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Thread: Dents - To Remove or Not To Remove

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Norfolk VA & San Francisco CA

    Dents - To Remove or Not To Remove

    Mr. Werden - Thank you for creating this website and forum. It is nice to know that others face the same challenges and questions that I do as a horn player.
    I'm at best a mediocre player in two community bands, ... but its a lot of fun. Along with a marching baritone, I have two Euphoniums, a Besson 968GS (~1995) and a Yamaha YEP642S (~2004). I bought the Yamaha new (Chuck Levins) and have babied like it was my child (half cover, never in the soft case, etc. - my band director's wife gave me an old baby diaper as a joke because I am so protective of the horn). The Besson I bought used and its turned out to be a nice horn, after changing the springs, valve guides, felts, etc. The Besson came with two substantial dents in the bottom bow (3"x1", ~1/4' deep) and first branch "bb gun almost-hole" (1/4" circle, ~1/8" deep). A local brass repair guy said they are probably not worth the trouble of taking out. I think he said they would have to de-weld/de-sodder the joints at the ferrules to get to the spots and it could change the sound of the horn.

    They're probably NOT worth taking out... but I know they are there.
    This bothers me.

    I like and appreciate the sound differences in the two horns, but my Besson has always been more sharp (in general) then the Yamaha, requiring the main tuning slide to come out about an inch more than the Yamaha. Could this be partially due to the dents and their locations?
    I live part-time in the San Francisco Bay Area and have contemplated taking the horn with me on my next trip and finding a reputable repair shop there, hopefully one that might be able to do the repair with out de-soddering.
    1) Do you think its worth the trouble to take the dents out?
    2) Can anyone suggest a good brass shop in the Bay Area?

    Thanks. Your forum is a big help to all of us.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    I'd suggest that you get another opinion from a different brass repair guy. Call around and see if the repair tech has a magnetic ball dent removal system. This is a newer approach than the classic one in which you have to disassemble the instrument in order to remove the dents. It works particularly well on large dents in large diameter tubing (like a bottom bow). I have used it myself do de-dent my 1924 Buescher tuba. I did this on the cheap by buying the appropriate magnet myself and just two steel balls of the size I needed. However, the entire system (with all the balls necessary) is pretty expensive, and not every repair tech will have it.

    For a bottom bow (or outside side run of tubing) it can still be a little tricky if the dent is in the portion covered by the additional "guard" layer that's soldered on. In that case, the guard has to be unsoldered, the dent removed, and the guard soldered back on. But even then it's a lot less labor than the old disassembly method -- and it won't "change the sound of the horn" (though why a good job of unsoldering and resoldering should do that is certainly unclear). If the dent is NOT in the area with the extra guard, then just direct use of the dent ball and magnet can remove it in a matter of minutes.

    So I'd ask around to see if there's someone in your area who could take that approach.
    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
    Great answer. Sounds like your current repair guy doesn't want to be bothered with the job

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