Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

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ryanmix
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Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by ryanmix » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:43 am

Hi, everyone.

I'm looking for help with a tuning problem I have with 1958 Olds Opera Trombone I purchased recently. With any modern mouthpiece I use on the horn, the instrument plays flat (about 30 cents even with tuning slide all the way in). I have tried a wide variety of mouthpieces, but have been unable to locate an original to try or compare.

Does anyone have any experience with this problem, and was there any solution short of cutting the horn and making the tubing shorter?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Ryan
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BGuttman
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:58 am

The Olds leadpipe is a little smaller than standard. If you can find a good tech you may be able to swap leadpipes.

Otherwise, contact Doug Elliott. I believe he makes a special shank for his mouthpieces to fit this instrument. Or you can try to find an OEM Olds 4.
Bruce Guttman
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Posaunus
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by Posaunus » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:59 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:58 am
The Olds leadpipe is a little smaller than standard. If you can find a good tech you may be able to swap leadpipes.

Or you can try to find an OEM Olds 4.
The Olds 4 I have is a small-shank tiny piece, smaller (~24.0mm cup I.D.) than the standard small-shank Olds 3 (~24.25mm cup I.D.). The Olds O-15 Opera trombone requires a large-shank mouthpiece, so the Olds 4 would not be suitable.

But, as Bruce noted, Olds' receivers (both small- and large-shank) are undersize compared to modern standards. I believe the original piece supplied with the Opera was an Olds 15 (~25.0mm cup I.D. / 5.85mm throat), which will fit the Opera receiver, but I expect is a bit small for this 0.547" bore trombone. A better match for me (on my O-25 with F-attachment) is the Olds 20 mouthpiece (~25.6mm cup I.D. / 6.70mm throat). I do not have the same intonation problems that ryanmix is experiencing, but the O-25 is a different animal than the O-15.
Oslide
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by Oslide » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:57 pm

Bill Pearce, an outstanding soloist playing an Opera, used a Bach 12 (not 12C) with a small shank and an adapter.
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JohnL
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by JohnL » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:09 pm

ryanmix wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:43 am
Does anyone have any experience with this problem, and was there any solution short of cutting the horn and making the tubing shorter?
Posaunus is correct; the Olds receiver is smaller than the modern standard. In fact, Olds produced two different sizes of "large shank" receiver; the later one is just a bit undersize and usually doesn't cause too much of a problem, but the earlier one is significantly undersize and tends to cause intonation issues with standard mouthpieces. I'm not sure when they changed over, but I think it was sometime in the 1960's (my O-23 has the the smaller receiver, my O-25 has the larger).

Other than finding an Olds mouthpiece (and live with limited size choices), your options are to have someone turn down an existing mouthpiece to fit or to go with Doug Elliott. Me, I'd suggest Doug.
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by brassmedic » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:00 pm

I have an Opera with the original 15 mouthpiece. It sounds quite good, but it's true it's quite a bit smaller than what most players use today. I compared it to a 4AL and it did raise the pitch 40 cents or so. I imagine if you turned down a regular large shank mouthpiece you could obtain the same effect. Not hard for a good tech to do.
Brad Close Brass Instruments - brassmedic.com
Redthunder
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by Redthunder » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:07 am

I have an O-15 Opera from the same era (late 50s). It has a modern Rath pressfit leadpipe. It still plays flat. I’ve considered getting the tuning slides cut to raise the pitch to make it more usable to play in ensembles, but before that I’d experiment with shallower cups first.
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:23 am

The last person I worked with on resolving that issue ended up going with a medium euphonium shank, which went in pretty far but fixed the intonation.
BenM
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by BenM » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:30 am

I owned a late '50s Opera for a while (that I sold to Dillon's last year - on the off chance that that's where you got yours, it could be the same horn). I had a large-shank Schilke 51B modified to fit the receiver, and with that mouthpiece it played just barely in tune with the tuning slide all the way in.

I remember reading somewhere (probably the old TTF) that the slide (not the tuning slide) on the O-15 was made extra long. On my particular horn, the outer slide had at least an extra inch of length compared to the inner. I had considered getting the outer slide shortened by a bit, but never did it.

-Ben
ryanmix
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by ryanmix » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:22 pm

Ben, I think I have your old horn. I fell in love with the tone right away, and didn't notice the tuning problem until I left Dillon's. I'm using a Schilke 52E2, but would rather modify the instrument than each mouthpiece to be used on the trombone.

Doug, I am curious about the medium euphonuim shank you mention. I tried a European shank, but that was much too small.

I should specify, the bore is .554" and not .547"

I will contact techs in the area and inquire about changing the lead pipe. Thanks, all, for your responses.
CBO
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by CBO » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:45 am

Gents, I'm coming back to playing after nearly 30 years and have fallen in love with Olds horns. I used to play a Bach 42 but am curious about the the Opera. Can you give me any insight into how they compare? Thanks!
CharlieB
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by CharlieB » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:01 pm

My experience with vintage Olds trombones.... YMMV.
I have a vintage Olds Super and and a vintage Olds Recording. Sorry, no Olds Opera.
On all of my non-Olds horns, I play in tune with the tuning slides pulled out around an inch (+/-).
On the Olds horns, using an Olds 3 mouthpiece to fit the smaller receiver properly, I'm in tune with the tuning slide all the way in. Using a modern mouthpiece in those horns lowers the tone by about 20 cents. So, if I were to correct the mouthpiece insertion problem, I would only gain about 20 cents. It seems like more flatness is designed into the horns somewhere other than the mouthpiece receiver. ?????? Don't know where or why. If the Opera has the same behavior, fixing the mouthpiece insertion depth may not cure the problem.
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by Mamaposaune » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:07 am

We (hubby's, actually) used to have an Olds Opera, similar vintage to the OP's. He had several MP's turned down to fit, but it still played flat. He ended up cutting a bit off the tuning slide receiver (did it himself, came out fine but I would have gone to a tech for it). Another interesting thing about the Opera is that it will mate up reasonably well with a Bach 42 slide.
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Arrowhead
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by Arrowhead » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:12 pm

yes, the Olds Symphony also has a "mouthpiece problem"- a standard shank will stick out a bit, causing the tone to be a tiny but stuffier more than normal, unless you use an actual Olds 15 mp, which seemed to be the standard mp for that horn. The advantage of the Symphony (and the Opera) is they have a rich robust sound.
pfcastor
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by pfcastor » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:06 am

Did Olds Shift to a standard shank MP receiver at some point or do all of the Olds Trombones have this issue? If the did shift any idea when and which models?
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BGuttman
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by BGuttman » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:28 am

I've heard stories of folks having the receivers reamed to take standard shanks. I had an LA Olds Ambassador with F that took a standard small shank. I suspect the previous owner had it reamed.
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JohnL
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Re: Olds Opera Trombone (O-15) 1958 Tuning

Post by JohnL » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:11 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:23 am
The last person I worked with on resolving that issue ended up going with a medium euphonium shank, which went in pretty far but fixed the intonation.
If you're thinking about me, that horn was whole different sort of beast than an Opera. Its receiver is significantly smaller than either of Olds large-shank receivers I described earlier in this thread. I'll have to see how a medium shank mouthpiece fits in my Opera - but I suspect it will just kinda rattle around.
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