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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:15 am

OK, I have the parts on order to replace the linkage arms with threaded rods covered in brass tubing. I'm going to leave the ball and socket parts in place for now

Also I FINALLY replaced the terrible soft sponge that they call rotor bumpers with 1/4" o-rings. Made a huge difference in the feel of the valves. Should have done that the day I got the horn
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:58 am

ValveSlide wrote:
58mark wrote:Also I FINALLY replaced the terrible soft sponge that they call rotor bumpers with 1/4" o-rings. Made a huge difference in the feel of the valves. Should have done that the day I got the horn


Gee, Mark, you'll be taking all the mystery out of play that horn by knowing when the valves are actual "up" or "down."



the funny thing is, since the valves don't over rotate now because of the soft bumpers, the horn plays better and doesn't CLUNK when I push the valves down (the linkage over rotating and smacking the side of the stop arm)

why do all chinese companies use that terrible semi clear bumper material? It's not just JinBao, my wife's packer french horn has the same stuff on it
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby bloke » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:58 pm

They put that stuff in there - and some German manufacturers as well (RM tubas - at least, in the distant past - when I sold a few of them "new" - were one maker) - to try to make the valves SUPER-quiet when the instrument is brand-new for-sale.

It's the same reason that brand-new piston tubas are outfitted with super-poofy felts over/under.
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:01 pm

I guess they are ok at first, but the material breaks down really fast, right?

I don't remember them being so spongy when I got the horn, but now, holy crap, it's like a marshmallow
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Wyvern » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:11 am

58mark wrote:I guess they are ok at first, but the material breaks down really fast, right?

I don't remember them being so spongy when I got the horn, but now, holy crap, it's like a marshmallow

What oil are you using? Sounds like some chemical reaction. They are not spongy when new and appear to be made of similar material as used by Meinl-Weston/B&S
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:37 am

For a while I used super slick (I think it came with it) but I switched to hetman light bearing oil after I had so many problems with the valves
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby bloke » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:49 pm

58mark wrote:I guess they are ok at first, but the material breaks down really fast, right?

I don't remember them being so spongy when I got the horn, but now, holy crap, it's like a marshmallow


Valve oil on those silicone bumpers might not be a very good combo, and - pretty much - it's unavoidable. :|

Obviously, a fairly hard rubber is the best material for most people and most instruments.

If you're desperate, a package of a dozen cheap pencils supplies a dozen erasers that can be extracted, and those erasers (though NOT ideal) are probably more satisfactory than the ultra-squishy clear silicone...particularly for a few weeks or so...
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Wyvern » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:22 pm

I may have this wrong, but I think only use synthetic oil around those silicon bumpers

I know some people prefer hard black bumpers. Fair enough - that is an easy enough update
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:27 pm

According to the bottle, Hetman is synthetic

I have a nice supply of 1/4" o-rings (large) and they work great as valve bumper material
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Dan Schultz » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:54 pm

bloke wrote:.... Valve oil on those silicone bumpers might not be a very good combo, and - pretty much - it's unavoidable. :| ....


Those clear crappy, squishy bumpers aren't Silicone but most likely some sort of cheap Vinyl. Materials like Silicone and Viton (O-rings) are pretty much inert and not affected by oils. I use Silicone rubber cord (the red stuff from McMaster-Carr) and bumpers that leave here are pretty much 'good to go' for years unless they get damaged by a loose razor blade wielded by a well-meaning dad.
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:39 pm

Here's what it looks like with using o rings for bumper material. Checked the alignment last night, and it's almost perfect

Getting the parts in today to replace the linkage arms with longer ones. Hopefully I'll have that done by the end of the week

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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:12 pm

Took me 7 months, but I finally got sick enough of the weird spatula angle to do something about it

Sat down with a yard of 3mm threaded rod, 2 feet of 5/16" brass tube, a Dremel tool with a cutting blade, calipers, a tube bender, tube cutter, Polish, and Nitro lacquer, and in less than 2 hours I finished.

