Posted by Rick Denney on October 20, 2002 at 20:27:56:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Holton 6/4 BBb - Update posted by Tony E on October 19, 2002 at 13:21:50:
If by Rick Denney territory, you mean much talk based on little knowledge, than I plead guilty.
I think I agree with Dale that the leadpipe and valve ports had more to do with the intonation difficulties than assembly issues in the outer branches. And I agree with him even more that most folks sabotage these instruments with large mouthpieces. I use a truly large mouthpiece on my York Master, but it doesn't at all work on the 20J. On that instrument, my smaller Doug Elliott (which is about the size of a Conn Helleberg, and which I normally use on F tuba) works pretty well.
As to the inherent design of the instruments, there are lots of variables here. I think it is entirely possible for a fat design to work properly, if it is part of the design at the outset, so that other factors are adjusted accordingly. If there was only one taper design that would produce acceptable intonation, we would not have the variety we do.
Judging from the many leadpipe experiments reportedly conducted by Warren Deck on his 2165 (which was inspired by the big Holton), I suspect that leadpipe design is a real issue with these instruments. It's one of the reasons I'm unwilling to mess with the leadpipe on my YM--though there are improvements I'd like to make, there are mistakes I'm even more committed to avoiding.
Finally, many of the complaints about intonation seem to have concerned the C versions of this instrument. Simple arithmetic reveals that an instrument of given bore, bottom bow, and configuration (i.e. piston valves X distance from the mouthpiece) will have a faster taper when two feet shorter between the valves and the bottom bow. The BBb version might be easier to make workable than the C version.
I think assembly issues in the outer branches might have subtle effects on color, but honestly I can't explain why. The preload is stabilized by the instrument, and additional vibrational stresses should vibrate the brass as if it has no preload.
As to whether the fit of parts is a factory quality issues, I don't know. Every time I've had a bottom bow off and removed a few dents, it's always changed its shape. Matt tells me that he solders a wire or strap around the openings of a bottom bow to retain the shape when he works the dents. The poor fit might easily have been induced by a subsequent repair, which you have seen other evidence of.
Rick "envious" Denney