Wessex student tubas

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mbeastep
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Wessex student tubas

Post by mbeastep »

In recent years I have seen evidence among associates and older students that Wessex tubas and euphoniums are delivering a good level of quality at a low price on their higher level instruments.

Yesterday, in a clinic for beginners, I had my first experience with their three-valve student tubas. Two of the four horns I saw were unplayable because I believe they had their valves put in the wrong order. This probably happened in the summer servicing because, as near as I could determine, there was no number stamped on the valves. Although a skilled person might be able to guess from the configuration of ports which piston goes where, I was not able to succeed in getting the right combinations. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that the valve caps on the third valves were very difficult to align properly, very easy to jam, and subsequently extremely difficult to move. This all led to a frustrating day for me and for the beginner students who I was trying to motivate. Needless to say, my impression of the work being done by Wessex has taken a hit. Is my experience unusual?

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Bill B
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by Bill B »

Not commenting on the quality, but since you could' match them up, is it possible that valves were swapped between horns?
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BrassedOn
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by BrassedOn »

The valve swap sounds like a non-issue, students esp. beginners do odd things.

The valve cap thing happens with a lot of brands, esp. if the metal of the cap is thin and it is stamped, like most horns As I'm sure you do, I integrate some maintenance lesson with clinics, such as a couple of ways to get the valve caps to align.

I do think manufacturers should stamp valves for just that reason.

What do y'all think is the best way for a typical user/teacher to mark a valve with a number? Short of getting a hammer and spike out of my garage, could even permanent marker hold up?
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Davidus1
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by Davidus1 »

Have you reached out to Wessex to inquire? Rather than bring out this issue on an open forum I would give them the courtesy to address. It may not have been their issue. Who knows? This has not been my experience with my purchases at Wessex.
Last edited by Davidus1 on Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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freiversuch
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by freiversuch »

On my Grand the number is stamped into the bottom of the valve.

The valve covers are a bit tricky and require some patience. After a few times of maintenance it will get better.
mbeastep
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by mbeastep »

Davidus1 wrote:Have you reached out to Wessex to inquire? Rather than bring out this issue on an open forum I would give them the courtesy to address. It may not have been their issue. Who knows? This has not been my experience with my purchases at Wessex.
This is a point worth pondering. I hope I was not unfair to open this matter to discussion in this forum without having previously raised it directly with Wessex. Although I have not dealt with anyone from the company and don't really know who is who there, I have noticed that somebody representing the company joins these discussions with some regularity, just as Bob Tucci, for instance, often chimes in on discussions about his products. It seems to me that one of the purposes of this forum is to compare our experience with various products for our mutual benefit. I admitted to being impressed with certain of the Wessex products, but was dismayed that the valves on these starter horns seemed to lack markings and that the third valve caps on two out of four were unusually difficult to screw on. I don't think it is inappropriate to raise the matter here and to ask whether others have found the same thing. I must admit that it never occurred to me to look at the bottom of the valves for an identifying number. I'll have to try that next time.

Definitely the weakened state of my (nearly) 68 year old eyes can be a factor in missing a number. My strategy is to take the valve guide and pad off and get the seventh-graders to look for the stamped number. This does create the danger of putting the valve guide in the wrong hole upon replacement, but experience has made me alert to that possibility. Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

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hup_d_dup
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by hup_d_dup »

the elephant wrote: Replace them all, by valve, meaning install all the 1sts, then all the 2nd, etc. I do not think you will have to worry that the 1st from one horn won't work in another, but if that is the case, swap them around from horn to horn, then move on to the next valve, one valve at a time for each horn, making sure they are all correct, that they all play correctly.
Using this method, it's pretty easy to figure out how to properly place mixed up valves. Certainly, a Professional tubist qualified to run a clinic should already know it. As stated, only two tubas had the problem so even if the valves were mixed up between the two tubas it shouldn't have been that hard to figure out. Plus, why should any student lose motivation when something like this happens? Engage them in the issue and it becomes a useful lesson in on-the-spot problem solving, particularly the type of problems typically encountered by any craftsperson who relies on properly working tools of the trade.

Really the only part Wessex played in this is was that valve caps didn't screw on properly (and only two caps at that). I had this same problem on an early Wessex and it's a nuisance, especially when they jam. But there is no way this ever led me to have a frustrating day. It only takes a few moments to free a jam and figure out how to carefully align the cap to screw it on.

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mbeastep
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Re: Wessex student tubas

Post by mbeastep »

Today I did another beginner clinic involving a Wessex tuba. Taking advantage of the chance to examine the valves, I discovered (with the aid of my student's eyesight) that at least the first the valve was indeed stamped on the bottom. Good to know. I did not, however, try unscrewing the third valve cap, as I didn't want to press my luck. Thanks again for the discussion.

mbeastep
Calgary
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