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Thread: Stuffy M5050 4th valve, anyone else?

  1. Stuffy M5050 4th valve, anyone else?

    Hey all,
    Relatively new member here. Bought a few things from the classifieds section but never post much. Iím posting because Iíve seen little discussion on this topic.

    Iíve played a Miraphone M5050 for about 3 and a half years now, and over these three years Iíve slowly found all the quirks with this horn. The worst being the fourth valve. For such a large horn, the fourth valve has a very small limit and once you pass it the tone is brash and the notes crack. On every other brand Iíve tried the fourth valve has been better, and several people have agreed my fourth isnít the clearest. (Although I havenít had the chance to test other Miraphones...)

    Iím on the brink of selling it, after falling in love with one of my friendís Adams E1. But I wanted to see if anyone here on the forum has had similar experiences. Iíve talked to Demondrae Thurman who says heís never heard of a problem with the fourth valve in his studio at IU, and all the repair techs at Arts Music in Montgomery, AL told me the donít see an alignment issue. Do I just have a bad egg?
    Thanks everyone,

    Sam McHenry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,392
    Hi Sam. I’ve had my M5050 now for about 10 years. I myself have not experienced anything like you mention in the 4th valve circuit. The 4th valve bore is .638 - which is smaller than my Yamaha 641 bore of .660. It took me some time getting used to the difference. If you’ve spoken with Demondrae about it there’s no one else that knows any more about that horn.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    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
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  3. #3
    Hi Sam,

    In the time I owned a m5050 I never experienced this. Can I ask what mouthpiece youíre playing?

    Also, do you experience this when playing the concert F in the middle of the bass clef, or the second space concert C in the bass clef?
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

  4. Hi Mike,
    I play on a Doug Elliott Euph mouthpiece, 102 rim, I cup, and I8 shank.

    I experience it on both of those notes. The worst example is the opening line to Second Suite in F. I just feel like the air is backing up on me on the F and the C.

  5. #5
    Interesting. Is this a relatively new development, or something youíve noticed across the last few years?

    Youíre playing the same setup as Rick, so Iíd rule that out as the possible source.

    One thing I have noticed, especially if Iím trying to dig in to something Iím playing on the 4th valve, is that I have a tendency to overblow it in a way I donít on the rest of the horn. Maybe try the same phrase at MF or P and see what you feel?

    Also, itís worth noting that the E1 you tried is a much different horn than the 5050. Maybe your preferences are changing?

    Sorry I donít have more advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by SamMcHenry00 View Post
    Hi Mike,
    I play on a Doug Elliott Euph mouthpiece, 102 rim, I cup, and I8 shank.

    I experience it on both of those notes. The worst example is the opening line to Second Suite in F. I just feel like the air is backing up on me on the F and the C.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SamMcHenry00 View Post
    Hey all,
    Relatively new member here. Bought a few things from the classifieds section but never post much. I’m posting because I’ve seen little discussion on this topic.

    I’ve played a Miraphone M5050 for about 3 and a half years now, and over these three years I’ve slowly found all the quirks with this horn. The worst being the fourth valve. For such a large horn, the fourth valve has a very small limit and once you pass it the tone is brash and the notes crack. On every other brand I’ve tried the fourth valve has been better, and several people have agreed my fourth isn’t the clearest. (Although I haven’t had the chance to test other Miraphones...)

    I’m on the brink of selling it, after falling in love with one of my friend’s Adams E1. But I wanted to see if anyone here on the forum has had similar experiences. I’ve talked to Demondrae Thurman who says he’s never heard of a problem with the fourth valve in his studio at IU, and all the repair techs at Arts Music in Montgomery, AL told me the don’t see an alignment issue. Do I just have a bad egg?
    Thanks everyone,

    Sam McHenry
    Hmm, I responded to this yesterday, Sam, and it disappeared. I owned an M5050 for 3 years about 6 years ago. It was the best horn I ever owned, except for the Adams E3 that I now have. I played the beejeebers out of that horn and used it to perform Ferdinand David's Trombone Concertino with a symphony I play in. I rewrote the cadenza in that piece, and it included a part that went down to low Eb below the staff and then an octave lower than that. Using 1st and 4th valves. No problem. And it was loud! I always used the 4th valve when playing the concert C in the staff. No problem with it sounding, and even very little difference in the character of the tone/timbre when using 4th valve on the C.

    I used the Demondrae Warburton mouthpiece which came with the horn, and use that same mouthpiece to this day with all euphoniums I play except my B&H Imperial which has a different sized shank. BTW, the M5050 has the very best high concert B natural of any horn I have played. My Adams is good, but not as good as the M5050. I only moved to the Adams E3 because I was a former smoker, and my lungs are not in tip top shape. The M5050 being a very big horn took more wind than other euphoniums. So, now the Adams E3, my keeper for life horn. But I could have been happy with the M5050 for life, too, if it wasn't for my wind deficiency.

    So, I did not have any problem with the 4th valve, sound, dynamics, tone, etc. at all. This makes me wonder about the mouthpiece you use (I doubt that is the issue); is there possibly anything stuck or inside of the 4th valve circuit (run a snake through the tuning slide and through as much of the circuit as you can; is there something loose or unsoldered in that section; or is there something loose or unsoldered somewhere else on the horn that resonates or reacts when the 4th valve is being used? I suppose you have probably checked all those. If you are anywhere near Demondrae, it would almost solve the issue if he got a chance to put his glorious chops on it. I also thought about valve alignment issues. Are you SURE about this one? You mention some techs saw no issues here. How did they check it?

