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I got my King 1240 in front of a strobe tuner and found that the open series is spot on with either a Helleberg or a Helleberg 7B (just had to push in a little bit compared to the regular Helleberg) but on both mouthpieces the valve combinations are almost all flat (except 1-3 and 1-2-3). The "flatness" wasn't as bad with the 7B, but even with the slides pushed all the way in, most combos were consistently flat. I'd rather not have to deal with cutting any tubing (it was a cheap horn and I'm not looking to dump a bunch of money into it), so are there any other shallow-type mouthpieces that people have used on these with any success?
I guess my other question should be: has anyone else had this issue (overall flatness on valve combos) with their three-valve Kings?
Thanks for any and all suggestions!
Yeah - I mean, I have no idea, but I guess it has occurred to you that this might not really be a mouthpiece problem. Or a King problem per se. A smaller mouthpiece (I don't know, Schilke 62 or something?) might make it easier for you to push the pitch up, but the 7B is already a pretty moderate size.
Which combinations? Same effect in any register - like, if D below the staff is flat, then going up, G, B will likewise be flat?
It could be something as simple as leaking water keys. You can experiment with thicker lubricants to see if any of it is air leaking from around the pistons. Valve alignment on the down stroke might be another thing to look at.
I would rather suspect some valve leakage. My 1241 which I got from Dan in December plays nicely in tune. The valves, though pretty good to start with, got the Anderson's refit treatment nice and air tight!
For mouthpieces, I am using a custom Schilke Helleberg with a Schmidt backbore as used on the Schilke Helleberg II. I also had a Schilke Helleberg F made with the same rim and it works very nicely too. One thing I did was open up the receiver just a bit and that improved overall response a fair bit. It makes it respond much more like a CC. All in all, I'm quite happy with these combinations. Both being "custom" items they cost more than stock but, the rim is what I like and to me it was worth the extra money.
Free to tuba: good home
I think that on many of the older 3 valve tubas, the valves were intentionally made longer so that 1-3 would be in tune, and 1-2-3 would not be extremely off.
These tuning issues were brought in one of my other threads "My Freshly Flipped First Valve" and it was suggested that I cut the tubes a bit. Thoughts on that? Since it looks like this won't be solved with only a mouthpiece.
I can only suggest a couple philosophical principles of tuba design.
- No instrument is really built to play out of tune. I mean, with a valved brass instrument, intonation is all about compromise, and it could just about as well be said that no tuba is really in tune. But I've had instruments with significant tuning issues, and I think it's fair to say, they weren't supposed to. Most western brass instrument manufacturers have been doing it for several generations, and they know enough to hit a certain standard of intonation.
- It's harder to make tubes longer, than it is to make them shorter. (Corollary - shortening is more or less irreversible.)
- If an intonation problem can be corrected by fixing a leak, internal blockage or valve misalignment, other playing qualities will improve at the same time. This is not true of shortening.
If you enlarge the throat in comparison to the rest of the piece, you will sharpen pitch in the lower ranges.
You can test for leaky valves by making sure there is a "pop" when the slide is pulled without depressing the valve correct? If there is no pop, the valve is leaky. Am I correct? Are there any other tests? Thanks!
The pop is usually a good test but if you have a bad spit valve or loose fitting slides you may not get a pop.
Another simple test is remove the slide depress the valve, cover the open tube with your hand or fingers and blow into the lead pipe, on a tuba with good valves you will blow an eardrum out before you get any air in. On average valves you will get back pressure with some leakage, on badly worn valves you will hear the air escaping.
If your valves are worn try heavier oil and if intonation improves you have your answer. If your valves are good try a heavy grease on the slides to seal them if intonation improves have your local tech adjust the slide legs to get a better seal.
Hope this helps
Cant carry a tune but I can carry a Tuba
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