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Thread: Broken 4th valve stem, need advice

  1. #1

    Broken 4th valve stem, need advice

    I have been a loyal member of this website for yearsI have recommended this site to so many people that I cannot begin to remember them all. A lot of good information, advice and knowledge is exchanged therein, and I hope I can benefit from some of that now.

    I bought a B&S Perantucci PT-37 compensating euphonium with trigger from the Custom Music International store in Ferndale, Michigan. It was very expensive, but several hundred dollars cheaper than the Sterling or Hirsbrunner euphoniums they had in stock at the same time. I am an amateur player who played tuba in high school and who started playing music again 25 years later when my dad gave me a Yamaha 3-valve euph for Christmas. It took a long time to relearn what I lost and learn anew much that I had never learned to begin with. I like the PT-37 because it had a tuba-like wide bell, a big bore that I could not over-blow, and a full and melodic tone. I have taken care of this horn like a baby and have not suffered any serious mishap until now. As is often the case, it was a momentary lapse of good judgement and only took a second to occur. I laid it on my chair for a couple of seconds to collect some sheet music, and it fell off. It landed on my parquet wood floor and snapped the 4th valve stem clean off.

    Although it is a clean break, flush to the top of the piston, the threaded insert is still in the piston. I took it to our local brass repair guy here in San Diego, but he had nothing like it in stock and did not know where to find the missing part. I called Custom Music and discovered they no longer do repairs or maintenance on B&S, or anything else, even though they still advertise their merchandise on their web site. They are clearing their inventory of all Sterling, B&S, and Hirsbrunner horns. Buffet-Crampon has taken over control of all sales of their instruments in North America, and Custom apparently is not part of their current business plan. So I found their office in Jacksonville, Florida, and they essentially blew me off.

    So where do I get parts? Not only valve stems, but the small, attached plastic valve guides which I should replace before long. I called Woodwind Brasswind and several well known music stores and found none of them do maintenance any longer. Really? Internet searches only yield lots of adds to buy new horns or accessories I do not need.

    My questions:

    1. Buffet-Crampon also owns Meinl Weston and Besson. I understand that other companies, such as Sterling, also get their valves from the same factories. Might B&S stems be the same as those? Who would know?
    2. Who is doing tuba and euphonium repairs that include spare parts like these, and where do they get their parts?
    3. Has anyone on this list ever had to have a part machined by a professional machinist? If so, any advice before going that route?

    I have the exact measurements for the stem as performed by our principle trumpet, who has taken up wood turning in retirement and has an amazing collection of measuring tools.

    Stem Length: 32.55mm long Stem Diameter: 6.48mm
    Bottom Length: 6.26mm Bottom Diameter: 4.89mm
    Top Hole Depth: 7.58mm Top Hole Diameter: 3.89 mm

    I can still play, but boy do I miss that 4th valve! Thanks for any assistance or advice you can give.

  2. #2
    That's quite a saga! You're caught in an uncomfortable situation, which has happened in other instances as companies change hands. There was quite a bit of confusion when Besson went under and was then bought by Buffet. But in the case of Besson, there are still shops that supply parts for the older horns.

    I think you need to get in touch with a good repair shop know for tuba-euphonium work. Lee Stoffer in Iowa comes to mind (, but there are several others. It's possible Dan Schultz can help (

    Perhaps other members here will offer suggestions.

    Have you checked with any of the resources here?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    Finding a stock valve stem is almost impossible. I had a similar issue with the 3rd valve on Martin medium sousaphone someone gave me. My solution was to have a valve stem made. My suggestion is to contact Lee Stofer (aka Lee Stofer Music) he's on the web, just Google him. Expect him to ask you to send the piston and the broken stem to him. He will remove the stub that is in the piston and fabricate the new stem. This is not a hard job and is done regularly. It shouldn't be very expensive (my guess is less than $100). If Lee won't do it, I have a guy here who will, but again you'll have to send in the valve and stem. If you can find a similar repair tech in your area (maybe check with the Horn Guys for a recommendation) you can get the project done locally.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    You might also consider Anderson Silver Plating. I say this because they do complete overhaul work and advertise this as one of their services. In addition, you'll probably want that stem replated (nickel?) anyway and whomever else you may send it to might in turn have to send it to Anderson. So Anderson might be one stop shopping for something like this. Here's their Additional Services page.

    Another possibility would be the Kanstul custom shop. I've had them do work in the past on several mouthpieces and their work was excellent, reasonably priced, and fast.

    But basically you should just find someone with the experience to do this. As machining goes, it's a pretty simple task, and really about any competent machine shop should be able to do it. But then there's the plating issue. And there's no sense taking/sending it anywhere except a place that has good experience with these things -- and can get it back to you (appropriately plated and installed) in a reasonable time.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  5. Check out Votaw Tool at
    They make and sell tools for instrument repair but they also sell some common parts. Bonus is that they sell to the public.
    Most of the larger valve stems they have are for Jupiter euphs and tubas. The lengths and diameters of some are close to those you gave. The threaded ends are another matter and you may just get lucky. They are only a few $ each or so each so not much money risked to order few different ones and try them.

    After a look at the catalog, here is what looks close without having everything to measure:
    The part number for a Jupiter 4V valve stem is: JP34P305, $5.61 which seems close without knowing the thread sizes.
    The corresponding plastic valve guide is: JP42P8002, $1.80ea. (it is 23.5mm long)
    (Other plastic valve guides are available too with pictures so you can compare to what you have.)
    If you get lucky with this valve stem with the male threads fitting the piston, the finger button threads may not work. In which case, you will need:
    Jupiter euphonium finger button JP42P042, $6.18 ea.

    I would recommend ordering one of each of the above and hope for the best. If it fits, you are good to go. If the button is needed, put it on the 4th valve. If none of it works, pm me and I will take them off your hands for my spares bin. I have a local shop I use in Maryland who can make it if you need to.

    Another source: is where a lot of repair men get their parts. They do not sell to the public nor is their catalog public. Ask your shop guy if he has their catalog or have him call them since they might just have it.
    Weril H980 euph
    Besson 4v comp euph 314xxx
    Besson 3v comp euph 455xxx
    King 3v bari. 20xxx
    King 4v double-bell euph 50xxx
    Conn 5v double-bell euph 355xxx
    Buescher 3+1 double-bell euph 285xxx
    Olds bell-front 3v bari
    Holton alto horn
    Holton 3v tuba
    Belleville Helicon
    Some of the performances of the Mid-Shore Community Band:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Votaw does not carry real esoterica. However, they're knowledgeable and very happy to talk to you. Call them, tell them what you need, and see if they may have something that would work. They will probably ask you for the thread pitch/size, but they may know. Also, try emailing Dawkes and asking. I've had pretty quick and nice responses from them. It's where I buy my tuba felts. Not expensive, even from the UK. Thomann lists some parts (including valve stems) for B&S trumpets. They might have (or know where to get) parts for the euph. Also, either Dawkes or Thomann may at least know the dimensions for the valve stem -- and the thread size/pitch.

    I'm looking at the Allied catalog and not seeing anything very encouraging. The have valve stems for several baritones/euphoniums (Bach/Bundy/Mercedes, Conn, Holton, King, Olds, Pan American, Yamaha, Holton, King, Reynolds), but I don't see any for European instruments. They're listed under the brand/model by size. I haven't looked at the price list. But I suspect that Allied doesn't have what you need.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

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