    If there is a good euphonium player where you live, perhaps let him give it a try with his own mouthpiece. This is truly curious to me. If I do nothing else, I can really put a blow on a horn (albeit a shorter in length blow because of my diminished lungs), but nonetheless, a big sound for a period of time. And I did on the M5050 and never had any problems with it breaking up whatsoever.

    Good luck in your search. If you do end up with an Adams, you will have picked what I consider to be the very best euphonium, at least that is the way I feel about mine. But the M5050 is also a very, very awesome horn. I hope you get it figured out.
    Last edited by John Morgan; 04-25-2021 at 11:48 PM.
    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)

  7. Quote Originally Posted by miketeachesclass View Post
    Interesting. Is this a relatively new development, or something youíve noticed across the last few years?

    Youíre playing the same setup as Rick, so Iíd rule that out as the possible source.

    One thing I have noticed, especially if Iím trying to dig in to something Iím playing on the 4th valve, is that I have a tendency to overblow it in a way I donít on the rest of the horn. Maybe try the same phrase at MF or P and see what you feel?

    Also, itís worth noting that the E1 you tried is a much different horn than the 5050. Maybe your preferences are changing?

    Sorry I donít have more advice!
    Thank you for the replies! I recently started noticing this in the past couple years. When I play it softer it definitely doesnít feel as bad, so I think part of it is an overblowing thing. It still feels uncomfortable though. Maybe I just donít like the bore size, as Rick pointed out.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    Hmm, I responded to this yesterday, Sam, and it disappeared. I owned an M5050 for 3 years about 6 years ago. It was the best horn I ever owned, except for the Adams E3 that I now have. I played the beejeebers out of that horn and used it to perform Ferdinand David's Trombone Concertino with a symphony I play in. I rewrote the cadenza in that piece, and it included a part that went down to low Eb below the staff and then an octave lower than that. Using 1st and 4th valves. No problem. And it was loud! I always used the 4th valve when playing the concert C in the staff. No problem with it sounding, and even very little difference in the character of the tone/timbre when using 4th valve on the C.

    I used the Demondrae Warburton mouthpiece which came with the horn, and use that same mouthpiece to this day with all euphoniums I play except my B&H Imperial which has a different sized shank. BTW, the M5050 has the very best high concert B natural of any horn I have played. My Adams is good, but not as good as the M5050. I only moved to the Adams E3 because I was a former smoker, and my lungs are not in tip top shape. The M5050 being a very big horn took more wind than other euphoniums. So, now the Adams E3, my keeper for life horn. But I could have been happy with the M5050 for life, too, if it wasn't for my wind deficiency.

    So, I did not have any problem with the 4th valve, sound, dynamics, tone, etc. at all. This makes me wonder about the mouthpiece you use (I doubt that is the issue); is there possibly anything stuck or inside of the 4th valve circuit (run a snake through the tuning slide and through as much of the circuit as you can; is there something loose or unsoldered in that section; or is there something loose or unsoldered somewhere else on the horn that resonates or reacts when the 4th valve is being used? I suppose you have probably checked all those. If you are anywhere near Demondrae, it would almost solve the issue if he got a chance to put his glorious chops on it. I also thought about valve alignment issues. Are you SURE about this one? You mention some techs saw no issues here. How did they check it?

    If there is a good euphonium player where you live, perhaps let him give it a try with his own mouthpiece. This is truly curious to me. If I do nothing else, I can really put a blow on a horn (albeit a shorter in length blow because of my diminished lungs), but nonetheless, I big sound for a period of time. And I did on the M5050 and never had any problems with it breaking up whatsoever.

    Good luck in your search. If you do end up with an Adams, you will have picked what I consider to be the very best euphonium, at least that is the way I feel about mine. But the M5050 is also a very, very awesome horn. I hope you get it figured out.
    Hi John, thank you for the detailed response!
    In regards to something being in the fourth valve circuit, I give my Euph a deep clean every couple months and snake through as much of it as I can, and the only thing that comes out are the little nasties that accrue. It doesnít feel like something is stuck in there, but it could be a manufacturing defect.

    Iím going to try to take a trip up to Birmingham to get an in-person lesson with Demondrae this summer (when heís comfortable with such a thing) since Iím based in Troy AL, so hopefully he can feel whatís going on.

    As for the techs, Iím not 100% sure how they checked if Iím being honest. Iím going to take my Euph up to a Miraphone certified repair shop and have them take another look.

    Iíve let my private instructor here, Dr. Robert Pendergast try it out and he said he couldnít really feel anything crazy with it. Several of my studio peers have said they can though, so I think Dr. Pendergast is just too good for it to be an issue for him

    Thank you again for all your suggestions!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,392
    Dr Pendergast is good! I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him perform at SRTEC competition in Sarasota, FL many years ago. I think he was still at FSU then.

    Hope you get it resolved Sam. I love the M5050 myself.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    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
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  10. #10
    I’ll jump in here and confirm everything Rick, John, and Demondrae have said, which is that I’ve never had a problem with the 4th valve range on any of the 3 5050’s I’ve owned over the last 10 years. I also use the Warburton Demondrae MP, Which has a pretty large throat. The only suggestion I would make is to talk to Doug Elliot and see if a 9 shank would help you.

    Don Winston

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