It feels so much more comfortable now, and the the threads on the steel rod seem to grip the linkage ends better, so it reduced some looseness and slop. I was using some nylon washers to firm everything up, but now I don't have to
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Tubajug » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:08 pm

Nice work!
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Lectron » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:32 am

Have measures been done to fix all the issues on the Prague?
it seems, with the time involved and all the issues, a Cerveny would be a better deal?
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:05 am

I did see one Arion for sale used in the last year, about a 3 hour drive from here. That was the the first one I had ever seen for sale used, and new they are over $6000. Out of my price range for just a horn to teach lessons on

I hope eventually the 2nd valve starts behaving itself. It's OK at times, but hangs up now and then. I've taken it to a shop and they worked on it, it worked for a while, but then started acting up. Maybe over the summer I'll take it to a different shop, give someone else a Crack at it

I'm pleased with the tone and the intonation, both are really great. I wish I could order a better gig bag for it, but in this size my selection is limited

Now that the linkage has been replaced, my only complaint is the valve. I would love to find a set of valves from a 186 or a cerveny and replace them all. In the meantime I guess I should keep trying to find out why the 2nd valve hangs on me


I'll say this, both tuba exchange and packer sell a BBb Tuba similar to this that I really liked as well. Both of them are quite a bit more money then I paid for the Prague, but both seem to be really good horns. I don't think they are the same tuba, similar concepts, different design.

If I ever get this valve fixed so it's reliable, I would consider selling this horn to a student as a home practice horn and getting either the packer or the TE tuba. I'm going to play both of them some more at TMEA

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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Wyvern » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:32 am

Sorry you are having this problem Mark. It is pretty unusual. I have heard of only a handful of customers have valve problems.

My long term plans are to have all Wessex fitted with our new Z valves. It is a shame that implementation was previously delayed due to patent concerns, but now that has been addressed we will be rolling out to our more popular tubas (not yet been made for smaller instruments). However that will take time as each tuba so fitted has to be re-tooled. Currently we are fitting to new produced cimbasso, Luzern BBb tuba, XL BBb tuba and Mahler CC tuba.

Experience is the Z valves are trouble free (I have never had one stick myself), quiet in use, allow precise valve alignment (by setting up outside the horn) and are easy to clean and maintain. And are even easy replaceable. So we believe an appreciable advance on traditional rotary valves.
Last edited by Wyvern on Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:36 am

So the new Pragues still have the same valves as the demo I bought? For some reason I thought you said it had been upgraded since then

If I still have the horn when the z valve is available for the Prague, it would be an interesting project to retrofit them on this horn. Sounds like a nice design
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Lectron » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:38 am

58mark wrote:I did see one Arion for sale used in the last year, about a 3 hour drive from here. That was the the first one I had ever seen for sale used, and new they are over $6000. Out of my price range for just a horn to teach lessons on


I see that. That is expensive.

Reason for asking is that I'm debating on selling my small BBb to purchase a Arion/Opera/Piggy size, and with Mike Johnson's prices that could, for the 6xx series, seem to be a better deal
BUT...If issues will be fixed and price kept, it's fairly unbeatable
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:40 am

I'm sure the cerveny is a fine tuba, but honestly, if I was going to buy a new horn in this size again, I would look at the packer first.

I would put packer quality above cerveny at this point.
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Re: Czech out my review of the Wessex Prague

Postby Wyvern » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:42 am

58mark wrote:So the new Pragues still have the same valves as the demo I bought? For some reason I thought you said it had been upgraded since then

If I still have the horn when the z valve is available for the Prague, it would be an interesting project to retrofit them on this horn. Sounds like a nice design

The valves are still traditional rotary valves. But now as on all Wessex rotary tubas, they have the tampered spindle on rotor head to eliminate slack and noise, solid nickel levers and stainless steel linkage, plus stainless steel screws for strength.

To retro-fit Z valves to your Prague would mean a completely new valve block being fitted - but I guess that would be the case if you got valves from another manufacturer as well.

I will be happy to supply you with Z valves once they have been rolled-out to the Prague.
Last edited by Wyvern on Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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