slotted valve stem cork for midcentury Conn?

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by malena, May 11, 2017.

  1. malena

    malena New Friend

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    Just want to say thank you again for all the assistance, everyone. I finally got the cornet in and out of the shop, chem cleaned, properly aligned, and everything. Just in time for the kid's old Holton cornet to develop a sticky piston (eventually fixed by attentive cleaning).

    So she had to take the 80A to school for a week. School is just getting started and not all the kids even have instruments yet so she could have shown up with a kazoo at this point and been fine... She sounds good on the 80A and plays louder--she's usually too quiet so that's good.

    But.

    She says it's too shiny. :rolleyes:

    I don't understand children. :grin:

    She's back to the Holton for now, with its respectable aged lacquer. I have a suspicion that it's easier to hold when you have short arms but she denies that that is an issue.

    (For the record, if the kid wants a new trumpet or cornet, or when her teacher suggests she get one, I'll get her one. I'm not cruelly inflicting weird instruments on my kids against their will or anything!)
     
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  2. operagost

    operagost Mezzo Forte User

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    And here I thought kids liked the shiny. Pretty sure I did.
     
  3. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

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    Of course kids like shiny, but this is not about that this is displacement behaviour. Behaviour that is rooted in one thing and emerges as something else.

    We tend to become unhappy about something and if we are unable to articulate that unhappiness we look for things that we can articulate. Simply saying that it is too shiny doesnt mean it really is too shiny, it might simply mean that she prefers the other instrument but cant articulate why that is, so she hangs the issue on its shininess.

    Reading between the lines is sometimes necessary. I would suggest that she is being mature about it and giving you a reason that she feels makes sense to you and that deserves respect.

    It may be that in time she may change her opinion and prefer the 80a as she matures as a player so I would hang on to it.
     
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    It could also be the difference in the bore. An 80A is "gigantic" compared to the Holton. It may just work better for her.
     
  5. malena

    malena New Friend

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    Oct 27, 2015
    Shiny is definitely not all of it! This kid just doesn't like to replace things. We got the Holton to replace a rental and she refused to embrace it until her teacher emphatically told her that it worked better and sounded better. But that's fine. She can play whatever she wants until her teacher says it's time to change. She's playing because it's fun and I don't care what she plays as long as it's something she enjoys playing that keeps her interested.

    I did catch her practicing on the Conn yesterday after school "because it was already out". That laziness (it's inherited) makes me think her preference just might be partly based on the fact that the case we have the Conn in is larger and heavier than the Holton's and she has to carry it to school. :) The kid insists they play pretty much the same!

    Kids are always entertaining.
     
  6. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

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    One of the paradoxes of brass is we cannot hear what the audience hears so I am not surprised that her teacher had to tell her she sounds better on the Holton. It should always be fun and it sounds like the conn will get an airing from time to time so that is good.
     
  7. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

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    I should point out that the conn 80a has an achilles heel. The valve guide is an odd design, it is a ring that fits at the top of the valve block and does not move as the valve goes up and down I am sure you have seen it. The ring has a long pin fixed to it and the valve slides up and down held loosely by the pin. It is a good system that works well but the problem is if the valve is twisted sideways while it is in the valve block and only held in place by that pin, that puts too much strain on the pin and can snap it off the ring or bend it.

    Those parts are no longer in production so conn owners should avoid twisting the valve.

    With normal valves when the valve button comes loose it is usual to just tighten it with the valve in the instrument and there is no harm done when you do this.

    If you tighten the button on a conn valve with the conn valve fitted in the instrument you can inadvertently put too much sideways strain on the pin and damage it. Always remove the valve and tighten the button with the valve out of the instrument to prevent this problem occurring.

    Other than that I believe the conn 80a to be a wolf in sheeps clothing and is a highly respected instrument with great history. There are many great instruments of course and the conn deservedly in my opinion ranks amongst the best of them. It had a long and prestigious 50 year span of production, and is mouthpiece sensitive with a huge tonal range and the ability to sound like a trumpet if you use a shallow mouthpiece and a cornet if you use a deep mouthpiece.

    If I had to choose one instrument alone to keep it would be my conn 80a without a shadow of a doubt.
     
  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Yes, those valves on the 80A (and some other Conns) are much too complicated. I don't know why they used such a Rube Goldberg design on them.
     
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  9. Bflatman

    Bflatman Forte User

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    Lol yes rube goldberg indeed, :)

    I have a suspicion as to why this design was developed. In engineering floating design has been used in many areas, floating design is a relatively unrestrained part that moves in a loose enclosure. It is called floating because it is free to find its own position and it then floats sweetly without binding or interference with other parts.

    Floating design has fallen out of use in recent years.

    Conventional valves often click, and Conn addressed this clicking issue. They called their crysteel valves, the ones fitted to the 80a, clickless. Conventional valves with more robust valve guides sometimes stubbornly click as they move and this can be disconcerting to the player. Floating design in the valve and valve guide successfully stopped the clicking but at the price of complexity and the weakness in the valve guide and pin.

    I believe that as conventional valves and valve guides developed the clicking problem reduced and the conn complex clickless design was no longer needed so was abandoned.
     
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  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    They improved that design around 1959 or 1960 with an enclosed top-sprung valve that still had the vertical rod, but not the long, goofy slotted cork and flimsy floating locating ring at the top. It was used in the Connstellation and some of the Victor and Connquest models. Unfortunately, the poor old 80A didn't get the upgrade.
     

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