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Joined: January.19.05
Location: USA
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Posts: 5
Posted: August.31.08 at 4:47pm | IP Logged Quote davemyers

I have a school band King Sousaphone that rattles when played. I have looked for any broken solder joints or loose pieces. I used a borescope to examine as much of the tubing as I could reach. I used a spring to snake out the rest. No rattle is produced by shaking the instrument Yet it rattles when played, worse on some notes than others.
Does anyone have any ideas?
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Joined: February.07.05
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Posted: September.01.08 at 8:01am | IP Logged Quote bobbaier

It's hard to track these things down sometimes. It might be easier to make the player an honorary member of the percussion section...

Without hearing the kind of sound, it's hard to make specific suggestions. Bell screws are always suspect. Make sure they're all tight and also the valve caps. Sometimes, if you just kind of thump the horn in different spots with the heel of your hand, you'll turn up a rattle somewhere. I've run into valves that are noisy in the guide slots or that have a broken stem inside that's loose. There may be an interior brace loose that doesn't feel loose since it's supported by other braces, but can vibrate at certain frequencies.

It will probably take two people--one to play and one to listen and dampen different parts of the horn until you find it.

Let us know how it works out.

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Joined: March.10.05
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Posted: September.15.08 at 5:24pm | IP Logged Quote admin

I recently had a baritone that you would swear on your mother's grave that the bell rim was vibrating.  It turned out to be a hole in the tubing between two of the valve casings.  I found it when I started pressing on different parts of the horn and felt the air escaping. 

So maybe try suction tests on different parts of the instrument as well.

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Joined: April.08.07
Location: United States
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Posted: November.19.08 at 9:56pm | IP Logged Quote motomom

Um, I'm just the woodwind side of our shop, but I seem to remember that some sousas still have the ring of wire inside the edge of the bell, and sometimes it is not filled with enough solder and vibrates.
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