What are Monsterweights? How do they work?
Monsterweights are a 6 oz. weight added to the back of your existing valve caps. They have been designed to damp the sympathetic vibrations of your horn, which interfere with developing a pure, clear sound.
What difference will they make in the tone?
It depends on the instrument. They make a lot of improvement in the newer, lighter, and thinner tubas, like Cerveny, VMI, B+S, and Miraphone. The difference in tone had been described as darker, purer, cleaner, and more resonant. Some have noticed a quicker response time, and even faster tonguing. For testimonials, please see the LINKS page.
If I play a Miraphone tuba, how do these affect the adjusting screw on my valve cap?
They don't. I have drilled out a half inch hole in the center of the weight. This not only allows for ease in installation, but also allows for access to that screw. The hole is then covered with a removable spring steel cap, which can be soldered in if so desired. Any tuba player not wishing to access that part of their horn can fill the hole with solder for extra dampening qualities.
Why a Hex shape and not round?
I thought about making them round, but Heavy Caps have a tendency to "harden" which means they really grip the threads. The Hex shape allows a better grip for when you need to remove the caps to oil the bearing on the backside of the valve.
Why all of these positive effects from just extra weight?
As your lips buzz, you are sending a frequency of vibrations through the tuba. If your tuba also starts "ringing", these sound waves get in each other's way. Nearer downstream, like close to the bell, this is not such a bad thing, but these vibrations can be harmful at a cluster of tubing like the Valve section.
As an example, I point to the differences between a Non-compensating Besson Euphonium with an 11 inch bell and the compensating model with the same bell. The non-compensating horn has a much brighter, thinner sound, despite having the same bore, leadpipe, branches, bows, and bell as the more expensive horn. The difference? The compensating horn has much more weight at the valve section, due to the extra tubing, and the longer valves.
If extra weight is so great, why don't manufacturers make them and put them on tubas?
Good question. Some manufacturers are resistant to change, and only offer new products if the market demands them. Nobody except me has ever tried producing Heavy caps for a tuba. Different instruments have embraced the heavyweight idea, and are offering them with new horns. Besson's new line of "prestige" euphoniums come with a slightly heavier bottom cap, and Holton is marketing the "Merker" French horn that comes with heavy valve caps. Conn offers Heavy Caps in both their top of the line Trumpets and Trombones. Bach sells heavy caps for trumpets as an aftermarket purchase.
Couldn't I just practice more to get the same effect?
No amount of practice will make your horn sympatheticly vibrate LESS. This aid will not replace practicing, but rather fix a flaw with the way most instruments are made.
Why do you sell only the weights to add to a cap, and not the threaded cap themselves?
For several reasons:
First of all, to offer different threaded caps for every different tuba manufacture would be very hard to do. There are at least a dozen different makers of rotary valve tubas right now and every one of them one uses a slightly different size cap with slightly different threads. By having a universal weight, it is much easier and less costly to produce and sell them.
Second, I am convinced from testing my Prototypes that once you put these caps on your horn, you will never want to take them off. If I offered a set of threaded caps, your second set would be wasted. I have had people who loved the sound of their tubas before putting on monsterweights, and then loved it more after installing them, tried going back and playing without them to find they did not want to ever go back to the old response and sound of the horn.
Third, the only metals appropriate for making threaded caps for a tuba are brass and Nickel Silver. But these materials also do not make a good sound dampening material. Brass does not damp brass very well. I have picked a grade of steel specifically for its sound dampening characteristics. I could buy brass caps from the manufacture and solder them to my weight to sell them as sets, but that would add at least 60 dollars to a set of four caps, and your old caps would be lying in a drawer doing nothing.
How do I affix them to my caps?
Here are some suggestions. You can solder them to the caps yourself, it's easy, and instructions are included in the package upon shipping. You can take them to a reputable repairman and have them soldered on by a professional, or you can use some kind of adhesive available at a good hardware store. For the most permanent bond, I recommend JB Weld, but Superglue or Automotive Goop (the glue, not the hand cleaner) could probably be used without a problem. Please follow the directions carefully on the adhesive package, because I cannot be responsible if any adhesive decides to break apart and let the weight crash down on whatever happens to be beneath it.
What if I don't like the way it changes my tone?
If you find you don't like a darker, clearer sound, or don't feel the caps give you as much benefit as you had hoped, feel free to return the caps to me within 30 days for a refund, minus shipping. Your satisfaction is very important to me, and I want you to feel safe in your decision to buy. If you choose to remove them, the soldered on weight can be removed with a propane torch, and glued on caps can usually be removed by soaking in acetone, or a dry cleaning fluid. Weight affixed with JB Weld may be permanent, as the bond as very strong.
Why don't you offer Heavy valve caps for piston instruments?
I'm working on it. I have started the development and testing stage, but pistons offer problems that Rotary tubas do not. If you are looking for a set of piston caps, please contact me for more information. If I know there are people interested, I will offer them sooner.
Do they fit any rotary tuba?
Yes, I designed tham to be as universal as possible. Anybody wanting them for a Yamaha tuba should contact me so that I can can make a small adjustment before shipment. Just to be safe, please tell me the brand of tuba you plan on putting the caps on when you order them
If you have any other questions, please send them to me through the link below. I might just add them to the FAQ page!
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