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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, Greg Waits) Looking for tuba advice from non-tubists
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jackbird
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« on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:02PM »

I'm thinking about getting a tuba. But then I see F, Eb, CC, BBb. I was hoping this would be simple. Alas. I'm not a big guy, so does it follow that I should have a small tuba? So F or Eb? Is there a serious difference other than that step? Is an F easier for a bone player to transition to? What am I getting myself into? Can I buy something off eBay? Mack? Wessex? I just want something perfect for about $5. Probably can't get to anywhere to test tubas. Is there a "sure thing" out there, like an 88h of cheap tubas? I'll probably be playing small orchestra and chamber groups. Doubling on tenor.

Advice?
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:04PM »

**Disclaimer: I KNOW NOTHING**

Someone posted in another thread that Eb's are good for smaller folks and do a good job covering the whole range.
But I've only played sousaphone mostly for about 4 or 5 months in a brass band, and used a Kelly 1.5G bass trombone mouthpiece, so take this with a molecule of salt.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 07, 2017, 07:33PM »

For a basic doubler horn, I like the 3/4 Yamaha Bb's, particularly the YBB-103.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:17PM »

For your mental sanity I recommend a BBb.  The valve combinations are exactly the same as a Euphonium.

Some BBb's are kinda hard to fill.  I learned to play an Eb tuba (mine is 125 years old!).  Then I branched out to an F.  But I play the Eb most of the time since I don't play tuba a lot lately.

I did manage with some smaller bore BBb tubas so that might be a good option.

Sometimes you can find an old Eb 3 valve for $200 or so.  Might be a good starting point.  Eb fingerings are easy to learn.  Read the bass clef as tenor clef and put your fingers on those buttons.  So is open (no valves) and is 1st valve (if it's flat).
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:20PM »

For a basic doubler horn, I like the 3/4 Yamaha Bb's, particularly the YBB-103.

I double the motion.

A Bb tuba would make the most sense to a trombone player without previous valve experience and the 3/4 school models can be found used cheaply. I have one.

I also have an Eb tuba.  It's more like a euphonium than a real bass instrument.

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« Reply #5 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:36PM »

This is more complicated than I expected. Is a 3/4 a smaller bore? Would an Eb cover bass trombone parts? I assume 4 valves would be enough? I don't want to rattle the rafters, just play some low notes with a nice deep sound. Thanks for the video. I'm not getting the relative scale of these things. The video helped see an Eb next to a person. It does look like a bloated euph.

Maybe something older with character? https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F173006503513
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:49PM »

1.  3/4 size BBb tubas are usually smaller bore.  Some smaller bore tubas are not called 3/4, though.

2.  My Eb looks like an oversize Euph as well.  Its chromatic range is down to "pedal A" on a bass trombone.  Adding a 4th valve lets you get more notes.  A compensating 4th valve gets you chromatic to the pedal.

New tubas often come with obscene prices.  I know of one that is $10,000.  Way too rich for the likes of me.  Older with character is the way to go.
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 07, 2017, 08:54PM »

This is more complicated than I expected. Is a 3/4 a smaller bore?


Yes.  "3/4" is an approximate indication that the bore is smaller than a 4/4, which is an approximate indication of something.


Here's a simple King 3/4 Bb tuba.  3-valves Purchased for $125

This is a Besson 4/4 3-valve compensating Bb tuba Purchased for $400






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« Reply #8 on: Dec 07, 2017, 09:15PM »

Here is another slant on the topic. I play tenor and bass trombone. I started with a Chinese BBb tuba I quickly out grew its sound. Construction was poor. I then upgraded to a mira 191 it sucks the wind out of you fast!!! It sounds real good and can it play low notes. I play in a brass band, started on EEb tuba. My current EEb is a Mienl Weston 2141, its awesome. It doesn't suck the wind out of you. Easy to keep up with the big tubas. Can easily play bass trombone parts. In some ways its easier to play than a bass trombone. It has taken my about a year to get pretty good at it. I learned treble clef then learned bass clef, its just moving flats and sharps around. The biggest change in the playing tuba is learning to move lots of air. If you have time to learn EEb fingerings go for it. If you play it safe go BBb.
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 07, 2017, 09:47PM »

Tubas come in lots of different configurations, far more so than trombones.
The "quarter" designations are sort of related to bore size but really they are marketing designations for different sizes within each manufacturer's offerings, and there are no standards at all - there are big overlaps in bore size vs quarter sizes.   It's really more about the size of the larger tubing closer to the bell.  For a doubler, to be easier to play look for 3/4 or 4/4 at the most.  BBb will be the easiest to learn if you already know fingerings, and will make the most sense since the bottom of the range matches your expectations.

The Cerveny on eBay is probably workable, but if you buy something like that expect to possibly put hundreds of dollars into repairs to get it playable. Shipping can get expensive and hard to avoid shipping damage.  A lot depends on where you are - there are specialty shops and specialty repair people who can give you good advice, and one of those places is probably the best place to buy, so you're not getting unknown problems.
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 08, 2017, 02:44AM »

I've got an old Holton "Monster" Eb which is more the size & sound of a 4/4 Bb. It only has 3 valves but the "privilege" tones between the 1st partial and the pedals are really excellent so it has a great low range.
the advantage of Eb over F are they are typically way less expensive and you can read bass clef as tenor clef (or Bb treble) & not have to do a whole lot of thinking.
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 08, 2017, 05:42AM »

Thanks, all, that's exactly the kind of info I need. The dizzying array of bells and bores and valves is crazy against the relative uniformity of the trombone world.

I think I'll look at Eb horns because I can do the tenor clef thing, and I don't want to tote all that extra metal around, and I've got enough trouble putting air through a bass bone. Plus I'll probably wind up using it in smaller groups.

One more question. I think I can handle 4 valves, I have a 4v compensating euph. Should I just keep it to 4 or is there some advantage with 5? I tend to the keep it simple philosophy here. And then rotors or pistons? Pistons seem simpler.
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 08, 2017, 06:02AM »

Try before you buy. 
I have a 1907 Eb York Monster that was High Pitch and I had to have an extension made for the tuning slide to get it down to normal pitch.  I didn't know that until other work had been done so it was playable.
Whatever you're looking at, do some research.  If you're not willing or able to put more money into repairs, go somewhere you can try a bunch.  Baltimore Brass is probably the best known place for that.
Valve configurations vary widely.  You're used to right hand 3 valves, left hand 1 valve, right?  You can get used to anything with enough practice, but a lot of tubas are right hand 4 valves - how's your pinky for operating a valve?  I can't really do it, especially pistons.
Try before you buy.
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 08, 2017, 06:37AM »



I think I'll look at Eb horns because I can do the tenor clef thing, and I don't want to tote all that extra metal around, and I've got enough trouble putting air through a bass bone. Plus I'll probably wind up using it in smaller groups.


I looked at this a few years back when a friend was trying to get a small oom-pah band together to make some extra cash.  I did play tuba in a community band many years ago, probably embarrassingly badly. 

You will be surprised to find most Eb horns are neither small nor light.  I've looked at various models at conferences, even brought a mouthpiece and played a few one year.  If there's any weight advantage to an Eb I can't see it.  It's not like an Eb alto trombone, that's basically 3/4 size.  I don't know why this is, but I think you'll be better off with one of the smaller BBb tubas.  IMO, and not currently a tuba player. 

My sister has an Eb sousaphone.  Gorgeous tone, but as heavy as a Bb, and the case won't fit in any known make of vehicle.  She never figured out Eb fingerings in concert pitch, but only played it when Eb parts were available.

The more valves, the more notes in tune.  Er, the more notes potentially in tune.  Some tuba players are more conscientious about this than others.  Some lip notes, some pull slides, some have figured out good alternate fingerings.   
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 08, 2017, 07:38AM »

Hmm. Ok. Baltimore brass I can probably do. Checked out their site, and they have lots of new and used tubas. geez. If only for the education and experience of playing a bunch of different things, this would be a great visit.

Also found this at Mack brass. Might make a weekend of it and go see both next time Im up around DC (after the holidays prolly).

Anyway, this mack brass thing ticks all the boxes. BBb, 3/4, 4v, cheap, smallish without being freakishly small. It's a copy of a Yamaha 103 that a couple people recommended, but has an added 4th valve.

http://www.mackbrass.com/MACK-TU520L__BBb_Tuba.php
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 08, 2017, 07:45AM »

The Wessex Junior BBb tuba is around $1000.  Ridiculously easy to play.  I got one for my middle school and is an easy one to get students to switch to.

Nice case and fit and finish are good. Comes with a smallish easy mouthpiece.
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 08, 2017, 07:49AM »

Yeah go to Baltimore Brass. If you’re lucky Mr Fedderly will be there. He is the owner, former tuba teacher at Juilliard and Peabody, former tubist of the Baltimore symphony, Arnold Jacobs disciple, and all around great person. Can’t think of a better person to buy a tuba from.
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 08, 2017, 08:21AM »

When you say "up" to visit Baltimore Brass, you might be closer to The Tuba Exchange in Durham NC.  A friend of mine got a really nice pair of tubas (CC and F) there.  He traded in a tuba I had sold him.  Note that CC is a tuba that mostly appeals to classical tuba players.  I think it's the hardest of the 4 to learn.

https://www.tubaexchange.com/
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« Reply #18 on: Dec 08, 2017, 08:48AM »

I lived across the street from Mack, say hi if you're driving by. 
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« Reply #19 on: Dec 08, 2017, 08:55AM »

I think I'll look at Eb horns because I can do the tenor clef thing

OK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?
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« Reply #20 on: Dec 08, 2017, 09:03AM »

When you say "up" to visit Baltimore Brass, you might be closer to The Tuba Exchange in Durham NC.  A friend of mine got a really nice pair of tubas (CC and F) there.  He traded in a tuba I had sold him.  Note that CC is a tuba that mostly appeals to classical tuba players.  I think it's the hardest of the 4 to learn.

https://www.tubaexchange.com/
I switched pretty easily from a BBb to a CC tuba.  If you know troble clef Euphonium fingerings or Trumpet fingering you already know CC tuba fingerings.  You just have to get used to those fingerings in Bass Clef.  I find CC has a couple of advantages for me: 1) Physically smaller than it's BBb counter part (and with a forth valve can play all the required notes) 2) I prefer the tone I get on a CC it seems to have fewer overtones and has a less muddy sound than a similar BBb (I spent a fair amount of time sitting with a BBb Miraphone 186 and a CC Miraphone 186 going back and forth and I personally preferred the clarity of the CC tone.  It seems to work better in small ensembles yet I can still get enough sound to fill in the bottom of a concert band as the sole tuba.  It really is a matter of personal preferences.
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« Reply #21 on: Dec 08, 2017, 09:04AM »

OK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?
I had to think a minute because I would never try to play an instrument that way, but:

Third space bass clef Eb looks like Bb in tenor clef.  Both are open notes on Eb and Bb tubas, in the octave to be the 4th partial.
If you read a bass clef part in tenor instead, it plays correctly on an Eb instrument - written Eb, read Bb, Eb comes out.

But realistically even without perfect pitch I think it's better to hear the correct note and know what you're playing, instead of pretending it's something else.  On an Eb half of the fingerings are the same, you only have to learn the other half. 
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« Reply #22 on: Dec 08, 2017, 09:05AM »

Give Dan Oberloh a call. He has some used instruments in his shop. He is a tuba player himself and knows how to ship instruments.
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 08, 2017, 09:07AM »

OK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?

