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Author Topic: "Stuffiness" in same model horns?  (Read 940 times)
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Tarkus697
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« on: Oct 05, 2017, 09:09AM »

So I happened to be in the vicinity of Dillon Music earlier this week and popped in to try some horns.  They had two Elkhart Conn 79H and they both played vastly different.  The one with a great feeling valve/trigger and slide with no plating loss felt quite stuffy and didn't really project well to my ears.  The other one had a clanky trigger and the slide had a little plating loss, but felt vastly less stuffy and sounded much cleaner.  I was using my Bach 7C Corporation mouthpiece on both.

It is interesting to note that the last time I played the better condition 79H, it played/sounded fine.  Could it be something about the atmosphere in the room that day or the way my ears were hearing things?

I really like the weight of the 79H and the way it feels in my hand so i'm curious if this is a common thing between same-model horns.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 05, 2017, 09:34AM »

So I happened to be in the vicinity of Dillon Music earlier this week and popped in to try some horns.  They had two Elkhart Conn 79H and they both played vastly different.  The one with a great feeling valve/trigger and slide with no plating loss felt quite stuffy and didn't really project well to my ears.  The other one had a clanky trigger and the slide had a little plating loss, but felt vastly less stuffy and sounded much cleaner.  I was using my Bach 7C Corporation mouthpiece on both.

It is interesting to note that the last time I played the better condition 79H, it played/sounded fine.  Could it be something about the atmosphere in the room that day or the way my ears were hearing things?

I really like the weight of the 79H and the way it feels in my hand so i'm curious if this is a common thing between same-model horns.

It is probably a leak somewhere, like the water key or valve. I have a 79h, and have played several. They don't have massive projection compared against a lot of horns, but they are not generally stuffy horns. Generally, those horns were made with a 6 1/2 AL in mind. The 7C isn't that far off to make it feel stuffy.

Clanky triggers are usually easy to fix. A bit of oil sometimes does it. Maybe a bumper replacement, maybe a string adjustment. Might also be a loose screw.

Plating loss isn't as big a deal as people make it out to be, generally, at least in my view. For a collector, maybe. I have a couple horns and have played many with plating loss, and there are some really fast slides out there with significant plating loss. Maybe not as fast as a new Rath or Shires, but totally playable.

79h overall is a great horn. Both the ones listed at Dillon's are Elkharts, so they have good specs on paper, the 8" yellow bell, wide slide. Not terribly common, I think they have more character than even a good 36b. You might consider raising the question to one of the guys there. They could have it checked out immediately to see if there is a leak or loose solder joint or something.
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Gabe Langfur

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« Reply #2 on: Oct 05, 2017, 10:58AM »

It could be a lot of different things, including small leaks, sloppy build (that happened sometimes even in the Elkhart Conn factory), etc.

Steve Shires has told me that he's found that vintage horns in the best condition - particularly cosmetically - often don't play as well as ones that have clearly seen a lot of use. The reason why is obvious when you think about it for a minute...

When you played the nice looking 79H in the past, did you have the other one to compare it to?
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Gabe Langfur
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 05, 2017, 10:58AM »

What ^ he said.  Most common leak, in old horns is, water key alignment...old cork...converted to modern rubber cork (an not aligned), finally weak water key spring.
Also, miss aligned rotor.  Replace harden corks.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 05, 2017, 11:32AM »

Also, on an older and somewhat worn instrument, lack of lubrication can affect "stuffiness".  It could be the valve was dry and just needed a little oil.  I've also seen this with a tuning slide that needs lube.
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Tarkus697
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 06, 2017, 06:53AM »

It could be a lot of different things, including small leaks, sloppy build (that happened sometimes even in the Elkhart Conn factory), etc.

Steve Shires has told me that he's found that vintage horns in the best condition - particularly cosmetically - often don't play as well as ones that have clearly seen a lot of use. The reason why is obvious when you think about it for a minute...

When you played the nice looking 79H in the past, did you have the other one to compare it to?

I did not.  Last time I was there they only had one 79H (the nice one).  They also have a 78H with an F attachment.  From my research, it seems these are rare but do exist prior to the 79H designation.  Even that felt a little funky.

Maybe I was just having an off day, as my Bach sounded better than it has in years at practice that evening.  :-D
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wgwbassbone
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 06, 2017, 09:22AM »

The only thing I can ad is that the room where the trombones "live" is a very dead sounding room. It's always been difficult for me to judge sound there. And those little practice rooms? Forget it.
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 06, 2017, 11:51AM »

One thing to do with a stuffy trombone.... especially an Elkhart Conn.... put it back in the case and walk away.

ALL models from ALL makers vary....

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 10, 2017, 05:46AM »

Definitely go with the one that sounds better. Valves and such can be refitted, replaced etc but stuffiness can be harder to fix.

Unless there actually IS something stuck in there, which unfortunately can happen when a used horn is sitting out for a long time.

Did you try swapping slides between the two horns just to see what would happen?
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 10, 2017, 06:19AM »

The nice looking one could have been poorly refurbished as well.  I've played some really bad horns that whomever did the work really caked the lacquer on.  Thin lacquer doesn't bother me as much but when it gets really thick... it can cause problems for sure.
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 11, 2017, 12:32AM »

I've been looking for a nice 79h for awhile so have been checking out these ones at dillons, unfortunately I'm outside the US so
can't try myself.  A simple serial search brought me to this which seems to be the same horn as the better condition one at dillons before restoration.  Note the reference to the stuffy valve:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/conn-elkhart-79h-trombone-attachment-137815954
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Tarkus697
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 11, 2017, 01:25PM »

Very interesting!  Hadn't even occurred to me to search for the serial number online.  Clever!  I noticed the horn was stuffy even without the valve engaged, so there's that.

I've been looking for a nice 79h for awhile so have been checking out these ones at dillons, unfortunately I'm outside the US so
can't try myself.  A simple serial search brought me to this which seems to be the same horn as the better condition one at dillons before restoration.  Note the reference to the stuffy valve:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/conn-elkhart-79h-trombone-attachment-137815954

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Connvert
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 12, 2017, 10:23AM »

Tarkus697, maybe next time you're in dillons you could take some photos of each horn (maybe even video).  I'd be really interested
in seeing and hearing the condition of these horns to help me if I decided to blind buy.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 12, 2017, 10:33AM »

Tarkus697, maybe next time you're in dillons you could take some photos of each horn (maybe even video).  I'd be really interested
in seeing and hearing the condition of these horns to help me if I decided to blind buy.

Why not ask Dillons? They have people who know trombones and techs who can fix stuff. I think they'd be honest with you, especially if you're a real potential customer. Maybe they'll take the cost of repairs out of the seller's price. Getting a good 79h is worth putting a little work into it. If Dillons can't identify the problem, then you can move on at least knowing you gave it an effort.
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« Reply #14 on: Oct 12, 2017, 12:43PM »

One thing to do with a stuffy trombone.... especially an Elkhart Conn.... put it back in the case and walk away.

ALL models from ALL makers vary....

Chris Stearn

Okey? I hope a tech can do something about a stuffy horn. I suspect my horn is stuffy because it has been badly mended. Have to correct this anyhow because the slide angle is all wrong. The slide is very close to the bell, totally wrong aligned after a bad repair. This is what I suspect. I do suspect this is causing some stress too in the bell section. Can't walk away from this horn, it is my baby now ;-)

/Tom
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