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Rotary Conn CC

Postby hrender » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:16 am

hal.

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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby bort » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:26 am

Neat!!
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby shinytuba7 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:13 am

I would love to see a bell engraving. The pictures don't really help with that.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby roweenie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:03 pm

shinytuba7 wrote:I would love to see a bell engraving. The pictures don't really help with that.


Me, too....

It's hard to tell from the angle of the pictures, but am I to assume this is not a stencil of a European tuba, but a product of the Conn factory in Elkhart (the brace feet and ferrules are typical Conn, so maybe it is?)

Image

A custom Conn CC tuba with ol' Gus hisself. It seems Mr. Helleberg was partial to rotary valves, and Col. Conn had no problem supplying him with what he wanted.

(As a side note, I've thought it would be a fun project to replicate this today, using a rotary valve set and vintage Conn hardware....)
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Donn » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:20 am

roweenie wrote:(As a side note, I've thought it would be a fun project to replicate this today, using a rotary valve set and vintage Conn hardware....)


A rotary valve set like that? or like the ebay horn, whatever's easily available from Germany?

I can't clearly make out from the picture, and I didn't find any better photos of this thing, but the rotors look quite different to me. I wonder if they were thinking of trying them out on a sousaphone, where the common rotary design is kind of a problem because of the span of the linkage.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby roweenie » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:23 am

The idea was to put rotary valves onto a Conn tuba, nothing more than that.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Tubajug » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:28 am

At one point I remember seeing photos of a tuba made from Cerveny rotary valves on a Conn 56J body. Interesting looking horn for sure.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby bloke » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:32 am

Rotary instruments looking towards their century marks with valves that do ~not~ need rebuild jobs (if not so very worn that they actually are rebuild-able) are somewhat rare.

As stated more than once in the past, I'm a bit of a re-lacquer phobic.

File/sandpaper devastation is easily cloaked by heavy buffing.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby bort » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:04 pm

The bell engraving is barely visable... so yes, there has been a bit of "smoothing" involved.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Ed Jones » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:54 pm

geib tuba.jpg
geib tuba.jpg (81.83 KiB) Viewed 2465 times


It looks like Fred Geib's rotary Conn tuba.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Donn » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:12 pm

Though clearly not identical. Pardon me for stating that obvious point, but it looks like some of this stuff is feeding back into the auction:
seller wrote:There have been some individuals from the tuba community that suggested this is a August Helleberg era model?


Hello, seller: sure, apparently Helleberg got a rotary valve tuba from Conn, but that pictured tuba is utterly unlike yours, and no one ever said there was any relationship beyond the possibility that yours too might have come from the factory. Whether it did or not hardly makes any difference, in any case it's a one-off custom job.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby bort » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:52 pm

I did a lot of research on this over the past few years, but now that I'm writing this down, I think there are a few holes that I'm uncertain about. So, apologies if this is scattered and not 100% accurate.

There are a few of these tubas out there. I've heard 4 and 5 as the numbers of ones that were ever made:

Here's one I remember from LONG ago:
viewtopic.php?p=225817#p225817

Then there's Fred's, pictured above.
And apparently one of the Conn rotary's was destroyed in an accident 55+ years ago.
There was also a different Conn rotary CC on eBay in December 2016... but some people were skeptical how original it was.


The general story that I've heard is that Helleberg wanted a rotary tuba, he had to us a Conn in Sousa's band, and so Conn built a rotary tuba for him. It was a Conn body, with valves from Sanders in Germany (although I have also heard that if there were about 5 of these tubas... 2 had rotary valves that Conn tried to make, and the other 3 were imported from Germany). As you can imagine, at that time, importing things from Germany was not easy or fast. I've always been curious how well this concept worked out ... just because he used it doesn't mean it was a great tuba. That is, even if it was just okay, if this was the one model of tuba that Conn made for him to use, then that might have been his only option. It's not like there were other rotary CC tubas for him to choose from. It's also pretty likely that even if it was just an okay tuba, he was a good enough player to work around it and make it work!

I can't remember the exact connection of Fred Geib to Helleberg or Conn, but Fred used that Conn rotary tuba pictured above. Warren Deck acquired it, and used it for a while in the NYPO, eventually replacing the valve section with Alexander valves. I asked Warren about the tuba, and he basically said it was an incredible sound, and incredibly difficult to play in-tune. Changing the valve set to Alexander took away some of the positive sound qualities, but made it easier to play (imagine that -- an Alexander valve section in the 80s(?) making something EASIER to play in-tune!). After some time, Warren decided to move on, build his own stuff, and we all know how that turned out. That Geib tuba now lives in Texas, and has the original valve section on it again.

