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Author Topic: Conn 79h valve repair or replace  (Read 2020 times)
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BostonChops
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« on: Apr 13, 2017, 09:26AM »

I've come in to possession of a lovely 1967 79h. It's in great condition, and plays very well on the open side of the horn. However, the compression on the rotary valve is pretty poor and the thumb lever is out of whack.

The question for me then is should I have the valve rebuilt to original specs (Osmun are very close), or replaced with a Rotax or similar 'modern' valve?
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 13, 2017, 09:35AM »

It will probably be a lot less to have the valve rebuilt.  Mostly you need to have the rotor plated up to increase compression.  It's something Bob Osmun is very familiar with given his experience with French Horns.

I used to have a 79H and liked it very much with the stock valve.  Mine had a bad solder joint where the attachment tubing entered the valve elbow.  I was too cheap to fix it since it wasn't my daily player and when I "scored" a Bach 36C on Ebay for a good price, I put the 79H on consignment.

If you really want a better valve the Rotax or Meinschmitt is a good choice.  I'm sure the guys at Osmun will give you a fair estimate of what it would take for a new valve.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 13, 2017, 11:40AM »

Someone on here had a Rotax put on their 79H. Apparently a great addition.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 13, 2017, 01:35PM »

The user who had the valve job done was Trav1s. His journey and the associated repair, done by another forum member, was documented pretty thoroughly with lots of photographs.

I'm a daily 79h player, and I've owned a few. Some of them had the trigger soldered too close to the valve, and they needed to be moved about 1/2" to accommodate most hands. I would personally suggest that you just have the valve adjusted to make sure the ports are lining up. The valves on these horns are not inherently bad, and if the rest of the horn isn't beat to hell, the valve probably isn't worn out either, just maladjusted. A valve swap to a Rotax is going to cost you what you have into the horn. It's a better valve, yes, but not that much better. My horn is just a couple years newer, and the valve works fine. The trigger range sounds good for a horn of this size. It might be that you are just used to something different.
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BostonChops
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 14, 2017, 10:25AM »

Thanks for the thoughts, it's interesting for me to hear from other 79h players. I've played an 88h almost exclusively for close to 20 years, so it's a new experience for me both in terms of the bore and the "Elkhart-ness".

The trombone is a little strange - the sound and resonance is fantastic, the combination of a heavy slide and thin bell gives a nice warm sound that is easy to color. On the other hand, in addition to the worn valve, the lever is way out of alignment, there is some buzzing on certain notes in the bell section somewhere, and the whole wrap for the F valve seems to be out of position. I can't pull both tuning slides out more than an inch or so, or they will meet!

I'll take it in to Osmun to see what they think, but am thinking that I may have to have the bell section rebuilt in addition to the possibility of a valve rebuild.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 14, 2017, 11:30AM »

I recently took a Selmer Bolero to a local shop to have the slide receiver straightened because the slide went off at an odd angle. I got the horn back and it just didn't play right. It was awful. I checked for cracks, checked the water key, checked for stuff stuck in it. Then I filled the bell with water and a stream came pouring out of the valve. I talked to the tech who did it, and she admitted she stuck the receiver on a mandrel and pushed hard to simply bend the receiver back into place. This obviously out-of-rounded the valve housing, creating a big leak. They had to repair the valve for nothing, which I'm sure cost far more than the original repair. You should be safe with Osmun, but count yourself lucky, there are a lot of us who don't have a world-class brass shop handy.
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daveyboy37

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« Reply #6 on: Apr 16, 2017, 04:21PM »

That cannot have been a pleasant conversation. Valves are DELICATE. Hopefully that tech learned an important lesson that day.

Anyway, for the TO, I would say have a good tech take a look at it, as others have suggested. Before you talk about replacement, make sure it's not just a leak or something stuck in the valve wrap. Lotta things can get out of place over time.
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David Sullivan
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BostonChops
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 17, 2017, 08:04AM »

This is always the nightmare scenario when taking an instrument for repair - a bad tech can do as much or even more damage than a good one can repair.

I really lucked out with Osmun - they're almost within walking distance, and I only discovered them 6 months after moving to the area. Not sure that my wife or wallet will be thanking me in the future though...
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daveyboy37

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« Reply #8 on: Apr 17, 2017, 10:52AM »

Osmun's rates are reasonable, and their level of work is top notch. Whether you go for a new valve, or have the valve rebuilt, you will get great results.

And of course, they service more than just valves.  Right now is a petty good time to go, IMHO. When it gets to be close to school time, like most repair places, they are inundated with school horns that need fixing.
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David Sullivan
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BostonChops
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« Reply #9 on: Apr 25, 2017, 07:25AM »

A little update - Osmun are rebuilding the rotor core, and boring out the ports to open it up a little. I'll add more details when I get the instrument back for those who are interested.
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BostonChops
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 27, 2017, 07:54AM »

A quick update...

Osmun rebuilt the rotor core and bored out the ports - the valve is now fantastic, very open for a rotor and maybe the nicest that I've played. The whole f wrap was taken off and re-mounted so that it fit straight - previously the two tuning slides would meet when both pulled out...

