Antique Musical Instruments/Euphoniums


QUESTION: Having just discovered an euphonium in my father-in-law's attic (Daniel brevete Marseille) circa 1880, which I am polishing up, I have the chance to buy another. What could you tell me about it? : Boosey & Co Class A light valve No. 52974. It differs in many details from my attic discovery. Is it of particular interest? Many thanks. Gerald

ANSWER: The Boosey horn dates to around 1898.  Some of their horns had some pretty interesting plumbing.  Boosey and later Boosey and Hawkes were prolific makers.  Any horns that have lasted that long are of interest.  

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QUESTION: Re the French model of 1880. It is complete, but I have had no luck in freeing the valves. They remain stuck solid, even after being soaked for 3 months in penetrating oil. What trick do the professionals use to free them up? Regards, Gerald.

Well, here is the problem.  If you apply remedy A when the problem is B, you can end up damaging and possibly ruining something.  It might be simply stuck, or it might be a bend piston, or a dented casing, or a valve guide that is jammed in the wrong place, etc.

That being said, I'd suggest removing the top and bottom caps.  Inspect the casings for dents, check to see if the valve guide is correctly positioned in the groove.  

If both of those things looks ok, then it may simply be stuck.  Get a wooden dowel that is the same width as the piston.  Don't use one that is narrower, as you will likely damage the internals of the piston.  Put the dowel in the bottom of the casing and lightly tap the dowel with a small hammer or pliers - something that doesn't have a lot of weight.  

If it doesn't readily come loose - quit.  And, take it to a professional.  

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Kenton Scott


Please note: My area is BRASS instruments, not other wind, string or percussion instruments. I will provide information on antique, obscure and out of production BRASS instruments. 1) Please don't ask for evaluations, I'll not provide them on this site. 2) I am often asked very similar questions, so I'd invite you to first check on Much of the information I have garnered about this topic, I have posted on this WEB site.


I perform in several historical bands, have informally researched the area, repair brass instruments, and operate a Forum dedicated to the topic at

B.S. Ed, M.S.

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