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Thread: Euphonium Repair Question

  1. Euphonium Repair Question

    My son recently swichted from sax to euphonium in 6th grade band. The great part of the switch is the school loaned us the instrument for the year. On the down side I do not know what level of care the instrument received prior to its coming to live with us. This weekend the instrument started making a strange noise when certain notes are played, almost like something is flapping around inside so the note sounds inconsistent. Any thoughts about whether this is something easy to address or if the instrument needs professional repair attention? I am not inclined to attempt any repair on my own, but would like to know if continuing to play it while it is behaving this way will cause the instrument damage.

  2. #2

    Euphonium Repair Question

    This may be a silly question, but have you tried getting ALL the water out of the horn? Sometimes the water keys are enough; just make sure they are pointed straight down, then open the key and blow gently into the horn. If the water key is on one of the valve tubes, you must press that valve down in order for the water to be released or blown out.

    It is also possible for water to get trapped in a tube that does not have a key. You would need to turn the end over in such a way that the water would flow toward a key or toward the bell where you can just dump it.

    Is the funny sound on notes with no valves pressed? Or is it worse on notes involving one valve mostly? That would be a hint about where to look.

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
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  3. #3

    Euphonium Repair Question

    If it's a "gurgling" sound, try the water keys per Dave's advice. The other thing to try is to take out the valve tuning slide and dump the water out. Just put the slide back in the same way you took it out.

    If it's a dry "hizzy" sound, there could be a candy-wrapper at the bottom of the bell. Wrappers tend to resonate "hizz" on certain notes at certain volumes.

    The repair would be to find a skinny-armed kid to reach in and feel if there's something down there.

  4. #4

    Euphonium Repair Question

    Also, if neither solution resolves the problem - since it's a school horn, you can say to the band director "hey, can I run this thing over to your repair place and have them take a look at it or would it be easier for me to give this to you to give to them."

    If it's a buzz your son is hearing, but you're not quite sure, it could be metal vibrating on the horn, like a brace - in my case, the bell will sometimes resonate and "hizz" in my ear, but my wife doesn't notice it. **

    It's also not unreasonable - and I did this with my son when he first picked up the horn - to ask the school to have the horn properly cleaned or tell you how to do it. *(Dave's got a great article on cleaning a horn)

    There can be a lot of guck in a horn, and - given the fact that kids are breathing in and out of the horn, asking that the horn not be a bioweapon isn't too much to ask.

    Or, if you're not comfortable with that, you can take it to a shop for a cleaning. *It's probably around $50-70. *In the course of cleaning it, chances are they'll give it a once-over and a playability test. *They'll tell you if the horn needs anything else. *

    - edited to remove OT content -

    *Good luck.

  5. Euphonium Repair Question

    As a tech, the possibilities or lodged objects are endless. If it's not a water issue, get the teacher to get a tech to look at it.


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