Since it plays a lot better now, it's clear that the sound is a bit dead compared with other old Conns that I've played. On taking off the tuning slide, it's pretty clear that there's a lot of stress in the bell section from extremely sloppy previous repairs. Both sides of the tuning slide receiver are squint, and the TS itself has been bent and repaired. As per Jim Becker's recommendation, I'm waiting for a NOS TS crook, and then Jim will rebuild that end of the bell section without stress.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 27, 2017, 08:07AM »

You may find that the horn plays better with time.  Fresh solder joints can make the instrument play a bit "raw" for a while.  I found this when Shires did a bell transplant on my Yamaha 682.  For 6 months I wasn't sure I had done a good thing (although the old bell was unplayable and unrepairable) but now it plays better than the original bell did.

Meanwhile I'll bet that the replacement tuning slide may make a difference in the sound (probably for the better).
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Bruce Guttman
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BostonChops
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 27, 2017, 08:46AM »

It's an interesting and slightly frustrating situation for me. The slide is very decent, but the bell section has required a huge amount of work. I'm very happy with the work that the Osmun have done for me, and if JB recommends a new crook and a rebuild, I'm sure it will be worthwhile. I really like the sound and the blow, otherwise I'd be moving it on rather than spending such significant sums on it.

This is a pretty good example to me of the gamble that one takes buying on ebay...
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greenbean
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 30, 2017, 06:19PM »

You may find that the horn plays better with time.  Fresh solder joints can make the instrument play a bit "raw" for a while.  I found this when Shires did a bell transplant on my Yamaha 682.  For 6 months I wasn't sure I had done a good thing (although the old bell was unplayable and unrepairable) but now it plays better than the original bell did.

Meanwhile I'll bet that the replacement tuning slide may make a difference in the sound (probably for the better).

Gee, Bruce, do you think it was the solder that changed over time?  Or you?...
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--Yamaha 620G bass w/ Shires HW bell
BGuttman
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 30, 2017, 06:20PM »

Gee, Bruce, do you think it was the solder that changed over time?  Or you?...


Probably both.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 30, 2017, 06:22PM »

...
This is a pretty good example to me of the gamble that one takes buying on ebay...

Yup. 

But... if you like the horn, enjoy it.  Whether you got a bargain or ended up paying more than you had hoped.  That doesn't change the horn.  A good horn is a good horn.  :)
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--Yamaha 620G bass w/ Shires HW bell
BostonChops
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« Reply #16 on: Oct 03, 2017, 07:44AM »

Indeed - I like the instrument a lot, and hopefully it can be improved some by Jim and his magic blowtorch. Even after spending the extra on it, over a couple of decades of playing, it's really not too significant an expense.
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Matt K

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« Reply #17 on: Oct 03, 2017, 08:17AM »

Jim is indeed a magician. He fixed one of my friends C trumpets that was badly damaged and made it play better than it ever had.  In many cases, I'd rather have a horn that was damaged and fixed by the right person and built for me as needed.  I have a feeling you'll be pleased with the result.
 
I don't know how much they push the service over there, but they're one of the only places I'm aware of that does cyro treatments for instruments.  It isn't cheap but its been something I've always wanted to try on my horns. Especially one that was recently rebuilt.  It might be voodoo but if voodoo makes it play better....  :/
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« Reply #18 on: Oct 03, 2017, 09:15AM »

I had a 1963 88H, no problems with the valve after 50 years. The valves on a late 60s 62h worked fine, as did the valves on a couple of early 70s Bachs.

But I have an early Shires valve (mid 90s?)that needs a second visit to a tech. It's slowing down and, last night, it stuck for a moment. I also have a Shires dual bore that must be only 5 - 10 years old that is making a nasty clanking sound and probably needs servicing.

There are a couple of good local people but I've heard nothing but good things about Osmun.
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Matt K

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« Reply #19 on: Oct 03, 2017, 09:42AM »

What you might find is that a rotor that has a loose tolerance might not need any work because it needs less maintenance. Stuff doesn't get trapped, less wear, etc.  Its probably good enough and if Thayer valves are any indication, then having less compression even feels better than a higher compression to some. Shires stuff tends to have a higher tolerance and requires more maintenance than something with less. 

Incidentally, Jim was the one who told me about that. I made a trip there when I worked within driving distance one summer. I took my Tru-Bore (used) which I was using as my main valve at the time.  It was very sluggish and I was worried there might need to be something replaced.  It was constantly getting hung and really slow.

Jim opened it up and didn't see anything wrong with it. He just wiped it down and put Hetman piston oil on it and then lubed up the bearings with Hetman ball bearing oil.  He just recommended I stick to those lubes on it, which I did until I sold it a year or so ago in favor of a Bach 36 valve section I had mounted on my Shires. 

The 36 valve is definitely more leaky than the Shires valves I've tried, but I find that I have a mild preference for it. And as you indicate, the maintenance on it is very easy.  I have a feeling it'll last several more decades if I want it to.
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What's in a name? that which we call a tenor-bass posaune
By any other name would smell as sweet;
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