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conversion to left hand

Postby bigboymusic » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:33 pm

If my gout continues to destroy my right knuckles and wrist, I am highly considering looking into getting a rotor horn converted to left hand play. I know this has been done, but here is a question for the gurus out there... Is it possible to create paddles for the left hand, BUT, leave the right hand paddles intact? As of right now, the pain in my right hand only swells to the breaking point every couple months or so, but it has landed smack dab on a big orchestra night last summer... I'm thinking on purchasing a 188CC and having the work done in the next year or so.

Ideas????

If you haven't heard of this (I hadn't either) Gout can move from your foot and ankle to your wrist. It is VERY painful and as I'm finding out, does not always go completely away. On good days I have a hard time gripping. I can lift up from under something very heavy, but it's the motion of pressing on the fingers or wrist that gets me...
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby bort » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:45 pm

If it's not possible, how about having two tubas -- one RH and one LH, so you can select the best one for that day?

I"m really sorry to hear about this, I hope you find a solution that works well for you.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby Art Hovey » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:05 am

Yes, it is certainly possible. Some years ago George Theodos, a good woodwind technician in New Haven, created a saxophone that could be played with one hand. His grateful client used it for many years in local society bands. Every note could be played except for the lowest two. The tuba conversion that you want would certainly require skill and creativity, but not as much as that sax project did.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby roweenie » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:41 am

Check out Dan Schultz's (Tuba tinker) website. If I'm not mistaken, he has already done this for others:

http://www.thevillagetinker.com/projects.htm

I'm also really sorry to hear about your gout. It is an absolutely terrible thing - I also suffer from it (in my feet and knees), and I know how incredibly painful it is to have a flare-up.

As a side note, my doctor (who also suffers from gout) has me on allopurinol (a medication that lowers the uric acid in your bloodstream), which seems to have improved my gout somewhat, FWIW. Anyway, it might be worthwhile to ask your doctor about it.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby NCSUSousa » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:35 am

bigboymusic wrote:If my gout continues to destroy my right knuckles and wrist, I am highly considering looking into getting a rotor horn converted to left hand play. I know this has been done, but here is a question for the gurus out there... Is it possible to create paddles for the left hand, BUT, leave the right hand paddles intact? As of right now, the pain in my right hand only swells to the breaking point every couple months or so, but it has landed smack dab on a big orchestra night last summer... I'm thinking on purchasing a 188CC and having the work done in the next year or so.

Ideas????


I'm not a tuba tech, but I think it could be possible to add a 2nd set of valve paddles to the action so you can pick right or left hand.
Here's the left hand setup I've seen on a 186CC:
Image
Here's the link to the thread on that build:
http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=41893&start=12#p363586

What you're describing is slightly different so it's probably not as simple as flipping the paddle assembly, but it should be similar.
I think new rotor stop arms might need to be specially machined to have connection points at both sides so that the normal levers can remain in place, connecting to their usual spot on the spindles. The new left hand levers can connect to the opposite side of the spindle. I'm not sure how to solve for the left hand thumb paddle though on a 186CC/5V if you also need that moved.

With the added moving mass for the new levers, it may slow down the action of the valves, but I would think that the original springs should be able to move the entire load. If it's not fast enough, you can have the original springs tightened - I've done this on my horn to speed up the action since I have strong hands anyway.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby opus37 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:23 am

Buy a tuba for the conversion. It would be much easier for the conversion and lighter. Sorry to hear about eh gout. My wife had that for a short period of time (too much sea food). Treatment was avoiding seafood and taking an anti-inflammatory medication for a while. There are new drugs that are supposed to help. I hope you can find a way to make this go away.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby tclements » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:03 am

I am SO sorry to hear about your chronic (constant?) pain. It is compounded with the concern about the possibility of giving something up that you love to do. I have a couple of suggestions:
1 - Contact B&S, Mirafone, Gronitz & Alexander, and see if they will build you a left handed tuba. While it might be costly, They have the facilities and the spare parts to do a custom build. A call to Gerhard Meinl might help this. Recently, I met Bob Tucci & he seems to be able to get things done.
2 - Some of the guys who post here regularly, do this kind of work. I won't mention any names because undoubtedly I WILL forget some of the great repair techs and horn designers who are regular posters. You know who they are.
3 - Dan Oberloh is incredible at this stuff. Call him and talk with him, he can point you in the right direction.
4 - There is a guy in the SF Bay Area who had an Alex 163 converted to all left hand; it works GREAT. So it IS possible.