If you see an Eb on bass clef, that same note would be Bb in Tenor clef. The fingering for Eb on an Eb tuba is open. Same as Bb on a Bb instrument. To get the fingerings for Eb tuba, just pretend you're playing a Bb instrument and reading tenor clef (and adding 2 flats, I think). This is all ok as long as your ear isn't offended by the difference between the written and sounding notes. Fortunately I don't have perfect pitch, so I think I can cope.

ps - overlapping posts with dougE. I must type too slow.
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« Reply #24 on: Dec 08, 2017, 09:09AM »

OK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?
I think I mentioned this a little higher in the thread.  The fingerings for an Eb instrument reading bass clef look like the fingerings of a Bb instrument reading tenor clef.

As an example, Ab:

  .  On an Eb instrument this uses the 1st valve.  If you saw  Tenor Clef and were playing a Euphonium you would also use 1st valve.  As you can see, the note positions would use similar fingerings of an Eb tuba reading bass clef or a Bb Euphonium reading tenor clef.

This has a long history.  In the US Civil War era bands consisted of collections of Eb and Bb instruments each reading a transposed treble clef.  The purpose was that any musician could play any part on the appropriate instrument without having to learn new fingerings.  The exception was the tuba, which was generally an Eb instrument and read bass clef.  Thus a player of a different instrument could still play the tuba part using the same set of fingerings.
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« Reply #25 on: Dec 08, 2017, 12:43PM »

These notation tricks might be used to get through an emergency situation, but they shouldn't be at the core of one's understanding of their instrument - the mental gymnastics will ultimately prove limiting:

Someone is shouting "G major" in the middle of a jazz set, let's see now ... in tenor clef ... Yeah, RIGHT.

If you've learned treble clef and tenor clef and Bb transposition, mapping Eb tuba fingerings to bass clef notation will take maybe an hour to fully comprehend. The open bottom note on an Eb tuba is an Eb. Read an Eb and play an Eb. Go from there. It's a strange, immediate challenge that quickly becomes familiar.

A lot of New Orleans brass band stuff plays like it was written for Eb. For concert band and everything else these days: get a BBb.

 Idea!
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« Reply #26 on: Dec 08, 2017, 01:23PM »

These notation tricks might be used to get through an emergency situation, but they shouldn't be at the core of one's understanding of their instrument - the mental gymnastics will ultimately prove limiting:

Well, not really. It would just be a way for me to immediately hit the ground running. I already do this, and have done it for years with other instruments. Trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax, etc. I use clefs to do some transpositions, and it just works, as well as you can read mezzo soprano clef, you can read, say F horn music right now, no learning curve.

Actually, clefs are just one way to understand it. I think of all music as lying on the Grand Staff, with middle C a fixed point between bass and treble. The movable clefs just move the 5 lines of the staff up and down, like a magnifying glass focusing on a portion of the Grand Staff.

Eventually I would learn to bridge the new fingerings to actual pitches, but that would take a little time.

Quote
Someone is shouting "G major" in the middle of a jazz set, let's see now ... in tenor clef ... Yeah, RIGHT.

G is a third below Bb, so C is a third below Eb. Easy. or Bb to Eb is down a 5th, so G to C is down a 5th. Eventually you'd just know it without any tricks, if you did it enough.

Quote
If you've learned treble clef and tenor clef and Bb transposition, mapping Eb tuba fingerings to bass clef notation will take maybe an hour to fully comprehend. The open bottom note on an Eb tuba is an Eb. Read an Eb and play an Eb. Go from there. It's a strange, immediate challenge that quickly becomes familiar.

A lot of New Orleans brass band stuff plays like it was written for Eb. For concert band and everything else these days: get a BBb.

 Idea!

Yeah, both ways work. Different methods for different folks.

I'm probably going to go with a BBb, but not because I'm afraid of relearning the fingerings for Eb. There just don't seem to be enough benefits of going with Eb compared to BBb. I won't use a tuba to play high, I've got a euph and a trombone for that. There doesn't sound like there's a huge weight or air requirement difference. The sound is really what I'm after, and it sounds like the BBb is going to have that weighty sound, while the Eb might not.
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« Reply #27 on: Dec 08, 2017, 02:05PM »

How much are you planning to spend on a tuba?
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« Reply #28 on: Dec 08, 2017, 02:07PM »

$5 :-0

Well, that's the question, right? If I could find something that would work, I'd spend $250 or $700, or maybe $2000. I can buy used bones on ebay because I know what I'm looking at, but I can't buy a used tuba because it's a mystery. I'm gonna have to find a way to go visit one of these places y'all have suggested. That Cerveny I saw earlier is cool looking, but it has some serious dents in it, I have no idea the sound or even the pitch, and the owner doesn't instill any confidence at all. I asked him about the valves and he said "Well, they're not jammed, if that's what you mean".

After getting a horn, I'm gonna have to go through all of this again with tuba mouthpieces. Ug. I just want a simple answer. Here's your new tuba. Play this. Its perfect for you. I don't have the energy to be a tuba tech geek.
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« Reply #29 on: Dec 08, 2017, 02:21PM »

$5 :-0

...

Here you go:

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« Reply #30 on: Dec 08, 2017, 03:26PM »

I think you should go cheap and used if you don't even know yet if you're going to like it.


Here's my $400 tuba.
SERIOUS dents all over, bell crumpled.  That's why the price was so low, but the valves work and it plays fine for my amateur purposes.


Get yourself a middle-of-the road tuba mouthpiece, look on Craigslist, and try out some cheap tubas.

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« Reply #31 on: Dec 08, 2017, 03:48PM »

One of the nice things about tubas is that the "working parts" (i.e., valves) are pretty well protected at the center of mass. A tuba can be all banged up to h*ll and back and still work just fine. I seen 'em that looked like they fell off a truck that still worked.
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« Reply #32 on: Dec 08, 2017, 04:42PM »

I played tenor and bass trombone for decades and did learn to play Eb tuba decently within 6 month. Don't worry about fingerings and transposition tricks, whatever you choose, you will lean to press the right buttons within one month. It is really not that hard!

For a trombone doubler an 4/4 or 5/4 Eb tuba is the perfect choice: it has enough humpff to support any concert band or synphonic orchester, yet is nimble enough to play most solo literature as well. This is a really good all-round size tuba, and it does not suck so much air than 5/4 C or Bb tubas. And most Eb tubas have a fine low range too.

If you want to play modern Brass Band literature, you will find yourself in the need to a 5 (5+0) valve uncompensated, or a 4 (3+1) valve compensated instrument. These are expensive (Miraphone Nordic Star, Meinl-Weston 2141, Yamaha Neo, Besson Sovereign), but sometimes you can find an older Besson 700 which is pretty OK, or the Yamaha 6** something, the anchestor of the Neo. Or a Wessex Danube or Wessex 3+1 band Eb tuba.

For marching a 3/4 to 4/4 size uncompensated Eb tuba with 4 valves will do; the Yamaha 321 is really good, also the largest of the Cervenys is fine, but there are others.

Google for the tuba forum 'tubenet' for more info!
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« Reply #33 on: Dec 08, 2017, 04:45PM »

Here you go:



Thanks! I guess you had already given your 2 cents, so i still owe you $4.98.

I wanna go cheap, but I don't trust it. I know how much my bass trombone education cost me, and I don't have that much time, money, or energy for another education. Craigslist might be a place to start. I don't think there are many interesting tubas lurking around here. But I'll start looking.
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« Reply #34 on: Dec 09, 2017, 07:16AM »

I think for your purposes, whatever you find available in your price range in playable condition, you'll learn how to play, and it will work.  There are a ton of variables in Tubas They basically come in 4 different Keys (BBb, Eb, CC, & F), piston valves or rotary valves, I whole array of sizes (much like violins for kids) you can find 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 fairly commonly.  I as a Tuba, Trombone, and Euphonium player have my own preferences that I've developed over the years, but what works for me may not work for you. My best advice to you would be with a limited budget find something available locally that plays well and learn it.  The CC and F Tubas are less common and usually go for higher prices than similar BBb and Eb tubas, you're most likely to find a Student model 3 piston valve 3/4 Tuba since this is what most students here in the US start on, but older 3 valve Eb Tubas are also plentiful.  Because of their size you can have fairly large dents in a Tuba and it will still play just fine, so don't let cosmetic issues keep you from selection a tuba that is otherwise very playable.  I know some pretty good Tubists who are playing on some pretty ugly instruments.  When it comes to Tubas new and shiny isn't always better.
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« Reply #35 on: Dec 09, 2017, 08:38AM »

Thanks for the explanation. That's about what I expected. I still think it would be simpler just to learn to play the part as written than it is to deal with the mental gymnastics involved in reading tuba parts in clefs (add two flats/cancel these accidentals but not those/oh no! double sharp/flat!!!).

Someone is shouting "G major" in the middle of a jazz set, let's see now ... in tenor clef ... Yeah, RIGHT.

G is a third below Bb, so C is a third below Eb. Easy. or Bb to Eb is down a 5th, so G to C is down a 5th. Eventually you'd just know it without any tricks, if you did it enough.

A# minor.  Amazed  Amazed Amazed

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« Reply #36 on: Dec 09, 2017, 08:41AM »

I'm not finding anything within an hour drive. This will take some patience. Just discovering compensating vs non-compensating. I'm not going to have the option to be picky. Theres no sense in trying to finesse this. I just don't want to wind up with a horn I can't play. Thanks for all the advice!
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« Reply #37 on: Dec 09, 2017, 06:58PM »

I had an idea that doesn't necessarily relate to my search, just curiosity, really. A BBb is probably the thing, but the design, sound, clarity of some CCs is attractive. Some CCs have 5 valves with the 5th being a step+. What if that valve were turned around so the horn is normally lowered by that step, thus becoming a BBb, with an ascending CC key. It would be like the silliness of getting an Eb alto with  Bb attachment, and playing with that engaged.

By the way, I passed on that Cerveny on ebay. Between needed repairs, uncertainty about valves, slides, and key of instrument, plus a bad vibe from the seller about shipping, it just wasn't worth it.
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« Reply #38 on: Dec 09, 2017, 11:00PM »

It would be like the silliness of getting an Eb alto with  Bb attachment, and playing with that engaged.
I'll note that you wouldn't be able to immediately play after engaging the Bb valve. You'd have to lengthen the other three valves to play in tune.


Quote
By the way, I passed on that Cerveny on ebay. Between needed repairs, uncertainty about valves, slides, and key of instrument, plus a bad vibe from the seller about shipping, it just wasn't worth it.


Be patient and watch and just make low bids.  Don't get tempted into a bidding war. Whatever tuba you lose out on today, there will be another one like it in a month.

Eventually you'll snag something for a low price.
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« Reply #39 on: Dec 09, 2017, 11:09PM »

I would probably stick with a BBb.  They are plentiful and play well.  I would also stick with known quantities: Miraphone, MW, R Meinl, B&S, Cerveny, and King.  Spend some time on Tubenet.  There are many players there that cycle through horns and are good to deal with.
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« Reply #40 on: Dec 10, 2017, 06:22AM »

I would probably stick with a BBb.  They are plentiful and play well.  I would also stick with known quantities: Miraphone, MW, R Meinl, B&S, Cerveny, and King.  Spend some time on Tubenet.  There are many players there that cycle through horns and are good to deal with.

Thanks, I've been checking it out over there already. I'm arranging to have a look at a Miraphone 186, 4v, Bb. A little beat up, but used by a pro, so it works. Should be plenty of repair parts available for this model.

Thanks all for your help. I was pretty lost, but this feels like a reasonable solution.
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« Reply #41 on: Dec 10, 2017, 06:36AM »

Good choice, maybe a little bigger than you want but that's a good standard tuba that will always hold its value.
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« Reply #42 on: Dec 10, 2017, 01:17PM »

Thanks, I've been checking it out over there already. I'm arranging to have a look at a Miraphone 186, 4v, Bb. A little beat up, but used by a pro, so it works. Should be plenty of repair parts available for this model.

