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If four is good, five is better.
I'm helping some friends out by testing this new toy. It's a rotary valve that fits onto the 4th valve slide of a Yamaha 321 euphonium, making it a 5-valve model. It's like having a German-style valve setup on a piston euphonium. The rotor can be set to flat 1/2 step, for a 4+5 low E, or flat whole step for a 4+5 low Eb. Low C and B are no problem to play in tune. You just get your left thumb in there, and it's easy to reach. And you can take it off when it's not needed.
Yamaha actually made this part at one time, but it's been long since discontinued. So what's the TubeNet opinion? Is this a good frugal alternative to the pricey compensating euphonium for those who like to play low? What should the tuning be? Flat whole step? Flat half step? Both? And what do you think it's worth? (Inquiring minds want to know.)
On another note, the old Yamaha 321 euphs had a long 3rd valve inner slide. You could pull it out to tune the 3rd valve to 2 whole steps (like 2+3). I believe these long slides tended to get stuck easily, so sadly, they now put a short slide in there. But today I noticed that even though the inner tubes are short, Yamaha didn't fill up the inside of the long outer tubes, so there's a gap in there. A long slide could be made and it would still go all the way in. Would this be worth doing? The idea is that if you tune the 3rd valve to equal 2+3, it's Belgian style tuning, and you can then play a low C in-tune with only 4 valves. Then you can play Strauss all you want - just pull the slide out a bit before the low riff, in the same way that a single valve bass trombone player might pull the F-attachment to E before a menacing riff. Opinions?
This horn will be on display at Trombone Day LA at Cal State Fullerton this Saturday February 6, 2010. http://www.tromboneday.com
Thanks in advance.
Sure, I'd like that as well, but that's a custom job, and then you've stepped up to a much higher price point with no guarantee of success. I think the place to put a fixed 5th valve is just after the 4th. Tony Clements used to have such a YEP321 that had been modified like that by Larry Minick. I'm not sure who owns it now. (Tony, where is it?) That 5th rotor was 2 whole steps, so a low D was 4+5. That's how a second rotor on a bass trombone is usually tuned these days, and the long 5th was stock on Miraphone tubas for years, so it made sense to me at the time.
Because this plug-in 5th rotor is stacked, you get more use if it's shorter, hence 1/2 or whole step tuning, and then you can be right on for a low Eb and more. Also, the premise of this was to take a stock instrument, and for not a huge sum of money, make it much more versatile by adding a plug-in gadget. I think it's cool, but don't know if anyone else does.
Do it. I've got one and love it. Sorry for being out of touch. Been a little bit pre-occupied with trying to not go on strike. Do it. The market for YEP 321 conversions is potentially enormous. How many of these are floating around? How many players have one and don't have the $5000 to upgrade to a compensating horn?
Go for it!
Having - in the past - lucked into finding a few of the rare original Yamaha-made devices and having sold them to friends, this (as a tuba player) seems to me to be (not only the simplest, but) just about the BEST way to make a euphonium into a fully-chromatic instrument. You end up with a free-blowing instrument with lightweight pistons that plays the low range AT LEAST AS WELL as the forever-tolerated Blakely-[R. Goldberg] 3+1 system.
This design is (I suppose) no less "gadgety" than Blakely 3+1, but the BEAUTY of Mr. Ferguson's recreation of the Yamaha accessory is that this stuff is COMPLETELY ISOLATED from the rest of the instrument UNTIL IT IS NEEDED, and it is ONLY really needed (just as with all of that loop-the-loop Blakely stuff) for FOUR fairly RARELY-PLAYED LOW PITCHES.
Mr. Ferguson should also know that if his device fits a YEP-321, it also fits the Weril copy...and (OK...now I'm guessing) I'd wager even money that it also fits the Chinese Barrington (et al) copy as well.
ie: POSSIBLY $1000 pretty-darn-good Chinese Barrington + [this device] = shiny-new fully-chromatic euphonium with light-action pistons.
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I've thought of this before and would put the 5 valve within the 3rd valve slide. Putting the 5th valve on a shorter valve circuit gives more fingering possibilities. This would give you the 523 combo as well as the 513.
The knuckles on the rotor valve would have to curve very sharply in order for it to fit.
Last edited by Timswisstuba on Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
I've got an older Yamaha Eb with the dependent fifth in the fourth setup. It really does make a good horn into a great one and, at least with tuba, those bottom couple of notes are pretty important - it's hard to play quintet without a solid low Ab and F (which, of course can be played fine with slide pulls, but the valve is nice) - and having a non-wolf tone option on the E is good, too. Mine is a long half-step and works fine. Whole-step might be more "standard" these days and would probably give a more solid low E
transposed to Euph world, I mean low Eb and low C and B.
do it. and then make the Eb version.
Thomas J. Ricer, DMA
Royal Hawaiian Band - University of Hawaii at Manoa - Yamaha Performing Artist
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon
These 321 euphoniums and Eb tubas all play really well. I think part of the reason Yamaha discontinued the 5 valve versions of both the euph and Eb tuba was because they were labeled as "student" line horns and wanted to persuade buyers into buying more expensive "professional" horns.??
Add my name to the list of interested parties if the price is decent.
I've been after one for a while now, but Bloke didn't have any lying around last I checked.
I also have the 321 euph. with the dependent 5th rotor. The instrument didn't come with one originally but I managed to find the part and then had a new slide made to make it a flat whole step. For me, especially since euph. is a double, I find the 321 superior to other much more expensive instruments for the freedom of blowing and almost spot on intonation. Go for it... I don't think you'll be disapointed. My YEB-381 Eb Tuba is set up similarly with the dependent 5th and flat whole step slide. It's the 2nd prototype (from 1984) and a fantastic instrument.
Just my $.02
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