Posted by Jay Bertolet on January 07, 1999 at 21:22:29:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Alexander opportunity posted by Jeff Tomberg on January 07, 1999 at 19:34:26:
Jeff is right, he didn't have any trouble getting a solid D on his 4 valve Alex when we did the Wonderland Duets. I was kinda surprised actually, since I am a confirmed 5 valve addict. This is the same discussion I have had many times with Fritz Kaenzig. Fritz and I both use Rudy Meinl tubas built in the late 60's. His is a 4 valve model, mine is a 5 valve. We both love our Rudy's but Fritz swears he doesn't need a 5th valve on his. Me, I couldn't live without my 5th valve. In fact, all my instruments have 5 valves either stock or aftermarket.
If you do feel the need for 5, I can suggest a strategy that has worked for me. Have a second leadpipe ready that is identical to the original. This is easy with new instruments and possible with used/older ones. Then, have the technician who is adding the valve cut into one leadpipe while keeping the other uncut. That way, the procedure is reversible. Still, I've never had to reverse one of these, no instrument I've added a 5th valve to ever was adversely affected by the added valve.
The point about the sound is a very good one. Again, the same thing happened with Rudy Meinl 4/4 tubas when they did the redesign a few years back. They changed the wrap of the instrument slightly, saying it would correct certain intonation problems (the older Rudy's are afflicted with the same intonation problems, and great sound, as the Alex). My impressions of the new design, after playing several of the newer models, was that there were now a new set of intonation problems and the overall sound quality was slightly diminished.
I'm not sure if you would experience the same problems adding a 5th valve to an Alex. I added 5th valves to both my Cervany instruments with no ill effects whatsoever. Still, keeping an extra leadpipe is a great safeguard if you go that route. My opinion for what its worth...