Thanks all for your help. I was pretty lost, but this feels like a reasonable solution.
You can't go wrong with a 186 in playable condition, they are very versatile horns, and yes parts are available for them from Miraphone. 
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« Reply #43 on: Dec 11, 2017, 09:49AM »

One more question for maybe the more seasoned tuba players out there.

Some of these tubas have bells right about at head level. Some have long bells that are up above your head while playing. Does having the bell right next to your head mess with your ears? Is it nicer to have the bell further from your head, like a trombone? I would imagine that if you're honking away, it might get hard to hear anything other than your own racket.
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« Reply #44 on: Dec 11, 2017, 09:59AM »

I don't have direct experience with different tuba, but it's better to hear yourself.... Hard to know what you're playing when you can't.
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« Reply #45 on: Dec 11, 2017, 10:10AM »

One more question for maybe the more seasoned tuba players out there.

Some of these tubas have bells right about at head level. Some have long bells that are up above your head while playing. Does having the bell right next to your head mess with your ears? Is it nicer to have the bell further from your head, like a trombone? I would imagine that if you're honking away, it might get hard to hear anything other than your own racket.

For the sake of your hearing, the farther away the better.

I put away my Eb Euphonium tuba for that reason.  Even though it wasn't pointing at my ear the bell was close enough (less than a foot) to be causing a pain problem after playing for a while.

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« Reply #46 on: Dec 11, 2017, 11:36AM »

I don't think I would have any problem hearing myself. The reason this came up for me was that I just played in a situation where I was on trombone, but the tuba was sitting right next to me, leaning that bazooka my direction. The trumpet player leaned back and said I was sharp, but I was just matching the tuba since it was all I could hear. I certainly couldn't play against that.

Anyway, I just found this picture on the Jin Bao site. Maybe what I really need is a soprano saxophone. Amazed
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« Reply #47 on: Dec 11, 2017, 11:52AM »

For the sake of your hearing, the farther away the better.

I put away my Eb Euphonium for that reason.  Even though it wasn't pointing at my ear the bell was close enough (less than a foot) to be causing a pain problem after playing for a while.



Wait, there's an Eb euphonium?  I did not know that. 
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« Reply #48 on: Dec 11, 2017, 11:56AM »

Wait, there's an Eb euphonium?  I did not know that. 

Whoops! Sorry. Corrected. I keep thinking of it as a euphonium because that's what I thought I was buying.  Don't know

And it sounds like a euphonium.
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« Reply #49 on: Dec 12, 2017, 01:16AM »

As a strictly amateur tuba player, I say go for a Bb tuba. Keep it simple. I played a 3/4 through high school, and switched up to a 4/4 for college, and almost couldn't put enough air through it.  Don't overthink the mouthpiece. When you try a few tubas, pay attention to the mouthpiece.

I think you'll like the Miraphone - it's an immediately playable tuba. My personal tuba is a beat-up old Jupiter BBb with three valves. Looks like hell, was abused by any number of middle school would-be tuba players before I got it. It plays like a dream, has a great tone. I took a chance on a $100 ebay special and got lucky. I was more cautious buying a trombone online. Those I usually by in pawn shops.

I have never had an ear-level bell on a tuba. They're all above my head. The closest I had was a convertible tuba that I carried on my shoulder for marching. 
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« Reply #50 on: Dec 12, 2017, 03:06AM »

Depends on the type of playing you are looking to do...as someone who studied tuba in the UK. I would always go with EEb as my first choice, and if I had the money a CC..... In the USA it always seems that in orchestral and or brass quintet it is CC tuba being first choice

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« Reply #51 on: Dec 12, 2017, 03:27AM »

I've got an old Holton "Monster" Eb which is more the size & sound of a 4/4 Bb. It only has 3 valves but the "privilege" tones between the 1st partial and the pedals are really excellent so it has a great low range.
the advantage of Eb over F are they are typically way less expensive and you can read bass clef as tenor clef (or Bb treble) & not have to do a whole lot of thinking.
Yes that is an excelent tuba, I did have a York monster Eb with three valves that also hade very good priviliged tones, actually as good or better many BBb tuba tones. But they are all gone, If you happen to find one of those, I say get it!
 
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« Reply #52 on: Dec 12, 2017, 08:59AM »

Wait, there's an Eb euphonium?  I did not know that. 

British EEb tubas often look, play, and sound like bass euphoniums IMO. But, for what it's worth, Yamaha did manufacture a rare alto euphonium in E flat, seen here.
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« Reply #53 on: Dec 12, 2017, 10:09AM »

Wow, a first valve trigger.  Seems very useful. 
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« Reply #54 on: Dec 12, 2017, 12:55PM »

If I were looking to grab a tuba to double on (I am...) and had the cash at the moment (I don't), I'd probably grab something like this guy:
http://www.hornstash.com/products/Used-Conn-4J-BBb-Tuba-7436XX-2878.html

I tried a 4J at Dillon several years back and it was by far the easiest-to-center tuba I've tried to date. Now, the fact that I don't really know how to play tuba may impact that to some degree, as well as the fact that I'm always at the mercy of whatever mouthpiece the dude who's letting me try the things happens to have available. But, for being a 4/4 tuba, I found it easy to play and relatively affordable, especially given that it comes with a full complement of valves, and, since, it's always been at the corner of my mind just in case I happen to need a tuba in a hurry or see one on the market for a steal.
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« Reply #55 on: Dec 12, 2017, 01:26PM »

If I were looking to grab a tuba to double on (I am...) and had the cash at the moment (I don't), I'd probably grab something like this guy:
http://www.hornstash.com/products/Used-Conn-4J-BBb-Tuba-7436XX-2878.html

I tried a 4J at Dillon several years back and it was by far the easiest-to-center tuba I've tried to date. Now, the fact that I don't really know how to play tuba may impact that to some degree, as well as the fact that I'm always at the mercy of whatever mouthpiece the dude who's letting me try the things happens to have available. But, for being a 4/4 tuba, I found it easy to play and relatively affordable, especially given that it comes with a full complement of valves, and, since, it's always been at the corner of my mind just in case I happen to need a tuba in a hurry or see one on the market for a steal.

Thanks for the suggestion. Some of the Conns have been mentioned more than once. This whole thing is a moving target, taking up more of my time than I wished. I'm going to meet with the Tuba Exchange guys in a couple of weeks to play some new and used tubas, and also try to see Mack Brass, since they are close together. If I were really ambitious, I'd also swing up to Baltimore Brass. I'll probably keep changing my mind until I get to play something. Anyway, the current contender is the Mack tu210, which is a Hirsbrunner 192 clone.


The old contender was a Miraphone 186, but I heard some complaints about it being a little stuffy down low, plus it didn't have a mouthpiece or a case, and had a fair bit of damage. People seem to really like these chinese Macks. Some of the details may be wonky, like rough lacquer or braces that aren't dead straight, but the sound and playability are reportedly right up there with the originals. I'm anxious to play some of these so my opinion means something.
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« Reply #56 on: Dec 12, 2017, 09:59PM »

I used to play some tuba before and liked the Eb tuba. Tried a Bb also but found the Eb easier to play. I never tried the C tuba. But I don't have a clue about tubas. Isn't there a tuba forum somewhere? Or do they sit in the pub?

Leif
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« Reply #57 on: Dec 12, 2017, 10:27PM »

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« Reply #58 on: Dec 13, 2017, 12:32AM »

I used to play some tuba before and liked the Eb tuba. Tried a Bb also but found the Eb easier to play. I never tried the C tuba. But I don't have a clue about tubas. Isn't there a tuba forum somewhere? Or do they sit in the pub?

Leif

Yeah, there's a tuba forum, but they're all tubists...
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« Reply #59 on: Dec 13, 2017, 02:13AM »

What are you hoping to use the tuba for? Quintets, bands, large orchestras?

If you just want to have fun with a tuba, any old thing will do. If you’re hoping to play it for cash, you might have to think a little harder.

If this is your first entry into the tuba world, it’d be hard to go past a Mirafone 186, in Bb or C. These are to tuba players what the Bach 50 is to bass trombone players; everyone has either owned one or knows somebody who does, it’s been around forever, it makes an iconic sound, and it’s been played by many famous players over the years.

If you’re looking for a decent all-rounder, don’t get anything too big. A 3/4 or 4/4 Bb or C, or an Eb from Besson, Yamaha etc will likely cover most repertoire pretty well. Bb or C will have a little more low end, Eb will be a little more nimble up top.

My personal horn is a Rudolf Meinl 3/4 C, which is a classic mid-size horn that does most things well.  Big enough to support a good size orchestra or band, and small enough to play in chamber settings.

But honestly, if this is your first tuba experience, just get something solid and dive in.

Andrew
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« Reply #60 on: Dec 13, 2017, 05:56AM »

Quote
What are you hoping to use the tubas for?
Chamber brass groups, small orchestra, scaring the neighbor kids off the lawn, just the usual stuff.

But there are other things. I found I didn't really enjoy bass trombone or get the chance to use my euphonium, so I'm hoping this will replace both of those. Also tuba should give me more opportunities here,  as there is a lack of players. Also, I sometimes have pain in my arm when playing trombone, and I need a way to keep playing without hurting myself.
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« Reply #61 on: Dec 13, 2017, 06:36AM »

Ben Griffin here on the Forum is selling a Yamaha 3/4 size Bb tuba. It's in excellent and is an excellent player. Look him up.
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« Reply #62 on: Dec 13, 2017, 06:40AM »

I've doubled on valves-- tuba etc-- for over 40 years. A lot of tuba. Too much professional tuba.

A few points from about 10 years of hard reading of TubeNet, the tuba website:
1. Yes, tubists are stark raving insane. Get three of them in a room and you'll get 10 opinions about what to buy. Avoid tubists. Tubists love nothing more than spending other people;s money...
2. For a first tuba avoid the Chinese ones that are knock offs of American ones-- lousy resale value, actually zero.
Chinese tubas are for players who already know how to play--- and have a strong interest in the home made repairs and maintenance to keep a piece of bent metal and lousy metal running. Almost running, if you read TubeNet a lot.
A lot of Chinese horns have crashed and burned before they leave the factory. Once you blow into it the deterioration begins again, constantly.
3. BBb only. Forget the rest. Even real tubists chase their tails when it comes to key of horn.

The hard news you don't want to read? Yes, tuba should be fun, but if you experience arm pain on bone then hauling a tuba plus it's case, will kill you.
Plan on investing in a lot of mechanical dollies to strap onto the case-- or cases. Hauling is a pain. Get used to avoiding stairs and looking for ramps to buildings.

The tuba world is built on a lot of dreams and grand schemes. Some times they work. But consider this-- shouldn't there be piles of young adults in any area who spent the best years of their lives playing tuba, and should be willing and thrilled to play in an orchestra? Or in a brass band? If not, then it is the hauling aspect, and the demands of having young children in their new family, have taken them out of the game.

Read TubeNet for the real tubist's perspective on this.
Just like the trombone world, the tuba world is full of failed and miserable tubists who  quit playing to raise a family and get back into it only after the kids are gone....but by then the weight of the horn is all they give a sh*t about. Tubists past the age of 50 would sell their souls to have 5 lbs taken off of their horns.

****
But the good news!!!
Three tubas to really consider:
#1-- the famed Olds O-99. Small but with a big bore and big sound for it's size. The newest ones would be from the 1970s when Olds failed, so they are all old old horns. But portable and playable.

