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Mineral Oil and Tuba smell?

Postby Radar » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:28 am

My beater Tuba (a 3 valve 7/8th Jupiter) that I use for outside gigs like beer tents where I don't want to use a my good Tuba, or a Sousaphone (because the rest of the group are using upright bell tubas), has developed a bad odor, I don't think I've ever had a horn smell this bad (The Tuba is soaking in a tub full of water with Dawn detergent as I type this). About 6 months ago I gave the horn a good cleaning, and took the advice of an experienced player and coated the inside of the horn with mineral oil (something I had never done before) could the mineral oil be responsible for the smell I'm experiencing? Possibly it's just the combination of the beer and brats I consume while using it, but I don't have that problem with my sousaphone that gets similar treatment.
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Re: Mineral Oil and Tuba smell?

Postby Tubamaphone » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:05 am

Well, as the scientific method would dictate, the mineral oil is the only variable. Any change after using dawn to clean?
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Re: Mineral Oil and Tuba smell?

Postby Donn » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:14 am

I think science would also require us to put forth a plausible hypothesis. So we'd be asking him to say with a straight face that mineral oil really might be able to cause that smell. The test to confirm or falsify the hypothesis would probably require him to alternate one year with, one year without for a few years.

It sounds like this tuba may go for some time without getting played, certainly enough to get pretty dry, but if there was a lot of oil in there, it may have surrounded some aqueous slime and kept it going for a while under anaerobic conditions. I guess that's why for the authentic version of this treatment, they use milk. I'm sure that doesn't smell!
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Re: Mineral Oil and Tuba smell?

Postby nworbekim » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:13 am

when i see or think about mineral oil, i always have a chuckle over a memory about it. as a Ham radio person, i test a lot of antennas and the radios and amplifiers have to be adjusted (tuned together) before use with an outdoor antenna. One way i do that is with a "DUMMY" antenna consisting of a large resistor in a gallon paint can.

in the olden days, the gallon can was filled with the oils the electric companies used in the transformers outside your house, but that substance was declared a carcinogen so we stopped and mineral oil became a substitute. the oil has to dissipate the heat build up in the resistor when radio wattage is transmitted into it.

i built 2 of these dummy antennas (1 for me and 1 for my father-n-law) ... i get a chuckle everytime i think about the pharmacists face when i asked him for 2 gallons of mineral oil :lol:

after i explained it, i still don't think he understood, but he still ordered it.
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Re: Mineral Oil and Tuba smell?

Postby Radar » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:08 pm

Tubamaphone wrote:Well, as the scientific method would dictate, the mineral oil is the only variable. Any change after using dawn to clean?


The soak in dawn and a good bore brushing, did make the smell go away. I was surprised that I didn't get a lot of slime or gunk out of the horn. This is a horn that goes for long periods of time without being played.
Retired Army Reserve 98th Div. Band: Euphonium, Trombone, Tuba, Bass Guitar
Miraphone 186 CC
Conn 36K Sousaphone
Euphonium: Yamaha YEP-321 (modified with Euro-shank receiver with Lehman M mouthpiece)
Trombones:Yamaha 612 Bass, Conn 88H, and King 3B tenor
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Re: Mineral Oil and Tuba smell?

Postby Doc » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:48 am

At least twice a year (or as often as necessary), I flush mine with vinegar, then Dawn and hot water in the bathtub. I have started doing a 3 hour vinegar soak (poor man's chem clean - from leadpipe to spit valve), and it really helps, particularly after Oktoberfest season when I experience the heaviest beer/brat buildup of the year. The amount of black crap, green junk, and lime stuff that comes out is staggering. Then blast it out with Dawn and hot water (not hot enough to burn, from a shower hose), then a blasting rinse of hot water. Then...

I flood my horn with Ultra Pure Lamp Oil. I use copious amounts every day before I play. Pour it down the lead pipe, work it back and forth through the valves, then out the spit valve. And I often repeat the process after I'm done playing. I have NO odors whatsoever, and everything works as it should. These things work for me. Ask Bloke what he thinks. YMMV.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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