Posted by Tubanurse on May 27, 2000 at 11:01:27:
I've just had a theory that I've held for a while reconfirmed. I've felt for some time that the secret to a great sounding and responding piston-valved tuba of any size is having the ports in the valves open, without bulges or dimples. I've just picked up a lovely old pre-1910 4/4 Grand Rapids(York)three-valve BBb with a bore size of around .656". By current logic this horn should play very stuffy and thin, but it is one of the nicest playing BBb tubas I've played. I think the reason for its great response is that the valve ports have almost no dimples. I also put this into practice on a 6/4 Holton CC on which I had to use a King .750" valve set with very little dimples. It plays more open and responds quicker than the identical twin with the original dimpled Holton valves. Of course there is a trade off in that these open-port valves have a longer throw than conventional ones, but the quickness of response seems to make up for this difference. So why don't the instrument makers click onto this? Any thoughts or experience with this out there?