#2- King 2341. Famous unevolved horns in BBb. I played one in high school with detachable bell that broke into two pieces for two cases. Monstrously heavy in the cases. Expensive even used.
But the good news about an AMERICAN MADE KING----- the resale value should be there if you quit. And if you quit it'll be because of your back, not because it isn't fun to play marches in flat key signatures in a band.

#3-- the Miraphones you mentioned. But they are flimsy things compared to a King. And piston valves are 10X easier to maintain than rotary valves.

My point? DO read TubeNet. Search for the Olds O-99 on tubenet to confirm my suspicions.
And go to the Home Depot website to look into the best hauling dollies you can afford and will fit into your  vehicle. Your vehicle has to hold what you buy. Don't forget that.
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« Reply #63 on: Dec 13, 2017, 06:57AM »

Small point about 3/4 Yamaha tubas. They are blatty with any mouthpiece, and mine needed a sousaphone tuning bit between the mouthpiece and leadpipe to bring it down to pitch. They are small and sharp. The YBB-103, the valued one, is the best of the 3/4 size, but obsolete since about 1990. Old horns now. Easy to carry, but limited in use. Great in a pit.

If you can find a 4 valve Yamaha good luck, nobody sells the ones they already have, used.
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« Reply #64 on: Dec 13, 2017, 07:58AM »

Small point about 3/4 Yamaha tubas. FOR ME [t]hey are blatty with any mouthpiece, and mine needed a sousaphone tuning bit between the mouthpiece and leadpipe to bring it down to pitch. They are small and sharp.

FTFY.

Personally, never had a problem with blattyness or intonation on the Yammy 3/4s I've played paired with either a Conn 120s or Yammy 65.
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« Reply #65 on: Dec 13, 2017, 07:59AM »

The tuba world is built on a lot of dreams and grand schemes. Some times they work. But consider this-- shouldn't there be piles of young adults in any area who spent the best years of their lives playing tuba, and should be willing and thrilled to play in an orchestra? Or in a brass band? If not, then it is the hauling aspect, and the demands of having young children in their new family, have taken them out of the game.

Read TubeNet for the real tubist's perspective on this.
Just like the trombone world, the tuba world is full of failed and miserable tubists who  quit playing to raise a family and get back into it only after the kids are gone....but by then the weight of the horn is all they give a sh*t about. Tubists past the age of 50 would sell their souls to have 5 lbs taken off of their horns.
I play with a community orchestra that has the same problem with bass players. We generally end up hiring one or two for the concerts.

One thing about tuba is that one can (and often does) get all the way through college without owning a horn. Unless they run out and buy a tuba after they graduate, there's no instrument sitting in a closet silently reminding them of what they've lost. Without that motivation, they're far less likely to get back into it. Even if they do have fond memories, there's the obstacle of not having a horn, and most people would find it hard to justify (to themselves, let alone to a spouse) the expense of buying one when there are so many other demands on the bank account.
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« Reply #66 on: Dec 13, 2017, 08:10AM »

fsung, push hard enough and all tubas blat. 3/4 sizes just blatttttt sooner.

I own a $400 Italian BB tuba of unknown make...almost perfect intonation. 32" tall and .750 bore...a monster horn at about 13 lbs and very portable. I got very lucky. Fits in any vehicle in a Cabela's canvas sack.

My baritone is 1950 Besson and compensating, and perfect. $395.


New modern Yamaha tubas cost about $15K+ for one worth keeping.
Read TubeNet and use the search function there. Free to use. Very valuable info if you read enough.
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« Reply #67 on: Dec 13, 2017, 08:24AM »

Wow, geez, remind me not to come here if I ever get depressed. :(

Chinese - I have a chinese euph, and it has been ok as a double because I don't know any better. I hope the same will be true of a tuba. I wouldn't own a chinese trombone as my primary, although I've played at least one that was worthy. I'm going to at least look at the chinese tubas, and try to keep an open mind. The practicality issue of buying used is the big obstacle. There's a Miraphone in Colorado I would snag right now if I had a way to get it here. Tips on shipping would be helpful.

Tube net - yeah, I go and read a few every day. It kind of drives home the point that I'm never going to know anything about tubas until I play one, regardless of how much research I do. So I'm going to visit Tuba Exchange and Mack.

Shoulder - my problem with my shoulder is not the weight, but the position. Euphonium relaxes my shoulder, but I don't have anywhere to go play euph where there aren't 4-5 players already. Tuba cases have either straps (for soft case) or wheels (for hard case). I know an 85 year old guy who totes his Eb around. I think I can manage the weight.

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« Reply #68 on: Dec 13, 2017, 09:38AM »

Shipping by way of Greyhound seems to be very popular for Tubas.  You do have to pick the Tuba up at the buss depot.
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« Reply #69 on: Dec 13, 2017, 10:22AM »

[Snide remark]
Buss depot?  Maybe we need to tell Donald Trump about this!
[/Snide remark]

Do they get handled a little more delicately by the folks at the bus depot?  I wonder.

I know I accidentally bought a tuba from Canada.  Paid $600 for the horn and $400 for the shipping including a customs expediter.  It was a bargain at $600 but a bit overpriced at $1000.
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« Reply #70 on: Dec 13, 2017, 11:01AM »

Not trying to depress you, jackbird. But you did ask for constructive comments, and if I can save you thousands of dollars, and years of your life, then it is constructive.
Tuba is fun, if you go into it well prepared. Otherwise it could be a money pit, and a lot of hard work without much reward.

And do go to TubeNet, hundreds of posts there about shipping, the perils, and the best way to do it cheaply and safely....if you could do it BOTH cheaply and safely then TubeNet would only have one message about it, but it seems dangerous or expensive to ship mostly.

Olds O-99, or King 2341. Check them out. Do it once, do it right, and enjoy from day 1. The community bands/orchestras I get hired to play in are full of tubists who make the mistake of buying cheap, getting p*ssed off about the quality, trying to unload garbage horns on the innocent and unsuspecting public, and then get really miffed when they find out that the going rate for a horn worth keeping might be $5K used.

Please, read TubeNet. Lots of good warnings there.
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« Reply #71 on: Dec 13, 2017, 11:05AM »

Several years ago it was under $100 to ship a tuba from Indiana to California.

Large objects like tubas travel space-permitting, and they aren't precisely tracked - so this method requires some patience, and faith.

Mine eventually arrived just fine.

(That was an old Conn Eb Helicon that I bought to start. I recently added a Conn 20J with the recording bell to go bigger and louder and lower, but I'm just starting to get the hang of it. These are great horns for my uses but probably not yours.)

 Good!
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« Reply #72 on: Dec 13, 2017, 11:40AM »

Two more cents from me...

Yes, the Olds O-99-4 is a great little tuba.  You will want the 4-valve version, of course.  And the King 2341 is also great and indestructible.  They did evolve, though.  The newer ones are more recommended than the older ones.

I have owned tubas with tall and short stack bells.  The 2341 puts the bell just above my ear.  The taller stacks, like the 186, put it WAY above you.  I don't think it matters - it is not blasting right into you ear.  I do like the shorter tubas, for handling and storing, etc.  And they look nicer.

Chinese-made horns?  Quality is questionable, and resale is horrible.  Resale on a King or German-made tuba will be about what you paid for it.  So, why bother?  So, again... 

Stick with Mira, MW, Meinl, B&S, Yamaha, etc.  As bonesmarsh said... do it once.
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« Reply #73 on: Dec 13, 2017, 11:45AM »

How does the King 2341 compare with the Conn 5J?  I have a friend who borrowed one and wound up buying one for himself.  And he majored in Euph.
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« Reply #74 on: Dec 13, 2017, 03:13PM »

Well, Bruce....that is a question for TubeNet and the mysteries of the tubist's mind. Again...difference? Ask 3 tubists and wait for 10 opinions.

Tubists have too much time to count rests and think about nonsense. Seems to me that the King has a bore of .680 vs larger for most others.

I'll clarify my comments about the Yamahas....bore is tiny, for kids, and they're sharp. If you had a tuning slide long enough to bring it down to A-440 it'd hit the player in the leg. Great idea for a horn...but a questionable R&D. The one absolutely great thing about small Yamaha horns is that the valves are interchangeable. Designed to be like Lego to keep a fleet of them in repair and at least one in a school functioning. Unscrew the bell section and big bows for repair and adding undamaged parts from another horn wit ha screw driver. Valves are all the same....1, 2, 3 are all the same...one valve shot?-- pull one from another horn and the band program goes on until repair is done. If you have 3 or 4 , you should have one not trashed as long as you keep swapping out valves and unscrewing bells to rejig.
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« Reply #75 on: Dec 13, 2017, 03:21PM »

Sounds like to OP is going to where he can actually try instruments and decide for himself, which is really the best way to do it.  Even as a non-tubist.
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« Reply #76 on: Dec 13, 2017, 05:31PM »

fsung, push hard enough too hard and all tubas blat. 3/4 sizes just blatttttt sooner.

FTFY.
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« Reply #77 on: Dec 14, 2017, 04:47AM »

Ah yes, fsung. You are more correct than I was. One of the truly terrifying lessons from TubeNet is that all tubists dream of the day when they have $30K to $50K of their own dream money to buy the famed copies of the Jacobs York. The famed 6/4 sized YamaYorks....which no human can make blattttttt. For the extra $25K you just get a more pronounced "mwaaaahhhhhhhhhh"...like a great fretless bass, with more watts to the amp power.

I did try a famed Holton monster CC in '85 for a while, and it did not blaaaatttttt. But I couldn't hold it at 40lbs, and you had to have a special mouthpiece made with a shank to fit the leadpipe going to the almost 1" bore. Not for the faint of heart, or humans.
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« Reply #78 on: Dec 14, 2017, 08:39AM »

Ah yes, fsung. You are more correct than I was. One of the truly terrifying lessons from TubeNet is that all tubists dream of the day when they have $30K to $50K of their own dream money to buy the famed copies of the Jacobs York. The famed 6/4 sized YamaYorks....which no human can make blattttttt. For the extra $25K you just get a more pronounced "mwaaaahhhhhhhhhh"...like a great fretless bass, with more watts to the amp power.

I did try a famed Holton monster CC in '85 for a while, and it did not blaaaatttttt. But I couldn't hold it at 40lbs, and you had to have a special mouthpiece made with a shank to fit the leadpipe going to the almost 1" bore. Not for the faint of heart, or humans.
These days I find myself lugging the Tuba to just as many gigs as the bass bone or Euphonium, and unless I can afford to hire someone to lug it around for me I'll pass on the 6/4 monsters.  I Like my Miraphone 186 CC just for being able to strap it to my back and carry it without hurting myself.  I do wish it didn't have the tall stack and was more compact, it doesn't fit well in the back of my wifes car and I have to put it in the back seat.  The older I get the more I appreciate portability in an instrument. 
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« Reply #79 on: Dec 14, 2017, 09:25AM »

Ah yes, fsung. You are more correct than I was. One of the truly terrifying lessons from TubeNet is that all tubists dream of the day when they have $30K to $50K of their own dream money to buy the famed copies of the Jacobs York. The famed 6/4 sized YamaYorks....which no human can make blattttttt. For the extra $25K you just get a more pronounced "mwaaaahhhhhhhhhh"...like a great fretless bass, with more watts to the amp power.

I did try a famed Holton monster CC in '85 for a while, and it did not blaaaatttttt. But I couldn't hold it at 40lbs, and you had to have a special mouthpiece made with a shank to fit the leadpipe going to the almost 1" bore. Not for the faint of heart, or humans.

It's about knowing and understanding the character and limitations of an instrument—tuba or otherwise—and using it appropriately instead of trying to do something with it that it's not designed or intended to do. As Sabutin likes to say, choose the right instrument for the job. If you're having to overblow any instrument to the point it gets blatty and "blatty" is not the desired effect musically, then it ain't the right instrument for the job.

