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1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:31 pm

My wife says it is time to make some room around here.

For sale: 1935 King 4 rotary valve CC .687 bore. To the best of my knowledge there were 7 of these originally made in one batch. William Bell was behind getting King to make them and he owned 2 of these 1st batch horns. Mine looks to be the 6th of the batch, as they look to have sequential serial numbers (it is not one of the 2 Bell owned, nor is it the one that Louis Pirko owned and later sold to Joe Novotny.) It seems that there were 2 later batches (one in the late 30's and another batch sometime after that) which are said to have been 4 tubas per, for a total of 15 horns.

Typically they were furnished with 22" recording bells that tilted up somewhat. The bell on this one is 20" and points straight ahead like a sousaphone bell. Given that King didn't make any 20" sousaphone bells (even Eb) so had to be a custom bell regardless, it has the matching serial number on its tenon and the engraving looks to match the engraving on the recording bell of Torchinsky's tuba, I am pretty sure it is the original bell. It has obviously been relacquered at some point. I did find a picture in the old Tuba Journal (Orchestral Tubists of the Past, I think the article was called) of the tubist of the LA Phil back in the 50s with a Monster BBb King that also had a sousaphone style (straight ahead) bell that looks to have been smaller than the stock 24" BBb bell). Same bell 'customization', same basic geographical area... They aren't the same horn, but perhaps the same person (or at least acquainted) ordered them??? I dunno, just a possibility.

Bill Bell as well as Abe Torchinsky and the Pirko/Novotny tubas also got King to make upright bells cut down to around 16" for them. The bells (and cases) from the detachable bell 124x/234x tubas fit these just right and, in fact, the body is basically the same size, i.e. 4/4 whereas the rotary BBb were Monster sized. Rereading a few things, Mr. Torchinsky's tuba looks to have come originally with both bells (he was the 2nd owner).

This one has a few dents but nothing out of the ordinary. I see zero evidence of any past repairs. There are no re-solder marks. The body has darkened lacquer that has worn off in some spots (on the back of the horn where it has been laid down and on the bottom bow behind the main tuning slide. The valve caps look to have been relacquered at the same time as the bell. The color looks to be the same (I have a picture where I put a valve cap on the bell to illustrate) The 1st, 4th, and smaller 3rd valve slides are stuck. I would imagine this is just from having sat for a long time before I bought it. One of the bell screws was missing so I replaced it with a new one. The center screw on the 4th rotary valve is missing and the stop arm screw (the smaller one that bumps against the corks) of the 2nd valve is not original. It needs new corks desperately. Some of the valve spatula look to have been gently bent toward the middle to bring your fingers closer together. Additionally, the 4th spatula has some crown/bend along the length of it.

These rotary Kings were known for having a spectacular sound and (in my opinion) this one fits that pattern. It really is different than anything else I've ever played. It is very centered/lots of core/presence/yet is mellow rather than harsh. I wish I could find another tuba with this sound (a detachable bell 1240/2341 sounds very different to my ear.) On the flip side, these CC rotary Kings were also known to have pretty challenging intonation (Mr. Torchinsky's was said to have been the best of the bunch) and this tuba also fits the pattern for interesting intonation. The 3rd partial is pretty flat, about 30-35 cents. Mr. Torchinsky had King unwrap the 3rd valve tubing and route it upwards next to the first valve tubing to be able to adjust on the fly. Mr. Bell (on one of his two horns) and Mr. Novotny (after he bought it from Mr. Pirko) had King do the same modification. Those three horns bear the evidence of the brace having been removed. I believe King incorporated this modification from the get go when they made the 3rd batch. I think Mr. Torchinsky's was from the 2nd batch.

I bought it from a woman in Dana Point, CA whose grandfather played it in LA. She had kept it around in memory of him, but had become tired of dusting it and moving it around the living room. I wish I had got more of its history, but she was in the middle of cooking dinner.

Why am I selling it? As I mentioned, the wife seems to think that 9 tubas in 1 house is a bit outlandish. :roll: Additionally, I have never managed to get CC fingerings drilled into my head. I've been trying on and off for the 2 years I've owned this horn, but I don't play enough to make them stick, while doing my 'real' playing BBb and Eb.

I am in Running Springs (near Big Bear in southern California. Given the rarity of the horn, I'd prefer a local sale and would drive a reasonable distance to meet a buyer halfway. I may be making a trip to the Bay area in the next couple of weeks if that would help. Or I can thoroughly pack the bell and body separately and ship them with the carrier of your choice.

