Posted by Jan L on May 23, 1999 at 11:18:14:
In Reply to: 1904 Conn Eb tuba help wanted posted by Sally on May 22, 1999 at 17:21:12:
1. I have a small collection of very old C.G. Conn horns that I have restored. Here's what I use for the silver plated horns:
a. First of all, your horn may have a light gold plating ('gold wash') on several areas. It is frequently found on horns as old as yours, usually inside the bell and sometimes on the outside, in and around the engraved areas. Be very careful what you use to clean these areas, because the wrong chemical will remove the gold wash almost immediately. I once had an overzealous repair tech remove all the gold wash from the bell of an Eb alto cornet in less than a minute with a buffing wheel. Worst of all, I watched him do it with my approval!
b. I don't want to get in a contest with Chuck, but I wouldn't recommend Brasso for silver plate. It is made specifically for brass. I don't have any experience with CLR, but it may be damaging as Gerald suggests. I have used a LOT of Wright's Silver Cream; it works slowly, but it is probably the most gentle on your finish. Years ago, I used a product called 'Silvo' that was made by the same company that makes Brasso; it cleaned faster than Wright's and it was easy on silver plate. I don't even know if it is still available. Lately I have tried 'TarnX' liquid; it cleans quickly, but the odor will take your head off! >grin<
c. Recommend that if if you really want to clean the horn up yourself, test the questionable chemicals on an area of the horn that you won't mind ruining the finish. And please, do it outside while wearing chemical resistant gloves. Some of the fumes may be VERY toxic.
d. Several of my old horns were as nasty as yours; I don't even try to clean them anymore. After 30 years of fooling around, I now take them to a qualifed repair tech that is set up with the proper equipment and chemicals to do the job safely.
2. I definitely agree with Chuck on the high pitch (HP) and low pitch (LP) standards:
a. All my C.G. Conn LP horns that were built before 1930 are all very flat. These horns barely tune up to 440A with the tuning slide pushed all the way in and a mouthpiece that seats deep in the receiver. If the horns are cold, it's a lost cause.
b. One thing that may help you with the pitch on your Eb; try a shallower mouthpiece than your 24AW. If you want to stay with Bach, try a 25. It works very well with a 1920s vintage C.G. Conn Eb of mine.
3. Anyway, that's my $.02 worth, for what it's worth. Good luck, and good playing!