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Thread: Problems With My Sterling Virtuoso

  1. #1

    Unhappy Problems With My Sterling Virtuoso

    Hey everyone. About a month or so ago I got my first euphonium (I've been using school horns) to last me through college and hopefully much further in life. I went to Dillon music in Woodbridge NJ. I ended up getting a used, but very well taken care of, Sterling Virtuoso with a tuning trigger. I love this horn. It has an amazing sound, smooth valves, and looks very nice. On top of all of that it fits my playing perfectly. However over the past couple of weeks I have been having problems with it. First of all the fourth valve started clacking. Not the way it does with a loose valve cap, but more like if the padding had suddenly become very thing and rock hard, neither of which are true, I checked. This shouldn't make a difference, but the bottom valve cap on the fourth valve is a heavy cap. So that all happened and I was frustrated but could deal with it for the time being. However, this week another annoyance popped up as I started getting an annoying buzzing sound, as if there was a loose brace or loose solder, whenever I played notes with valves one and two down below the D above the staff. I checked all of the braces and everything by having my band instructor check them while I was playing and we couldn't find the problem. So if anyone has any ways to help fix these or at least things to check, it would be greatly appreciated. I would much rather not have to send it somewhere to get fixed with college auditions coming up soon.

  2. You purchased this horn at Dillon? I would contact Matt Walters at Dillon and have him check the horn for you. He is one of the best low-brass technicians in the USA.

    FWIW, I have been playing a Sterling since 2009 and have had none of "buzzing" problems you describe. As regards "clacking" sound on 4th valve, your horn uses the same synthetic felts as a Besson Prestige/Sovereign. If your horn has cork and natural wool felts, you need to have them replaced. The buzzing you describe "could" be related to the trigger, but again, I would have Matt check it

    Doug Ruby
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  3. #3
    Ok thank you!

  4. #4
    I played a Virtuoso for 5 years and never had the 4th valve problem you mention. However, a student of mine did, but I could not get him to have it checked out. It just didn't bother him. I tried to find the cause and could not, but it did not seem to be a felt issue.

    I should point out that with any horn using a 4th valve lock, you should make sure it does not cram the valve down too hard. That would cause premature compression of the felts and make the valve more noisy.

    There are many places that buzzing could come from, including articles of clothing. I used a heavy synthetic oil on the pivot points of the trigger. ALSO, on many of the triggered horns there was a thin, threaded guide bar that served as the outward and inward stop. It ran through a hole, and if that thin rod got bent slightly, it would cause a scraping sound when you moved the trigger and could also cause a sympathetic buzzing on some notes.

    HOWEVER, Doug's advice is paramount right now. It is a recent purchase so use Dillon's excellent service tech Matt to check it out.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    Regarding the buzzing: as Dave mentioned, bits of the trigger mechanism might buzz. You can test this with an assistant. Have them touch the various pieces while you are producing the buzzing noise. A very common cause is the lyre screw! This happens to almost everyone at some point. Make sure the 4th valve lock isn't touching anything. Pen or pencil in your pocket? Almost all musical instruments will have a buzz from time to time. Usually the cause is minor and just requires patience to track it down. You have a really well made instrument so rest assured that it can be easily resolved. -Carroll

  6. #6
    I forgot to mention valve springs. Hold the horn with the valves out and casings pointing straight up. Make sure the springs are centered in the bottom. Then insert the valves without tipping the horn. Springs that are crooked can buzz against the casing.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Posts
    361
    It does sound like something is loose. On my horn, rattles are almost always from either the reservoir under the valves or the 4th valve lock. If I make sure they are OK the rattles disappear. I don't have a tuning slide trigger but that seems a likely candidate.

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