$3000 but I will entertain offers, particularly if they involve driving rather than shipping.

Just to be upfront, I bought the horn for only $800. I told the woman that it was worth more. She said she was aware that she could sell it for more, but was okay with $800. I played it a bit for her and she seemed quite happy with the memories of her grandfather that that brought back.

Here is the discussion from when I bought it: http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=72929&p=592265&hilit=king+cc#p592265

And here are some pictures I have taken of the horn: https://goo.gl/1tyNFY

If anyone has any info on these tubas that I've left out, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Lastly, it has been determined that this isn't Bill Barber (played with Miles Davis among others)'s horn (which was stolen) as his had the tilted back recording bell.

Please PM me with any questions. Sorry for being so 'wordy'...
Last edited by YORK-aholic on Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:29 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 1935 King Rotary CC

Postby PRO » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:39 pm

Hi York-A-Holic, I have trouble with PM. Could you please call 908-850-1636 or email
proscientific AT verizon DOT net. Thanks. Paul.
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Re: 1935 King Rotary CC

Postby SousaWarrior9 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:58 pm

Drool
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Re: 1935 King Rotary CC

Postby EdFirth » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:57 am

Great informative post. There was a post a little while back about Richard Fraiser with a B flat that had that same straight forward bell. Ihave a B flat with the "polite" bell front and the engraving seems to be very close to what you have there. I guess back in the day some people wanted to really hear the tuba and not fight the time lag of the upright bell. Best of luck finding it a new home. If we didn't just replace our AC, our generator, and our son's car it would be coming here to live. Ed
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Re: 1935 King Rotary CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:11 am

Bump to lower price to $3000
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby KiltieTuba » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:11 pm

If only I played CC...
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:47 pm

Bump
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:13 pm

bump again
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:31 pm

bump for September
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Re: 1935 King Rotary CC

Postby iiipopes » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:06 pm

EdFirth wrote:I guess back in the day some people wanted to really hear the tuba and not fight the time lag of the upright bell.

Indeed. That is how, in the first generation of sound recording with acoustic equipment before microphones, they came to be called "recording bells."
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby PRO » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:43 am

Common error. There is no "time lag".

Early recording systems did not use microphones. Rather, they used "square exponential horns" to gather the sound. The entire band or orchestra sat packed-closely-together, directly in front of the horn. Exponential horns favor high frequencies. One engineering challenge was to gather as much acoustical power as possible at low frequencies. One solution was to face the tuba bell forward, so that the full acoustical power of the instrument, including all harmonics, was pointed directly at the horn.
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby EdFirth » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:57 am

I wasn't referring to recordings. If you stand in front of a brass section with the trumpets and trombones pointed at you and the bell of the tuba pointed off the left the tuba sounds on the back of the beat.It's simple acoustics, the sound goes where the bell points. If you can't hear it I'm sorry.
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby PRO » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:18 am

Ed,

You state, "It's simple acoustics, the sound goes where the bell points." If that were true, then one would not hear a tuba unless it were pointed directly at one.

To explain your misunderstanding, consider the radiation pattern of the bell. The frequency content of the signal varies with angle from the sound axis (i.e., the centerline of the bell bore) -- the further from the sound axis, the richer in lower frequencies. Also consider that the crispness of an "attack" (i.e., the initiation of sound) is conveyed by the higher frequencies. Your example has us hearing sound from the side of an upright bell pointing upward. Because the sound one hears from the side of a bell tends to be richer in low frequencies, it is relatively harder to hear the attack from the side of a bell than from directly in front of it. Although one may subjectively interpret this as a "delay", it is emphatically not due to travel time and there is no "time lag".

If you want a deeper understanding of the subject, please study the following acoustical terms -- frequency content, rise time, arrival time, impedance, radiation pattern, directionality, reflection, absorption, interference, and diffraction. You will encounter other interesting concepts as you study. Especially helpful to study diagrams of radiation patterns of monopole and dipole sources. The deeper one gets into the subject, the more one discovers that acoustics, including musical acoustics, is not "simple".

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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby Heavy_Metal » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:17 pm

YORK-aholic, you have "only" 9 tubas? :twisted:
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Re: 1935 King rotary valve CC

Postby YORK-aholic » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:50 pm

Heavy_Metal wrote:YORK-aholic, you have "only" 9 tubas? :twisted:


I confess,9 is it, unless you count the incomplete carcasses in the garage.

On the other hand, 3 Martin mammoths take up a fair amount of real estate.
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