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« Reply #80 on: Dec 17, 2017, 10:14AM »

ok, last question. Is it possible to have a compensating rotary tuba, or is the compensating system only available with pistons?
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« Reply #81 on: Dec 17, 2017, 03:41PM »

ok, last question. Is it possible to have a compensating rotary tuba, or is the compensating system only available with pistons?

I've seen rotary compensating French horns, but not a rotary compensating tuba.  Almost every compensating Euph or Tuba seems to use piston valves.  They also don't seem to do C or F.
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« Reply #82 on: Dec 17, 2017, 04:28PM »

I'm doubtful of the wisdom of a four-valve compensating system. It only compensates when you use the fourth valve. And you don't really need a fourth valve if you have a three-valve compensating system.
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« Reply #83 on: Dec 17, 2017, 04:38PM »

The 4 valve compensator is useful for the extended range.  It puts the notes down in the "trigger" register in tune

The 3 valve compensator fixes problems with the 3rd valve so you have 1-2-3 more in tune.
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« Reply #84 on: Dec 17, 2017, 05:57PM »

ok, last question. Is it possible to have a compensating rotary tuba, or is the compensating system only available with pistons?

It is possible, but I think it would be prohibitively expensive, considering the normal Bb 4-valved rotary tuba is as expensive as the compensated piston one. I also think (this is entirely my observation of only some tubist and can be totally wrong) that the users of rotary tuba, particularly the Germans, are familiar with lipping and alternate fingerings. Some tubas also have trigger/kicker to further help. Those devices are almost certainly cheaper than compensating rotaries. So no demand, thus no supply.
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« Reply #85 on: Dec 17, 2017, 06:36PM »

I'm doubtful of the wisdom of a four-valve compensating system. It only compensates when you use the fourth valve. And you don't really need a fourth valve if you have a three-valve compensating system.

It seems the rest of the world disagrees with your wisdom. Three valve compensating tubas have gone the way of the dodo.

A four-valve compensating tuba will give you a full chromatic range, whereas a 3 valve horn will always be missing a tritone before the pedal notes.

Andrew
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« Reply #86 on: Dec 17, 2017, 06:59PM »

Yes, I have a 4v compensating euph. It erases the shortcomings of a single valve trombone.

Lipping notes? Alternate fingerings? How barbaric.

The tuba world confuses me. The makers of big tubas brag how "point and shoot" in tune they are, apparently without a compensating system at all. I'm glad I play trombone.
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« Reply #87 on: Dec 18, 2017, 07:36AM »

The two best in tune tuba players I've played with seemed to be pulling valve slides constantly.  It almost seems like they're playing a Superbone.  But a couple of other tuba players I know play very well in tune lipping. 
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« Reply #88 on: Dec 18, 2017, 08:24AM »

It seems the rest of the world disagrees with your wisdom. Three valve compensating tubas have gone the way of the dodo.

A four-valve compensating tuba will give you a full chromatic range, whereas a 3 valve horn will always be missing a tritone before the pedal notes.


Notes almost never encountered in tuba literature. For the sort of playing the OP has said he will be doing they will never be needed.
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« Reply #89 on: Dec 18, 2017, 08:44AM »

Notes almost never encountered in tuba literature. For the sort of playing the OP has said he will be doing they will never be needed.

Seems like if you play the lowest instrument being able to play all the low notes is a good idea. I’m not sure if compensated is necessary but I think 4 valves is a no brainer.
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« Reply #90 on: Dec 18, 2017, 08:53AM »

I think all of the best advice is pointing to a compensating 4v Eb, like a Wessex Solo or Champion. This should be an easy transition from my Wessex Dolce Euphonium.

I don't have all the answers, but I think I have enough answers to start playing some horns. Thanks for all the input. Now to find an available horn...
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« Reply #91 on: Dec 18, 2017, 09:22AM »

Seems like if you play the lowest instrument being able to play all the low notes is a good idea. I’m not sure if compensated is necessary but I think 4 valves is a no brainer.

Show me five standard repertoire orchestra pieces that community orchestras play that need those notes.
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« Reply #92 on: Dec 18, 2017, 10:09AM »

Theoretical considerations are great.  But very few actual tubists play compensating tubas.  I wonder why?...
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« Reply #93 on: Dec 18, 2017, 10:24AM »

Theoretical considerations are great.  But very few actual tubists play compensating tubas.  I wonder why?...

Compensators are very common in Brass Bands.  Euphs, Eb tubas, and BBb tubas are all compensating.  Some of the challenge works will require those notes.

If you play in an orchestra on an Eb tuba, you will easily need all the notes in the "compensating" range.  If you are trying to play contrabassoon or string bass parts (in proper octave -- they are both written an octave higher) you will need the compensating notes on a BBb.
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« Reply #94 on: Dec 18, 2017, 10:31AM »

Well, the OP feels that he needs the notes, thus he needs the notes. Same reason I don't like playing single trigger bass. There's nothing theoretical about intonation. It took me years to be able to play a trombone really in tune. I want to short circuit that as much as possible on tuba. I may still have to make adjustments, but far fewer of them. Plus, I'm used to playing the compensating euph, this will be just slightly bigger.
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« Reply #95 on: Dec 18, 2017, 10:56AM »

Show me five standard repertoire orchestra pieces that community orchestras play that need those notes.

Show me five great modern orchestral tuba players who play a 3 valve compensating horns. In fact, show me one.

There is no reason to not get a horn with four valves. Why voluntarily limit yourself to antiquated technology? What happens when Christmas pops has a low Eb?
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« Reply #96 on: Dec 18, 2017, 11:15AM »




Show me five great modern orchestral tuba players who play a 3 valve compensating horns. In fact, show me one.

Show me a maybe-or-maybe not community orchestra player, one just now coming to tuba from trombone, who needs more. 

That is how the OP has defined himself, not as a great modern orchestral tuba player who has put in the many hours needed to overcome the limitations of non-compensating designs and the enormous time needed to make those five more notes at the bottom worth ever using.

Making those five notes the main driver of a tuba choice is just slightly more practical than making zombie attacks the main driver of a home purchase.

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« Reply #97 on: Dec 18, 2017, 11:23AM »

Playing a fully chromatic modern instrument = zombie attack??

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« Reply #98 on: Dec 18, 2017, 12:09PM »

Actually, I am confused...

To the OP.  Why do want advice from non-tubists, anyway?  Wouldn't it make more sense to ask people who "know what they are talking about?"  Like tuba players?  (Insert tuba player jokes here. :D)

 
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« Reply #99 on: Dec 18, 2017, 12:57PM »

Actually, I am confused...

To the OP.  Why do want advice from non-tubists, anyway?  Wouldn't it make more sense to ask people who "know what they are talking about?"  Like tuba players?  (Insert tuba player jokes here. :D)

 

Well, to be honest, I've asked both camps, but I specifically wanted advice from people whose point of view I could understand. I wanted to hear from people who have gone through the same sort of transition. Tenor to bass to tuba. Tuba players say things, and you've got no idea what it relates to. Some tuba players have this outlandish idea of size, where only things that need a tractor to be moved around are worthy. And of course the same chinese bashing thing happens over there as over here. Tubas are so ridiculously expensive, that more tubists look for general purpose tubas because they can't afford 10 of them. But a lot of the same things happen there as here. Here, everybody recommends trombones that are impossible to find, or prohibitively expensive when they show up (Elkhart 62h, Greenhoe, 613h, duo gravis, etc).

Of course, I've had recommendations for everything, but primarily Eb and BBb. A lot of practical things came up that I'd never thought of, like the number of spit valves (1 with a rotary system, 4+ with pistons), weight, arm position, side the instrument leans to, but the compensation system turned out to be the killer. I'm not going to spend as much time on tuba as on bone, so I don't expect to learn all the tuning idiosyncrasies like on my trombone.

I still have time to change my mind a couple dozen times, but I think keeping it similar to my euph will be a good idea. I think I can learn the Eb fingerings. My valve technique will be slower than my reading, so no problem there. I just have to start playing some instruments to narrow it down, and that will have to wait until after Christmas, I think.
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« Reply #100 on: Dec 18, 2017, 04:06PM »

Yes, I have a 4v compensating euph. It erases the shortcomings of a single valve trombone.

Lipping notes? Alternate fingerings? How barbaric.

The tuba world confuses me. The makers of big tubas brag how "point and shoot" in tune they are, apparently without a compensating system at all. I'm glad I play trombone.
I find lipping notes easier on Tuba than on Euphonium, also most Tubas are designed so that at least the first valve slide is easily reachable for slide pulling (My first and 4th valve slides are both easily pulled on my Miraphone 186).  I see less need for a compensating tuba because of this than a Euphonium (although I personally play a non-compensating Euph. and take advantage of alternate fingerings and lipping on that instrument as well).  Tubas are inherently heavy instruments and a compensating system adds extra weight that isn't all that necessary. 
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« Reply #101 on: Dec 19, 2017, 07:16PM »

If you play in an orchestra on an Eb tuba, you will easily need all the notes in the "compensating" range.  If you are trying to play contrabassoon or string bass parts (in proper octave -- they are both written an octave higher) you will need the compensating notes on a BBb.

Isn't the lowest note of a string bass E1, the same as the bass guitar? 
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« Reply #102 on: Dec 19, 2017, 07:44PM »

Some string basses have 5 strings and go to C1.  Contrabassoon goes to Bb0
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« Reply #103 on: Dec 19, 2017, 08:09PM »

C extensions (on what would be the E string) are much more common than 5 string upright basses.
A 5 string goes to low B
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« Reply #104 on: Dec 22, 2017, 10:49AM »

C1 and B0 are very low notes.  I wonder if speakers can project them properly?  I suspect that one would have to hear it in person, and in a big room, in order to hear it properly.
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« Reply #105 on: Dec 27, 2017, 12:12AM »

Well, to be honest, I've asked both camps, but I specifically wanted advice from people whose point of view I could understand. I wanted to hear from people who have gone through the same sort of transition. Tenor to bass to tuba. Tuba players say things, and you've got no idea what it relates to. Some tuba players have this outlandish idea of size, where only things that need a tractor to be moved around are worthy. And of course the same chinese bashing thing happens over there as over here. Tubas are so ridiculously expensive, that more tubists look for general purpose tubas because they can't afford 10 of them. But a lot of the same things happen there as here. Here, everybody recommends trombones that are impossible to find, or prohibitively expensive when they show up (Elkhart 62h, Greenhoe, 613h, duo gravis, etc).

Of course, I've had recommendations for everything, but primarily Eb and BBb. A lot of practical things came up that I'd never thought of, like the number of spit valves (1 with a rotary system, 4+ with pistons), weight, arm position, side the instrument leans to, but the compensation system turned out to be the killer. I'm not going to spend as much time on tuba as on bone, so I don't expect to learn all the tuning idiosyncrasies like on my trombone.

I still have time to change my mind a couple dozen times, but I think keeping it similar to my euph will be a good idea. I think I can learn the Eb fingerings. My valve technique will be slower than my reading, so no problem there. I just have to start playing some instruments to narrow it down, and that will have to wait until after Christmas, I think.

I'm laughing a little, since I just bought an Elkhart 62H on Ebay, marvelous, amazing, holy grail of horns!
I will stick by my recommendation that you find a safe little BBb tuba, 3-4 valves doesn't matter. My tuba is a very basic 3-valve horn that suits what I use it for - playing with my kids' pep band, in my sextet group (trumpets, horn, trombones, and me on the tuba). If you can try a few horns, that's great. For versatility, stick with a basic horn.

