Besson BBb - Stuck 1st and 3rd Slides

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Simes, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    Hi All,

    Just bought a 2002 model Besson 2002 - price was good and it's in very nice condition, apart from 2 stuck slides - 1st and 3rd valve slides. Luckily they both have water keys on them (which is probably why they are stuck!). They are both pulled out about 1/2" which is OK as that's more or less in tune for me anyway - a little flatter than I would like on a couple of notes, but not the end of the world.

    However, I'd like to free them up - I've only had the instrument a few days and have been feeding the gap with WD40 and have washed the instrument out with warm soapy water, filled it with cold water and poured (from a shower) hot water on the outsides of the slides - all to no avail. Stuck solid.

    Shpould I keep feeding the gaps with WD40 (or some other releasing oil) and see if they free up, and also hoping that if I do have to 'get a man in' the oil will at least make his job easier? I'm not keep on putting too much force on the slides, as compared to my Imperial, this instrument is quite flimsy!

    Also - anyone want a really good condition Imperial 4 Valve BBb Bass (1980 vintage)?:)
  2. Tubazz

    Tubazz Member

    you could try pouring boiling water out of the kettle onto both legs of the slide, i have done it before on slides and mouthpieces to get them out ,your shower water may only be 60-70 degrees, kettle a lot hotter
  3. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    However If its Lacquered, Boiling water might knacker the Lacquer!
  4. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    Thanks - and thanks to Tubazz.

    I did wonder about the kettle, but I didn't know if it would knacker the lacquer either!:)

    Anyone know if it will?
  5. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    sounds like a trip to a repair man is called for
  6. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yep it will. Generally if you can't shift them with a decent tug, take it to your local repairer.
  7. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    ... and the local repairer will probably use all of the above anyway, one usually works eventually.

    On occasion I've used plenty of towelling to tug the slides out. I suppose you need to know when it just ain't gonna go, but the the towelling cloth will tend to spread the weight around the bend to prevent any damage.
  9. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    Well - I've tried all of the above (except the boiling water), and spoke to Dan at Brass-fix UK - he reckons it's worth feeding the joins with release oil for the next couple of weeks, and if they don't come free he'll sort it out for me.

    I suspect that will be what happens as they are as solid as a very solid thing. At least he has the tools, and can relacquer them if he has to unsolder them to get them out!
  10. paddo

    paddo Member

    just had my BBb seviced by Owen Wedgewood, fantastic job, slides stuck valves sycuk and all working fantastic. I have his details if you want them....
  11. grausue

    grausue Member

    As long as the instrument is your own, you could try using a little bit of Cillit Bang (the one that removes limescale. But for God's sake don't leave it on too long!! I'm not recommending this, nor am I taking any responsibility, but I'm assured it will work (and that people who service instruments may use a touch of some sort of limescale remover).

    Just a thought........
  12. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    Yes please. Always handy to have details for people who come recommended.
  13. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    I did look through the cupboard under the sink for inspiration, but this is my first ever lacquered instrument, and my nerve failed me!
  14. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Lacquer can be limiting. my sousa is lacquered and far more fragile than my silver plate Sovreign. Have to be realy carefull not to wreck the finnish with the laquer because it is so hard to match up.
    hope your BBb works out for you when your slides are fixed. I have bought spares from Dan at Brass Fix and find him very helpful. My own technition is excellent but a bit far for you to send you tuba. It would cost more than you paid for it to send it both ways.
  15. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    Dan is very helpful - and I suspect will get the unenviable task of freeing the stuck slides... Lucky old him!

    It plays very well - had first serious band practise last night - Leics Co-op band (second section) and spent most of the night working on the contest piece for Pontins coming up soon (California Legends) and it was a joy to play. A lot freer blowing than the Imperial and much easier on the lower range (low F and below) than the Imperial was.

    I still like the Imperial though - mostly because it's so tough!

    I've read about intonation problems with the 994's and that put me off them a bit, but playing it, they are really not apparent - it seems to be pretty in tune with the band (and my iPhone tuning app) through the range.

    At present the first and third slides are about 1/2" (12mm) out and that seems to be about right on the tuning for me. So while I want to get them moving as they should, it's not wildly desperate.

    I'm leaving the bass sitting upright on its bell when I am not playing it, and running Plus-Gas release oil around the joints. It can't (I'd guess) do any harm, and might just help free them up. If not, I guess it will be a visit to Dan (who is only about 30 minutes from me at home) for him to work his magic!

    Apart from the slides (which both have water keys luckily) it's in really good condition - especially now it's had a good clean and wash out... All the valves are nice and light in action but seal well. I don't think it's had a great deal of use really as it belonged to a Championship section band that tend to use a lot of 'Deps' who have their own instruments.
  16. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    i am playing a Band owned Imperial while my Sovreign is in for a service. I miss mine and i can't use my normal mpc because it won't fit so it all seems to be compromise. I can't reach the depths I can get with my normal instrument with the Imperial. But I must say the sound is still pretty good. the imperial range was a good one. Both EEb and BBb.
  17. Simes

    Simes Supporting Member

    The later models have a large shank - as does the one I am now selling! I'm not sure when the change occurred.

    They do play very well though - as you say they were the top of the range when they were built and are still jolly good instruments.

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