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Thread: New Wessex Elf Eb tuba

  1. The threads on my Elf were clean and smooth right out of the box and the valves have worked great with minimal oiling. I did have a similar problem once with a Mack Brass tuba, but it turned out that the threads were machined just fine—there was just a bit of lapping compound in the valve cap threads. I cleaned the threads with a toothbrush, dish soap, and plenty of water, and after applying a little slide grease I found that they worked perfectly. With those fine threads it doesn’t take much grit to make them seem rough.

  2. Incidentally, I have switched mouthpieces back to the included one, which I am growing to love. I think it’s labeled “Wessex JT”, I assume for “junior tuba”. I wish they sold this one—I’m a euphonium doubler and would like another one for my CC tuba because it works so well!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    2,047
    Considering the number of instruments being sold, this is something that the Chinese factories just shouldn't be having a problem with any longer. It's continued evidence of their attitude towards quality control and customer focus more than anything else. You know they CAN do it, but ...?

    Anyhow, two suggestions:

    The first is just to repeat the cleaning suggestion. You should clean ANY new horn thoroughly before you start to use it. It's very common for lapping and polishing compounds to be left in various places. I think it's part of cost-saving techniques for manufacturers to be slack with this. Take care in how you do this because one problem with the Chinese instruments historically has been with the softness of the brass. If you apply too much force to the thread (either by pulling or pushing while tightening/loosening it or by cleaning with some instrument), you can "bend" some of the thread material and cause yourself a worse problem. Be gentle. (With my 1924 Buescher tuba, I don't worry about this, but things have changed.)

    At times, the threads on valve caps and and casings are not well cut -- either because of sloppy process, or a tool has gotten out of alignment, or (more likely) because a cutter has dulled and not been swapped out (more cost cutting). I had one particular problem with this on the 2nd valve of my Wessex Eb tuba.

    One ultimate approach is to take the instrument to a repair tech who can "chase" the threads (basically re-cut them and true them up). It's not complicated, but you need to have the tools to do it. Even then, if the brass is too soft (as has been true in the past of a lot of the Chinese instruments), this may or may not be totally satisfactory. What I did was to use a little bit of silicone grease on the cap threads and the casing threads (in my case DOW-Corning, but you can get small packets of this in Lowes or Home Depot in the plumbing section -- and it makes EXCELLENT slide grease). You don't want to use too much, but use a decent amount. Not only does this lubricate the treads (as oil does as well), but it more effectively fills the threads (which oil doesn't do so well) to avoid the thread wandering or cross-threading. I discovered that after I'd done this for some time, the removing/replacing of my problem valve cap became much better. I still had to take some care, but it went on and off in a straightforward way. And it no longer loosened up by itself from time to time as it had displayed a tendency to do.

    Threads can be bad in a few different ways (in addition to being cut in material that's too soft). They can be cut too shallowly, they can be cut so that a portion of the thread isn't straight, but wanders a bit (a dull cutter or soft material will do this), and they can be cut in such a way that the "valley" (groove) of the thread isn't of consistent depth or the correct "v" shape. Any of these faults can give you problems with starting the thread or with cross-threading or with the thread "catching" properly or improperly. The silicone grease can at least help some of these conditions, but for others, chasing (re-cutting) the thread may be needed. Ultimately, I assume that's a warranty issue if it's a significant problem for you.
    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)

  4. #14
    Gary: Interesting that you mention issues on the 2nd valve of your Wessex Eb tuba. I have the same issue on the 2nd valve of my Eb Bombino. All of the valve caps are a little fussy when trying to put them back on, but on the 2nd valve I have to allow myself virtually "minutes" of horsing around with it to get it on. I could not do a quick valve oiling between pieces at a performance for fear of not being able to get the valve cap back on. I will check on the cleanliness of the cap threads, etc., but I suspect it is just a case of not quite getting this right. I, too, wonder why this is such a persistent problem that has not been resolved. It is not rocket science. I do like the horn, but the valve caps are a disappointment and irritant.

    I'll try your silicone grease suggestion to see if that helps. I hate oiling my 2nd valve because I know it is going to take me some time to get the valve cap back on. And I think I know all the "tricks" to putting a testy valve cap back on.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  5. Thanks Gary, you make excellent points re cleaning a new horn. And taking to shop for a look over.
    Given the grit I discovered in all slides and valves in my new Elf, I did water clean it out as much as practical. However the first valve threading (top and bottom cap) is still an issue. Makes me think what you said about cheap tools etc, could be a factor as to where threading issues originate, shallower thread on 1st valve Anyway I’ll try scoring some of the grooves.
    That’s the only issue, my community band doesn’t need a huge bass so the Elf has been great stepping up from euphonium.

  6. Thanks Gary, you make excellent points re cleaning a new horn. And taking to shop for a look over.
    Given the grit I discovered in all slides and valves in my new Elf, I did water clean it out as much as practical. However the first valve threading (top and bottom cap) is still an issue. Makes me think what you said about cheap tools etc, could be a factor as to where threading issues originate, shallower thread on 1st valve Anyway I’ll try scoring some of the grooves.
    That’s the only issue, my community band doesn’t need a huge bass so the Elf has been great stepping up from euphonium.

  7. The third valve slide: has it already been engineered long so that 2+3 only requires a little lipping up and 1+3 a little lipping down? the bow of the 3rd valve slide is awfully close to the bottom bow so that if it has to be pulled to get 2+3 and 1+3 in tune that it will get damaged by a young player, albeit inadvertently. Conn had the right idea of an initial loop up before descending on their third valve slides to keep the slide tubing above the bottom bow so it would not get banged around.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,047
    Quote Originally Posted by hornbag View Post
    Anyway I’ll try scoring some of the grooves.
    Get a good magnifying glass or (what I typically use) a headband magnifier, and you will probably be able to see the flaws in the threads. They're really difficult to repair without a thread chaser because they're so fine. And often you'll discover that the thread path is okay, but the height of the thread varies and is uneven. There's really no way to fix that with a file or some scoring instrument, or maybe even a chaser. At times in such situations I've thought about "rebuilding" the threads with epoxy, but that's really tricky -- especially in the case of fine threads, and on brass. Before I did that, I'd take it to someone with the right tools and experience, and have them rebuild/recut the threads.
    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)

  9. Hi again Elf soothsayers and players: my horn has improved valve wise, like ‘breaking in’ if that’s a thing, but maybe it is due to cleaning out a lot of the factory dust a couple times, and that has made a big improvement. It’s a fab student horn, bang for buck, but peops needs to know how to take care of it too. For what I play sometimes, i’m enjoying making it fat enough to sub for double bass.
    Last edited by hornbag; 09-05-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  10. Thanks for your reply Gary, I meant ‘scoring’ the thread in the sense it’s like a last resort, yes almost impossible to do. but anyway all cap threads seem ok now on the Elf. I guess I used the term ‘scoring’ as I recall my father was able to rethread many things, via various means in last century time of metalworking.

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