Converting to open wrap

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patrickosmith
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Converting to open wrap

Post by patrickosmith » Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:40 pm

I'm thinking of converting my Frank Holton Model 168 to an open wrap. I'm not interested in getting another horn. This one plays like a dream except the closed wrap leaves something to be desired, especially in the low trigger range. It isn't so easy to honk out a low C in the cadenza of "Blue Bells." The instrument was custom-built for Frank Crisafulli in the mid 1950s. It is a .547 bore tenor with a large bell (a bit under 9 inches or so). It has a short-throw rotor which I quite like but is showing signs of aging. Portions of the F-attachment have red rot.

For historical purposes I'd like to have it photographed. But I'm not sure how to go about this.

I'm all ears for any advice you may have to offer.
stewbones43
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by stewbones43 » Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:55 pm

I had a Holton TR 181 changed to open wrap and the difference was remarkable. The trigger sections also had the number of stays reduced which freed up the horn a lot, so that might be worth factoring into the changes.

I am in the UK and Mick Rath did mine for me but I'm sure you have wizards where you are.

Cheers

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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:25 pm

patrickosmith wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:40 pm

For historical purposes I'd like to have it photographed. But I'm not sure how to go about this.
A camera, held approximately 3-4 feet away with the appropriate lens and a neutral background should do the trick. Press the shutter button.

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elmsandr
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by elmsandr » Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:31 am

First thing... I can't remember which wrap the 168 has; if it has the traditional 88H type wrap or the other more slightly semi-open wrap that some Holtons had... but it does have the forward cross brace position where your thumb goes around the brace to activate the trigger, right?

That said, some Holton models benefit a bit from removing some braces in the attachment areas to open things up. I'm not sure if an open wrap will do much for the blow of the attachment as much as choosing a more minimal bracing. Not sure where you are located, but I would look for one of the more nationally known guys to do work on a horn with some provenance. Brad Close, Eric Edwards, Benn Hansson, Dan Oberloh, John Sandhagen, Eric Swanson etc... You could also go for the 'resto-mod' route and work with any of those or Matt Walker at M&W and update the valve as well. I don't know enough about Holton tenor valves to know if that would be interesting, useful, or a good fit, so don't trust my opinion there... the only Holton tenor valve I own is a monster valve. Do not recommend that for an update.

As for documenting it, my buddy found a cheap roll of white flannel or felt from a fabric store makes a GREAT background to photograph horns. With digital, zooming in and getting the exposure right can make quite a bit of a difference. As I recall, we did not physically change the lighting at all between these two pictures, just over exposed the second. Horn is just sitting in a repair shop with overhead fluorescent lights and shot with a ~2005/6 SLR camera, pretty sure it had a flash as well.
OnBench.jpg
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Sideview.jpg
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These photos (from 2006!) still make me wonder why Conn-Selmer's factory photos are so poor. These weren't hard, we didn't stage much and we barely washed our hands after lubing the thing to get them. This shouldn't be difficult.

Cheers,
Andy
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Matt K
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Matt K » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:16 am

One thing you might want to consider is making it modular. Keep the existing one as it is and then have another one made for it. Closed wrap can be tricky to do that. You might be able to do something like the Raths that only have a single brace:
rathr4.jpg
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Where the top bell brace "should" be there is an insert that hooks onto the F attachment tubing. Something like that could be somewhat discreet and allow the valve to remain as-is while also allowing you to put something else on it... more expensive though. Like, a lot more expensive.

LIke Andy said, I'd probably at least try to remove some of the bracing first. I actually like the way closed wraps play, but all of mine have been reassembled... deburred, etc. You might even be surprised what a chem clean can accomplish too. One thing that you can be sure of if you convert it to open wrap... it'll have been cleaned, aligned, etc. comparing a freshly, well-built valve to one that isn't, of course, the new work will be better! Of course, if you want an open wrap for the aesthetics then that's an entirely different story.
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Bonearzt » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:41 am

elmsandr wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:31 am
First thing... I can't remember which wrap the 168 has; if it has the traditional 88H type wrap or the other more slightly semi-open wrap that some Holtons had... but it does have the forward cross brace position where your thumb goes around the brace to activate the trigger, right?
These photos (from 2006!) still make me wonder why Conn-Selmer's factory photos are so poor. These weren't hard, we didn't stage much and we barely washed our hands after lubing the thing to get them. This shouldn't be difficult.
Cheers,Andy
C-S can DEFINITELY take a lesson from Yamaha about taking pics!!!

I ALWAYS admired the Yamaha brochures!! Just something about how they took the pics & printed them made them pop!!


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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Kbiggs » Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:58 am

patrickosmith wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:40 pm
I'm thinking of converting my Frank Holton Model 168 to an open wrap.… The instrument was custom-built for Frank Crisafulli in the mid 1950s….

For historical purposes I'd like to have it photographed. But I'm not sure how to go about this.

I'm all ears for any advice you may have to offer.
I’m one for keeping historic instruments as they are. The horn has a pedigree: it was custom-built for and played by Crisafulli. I would keep it as it is.

Having said that, if you really wanted to “open up” the response of the F-attachment section, maybe asking a qualified tech to open the valve ports a little or re-work the valve core somewhat.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
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FOSSIL
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by FOSSIL » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:21 am

Don't mess with it, it's a piece of history. Opening the wrap may give marginal benefit but could even make it worse. Ken's suggestion about opening the rotor makes most sense.