I am currently working on a solo that has me playing pedal tones down into a low F, and yes, it's not spon-on. It is, however, so low that nobody seems to notice that it's not quite right. I have pep band music that does use those low pedal tones, so to whoever said they're rare, well, they're in the cheap Hal Leonard arrangements.
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« Reply #106 on: Dec 29, 2017, 08:20PM »

As a sort of resolution to this issue, I went today and bought a Mack Brass tuba from Tom McGrady. I got a BBb 4 rotor 3/4 size (Cerveny 683 Arion copy Jinbao Jbbb220) . My initial reaction is God, its disconcertingly large. I can't hear the difference between F and Bb, I sound like a junior high school student. I think Tom gave me some good advice amd information, I just hope I can make proper use of it.

Its going to take weeks /months of practice to be less embarrassing on tuba. The good news is my bass trombone immediately sounded better. Also, even the smallish 24AW is so big it wont effect my tbone embouchure. Does tuba really use an embouchure?

I don't feel that I'm qualified at this point to offer a critique of the tuba. Tom helped me with the initial tuning, and its pretty good. The valves work well, and the slides move. I can't comment on the sound right now, as I'm still sorting that out. It does sound big for what is described as a 3/4 size tuba. Even With my non-tuba chops, I actually get a better sound down low than in the middle range.  I may try to have a real tuba player have a look at it.

Anyway, its going to take some time.
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« Reply #107 on: Dec 30, 2017, 06:12AM »

Something that’s really helped my tuba students is an exercise called paper clip.

Unbend a paper clip part way so you can put one end in the mouthpiece receiver alongside the shank of the mouthpiece. Don’t jamb it in there, you don’t want to scratch anything. What it does is make you focus your embouchure more. It’s like buzzing the mouthpiece alone, but you get the harmonic series on the horn to help guide you. Doesn’t work on trombone or trumpet for some reason. It sounds stupid, but it’s been getting great results.

Good luck and happy practicing!!
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« Reply #108 on: Dec 30, 2017, 07:04AM »

Trombonemetal,
Yeah I can see how that would help. The partials are sooo far apart and the slots are so wide, training my embouchure (and ear) to where Bb-F-Bb are will help a lot, but for now I am getting lost in the partials. I crack 3 out of 4 notes. Low Bb just jumps out of this horn,  but it feels too low. High F sounds a half step low, but it isn't.
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« Reply #109 on: Dec 30, 2017, 08:10AM »

I bet that will be a great horn.  I have a Cerveny 683 stencil.  It it really more of a compactly wrapped 4/4 horn. The born is quite large, .787, and it plays like other 4/4 tubas.  Mine plays like a dream and is easy to play in tune. 

I also remember being shocked at how bad I was during the first few months.  Then I built up some lip muscle and everything came together.
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« Reply #110 on: Dec 30, 2017, 08:26AM »

Show me five standard repertoire orchestra pieces that community orchestras play that need those notes.
Mathis Der Maler, Symphony no 3, Cello Concerto, Niblissima Visione, Hindemith.    Sinfonietta Leos by Janaceck. Tod und Verklang, Ein Heldenleben, Salome, Don Quiote, Macbeth, R Strauss.    Manfred Symphony, Symphony no 2,no 5,no 6, Hamlet, Tchaikowsky.
Bolero Ravel.    Symphony no 1, no2, no5, no6,no 7 and no8, Mahler.    Lulu, Wozzeck, Violin Concerto, Alban Berg.    Symphony no 4, no 6, no 7, no 9, Bruckner.     Six Pieces, A Webern. Symphony no5, Prokofief.         A London Symphony, Symphony no 4, Vaugan-Williams. Isle Of The Dead, Symphony no 2, Rachmaninoff.    Symphony no 1, no 5, Shostakovich.    Symphony no 2, Brahms.    Hansel Und Gretel, Humperdinck. Nocturnes, Debussy.

Some of this is not played much in community orchestras i Sweden, all of this has been played though.
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« Reply #111 on: Dec 30, 2017, 08:29AM »

I find lipping notes easier on Tuba than on Euphonium, also most Tubas are designed so that at least the first valve slide is easily reachable for slide pulling (My first and 4th valve slides are both easily pulled on my Miraphone 186).  I see less need for a compensating tuba because of this than a Euphonium (although I personally play a non-compensating Euph. and take advantage of alternate fingerings and lipping on that instrument as well).  Tubas are inherently heavy instruments and a compensating system adds extra weight that isn't all that necessary. 

Yes that is a common way to play tuba (and Euphonium) Maybe we are Barbarians?
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« Reply #112 on: Dec 31, 2017, 01:04PM »

Mathis Der Maler, Symphony no 3, Cello Concerto, Niblissima Visione, Hindemith.    Sinfonietta Leos by Janaceck. Tod und Verklang, Ein Heldenleben, Salome, Don Quiote, Macbeth, R Strauss.    Manfred Symphony, Symphony no 2,no 5,no 6, Hamlet, Tchaikowsky.
Bolero Ravel.    Symphony no 1, no2, no5, no6,no 7 and no8, Mahler.    Lulu, Wozzeck, Violin Concerto, Alban Berg.    Symphony no 4, no 6, no 7, no 9, Bruckner.     Six Pieces, A Webern. Symphony no5, Prokofief.         A London Symphony, Symphony no 4, Vaugan-Williams. Isle Of The Dead, Symphony no 2, Rachmaninoff.    Symphony no 1, no 5, Shostakovich.    Symphony no 2, Brahms.    Hansel Und Gretel, Humperdinck. Nocturnes, Debussy.

Some of this is not played much in community orchestras i Sweden, all of this has been played though.

Community Orchestras with whom I've played (as a trombonist, not a tubist) have done:
Brahms 2
Bolero
Mahler 1
Humpergretel
Rachmaninoff 2

I've played some pieces in community bands/brassbands that have had the bass bone part go down to pedal D (doubled with tuba) as well, but I can't name any off the top of my head.

EDIT: They've done Tchaik5, also, but I'm not seeing any notes lower than F in the tuba part on IMSLP.
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« Reply #113 on: Jan 01, 2018, 04:09PM »

Thanks for the suggestion. Some of the Conns have been mentioned more than once. This whole thing is a moving target, taking up more of my time than I wished. I'm going to meet with the Tuba Exchange guys in a couple of weeks to play some new and used tubas, and also try to see Mack Brass, since they are close together. If I were really ambitious, I'd also swing up to Baltimore Brass. I'll probably keep changing my mind until I get to play something. Anyway, the current contender is the Mack tu210, which is a Hirsbrunner 192 clone.


The old contender was a Miraphone 186, but I heard some complaints about it being a little stuffy down low, plus it didn't have a mouthpiece or a case, and had a fair bit of damage. People seem to really like these chinese Macks. Some of the details may be wonky, like rough lacquer or braces that aren't dead straight, but the sound and playability are reportedly right up there with the originals. I'm anxious to play some of these so my opinion means something.

Miraphones are not stuffy down low.  I don't know where you heard that but it isn't true.  Miraphone 186 CC tubas were the standard orchestral tuba not too many years back.  The Miraphone 186BBb tubas are solid instruments for any type of playing.  You'll never go wrong with a 186.  Their low range is excellent and not at all stuffy.  I played one for over 10 years in the military and owned a couple myself. 
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« Reply #114 on: Jan 02, 2018, 03:43AM »

Quote
EDIT: They've done Tchaik5, also, but I'm not seeing any notes lower than F in the tuba part on IMSLP.
Well there are many low A in the bass trombone where the tuba is written one octave lower. In the fourth movement (Allegre vivace)there are some low Gs in the basstrombone, those are in the tuba part too but one octave lower.
If you play a three valve EEb tuba you have to fake all tones lower then contra A or play one octave up. That is how it is.
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« Reply #115 on: Jan 02, 2018, 05:24AM »

Well there are many low A in the bass trombone where the tuba is written one octave lower. In the fourth movement (Allegre vivace)there are some low Gs in the basstrombone, those are in the tuba part too but one octave lower.
If you play a three valve EEb tuba you have to fake all tones lower then contra A or play one octave up. That is how it is.

Oh ok, you were talking about an Eb tuba (is EEb the correct nomenclature? Somehow I got the impression that the changeover to double-letters happened at CC) and I was thinking about BBb. That wasn't a clear distinction when I followed the thread back.
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« Reply #116 on: Jan 02, 2018, 05:35AM »

Miraphones are not stuffy down low.  I don't know where you heard that but it isn't true.  Miraphone 186 CC tubas were the standard orchestral tuba not too many years back.  The Miraphone 186BBb tubas are solid instruments for any type of playing.  You'll never go wrong with a 186.  Their low range is excellent and not at all stuffy.  I played one for over 10 years in the military and owned a couple myself. 

I totally agree I've never played a 186 that I thought to be stuffy in the low register or anywhere else.  As an all around instrument I love my Miraphone 186 CC, it's great for small ensembles but I also play it as the sole tuba in a 50 piece concert band and no one has a problem hearing my bass lines, even in the lowest register.  Honestly because a couple of the groups I played Trombone or Euphonium with had a real need for Tuba (I hadn't played one since occasionally picking up Sousaphone with the Army reserve Band for parades, and I retired from there in 2000) I picked up a beater Yamaha YBB 321 (an instrument that I thought to be very underrated) and worked on Tuba on that, then bought my own Conn Sousaphone, I then at the urging of the Tuba instructor I'd been working with picked up the Miraphone 186 CC.  I sold the Yamaha because the Miraphone could do anything the bigger Yamaha could, and now have the Conn Sousaphone for Marching and outdoor gigs, and the Miraphone.  If you are seriously worried about stuffiness in the low register then you don't want a 3/4 Tuba, if you want a big low register sound you want a 4/4 or bigger.  I find myself really enjoying playing tuba more than Tenor Trombone these days, and I'm actually in more demand on Tuba as well.  Making the Transition to Tuba from Trombone is a slippery slope, you may find they want you on Tuba more than they do on Trombone.
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« Reply #117 on: Jan 02, 2018, 06:37AM »

The stuffy bit is something I just heard from one source. Probably shouldn't have paid any attention to it. I tend to discount people's accounts of stuffy small bore trombone, but I didn't think a tuba should be stuffy at all. Anyway, I think the 186 is probably out of my league. I'm going to look into some smaller tubas. After playing what is billed as a 3/4 BBb or a tightly wrapped 4/4, I think that size is sonically too big for me to manage. The whole thing was I wanted to get something I can just pick up and play almost like a euph, but with more weight. Maybe I should look at a small bore F. I really just need something that can play bass bone parts but with a bit more heft than a euphonium.
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« Reply #118 on: Jan 02, 2018, 08:58AM »

I played a Mirafone 5 valve F (180-5U) in an orchestra, a quintet, and a concert band.  I was able to keep up with just about all the parts I was presented with (except when I was given a Bb treble tuba part - couldn't figure out the fingerings on the fly).  I still have it but don't play it as much as I used to.

Note that Kilton Vinal Smith played an F tuba for his entire stint as tuba player for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
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« Reply #119 on: Jan 02, 2018, 06:03PM »

Please note that beginner tubists in school programs play only BBb tuba. They do not play Eb, EEb,F, CC or anything else. If you're having difficulty differentiating between Bb-F-Bb you should really think some more about the necessity of selecting anything other than a small BBb.

I realize that you do not want to waste your money, that you want to buy the perfect horn the first time out-- but you'll get nothing but conflicting opinions here, and even more conflicting opinion on TubeNet, where I believe that you've asked the same questions using a different user name.

If you're committed to playing tuba, rent a small 3/4 BBb Yamaha and really get into it. I owned a small 3/4 YBB-103 and loved it to pieces.

