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Thread: having trouble getting water out of 4th valve

  1. #1

    having trouble getting water out of 4th valve

    i just started borrowing a different tuba than usual from my school. it is a mack brass tuba, and is in great shape, but there's a massive pocket of water somewhere in the 4th valve that i can't figure out how to get out. any useful tips???

    thanks, much appreciated!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,990
    It would help to know what model it is.

    My Cerveny 781 (virtually identical to a Miraphone 186) would now and then get some significant condensation in the bottom bow of the third valve circuit. In those cases I had this little ritual I went through of turning the tuba partly upside down, rotating it maybe 90 degrees in that attitude, and turning it upright. That would get the water into the main circuit and out through the (only) water valve. I can't possibly describe the ritual in detail.

    Alternatively, do the usual "tuba spin": Being careful not to drop the tuba and ruin it (HIGH RISK HERE!), you spin it over and over in the correct direction to get the water to come out the bell. The "spin" should be slow and careful. Your music director should be able to show you this. Otherwise, ask a French horn player.

    If it's in the 4th valve circuit, however, I'd guess you should be able to empty it by pulling the fourth valve slide -- and maybe inverting the horn. Again, BE CAREFUL. Don't let the horn slip out of your grasp.

    Or ... Email Tom McGrady (sales@mackbrass.com) and ask him what his recommendation is. He will be happy to help, and in my experience he responds very quickly to any inquiries.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Rochester NY, USA
    Posts
    25
    Pull the 4th valve slide and dump it, or have a tech add a water key to the 4th valve tubing at the low point.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,990
    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Pull the 4th valve slide and dump it, or have a tech add a water key to the 4th valve tubing at the low point.
    This is more easily said than done on many horns because there just isn't much room there and just drilling the hole is a challenge, and then there has to be enough space for the key and room to work it. I thought of doing this on my Cerveny, but decided that it was just too much of a pain, given the low frequency of the problem.

    The problem, by the way, can be caused by frequently putting the horn on its bell (which allows condensation in an upper bow, and then when you pick it up the condensed liquid goes where you don't want it to -- where it wouldn't have gone if you hadn't put the horn on its bell, etc.). Well ... duh ... DON'T DO THAT (and don't tell me that you "have to").

    In the case that you can't get a traditional water key in such a position, you often can get an Amado key in, but even then it can be tricky. And this in itself can result in a problem since an Amado key needs to be oiled regularly in order to keep working well and not clog -- and so you need room to get under it to get the oil in, or use a syringe, or ... This whole problem appears simple, but gets to be a bit like unraveling your socks once you start.

    Not to mention that just slapping a water key in an arbitrary place CAN (might, might not), result in another "node" in the acoustics and change how the horn plays.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

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