Steven Mead Springs...

BigHorn

Active Member
Call me an old cynic, but I never knew Stephen Mead was a highly qualified metallurgist with a degree in the physics of 2nd and 3rd order harmonic motion in spring systems.
Sounds good on paper but consider this nugget. The blurb says the springs are of different strengths to compensate for the fact that peoples fingers are of varying strength so the first valve spring is harder to press than the third.... Ok, I'll buy that, but what happens when the spring has to return only under the strength of the compressed spring? It naturally follows that the first pops up quicker than the third. Any advantage given from the varying spring stengths on the down stroke are lost on the uneven return speeds of the up stoke. The brain is a wonderful instrument and can compensate by moving fingers differently a spring can not.
Also whilst stainless springs are stronger and lighter than your average phosphur-bronze spring, they do suffer metal fatigue more.

Sounds like snake oil to me.
 

pbirch

Active Member
actually the third finger is not weaker than the first, the third and fourth fingers have two muscles working them and the index and middle finger have only one each (they are called lumbrical muscles if you want to look them up ). Now it is true that the 3rd and fourth fingers work best together to provide the power in the hand (just notice where the firmness comes from in a crushing handshake), but there is no anatomical or functional need for a lighter spring on the third valve
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
Worth noting that, because of the weight of valves, these would only work on one model of euphonium. I bought Besson springs for my Yamaha and it was a waste of money.
 

SMead

Member
Hi All.
I thought it might be useful to add a few comments about these new euphonium springs.
There are several benefits with these springs, the main ones being that due to the design there is no excessive 'bounce back' that you get with all the other springs on the market making for greater accuracy and precision, especially in faster music. The design of the coils gives this precise action.
The coating of the valves also makes them silent, with no more annoying metal resonance that you get with traditional springs, and there is no need for the rubber dampers that several manufacturers supply.
The small difference in the length of each spring gives a very comfortable feel and reduces add any extra stress to the weaker fingers. I had to smile at a few the comments made above about the slower speeds the 2nd and 3rd valves would return with a millimetre of two shorter spring. The difference in speed is not even measurable, but the right hand does feel the added benefit of the small changes in the pressure needed to push the valves.
The third finger, in brass playing terms IS the weaker of the three for the functions it has to perform and therefore any assistance must be of benefit.
These are not Besson springs, and we have sold spring sets to Yamaha, Sterling, Wilson, Courtois and Miraphone players. We've sold hundreds of sets of these over the last year or so, and there have been no complaints.
So, to the theorists, why not give them a try...if you buy them and they are not better than your current springs you can return them and I'll refund your money. So you can't lose.
Any maybe, after my mouthpiece designs (SM and SM Ultra series) that have sold nearly 40,000 units since 1995, and my design work on the highly successful Besson euphonium models, my critics might afford me a little trust and not be SO sceptical.
Thanks
Steve
 

brassneck

Active Member
SMead said:
These are not Besson springs, and we have sold spring sets to Yamaha, Sterling, Wilson, Courtois and Miraphone players. We've sold hundreds of sets of these over the last year or so, and there have been no complaints.

Hi Steve. I noticed that you are selling EEb tuba springs as well. Would they be suitable for the Yamaha Maestro 632UK? I do need to get mine replaced and was about to buy another set (genuine Yamaha) online. The spring design is weaker than the Besson equivalent and have less coils as a result.
 

diddlydoc

New Member
I was very wary about spending the money on meadsprings, especially as they are quite a bit more expensive than your average Euphonium spring. I have now had mine about 6 weeks and can't believe the improvement both in slow and fast playing. I haven't a clue about the science behind them and which of my fingers is stronger but the FACT is, these springs are fantastic. I have a 6 year old prestige and my valves have never worked this well.
 

BigHorn

Active Member
Id still like to know how they can have different properties when being compressed, yet all somehow act the same when on the way up. As Scotty in Star trek used to say 'ye canna change the laws of physics Jim'. Energy in = energy out and all that.
 

SMead

Member
Id still like to know how they can have different properties when being compressed, yet all somehow act the same when on the way up. As Scotty in Star trek used to say 'ye canna change the laws of physics Jim'. Energy in = energy out and all that.

Well, if I told you the secret, I'd have to kill you :D Just be happy in the knowledge that loads of players are benefiting from them.
Steve
 

WoodenFlugel

Moderator
Staff member
They can't have different properties for up and down. A spring is a pretty simple device really - the amount of force it can apply is governed by its 'rate' which is derived from the wire diameter, number of coils, diameter of the spring and its material and then multiplied by the deflection from its free (uncompressed) length. So to get different forces you change one of these factors. Obviously this means you can deflect a higher rated spring less to get the same force and (depending on the geometry) that spring could feel the same or even lighter than one with a lower rating, but as you compress it, the force required will increase quicker. You get the opposite effect going the other way.

In fairness though I can't see any reference to them having different properties for up and down. If they do I'd be very interested to hear more about them as I can think of about a million engineering applications where they would be invaluable!! ;-)

From the spiel on the website it sounds like they are quite finely tuned - otherwise having different spings for 1,2,3,4 would be pointless. It does make me wonder how consistent the masses of different manufactures valves are - or are there different springs for different manufacturers?

Anyway - if people are happy with them, I'm not going to question if they're any good or not. :D
 

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