You should also consider the resale value, if you choose to buy a more expensive horn later once you learn to love tuba. Far far easier to resell a BBb model.
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« Reply #120 on: Jan 02, 2018, 07:54PM »

Bonesmarsh,
I've heard from elsewhere that one group always started learners on Eb. So generalizations may not be what you think they should be. I've stated earlier in this thread that I was seeking help from tubists and non-tubists at the same time. Being an adult, I recognize the contradictory nature of internet advice, but thanks for restating.

I needed a little introductory information, which I now have. Its time to start playing instruments. I'll put together the experiences from playing with the contradictory internet advice.

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« Reply #121 on: Jan 02, 2018, 08:05PM »

Please understand, Jackbird, that it really doesn't make a difference whether you use one name on each Forum or different ones.  I will resist any user trying to create two accounts on THIS forum, but that's just our rules (we had a few guys create one account to ask legitimate questions and another to be a troll).

I don't care which tuba you choose.  I think the BBb fingerings will flow better but my experience on several full size ones and Sousaphones was that they didn't fit ME.  I went Eb and eventually F and did fine.  But you may find a small BBb to be just the ticket.
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« Reply #122 on: Jan 02, 2018, 10:53PM »

As a sort of resolution to this issue, I went today and bought a Mack Brass tuba from Tom McGrady. I got a BBb 4 rotor 3/4 size (Cerveny 683 Arion copy Jinbao Jbbb220) . My initial reaction is God, its disconcertingly large. I can't hear the difference between F and Bb, I sound like a junior high school student.

This is why I doubted the need for a valve to play those five notes at the very bottom that never show up in parts anyway.  Don't know
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« Reply #123 on: Jan 03, 2018, 04:26AM »

Bonesmarsh,
I've heard from elsewhere that one group always started learners on Eb.



I would guess that those beginners may have started on Eb sheet music as well as Eb instruments, so until they advanced quite a bit they would be limited in playing music in concert pitch. 
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« Reply #124 on: Jan 03, 2018, 06:50AM »

This is why I doubted the need for a valve to play those five notes at the very bottom that never show up in parts anyway.  Don't know

It's not just about the low notes, which initially I can't play anyway. The 4th valve plays a huge role in intonation, which needs to be pretty good if this instrument isn't going to eff with my ears.

I've been picking up the instrument every hour or so and seeing if I can play a tuning Bb right out of the gate. I'm getting better at that. Scales, intervals, melodies. Trying to slur passages to make it sound like music rather than isolated blattts. I may be able to make this instrument work for me. The more I read, the more I find that people like this model, which is the same as the defunct Wessex Prague, Cerveny Arion 683. Plus, access to some of the smaller Eb horns in reliable condition is limited. Wessex seems to be sold out of the Champion, Solo, and Bombino, as well as the Junior/Imp. Mack sold me the smallest horn he had, although he supposedly carries a Yammie 103 clone w/4 valves.

Practice is clearly the key, but a smaller horn might have given me a leg up (mainly because of the air issue). This 220 has a .787 bore while some of the small Ebs have a .6x. That has to be more manageable. The BBb will go as low as I'll ever need to (or be able to) go. I have started exploring the "trigger" range, but have yet to reach the pedal range, and then pedal trigger is just a fog below that. It may be a while before I'm willing to play with other people. I've had the horn less than a week, so it's still too early to make predictions, but I am starting to enjoy it more. Playing some Rochut, and want to start playing some basslines off the page.
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« Reply #125 on: Jan 03, 2018, 08:56AM »

It's not just about the low notes, which initially I can't play anyway. The 4th valve plays a huge role in intonation, which needs to be pretty good if this instrument isn't going to eff with my ears.


Some tubas but not all have another harmonic series in the "trigger" range.  I guess they're false tones, but they don't feel like it.  If yours has it, open will be an Eb below your Bb, and your valves will work down from there.  If you're not playing that range yet on your 4th valve you probably can't check if these exist on your horn, but when you get there you should see. 
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« Reply #126 on: Jan 03, 2018, 09:08AM »

I would guess that those beginners may have started on Eb sheet music as well as Eb instruments, so until they advanced quite a bit they would be limited in playing music in concert pitch. 

Some of those beginners were trumpet players who found the fingerings on an Eb tuba easier to follow since they would use the same "buttons" for a particular note placement on the staff.

Some of those beginners were small children for whom a large BBb is too hard to fill.

Jackbird, I found a 24AW way too big to fill.  I went to Helleberg style pieces.  I have a Schilke 66 that works well for me, as well as a Mirafone H2.  In fact, I have 3 different sized ones: the Mirafone being the smallest, the Schilke a little larger, and a Perantucci S25 (it has a new number now) as the biggest.  When I haven't played in a while, I need to use the Mirafone for a couple of days, then switch to the Schilke.  When I'm really playing a lot of tube the Perantucci goes in.
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« Reply #127 on: Jan 03, 2018, 10:01AM »


Jackbird, I found a 24AW way too big to fill.  I went to Helleberg style pieces.  I have a Schilke 66 that works well for me, as well as a Mirafone H2.  In fact, I have 3 different sized ones: the Mirafone being the smallest, the Schilke a little larger, and a Perantucci S25 (it has a new number now) as the biggest.  When I haven't played in a while, I need to use the Mirafone for a couple of days, then switch to the Schilke.  When I'm really playing a lot of tube the Perantucci goes in.

The 24AW is what came with it, but a tuba playing friend also recommended the Helleberg. As I understand it, "Helleberg" is a style rather than a brand or model. Is that right? It's a conical mouthpiece? I like more conical shapes on my bass bone. What Helleberg model with a relatively small throat but possibly deep cup would you recommend?
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« Reply #128 on: Jan 03, 2018, 10:08AM »

I liked the Mirafone H2 as a "starter" piece.  The Schilke 66 and 67 are both Hellebergs; the 66 being a little smaller.  Both are larger than the Mirafone.

Marcinkiewicz has a whole series of Hellebergs numbered H1 to H4.  I have an H1, but it seems a tad big; maybe the higher numbers are smaller.

Lots of tuba players like the Conn Helleberg but they are not made any more and you'll have to find a used one.
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« Reply #129 on: Jan 03, 2018, 10:16AM »

The answer to the Hellberg question is... both.  Conn made two versions of the Helleberg mpc.  Regular (120S) and 7B.  The 7B might have a slightly smaller rim diameter and a bit deeper, IIRC.  Both have fairly flat rims - but they do vary. 

Helleberg is also a style of mpc.  Most makers offer one.  The Schilke is especially nice and I have heard good things about the Faxx. 

When I started on tuba, I used an 18, which I thought worked well.  I then moved to a Conn Helleberg, also excellent.  I stumbled across a Schilke Helleberg - even better!  But the 18 is probably a better place to start.  They are plentiful and cheap.  Maybe the Faxx 18 if you want something new...
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« Reply #130 on: Jan 03, 2018, 11:12AM »

One other possibility is the plastic Kellyberg.  My quintet tubist started on one.  He's basically a Euph player but the Kelly worked great for him.  And the price was good.

My first tuba mouthpiece was an unbranded 25 (similar to the Bach, but probably not made as well -- how would I have known?).  Smaller than the 18.

One other suggestion to get you started.  I have a period (late 19th Century) tuba mouthpiece that is basically a more conical 1 1/2 G.  See if your bass trombone mouthpiece gives you better control over the partials.  As you develop you will discover that it's too small and can intelligently move on to something bigger.
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« Reply #131 on: Jan 03, 2018, 05:41PM »

I liked the Mirafone H2 as a "starter" piece.  The Schilke 66 and 67 are both Hellebergs; the 66 being a little smaller.  Both are larger than the Mirafone.

Marcinkiewicz has a whole series of Hellebergs numbered H1 to H4.  I have an H1, but it seems a tad big; maybe the higher numbers are smaller.

Lots of tuba players like the Conn Helleberg but they are not made any more and you'll have to find a used one.
Conn still has two models of Helleberg still available the 120S (standard Model) or the 7B. 
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« Reply #132 on: Jan 03, 2018, 06:47PM »

Conn still has two models of Helleberg still available the 120S (standard Model) or the 7B. 

Yeah, I bought the S from Hickey's. They said it would make me sound like a pipe organ.  :D  Bigger inside diameter, smaller throat. We'll see.
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« Reply #133 on: Jan 06, 2018, 07:14PM »

I double the motion.

A Bb tuba would make the most sense to a trombone player without previous valve experience and the 3/4 school models can be found used cheaply. I have one.

I also have an Eb tuba.  It's more like a euphonium than a real bass instrument.



Robcat,

You kind of speak of it in a deprecating kind of way, but I'm interested in your tuba. First, you say it's kind of like a big euphonium. How tall is it? What's the bell size? What year was it born? How much does it weigh? I've watched your video a couple times, and I think the tone is ok. Do you know of other horns like yours?

I think that's the kind of thing that will work for me.  A BBb, even 3/4 is just too much horn for me, and I don't need all that low range. Something closer to the euphonium will be helpful. Is there anything you could say about it or how to find one on the used market?
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« Reply #134 on: Jan 06, 2018, 07:31PM »

His looks like mine, which is a Conn Worcester (made shortly after they bought out the Isaac Fiske company) from 1892.  Instruments from that period all seem similar (I've seen several).

A 3 valve Eb like mine will come pretty cheap; generally under $500 and maybe even under $200.  My tuba has a shank slightly larger than a bass trombone and I use a contra mouthpiece on it.  If you lived closer I'd be happy to let you try mine, but there's no way I can send it to you (besides, it's the main one I play when I need to play tuba).

Here's one that needs a little TLC (and a waterkey):

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-C-G-Conn-Tuba/292337353748?hash=item4410aa0414:g:TA0AAOSwh1haEa59
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« Reply #135 on: Jan 06, 2018, 08:42PM »


Thanks for the link. This horn represents what scares me about the combination of my ignorance and the plethora of tuba options. How do you know it's an Eb? High or low pitch? Do the valves or slides work? Holes in tubes? Its represented as not working, so thete might be a whole lot more wrong with it than he discloses. Would it be too insulting to offer him $250 because of the lack of info and the risk it can't be fixed?
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« Reply #136 on: Jan 07, 2018, 10:04AM »

It's not just about the low notes, which initially I can't play anyway. The 4th valve plays a huge role in intonation, which needs to be pretty good if this instrument isn't going to eff with my ears.

There really is no valve scheme that solves it all. My preference is the 3-valve compensating tuba to address the intonation problem.

But you have that 4th valve now. When a double low C comes up at the philharmonic, you will have no excuses!

Robcat,

You kind of speak of it in a deprecating kind of way,

I call it skepticism


Quote
but I'm interested in your tuba. First, you say it's kind of like a big euphonium. How tall is it? What's the bell size? What year was it born? How much does it weigh?

My Eb tuba is 28" tall, the bell is 12.5" wide, it weighs about 9 lbs.

It was made by Goumat & Co around 1900 A.D.


Quote
I've watched your video a couple times, and I think the tone is ok.


I think it's the best-sounding $29 tuba on the planet.


Quote
Do you know of other horns like yours?

It's the only Eb tuba I've ever encountered personally and I've never heard of anyone else having a Goumat of any sort.


Quote
I think that's the kind of thing that will work for me.  A BBb, even 3/4 is just too much horn for me, and I don't need all that low range. Something closer to the euphonium will be helpful. Is there anything you could say about it or how to find one on the used market?

I think you should stick with the 3/4 tuba you have. I don't think an Eb is enough of a tuba to do the job.

The first time I tried a tuba was in high school when I brought home a sousaphone over the summer. My trombone mouthpiece at the time was a Bach 11C so the tuba mouthpiece felt impossibly large. I got some notes and scales going but nothing musical. I didn't have the air for it.

