isn't really "Mrs. Bloke's new pasture"), will be going into said pasture?

Just curious...

Perhaps, if you've got the extra room and I gave them a map with the route highlighted and some snacks for the walk there, I could send our two horses to find their way over to spend some time with you this winter.
:lol:
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:47 pm

Due to the rehearsal schedule - and all the more important-than-sousaphone-bell things that I felt I needed to do before this subscription weekend – I have made no progress on the sousaphone bell.
There are no rehearsals on the day of the concert.
I guess that’s when I’m doing the sousaphone bell - except for the bit that has been done - start to finish.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:39 am

Yesterday, the "tuba-involved" pieces for this week's subscription series concert were extensively rehearsed.

(I used one of my attic/beat-to-crap/60's-vintage/absolutely-none-of-it's-issues-addressed-prior-to-using-it :shock: 186 C's on one of the pieces...Perhaps I'll post some short video clips...' possibly eye-opening...I just don't believe that lap-sousaphones-in-C can easily achieve the type of resonance sought-and-achieved on the particular piece. Whether you personally like the type of resonance or not, it sure made the music director...as well the concerto soloist sitting out in the hall...smile.)

Because of yesterday's heavy rehearsal of the tuba-involved compositions, I have been excused 8) :!: from this morning's rehearsal (concerto, and pre-1830's symphony), and only am required to attend tonight's dress...so I have all day today (until clean-up-and-drive-time) and all day tomorrow (same parenthetical comment) to get the sousaphone bell SSB-ready.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:12 pm

OK...
If this thang is gonna happen, I gotta get my buttrix in gear. :shock:
I just completed (what some of us in "The South" refer to as) the "rough-buff" (ruff-buff... :?: // rough-bough... :?: ) :?
I believe I've seen yankees refer to it as the "cut-down" stage.

It's the most difficult/unsatisfying polishing stage:
The goal is to get rid of old "dead" lacquer and heavy oxidation, so the instrument (and its needed repairs) are revealed.
It could have been chemically stripped and acid-cleaned, but it also would STILL need to be shined up (in order to be able to see all the dents), so that would have been nothing more than a waste of time/resources.

Today, it's already near 90 degrees, and the surface of the bell being "cut down" can be over 200 degrees...or - if someone isn't paying attention to what they are doing - over 400 degrees (This is known - by gov't-funded scientists - as "man-made surface temperature change", and IS a threat - if you're clumsy enough to touch that sumbich with your bare arm.) :shock:

Even with a high-velocity/high-SCFM exhaust fan, perspiration (dropping on the bell surface) becomes an issue, and drying off becomes necessary - just as often - as recharging the buffing wheels with polishing compound.

Buffing a sousaphone bell ELBOW interior is particularly annoying.
A big wheel won't fit in there, and too-small a wheel causes the machine's shaft to hit against the interior surface of the elbow (scratchety-scratch)...oh, and it really likes to throw very hot little buffing trash particles in your face. 8) :D

Anyway...That stage is finished, and I'm cooling off. Some personal weight loss has made this task easier as it would have been, and NO, I do NOT refinish O.P.s sousaphones. :|

Maybe (??), it's becoming apparent why most "restorations" you see on ToobuhNet feature "matte" or "scratch-brush" finishes. High-gloss polishing (and complete dent removal of) several square yards of surface area is a P.I.T.A.

OK...time for a nasty little can of white tuna, something cold to drink, and back out to the AIR-CONDITIONED 8) shop to start working on dent-removal.

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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:07 pm

only 3:30 P.M. and (gratefully) remarkable progress...READY TO POLISH :shock: :!: 8)

I will probably cut out the surface (not deep...I'll leave all of those) scratches today, and get up EARLY tomorrow (when cool) and color-buff (high-gloss) it. I just can't be dripping perspiration on it when color-buffing it.

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5:00 shower/dress
5:30 leave for dress rehearsal, which is a 1-1/4th hour drive
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby Three Valves » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:17 pm

If we could only put a few of those in synchronous orbit we could cool the planet!! :tuba:

The only scientific consensus left to be reached is “where to set the thermostat” 8)
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:09 pm

...exactly...
============================
...so I got the 26"-diameter / 6"-collar Buescher sousaphone bell shined up enough to bring it to the dress rehearsal. I will color-buff and lacquer it tomorrow.
I'm sure you (the plural "you") recall all these ToobuhNet discussions we have had about the right instrument for the right piece - as well as the "what is the best "archasstrul tewbah?" discussions...
The M.D. DID NOT notice the sousaphone. :| :arrow: :idea:

:arrow: MUSIC DIRECTORS, in general, DO NOT GIVE A CRAP WHAT TYPE OF TUBA IS PLAYED :!:

bloke "breaking barriers, again. Possibly (??) one of the VERY FEW uses of a sousaphone in a symphony orchestra since the VIDEO seen of one (not verified that it was actually PLAYED in the recording studio) in the 1940 Disney movie, "Fantasia".


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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby iiipopes » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:27 am

bloke wrote:bloke "breaking barriers, again. Possibly (??) one of the VERY FEW uses of a sousaphone in a symphony orchestra since the VIDEO seen of one (not verified that it was actually PLAYED in the recording studio) in the 1940 Disney movie, "Fantasia".
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Bloke, "Chief" Kuhn is often shown playing a souzy, especially for the earliest acoustic recording sessions in lieu of a double bass. Do you know if anybody else played a souzy instead of a "recording bell" tuba for such early sessions? I agree. One time I took two souzys and a tuba to a community band rehearsal some years ago to see which one blended best. The director, of great repute (Texas all state high school bands, etc., before retiring and coming to SW MO), like your director, could not tell the difference out front between instruments and mouthpiece selections. Standing beside him when I asked were two other directors who played in the band to keep their chops up, and asked them as well, and they could not tell, either! So I picked one and went with it, as you are doing.
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Re: not particularly glamorous, but..a sousaphone bell..F tu

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:10 am

There's a new-to-bloke (not C, F, nor Eb) tuba on its way here...so I may be FORCED to shoehorn that new toy into the mix... :shock:

...but later this month is our orchestra's annual (huge social event) free outdoor concert - which (even though the first subscription concert has already occurred) "kicks off" the season, and offers sneak-peaks(listens) at/to some of the upcoming "masterworks" and "pops" stuff we'll be presenting.

I see some cimbasso stuff (two huge 1970's rock medleys) and :arrow: I'm wondering about doing most all the rest on this sousaphone, this time.
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