Wulf's Webden

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Stuck Valves?

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When I was away last week, I took the tuba and managed to do a fair amount of practise. However, I began to notice a crackling noise when holding down the fourth valve and, by the time it got to the Training Band rehearsal on Tuesday, it was becoming a real impediment.

I figured out that it was probably water (condensed from the air blown through it) stuck in the tubes and, doing some experimenting with moving the instrument around, I could hear it sloshing about. I could even get the crackling noise by holding the fourth valve down and blowing through the mouthpiece without attempting to form a note.

Yesterday I managed to dribble the water out, first by unsticking the caps at the bottom of the first and fourth valves (I may have overzealously tightened them) and then by manoeuvring the tuba around until the problem was cleared. However, having done a little more research, I’m pretty sure the real problem is that some of the slides that ought to make drainage easy have become frozen over time.

The first two slides work well but there are two further sections which look like they ought to be slides which I haven’t been able to shift from the day I got it. I think a bit more tuba maintenance is in order to see if I can solve the problem myself and, if not, I’ll probably need to think about finding an experienced repair technician – I’m going to have to be blowing a lot more moist air through the thing as I continue to build my skills.

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