Good luck, best wishes, and please keep us posted on your progress.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby Mark Horne » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:30 pm

I have an excellent condition B&S PT20 (rotor) that has already been converted to left hand action and works great as such. I've had it with a reputable northern California shop for a YEAR now waiting on parts to convert it back to right hand action. Perhaps we could work something out...
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby tclements » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:22 pm

I've seen this tuba. It (the conversion) was well done.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby Ken Herrick » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:42 pm

It would not be all that difficult, really. The heart of the solution would be rotar stop arms with 2 opposite connection points. The original pins which contact the bumpers would still define the amount of travel. A new set of paddles and some adjusting of spring tension to avoid overly heavy action would be required. A competent tech should be able to braze the second arms on without any real hassles. They only need to provide a connecting point for the new paddles. This would allow left or right handed manipulation without having to change things when going from left to right. Could be hndy for some awkward page turns..............
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby Dan Schultz » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:48 pm

I've converted horns for left-hand operation but have never been asked to preserve the original mode of operation. But....

Unless I'm missing something here.... it's totally conceivable to add another tab to the stop arm 180 degrees from the original and mounting another complete paddle assembly on the opposite side of the horn. The rotor could be operated by either paddle. The only downside might be the fact that more parts are moving thereby changing the rotor dynamics due to the more weight and more bearing points. There's a chance that a single set of springs would do.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby Ken Herrick » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:49 pm

That's it Dan.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby MikeMilnarik » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:06 am

Ken Pope at www.poperepair.com in Jamaica Plain, MA (Boston)

Ken converted a number of tubas for a tuba player that used to be in Boston a while back.

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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby Bobmecum » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:35 pm

Yes, I spoke to miraphone last year since I was forced to a lefty in 1983. Christian said they can make any model a lefty for just the additional cost of left handed valves.
Nirschl will also make left handed models upon request.
I had my 186 5U CC converted by Robb Stewart in burbank ca using the original parts. Shorten and thread the shafts, flip the paddle supports over to pull instead of push and then curve & reweld them.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:34 pm

My wife is an ER nurse and when I mentioned your Gout to her, she immediately said “cherry juice”. Might be worth giving that a try, although I have no idea where one would get cherry juice.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby jperry1466 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:38 pm

I feel your pain and hope you can find a suitable resolution. For those who have never had gout, there is no pain quite like it; it is crystallized uric acid collecting in the joints. Kidney failure caused mine, and when I had a bout with it, somebody just walking by or even LOOKING at my ankle would make it hurt worse. My doc put me on a gout prevention med called Allopurinol, and it has done the trick for me (the kidney transplant helped, too). They just have to run periodic blood tests to make sure it doesn't affect the liver, and I found that taking it every other day works just as well. I've been taking it for nearly 20 years with no ill effects. Just something to consider.

I have some pretty bad arthritis in two of the knuckles of my right hand, but with rotary valve paddles and my short fingers, I don't have to bend my fingers much, so it doesn't bother me unless the passages get really fast. I hope you can resolve this and keep playing. Good luck.
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby pjv » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:05 am

Im my honest opinion the modern Miraphones have the lightest and easiest valves of any tuba out there.
Just so you know
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Re: conversion to left hand

Postby jwjeffrey » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:12 am

I have gout as well and I Know your pain.I control my gout with medicine.My gout use to hit me in the right ankle.I take a pill a day to control it. See your Dr. about it.It's bad enough in the ankle and I had it once in the knee.
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