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It would seem to be quite a task and maybe not something a repair tech could do, but has anyone heard of cutting down a sousaphone bell? It seems to me that 26" bells are rather superfluous and that a 24" bell or a little smaller would not only make the instrument a little more flexible and more focused sounding but would also reduce the heft and increase the physical manageability of the beasts.
Anyone tried it?
Happiness is a warm tuba.
You're talking about cutting off a one-inch ring all the way around? I'm thinking a sousa bell without the outer bead and stiffening wire would be horribly easy to bend, plus pose a danger of slicing hands every time it was handled putting it on or off.
Although entirely possible... someone might be tickled to death to swap you a 24" flare for your 26" one. What model sousa are you speaking of?
Me I would love to have a 24inch bell cut down to a 22 or 21inch. 24 is just too big in my opinion and I wish I could get a bell with a smaller flare.
I was thinking that most older King tubas have a 26" bell and that it would be difficult to find a 24" one. I did once play a King with a smaller bell, but it was the only one I remember running across, are the smaller bell ones more common than I have been thinking? The one that I did play was a really great playing instrument, unfortunately the owner was asking more than I was willing to pay at the time. It was a mismatched combo if I remember correctly, and may not have even been a King bell but as with many things I unfortunately have a foggy memory of it.
Also, what about the older conn 14k's, 36k's and 20k's are there any alternate bell styles/sizes for any of these instruments?
This is for future reference only as I currently am sousa-less.
Happiness is a warm tuba.
C. G. Conn offered the 32K as a lightweight version of its legendary 38K. The main lightening was smaller bell flair.
To answer your question directly, Bob Rusk did it to almost all of His York BBb to CC conversions as they started with
a 22" flair. All he did was take a wire, make a 20" loop, solder it's ends together, and grind and file flat the side of it where
it contacted the sheet metal and solder it on. Done right, you couldn't tell. As to the cut itself, I don't know if he soldered
the ring on first or after but either way anyone who does sheet metal fabrication for a living, can make a true cut that
needs little touch up filing just with sharp tin snips.
You might talk to a mechanical or HVAC shop about it. It wouldn't be any harder then some of the precision cuts I make in
Woodstove installation. Many's the time I had to cut a custom ellipse in a trim collar to match an unusual ceiling pitch.
Brian "Goodgigs" Kane
If your going to do such a cut, I'd have a precision machining shop do it. It will cost a bit more but, they have the best equipment for the job and will make the most accurate cut.
He'd probably have to remove the flare first before having it cut on a machine, unless of course this is different from what I'm thinking of.
Not to pee in your good gig, Brian, but 20"of wire in a loop will miss out on a certain factor.
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