Cause of stuffiness?

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Tubajug
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Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Tubajug »

I'm getting a bit flustered with my new helicon. It plays very stuffy. I thought maybe it was just the leaky neck, but after taping it up, it doesn't play any better. It just feels like there's something blocking the airstream. I've flushed it with water, blown compressed air through it, checked the valves for alignment and in the correct casings, but to no avail. My next thought was to shove a ball down the bell to block the air and use the compressed air again the the hopes that keeping the air in the horn will help knock loose whatever might be there.

Is there any other cause for stuffiness? Any other tricks I might try (short of taking it apart...)?
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Tubajug
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Tubajug »

The valves look original, they have serial numbers on them to match. Good idea with the ball bearing. And yes, the stuffiness stays the same with the valves down. I did put a borescope through it as well (another reason I'm getting a bit perplexed).
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Tubajug
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Tubajug »

I got it! I rolled a ball bearing in to find where the blockage was, then tried knocking against the item using the ball bearing and a magnet. I tapped around the area with a rawhide mallet, and used more compressed air with the ball inside. What finally got it out was adding another ball, then rocking the horn back and forth to knock the balls against it until it finally came loose!

I'll post pictures tomorrow, but it was a little political button of Roosevelt and Wallace from 1940!

Thanks for all the help! I gave it a quick toot and am excited to really get it going now that I know it plays!
Last edited by Tubajug on Fri May 24, 2019 12:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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roweenie
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by roweenie »

"Even a broken clock is right twice a day".
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iiipopes
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by iiipopes »

In addition to obstructions, a mis-placed, mis-repaired or mis-aligned brace can also cause stuffiness, as can a leak from a deteriorating solder joint. Congrats on finding an historical political button. As you continue to play the helicon, watch for these symptoms as well as valve condition and alignment issues mentioned above.
Bessophone (BBb 186 body; Besson New Standard BBb bell)
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Tubajug
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Tubajug »

Thanks again for all the help and things to watch for in the future. As promised, here is a picture of the obstruction and one showing its location. I'll put these over on my thread dedicated to this project as well.

Image

Image
Last edited by Tubajug on Fri May 24, 2019 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Tubajug
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Tubajug »

Mark Finley wrote:Incredible. That might have been in there for 80 years.

How does it play now?
It very well could have been! I only played it for a few minutes and the neck is still just taped up, but with one bit in it, it played pretty closely in tune (just a tiny bit flat overall still). It has a very sweet, light tone to it. It plays pretty open (certainly compared to before!) and the pedal Eb just pops out. I haven't done much to it in the way of cleaning yet, so now I feel like I can proceed with earnest knowing that it will actually play!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Tubajug
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Tubajug »

bloke wrote:1. Tubas will still play at "B+" with poorly-aligned valves or small cracks.
2. Water pressure almost never frees obstructions.
Good to know! Thanks!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by Dan Schultz »

I found a TubaChristmas 1983 button in the back bow of a Miraphone 183 once. It was hanging inside like a stove pipe dampener. When I tried to pass a ball through the horn... the damper slammed shut and NO air would pass.
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Current 'stable'... Rudolf Meinl 5/4, Marzan (by Willson) euph, King 2341, Alphorn, and other strange stuff.
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iiipopes
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Re: Cause of stuffiness?

Post by iiipopes »

bloke wrote:
Cause of stuffiness?
two or three kollich degrees...??
No, those cause retentiveness, not stuffiness! :P
Bessophone (BBb 186 body; Besson New Standard BBb bell)
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