Chris
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Mamaposaune » Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:48 am

Kbiggs wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:58 am
patrickosmith wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:40 pm
I'm thinking of converting my Frank Holton Model 168 to an open wrap.… The instrument was custom-built for Frank Crisafulli in the mid 1950s….

For historical purposes I'd like to have it photographed. But I'm not sure how to go about this.

I'm all ears for any advice you may have to offer.
I’m one for keeping historic instruments as they are. The horn has a pedigree: it was custom-built for and played by Crisafulli. I would keep it as it is.

Having said that, if you really wanted to “open up” the response of the F-attachment section, maybe asking a qualified tech to open the valve ports a little or re-work the valve core somewhat.
My thoughts exactly! Keep the Holton as-is; if you don't have one already put the $$ toward a modern bass that already plays the way you want.
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Tbarh » Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:50 pm

I have two 168 and i think Both could benefit from removing the two "generic" Holton supports as they are redundant because the tubing loop are connected to the lower ferrules.. This will loosen up the Horn a bit, especially in the valve register..

Trond
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by FOSSIL » Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:17 pm

Tbarh wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:50 pm
I have two 168 and i think Both could benefit from removing the two "generic" Holton supports as they are redundant because the tubing loop are connected to the lower ferrules.. This will loosen up the Horn a bit, especially in the valve register..

Trond
Might be better, might be worse depending on where the nodes and antinodes are....

Chris
Kbiggs
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Kbiggs » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:01 pm

FOSSIL wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:21 am
Don't mess with it, it's a piece of history. Opening the wrap may give marginal benefit but could even make it worse. Ken's suggestion about opening the rotor makes most sense.

Chris
I should add that if you MUST do something to the horn, then replace parts, but KEEP THE OLD PARTS. Please don’t cut existing parts, and please don’t make modifications to the horn so that it can’t be put back to the original state.

Again: With a horn like that—where some people might be willing to pay more than the horn’s weight in gold—I would leave just like it is. It’s priceless.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
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patrickosmith
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by patrickosmith » Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:55 pm

Yeah, you're right. Dumb idea. Leave it as is. But the red rot portion will need to be dealt with eventually. And the rotor.
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Kevbach33 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:11 am

I'd shudder if bracing was removed from my 168 unless I specifically asked for it...

I would get the red rot addressed asap, and the rotor can be rebuilt/opened/lapped/etc while off the bone. A side benefit of this is the attachment can be reassembled without stress, which can have a massive impact on how it plays when engaged.
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by elmsandr » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:52 am

Kbiggs wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:01 pm
...
Again: With a horn like that—where some people might be willing to pay more than the horn’s weight in gold—I would leave just like it is. It’s priceless.
You mean like this?
https://www.newspressnow.com/news/want- ... 07d45.html

Nah.. no trombone is even close to worth it's weight in gold. What would this Holton sell for? Heck, remember about 15 years ago when Doug Yeo sold a handful of horns, including his heavily modded Monette/Bach and Kleinhammer's Mt. Vernon 50? He was asking less than 5K for each as I recall. Working tenor and bass trombones still really only go for 4 digits, regardless of provenance or rarity. Less than some intermediate bassoons.

Let's not make a financial argument, as we will all become depressed as we learn that our great horns would probably be worth more as shell casings...

This is worth more than a stock 168 with the provenance. To those that are willing to get into that realm, it is probably worth more without somebody else's custom mods. That said, I always like to remember that every Stradivarius violin has been modified... They are a heck of a lot more irreplaceable than a modern large bore tenor.

I've made many mods to similarly rare horns. I try to do mods that are reversible, do not cut into original parts, and make the horn more useful to me to play in ensembles. In fact, I've been sitting on a non-playing Fuchs for a while as I had a plan, then decided that I did not like that plan and have not figured out exactly the path forward yet. It has been almost a hundred years for that horn, what's a few more months for me to come up with a good plan?

Cheers,
Andy
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Matt K
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Matt K » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:50 am

That's why I originally suggested making modular. It minimally changes the horn and you can get essentially whatever you want with a new valve section, and is reversible without even using a torch after you have the mounting hardware on it.
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by mrpillow » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:17 pm

One could always consider bequeathing such a nice historical piece to a suitable museum, where it could certainly be fully documented and photographed. It could even be done as stylishly as I did with the "$250,000" Arthur Pryor trombone a few weeks ago, should that be your cup of tea...

Image
Organologique et plus!
Tbarh
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by Tbarh » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:37 am

FOSSIL wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:17 pm
Tbarh wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:50 pm
I have two 168 and i think Both could benefit from removing the two "generic" Holton supports as they are redundant because the tubing loop are connected to the lower ferrules.. This will loosen up the Horn a bit, especially in the valve register..

Trond
Might be better, might be worse depending on where the nodes and antinodes are....

Chris
But easy too reattach If it doesnt get better.. IfYou (like me) have a repairman that can solder stressfree that is... Because this Model have reverse Tuning slides it needs to have a different placement of stays than their basses.. Both my 168 plays a littke "stiff" like the OP States..
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patrickosmith
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Re: Converting to open wrap

Post by patrickosmith » Fri Jun 11, 2021 4:32 am

mrpillow wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:17 pm
One could always consider bequeathing such a nice historical piece to a suitable museum, where it could certainly be fully documented and photographed. It could even be done as stylishly as I did with the "$250,000" Arthur Pryor trombone a few weeks ago, should that be your cup of tea...

Image
That's certainly an option. I've not made arrangements for a final resting place. However for the time being I am using it on a daily basis.
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