Thursday, September 12, 2013

Some Updates

Recently, I acquired a number of instruments:

Three miniature sousaphones, a mellophone, a couple of helicons, a raincatcher sousaphone, and another tuba. Most of these instruments will be dismantled and turned into other instruments - like three more french horns and a few more mini-tubas.

On my move from Seattle, I came across a raincatcher Sousaphone at a TGIF restaurant. Sure, it had some holes in it and was considerably dirty/grimy, but how often do you find a raincatcher, let alone one you could buy because the restaurant was going to be remodeling the following week! Anyway, it's a Carl Fisher, probably late-1910s, maybe early 1920s. Definitely an import, but a nice example of a raincatcher Sousaphone.

I also bought a Martin Eb helicon, which may or may not be in the key of D - that's not a Low Pitch tuning, but the actual pitch of D. Evidently Martin made an extra long slide to place the key in D... for whatever reason. The helicon needs a little work, but is in quite good shape. The previous owner "suggested" that I convert it to CC and add a valve. I might, but I still need to find a Martin valve/casing and a whole bunch of Martin braces and tubing - it needs to look natural. On the other hand, I could add a rotary valve (with a thumb trigger) and make another set of slides to allow the instrument to play in CC or Eb. Harvey Hartman did this for one of his customers and I've heard of good results from others regarding such a "conversion".

Let's see... here are some quicks:

- Converted the bass trumpet to an alto in D (need to either cut to Eb or add a little more to C) with four valves.
- In the process of another alto in Eb with four in-line valves and a 7" Olds bell
- Attempting to sell the Bass Horn to fund a few more
- Bought a JW York Eb tuba in excellent condition... just needs a couple dents removed. Otherwise, it plays very well.
- Sold a couple of Getzen Eterna Bass trumpets.

The big news is I've got a customer wanting a contrabass flugelhorn in Eb. It's using a .560" marching baritone valve block and a considerable amount of conical tubing. The end result will hopefully be around the size of a standard marching baritone.

Coupled with that, I have enough parts and bells to make two contrabass trumpets in either Eb or F.

As for the Jumbo sousaphone, I sent the valve block off to NRE Brassworks to finish up the fourth valve tubing. There are some other small changes to the look, but I'll hopefully have it back in time for Purdue University's Homecoming. A friend of mine has a King Jumbo and another alumnus has one as well. Counting "Big Bertha" owned by Purdue, that's three Jumbo for their Homecoming. Once mine is up and running, I'll be bringing it down to Purdue to have one of the alumni players use it for the game, so that their will be FOUR King Jumbos in use - two three valve 1265's and two four valve 1266's! Just like the Pentwater Jumbo Summit of 2011.

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