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Thread: How to sharpen a particular valve on a euphonium

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Richmond, KY

    How to sharpen a particular valve on a euphonium

    So, first off, the horn I'm working with is a W. Nirschl I-800. This particular example has been a great intermediate horn, and while I do plan to upgrade to a Besson once I'm off to college, this horn is nearly flawless. Nearly.

    The second valve has always been flat. Even when I first began playing, and my tuning was pretty horrid, that valve was always about 5-10 cents lower than the rest of the instrument. I've trained myself to lip it up, and it hasn't really been an issue.

    Lately, however, I've been working a lot on breath support with my college-of-choice professor. It's improved my sound a lot, and made my playing much, much smoother, and tuning is generally better across the horn. But, my second valve has gotten worse. It's now closer to a quarter-tone flat, and it's beginning to be a bit much to lip into tune. An A at the top of the bass clef now sounds strained and thin, just due to how much lipping I'm having to do.

    I was thinking that it could be an air leak around the valve, but I'm not sure if that'd cause tuning issues like this. The sound itself is fine. It's just flat. What can I do for the next year or two to correct the tuning on that valve?

    The slide is pushed all the way in, before anyone asks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Sometimes a tech can shorten the 2nd slide a bit. There’s not a lot of slide to work with though. Some owners of the older Sterling’s (not Virtuoso) have had this done to help with 2nd valve fingering being flat.
    Last edited by RickF; 09-02-2018 at 08:05 PM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (recently sold)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank

    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Did you check for an air leak? Did you check your valve alignment?
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (PT-63)
    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 (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  4. #4
    In addition to valve alignment and air leaks, you should make sure the entire interior of the horn is clean.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Richmond, KY
    Thanks for the answers, and sorry for not getting back to this thread! I've been busy.

    As it turns out, there was a minor air leak in my second valve. I got that patched, got the horn cleaned, and the problem went away for the most part. It's still a bit flat, but I think that could just be a product of my playing and maybe the horn's design.

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