Question for Gen 2 88H(O) Owners...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by gcbtrom, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. gcbtrom

    gcbtrom Member

    It might just be me, but i've found increasing resistance lately on my 88HO.. making it harder to blow... even for an open wrap horn...

    Does anyone have an issue with this?

    I've had it for just over 2 years and has been to get "serviced" once due to the overall sound being fluffy and now I get this and quite honestly it's kinda peeing me off...

  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Probably not very helpful to you, but I've found the Gen 2 Conns to be terrible in their quality control, workmanship and build quality. I've got an old Conn which I wouldn't swap for anything, but I've tried a number of newer ones and found them to all be terrible. My best trombone student bought one a couple of years ago and it's the biggest load of shoddy rubbish I've ever played on.

    Anyway, sorry the above isn't helpful!

    I'll try harder - I know you're clinging to an island somewhere near France, but have you had anyone else try the trombone? When I was over there a few years ago there were one or two decent players around, so a second opinion might be the order of the day. Otherwise, perhaps through this forum, arrange for somebody on the mainland to try it out next time you come over - or ask a friend to bring it over if you know somebody coming? If you are ever in my neck of the woods, you are more than welcome to bring your errant Conn over for me to have a blow on.

    I'll assume you've tried all the obvious stuff like cleaning and checking valve alignment? How's about this one: often you get large lumps of gunk lodged in the bottom bow of the slide. This is because trombone slide rods push the gunk down to the bottom without getting it out. Try a french horn flexibrush; they're about 8 feet long and will go all the way round the slide and come out the other end.

    PM me if you're not sure.
  3. gcbtrom

    gcbtrom Member

    The thing I can't grasp is that our MD tried it out and despite not being a full-time player he managed to make it sound sooo much better... whether that's because of the military background or what... I don't know...

    I gave it a soak in pure warm water a few weeks ago, with the valve out and everything else apart, dried and re-greased it and put it back together and it made it a tad worse than before!

    When I moved from the Xeno I had, I thought "yes" this is the best instrument by far... Now I'm ready to swap back to a Xeno again! (not a bad thing). My mate in the Marines is also getting quite fed up with his...

    Yes we are on an island where music shops and Try-B4-U-Buy options aren't available so have to gamble and "hope and pray"...

    I'll have to cope for the minute though... :(
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Now that rings alarm bells, if you are not an instrument repairer. The symptoms you describe match a slightly misaligned valve rather well. If I were you I'd take it to a repairer and get them to realign the valve.

    In the interests of fairness, I have to stick up for the Gen 2 Conns a bit - they're taking something of an undeserved caning in this thread... No, they're not of the quality of the best of the old Elkhart instruments, but they're almost uniformly better instruments than a lot of those that came from Conn in the post-Elkhart years, and they do offer the modern version of the 'Conn response' that a lot of trombone players prize. I know various fine players, amateur and professional, who happily use Gen 2 88Hs and 62Hs. The one uniformly justified complaint across the range is that the lacquering is flaky.

    I don't know whether Duncan has just been seriously unlucky in his instrument selection or whether the more open Gen 2 valve and leadpipe designs on a Conn just aren't his bag, but these instruments, when well put together, are among the finest modern professional trombone designs out there.

    Something else to try, in the interests of diagnosis - find a friend with an 88H (doesn't have to be Gen 2, the parts should interlock). Try your slide with their bell, and vice versa. Which combination retains the stuffiness? You can confirm which half of your trombone is causing the problem this way.
  5. gcbtrom

    gcbtrom Member

    I've taken the valve out many times before with no problem, and at risk of getting ridiculed, I can't actually see a way how the valve can be mis-aligned...

    Bare with me on this:
    Take the metal cover off to reveal the valve retaining plate. It has 2 markings at 90 degree angles, normally 12 and 3 on a clock face. Everytime I've put my bone back together i've always aligned them with these markings as well as making sure the rataining plate is in alignment with the marking on the bell section. I'll happily accept that I'm wrong, but as far as I can see there is no way the valve can be mis-aligned even if the retaining plate is a few degrees off where it's supposed to be, and also the valve stem has a rounded edge so where the "knuckle" joins the lever mechanism, it can only fit on one way...

    The reason the valve gets taken out is so I know when I put it back together that I've oiled it thoroughly to save taking it out again soon after because it's sticking etc.

    Anyway back to the original topic, apart from trying another make and model I don't know what to do, because I remember when I first got it, it was the best thing ever, nice and freeblowing and now not quite so freeblowing...
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm not a repairer either, but that sounds not unreasonable to me. Still might be worth getting a second opinion, given how perplexing this problem is being?

    My previous diagnostic suggestion seems the obvious way to go to me - find out whether it is the slide section or the bell section by pairing the parts with parts from somebody else's 88H, and testing the odd combinations for the problem in the way they blow. You must know somebody else who owns an 88H, even somewhere as isolated as Guernsey?

    If it's the bell section, possible candidate problems include:
    Valve alignment
    Valve sealing
    Mechanical stress in components (has the instrument taken any knocks since you bought it?) - if the bell and the bell stay were forced together during assembly due to poor component manufacturing tolerances, that can dampen bell vibrations.

    It it's the slide section, possible candidate problems include:
    Leadpipe issues - does your instrument have a removeable leadpipe? Could it have got bent or otherwise out of shape? Could material have wedged behind the end of it? Could it have corroded? That last is almost exclusively a problem with older instruments than yours, but you never know...
    Bottom slide bow - is it full of ****...?

    Re taking the valve out to oil it 'properly' - I've never had any problems on variously valved trombones of various different makes by combining pouring oil down the inside of the tube towards the valve + giving it a good working, and putting it into the aperture in the raised part in the middle of the bearing plate. I've also seen it said by a knowledgeable repairman that you can aid the propagation of the oil around the surfaces of the valve by i) putting oil into the valve section tuning slide, then inserting the tuning slide to create compression, and depressing the valve to release it, and ii) putting oil into the bearing plate aperture as described a moment ago, and then pulling out the tuning slide to its greatest extent to create decompression that pulls the oil into and around the valve. There's really no need to mess around with taking rotary valves in and out of their casing on a regular basis.

    Let us know which half of the instrument is causing the problem - this has evidently been a nuisance for you for quite a while...
  7. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    I think Dave may be onto something, most repairers take the factory marks with "a pinch of salt" may be worth giving Sharon McCallum a call!