The Worse than Useless Tube – WTUT
We’ve obtained a number of Conn valve bones with a manufacturing/shipping date around 1956 or 1957 (including my own very first Conn valve bone (a 10H slide and valve combination) in 1961 with a “shipping” serial number from 1957.
They had what I call “the worse than useless tube.” I’ve attached a picture from my friend, John Noxon (and thanking him for his permission to use it) showing a valve section he’s planning on restoring. John’s photo clearly shows the “wtut” that runs along the base of the valves.
It is worthless because it doesn’t do anything. No air passes through it and it doesn’t really brace anything and hundreds of Conn valve bones were build without them and work just fine.
It is “worse than useless”. because it makes the horn much more difficult to grip. It makes the use of our trigger assemblies impossible so the first thing we do is take it off. It takes Corky about 2 minutes to heat up his torch and loosen the solder and remove it.
If you’re worried that removing it might be a mistake, hold onto the tube for a couple of weeks and see if you don’t like the horn better without it. You can always have your repair person put it back on.
Also, we’ve found that every time we find one of these “worse than useless tubes,” the crook on the valve section is soldered in place rather than being removable for easy cleaning or flushing of the crook and for service as an extra tuning slide. When we remove the “wtut” we always rebuild the crook. In fact, you might be able to use the “wtut” as one of the ferrules for rebuilding the crook…..thus making it a useful tube…finally……which is a good thing.