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I've recently bought a cheap battered second (probably mode) hand sousaphone on a garage sale. It is in faily bad shape, but the valves look ok.

The instrument is made of a metallic grey alloy which shows through the cracked white paint. What could that alloy be? I need to make some repairs, and weld / solder some pieces together. What are the best options for this?

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You can normally use silver solder on brass instruments. It may take a propane torch instead of a soldering iron. A lot of instruments are silver-plated brass.

Check for and seal leaks in the joints and around the valves and spit valves. They can cause resonance problems that make it hard to hit certain notes.

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    Hey, nice answer. I have a friend's beater trombone, and one of the tube spacers has come unstuck. Problem is that it appears to be gold plated (or something that looks like gold). If I torch it and silver-solder braze it back together, the plating is going to come off, right? (the spacer is too heavy to use a soldering iron, I think). Is there any way to re-plate it after brazing, or is it just going to look ugly what ever happens? – naught101 Apr 15 '12 at 14:27
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    It's possible to replate it after soldering it, but I don't know the details of how it's done. Local music stores that sell band instruments can usually do that. – xpda Apr 16 '12 at 15:14
  • probably a good idea to get a pro to do it, considering it's not my instrument. I might get an old beater and have a practice on that when it breaks :) – naught101 Apr 17 '12 at 1:31

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