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Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby WC8KCY » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:34 am

Hey, everyone:

My tubas, both of them vintage piston valve instruments, could use some heavier springs to make the action snappier. Any suggestions?
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby bort » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:38 am

How old are the springs you have right now? If they are original, then maybe just start with new springs, and not necessarily "heavy" springs.
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby WC8KCY » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:50 am

bort wrote:How old are the springs you have right now? If they are original, then maybe just start with new springs, and not necessarily "heavy" springs.

I've had both tubas for nearly 10 years and haven't changed the springs. I am using heavier oil nowadays and could use a little extra spring action.
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby hrender » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:14 am

Steven Mead sells/sold heavier sets of springs for euphoniums and tubas. A thread discussing them is here: http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=85476.

There used to be a few different weights and sizes available from Steve Mead's website, but I checked, and they're not all there now. There is a set of "heavier" springs on eBay, FWIW: https://www.ebay.com/p/Set-of-4-Euphonium-Tuba-Valve-Springs-heavy/2198215381.
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby bloke » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:56 am

Assuming they still have them...

Allied Supply (in Wisconsin...' sells to repair shops and music stores) keeps some "King" springs and some "Besson" springs. Both are about the same size as Yamaha springs, but both are considerably more stiff. They also stock Conn sousaphone springs, but you need enough space below the depressed piston for that many coils to compress to use those, and the Conn sousaphone springs are also larger diameter and (if your bottom caps feature spring depressions) may not fit in all bottom cap spring depressions. Your local store or shop should be able to add four of whichever to their next order, as there is a minimum order requirement.
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby Tom » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:09 am

Related questions...

Do piston springs in brass instruments, even in very old instruments, ever actually wear out provided they've not been "messed with" (stretched, cut, re-wound, etc.)? How much use can they generally take?

This is not a commentary on the original poster's request, just a couple questions that came to mind from reading the thread.
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby WC8KCY » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:04 pm

Thanks again for your insights, everyone--I knew you'd come through for me, as always...

Ended up ordering two sets of King springs--Besson and Mead springs don't seem to be readily available from online retailers in the USA.
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'29 Holton Monster E-flat tuba - '37 Martin Indiana E-flat sousaphone
'18 Schiller JBBB-520 BB-flat
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby WC8KCY » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:10 pm

Tom wrote:Related questions...

Do piston springs in brass instruments, even in very old instruments, ever actually wear out provided they've not been "messed with" (stretched, cut, re-wound, etc.)? How much use can they generally take?

This is not a commentary on the original poster's request, just a couple questions that came to mind from reading the thread.


Y'know, I've wondered the same thing myself about old springs. Bronze needle springs on old woodwind instruments tend to require tweaking to restore lost tension; it would seem logical that an old coil spring could lose some of its oomph, too.
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King 1165 "Artist" baritone - Yamaha YEP-321S euphonium
'29 Holton Monster E-flat tuba - '37 Martin Indiana E-flat sousaphone
'18 Schiller JBBB-520 BB-flat
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Re: Suggestions for heavy piston valve springs, anyone?

Postby bloke » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:46 pm

Bronze is an extraordinary material. Stainless steel is as well.
The only really crappy piston springs that I have ever encountered were brass, but even thick brass piston springs seem to last for a remarkably long time.
The only piston springs that I have replaced on instruments were those which were monkeyed with by people who shouldn't have been monkeying with them, brass springs which were eaten up with lime, and Yamaha springs with the silly-and-pointless plastic coating failing, and me too impatient to peel the plastic away.
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