It's hard to say if the rotary Conn CC tubas were a success or not. Just because they never caught on, doesn't necessarily mean they were bad -- any number of other reasons could be the cause. How many CC players were there? (not many, and not much demand!) How many rotary tubas were there? Or players who preferred rotary tubas? And considering what else was going on in the world in the first half of the 20th century... there are many reasons why something "German-style" might have been unpopular.

So... what's all of this mean for the tuba on eBay? Just not sure. It has had a lot of work done to it, and people will have to try it for themselves to see how it plays. I'm definitely curious about it... but not curious enough to own it.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Donn » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:45 pm

bort wrote:So... what's all of this mean for the tuba on eBay?


Nothing, right? Not a thing.
  • It isn't August Helleberg's tuba, no resemblance whatever.
  • It isn't Fred Geib's tuba - more like it, but only about as much as any two ordinary rotary valve tubas would be similar. Detachable bell, routing of valve tubing at the bottom bow, I'm sure there's more.
  • As roweenie mentions, "Col. Conn had no problem supplying him with what he wanted." - they put together Helleberg's tuba out of whatever they could get their hands on at the time, and likely Geib's and any other players they wanted to deal with that way. They might have made 5, or two dozen over the years, or whatever, but there's no real reason to expect any two of them to be the same.
  • There's no real indication that this is one of them, that it did come from the Conn factory.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby bort » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:08 pm

Donn wrote:[*]There's no real indication that this is one of them, that it did come from the Conn factory.


It's got the right valves paddles, at least. Many (all?) of the Conn rotary tubas have had these "non-teardrop" paddles. Here's Mike's Conn BAT that's at BBC:

http://baltimorebrass.net/picture.php?t ... ts&id=3152" target="_blank
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:59 pm

Donn wrote:Though clearly not identical. Pardon me for stating that obvious point, but it looks like some of this stuff is feeding back into the auction:
seller wrote:There have been some individuals from the tuba community that suggested this is a August Helleberg era model?




I have no connection to the auction what so ever, but I seem to think I read that statement before the above picture of August Helleberg was posted. I looked at it right after the original (1st) post was made.
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary King...
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Tom Coffey » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:41 pm

Sam Green had a large Conn rotary horn when I was at CCM in the late 1970's. He bought it from August Helleberg and eventually sold it to John Tabeling. It played well, and John made it sound great all the time, including on the Vaughn Williams concerto. Sam had heard that Conn got the valve set from Cerveny. It was a good enough tuba that Sam used it in the Cincinnati Symphony when his Sander was in the shop.
I wrote a biography of Sam that was the cover story in the TUBA Journal in (I think) 2005 or 2006. There is a picture in there of Sam playing the rotary Conn in Riverfront Stadium.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby roweenie » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:57 am

I read in the ad the mention of Gus Helleberg - that prompted me to post the photo.

It's obvious that (maybe with the exception of the bugle, and even then it's hard to be sure) there is little in common with the layout of the two horns (or the one Mr. Geib is holding, for that matter) - in fact they are so patently different that I didn't think it necessary to mention it.

There never was, to my certain knowledge, a "Helleberg Model" anything, unless you consider a "one-off" custom instrument to be a "model". If you were important enough (or had a lot of money), C.G. Conn (and H.N. White, among others) would build you whatever you wanted.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Stephen Shoop » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:33 pm

I am current owner of the Conn rotary tuba sold on Ebay in December 2016. It will play in CC or BBb due to two sets of interchangeable slides. Some are missing.... obviously a problematic issue. I want to have the appropriate slides made (or cut) so it plays in CC. Valves are a bit "squishy," which explains why an owner might replace them. Solid tuba with a great "classic" Conn sound!

[img]Conn%20Rotary%20Tuba%20copy[/img]

[img]Conn%20Rotary%20tuba%20BBb%20slide%20copy[/img]
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby Stephen Shoop » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:36 pm

Pictures did not post. If someone could send me a pm with instructions, I will try to get them posted.
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Re: Rotary Conn CC

Postby hrender » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:39 am

Put the picture on a photo-sharing site, then put the URL between the img tags, i.e. this

Code: Select all
[img]https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/IyEAAOSwgLdapKH8/s-l1600.jpg[/img]


yields this:

Image
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