The second time I tried tuba was the last year of college after I had been playing bass trombone for several years on a Schilke 60 which is about as large as BT mouthpieces get. A tuba mouthpiece still felt too large to me so I wrapped a bit of tape on the end of my Schilke and used that in the tuba. I was able to play the conventional tuba range with appropriate sound and flexibility with that.

The third time I tried tuba was in recent years. I got the 3/4 tuba first and experimented with both the Schilke 60 and a conventional Conn Bach 24AW.  Each had pluses and minuses for me but experimenting back and forth over several months I got more comfortable with the regular tuba size and began to feel it was feasible.

Later I got a 4/4 tuba. The Schilke 60 didn't work well on that so I stuck with the 24AW. I got it to be manageable although I feel like my sound is on the pinched side. If I put years into it, as real tuba players do, I might fix that but it's not a priority in the grand scheme of life.



I think the leap from trombone mouthpiece to tuba mouthpiece is a huge one and the time you've had so far is not enough. The transition took a long time for me.

I suspect a smaller tuba mouthpiece would make sense for what you are doing right now (I haven't read the whole thread.  Maybe you are already on a small mouthpiece.)



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« Reply #137 on: Jan 07, 2018, 03:48PM »

" Yammie 103 clone with 4 valves...."

When I studied tuba with the late great John Griffiths he was doing R&D for Yamaha. Yamaha was trying to do an endorsement deal with The Canadian Brass. Yamaha built the horns-- Schilke rebuilt them and cleaned them up, and gave them to the Brats. Then Yamaha introduced the stock horns that were supposed to be copies of the Brats horns-- except they weren't.

The 103 was designed to be a quintet horn with 4 valves in CC for Chuck Dallenbach. Yamaha copied the Dallenbach horn and beefed it up to BBb, and threw out the 4th valve. That was the 103. There was a 4 valve model in BBb that you'll NEVER find used. They're obsolete for about the past 30 years, like the 103.

So, a Yammie 103 clone with 4 valves is never to be found, but if you did, it'd be THE ONE. The original owners never let them go-- ever.

A note about Eb tubas. Modern tubas in Eb designed for Brit brass band work, and the very serious professional models designed for orchestral use, have 17" to `19" bells. If you want to go to TubeNet and get the 10 million page answer about which is better, suit yourself.
The smaller obsolete Eb tuba which is not big enough for any modern use, has the 12" to 13" bell.

John brought the original prototype BBb 103 to my lessons. He loved it. I loved it. I bought one, 25 years later.....and found it to be impossible to be played in tune by an adult with a proper mouthpiece.

Two things to look out for on any tuba--mouthpieces can be bought to make any tuba play better in tune-- the other ones make fantastically expensive paper weights and usually make 99.99999% of tubas play more out of tune....hence the hoards of amateur tubists who use community band owned tubas and still spend $1K a year on mouthpieces. ha ha hah hahaha
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« Reply #138 on: Jan 07, 2018, 06:15PM »

Bonesmarsh,
The 4 valve 103 exists as a Jinbao clone, I think called a 355.  http://www.mackbrass.com/MACK-TU520L__BBb_Tuba.php

I think I can find a voice for the small obsolete bass Eb. Even if its only in my practice room or my low brass quartet. I know my limitations and I don't have any interest in playing a contrabass.

Yeah, the dreaded mouthpiece quest. Well, I'll just find Mr Elliott at a show and have him sort me out. Avoid the expensive guess work.
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« Reply #139 on: Jan 08, 2018, 11:36AM »

Bonesmarsh,
The 4 valve 103 exists as a Jinbao clone, I think called a 355.  http://www.mackbrass.com/MACK-TU520L__BBb_Tuba.php

I think I can find a voice for the small obsolete bass Eb. Even if its only in my practice room or my low brass quartet. I know my limitations and I don't have any interest in playing a contrabass.

Yeah, the dreaded mouthpiece quest. Well, I'll just find Mr Elliott at a show and have him sort me out. Avoid the expensive guess work.
Be careful about calling the Eb obsolete, here in the states they have become less common than they used to be, but they are very common over in the UK, and still used quite a bit in Brass bands.  There are many Eb players around who will take offense at you calling their instrument obsolete.
 
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« Reply #140 on: Jan 08, 2018, 12:27PM »

Be careful about calling the Eb obsolete, here in the states they have become less common than they used to be, but they are very common over in the UK, and still used quite a bit in Brass bands.  There are many Eb players around who will take offense at you calling their instrument obsolete.
 
Maybe you didn't catch it, but I was repeating bonesmarsh's snark in a possibly sarcastic tone
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Bonesmarsh: The smaller obsolete Eb tuba which is not big enough for any modern use
I don't share that assessment.
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« Reply #141 on: Jan 08, 2018, 01:53PM »

Nothing wrong with the small Eb tuba.  I used mine as a double in Big Band (different sound from bass bone).  I also used it in a reading band (20 pieces) where it filled out the ensemble just fine.
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« Reply #142 on: Jan 08, 2018, 04:37PM »

The tiny version is obsolete, and as I recall, all beginner band methods 50 years ago had special Eb tuba books as standard issue. The 13" belled versions were sold as 3/4 size models for kids to begin on-- especially transplanted former trumpet players who got stuck on them to shore up weak bass lines.

Lots of other bizarre 3/4 size Eb horns around in the early 1900s...cavalry mounted bands used them. Helicons were in Eb. Sousies were in Eb.

The MODERN Eb tuba, with 17" to 19"  bell is alive and well, and in terms of sheer numbers likely is in more hands than CC tubas. Modern Ebs, as played by John Fletcher, are the best of all possible tuba worlds-- but you still have to practice them 20 hours a day, and all the expensive mouthpieces won't save you....TubeNet has two choices for modern large Eb. No point mentioning the two choieces....those debates are raging as I write this....
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« Reply #143 on: Jan 09, 2018, 11:26AM »

Oy, the Cimbasso.
This was the sound I've been hearing in my head. No wonder I can't settle on a tuba. I never wanted a tuba at all. I wanted a cimbasso! "Fiddle section exterminator"?!?!?!?




https://youtu.be/mEa4VqsXBug?t=19m10s
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« Reply #144 on: Jan 09, 2018, 12:11PM »

You will be looking far and wide to find an inexpensive cimbasso.  I think Wessex has about the best value, and you still will be paying a couple of thousand US$.

Time to look at cost/benefits.
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« Reply #145 on: Jan 09, 2018, 12:16PM »

You will be looking far and wide to find an inexpensive cimbasso.  I think Wessex has about the best value, and you still will be paying a couple of thousand US$.

Time to look at cost/benefits.

If I were looking at this from a financially pragmatic point of view, I'd sell all my horns for recycling scrap. I'm not making any money at this, or not enough to justify another horn,  anyway.
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« Reply #146 on: Jan 09, 2018, 01:39PM »

Is a cimbasso conceptually very different from a valve contrabass trombone?
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« Reply #147 on: Jan 09, 2018, 01:44PM »

Is a cimbasso conceptually very different from a valve contrabass trombone?

Don't think so. Cimbasso can have 5 rotary valves,and slide kickers. And a cow catcher for slow clarinet players.
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« Reply #148 on: Jan 09, 2018, 02:11PM »

Is a cimbasso conceptually very different from a valve contrabass trombone?
A moderna cimbasso is a valve contrabass trombone.
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« Reply #149 on: Jan 09, 2018, 02:38PM »

I'd stick with the 3/4 tuba for a while until you get you low chops working well.
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« Reply #150 on: Jan 18, 2018, 07:11PM »

At this point I may be posting more to hear myself talk than anything, but this story has evolved a little. Maybe someone else is or will go through something similar, and at least I can flag one route not to take. I sent back the BBb that I had bought. It was just too big. I couldn't hear pitches, I couldn't string more than 2 notes together in a breath, etc. The horn was fine, the service was fine, I just think I bought the last horn he had in stock, and I couldn't make it work because I'm not a real tuba player, and don't have any desire to be a "real tuba player".

So I went and got a 3/4 3+1 compensating Eb. It finally got delivered today, after mudslides, snow, cold, and a holiday. So the first lesson is, go try a bunch of instruments. Have someone with you who knows what's what. I was too nervous to buy something used because you're kind of at the whim of ebay or craigslist or whatever dealer you go see. Buying new you have more control, but there's more money involved too. I didn't feel I understood the variables involved well enough to buy a used tuba with any confidence. Shipping tubas is expensive, and seems to guarantee damage unless the person packing is a real pro. Just some things to think about.

Anyway, what I got feels right, and I think I can move forward with this. I got the Wessex Bombino. https://wessex-tubas.com/collections/tubas/products/eb-compensated-tuba-bombino-te360 Now here's a lesson I learned about the Chinese instrument dealers: They often don't have everything in stock. So you can't just say I want X and get X sent to you. You're best if you can catch them at a convention. They do a lot of bulk sales to schools. They can also be a source of great information. Tom McGrady, for example, is an excellent tubist. Turned out we were at NEC a few years apart. I'm not sure he really understood the trombone player's doubling concerns, but If you're a fellow tubist looking for something, he's full of knowledge. If you're actually afraid of tubas and trying to get the least tuba thing out there that might still be called a tuba, that may be something he doesn't really get. You can't really blame him, that's not his thing. Being afraid of the tuba isn't really something that anyone is going to want to encourage you toward. As a real tubist, Tom has some prejudices that non-tubists might not relate to. Like real tubas play in F or CC. Or certain size related ideas.

The Bombino is billed as small and light. But it's not a travel tuba or a tornister or a toy tuba. Some say its a recreation of obsolete 100 year old tubas. It's still a hand-span larger than a euphonium, and takes a real tuba mouthpiece. So to a trombone player, it's neither small nor light. 15 lbs is I guess light to a tubist. Still, it has a very satisfying sound - a soothing bass humm that you can feel in whatever organ the smell of pancakes satisfies. Easy high and low ranges. It's not so diffuse that you can't really hear the fundamental pitch. I've played it an hour or so, and I'm starting to catch on to Eb fingerings a little. This will do quartet or quintet just fine, and make the low notes sound like native territory. It will also do a chamber orchestra just fine without overpowering the cellos and bassoons.

Wessex offers 3 tubas that are all very similar. Maybe 4, but one isn't on the site. Symphonic, Champion, Solo, and Bombino. They are all 3+1 comp Ebs with varying bell sizes and other details. They are also all sold out in the US. The Bombino is a pretty comfortable size for someone afraid of tubas, and the mouthpiece is I think big enough that my chops aren't going to get it confused with a bass bone mouthpiece. Tom did let me play one of the F travel tubas he had (http://www.mackbrass.com/Micro_Travel_Tuba_in_F.php), and I have to tell you it was very difficult for me to leave that thing behind. It was as much a compact cimbasso as anything. Great (trombony) sound, but a couple stuffy notes down low.

So for tbone players who want to dabble in tuba, get a 3/4 Eb. I suggest a 3+1 compensating so you don't have to learn tuning nuances, but if that's ok with you, you still may want a 4th valve for alternate fingerings and a little extra range. Don't get pulled into the discussion about the finer points of 5/4 vs 6/4 - or CC vs BBb - unless you're steering a huge symphony or band, you don't need all that. The whole tuba topic is a swirling labyrinth of technical contradictions and massive amounts of unsupportable prejudice. It doesn't make sense that a couple feet of brass tube can make such philosophical differences between an Eb pipe and a CC pipe. And yet, the tuba forum would have little to say if it weren't for arguing about a handful of these esoteric differences.

And that's what I learned about tuba the last few weeks.
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« Reply #151 on: Jan 18, 2018, 08:23PM »

As I mentioned earlier, I started on an Eb tuba.  It was one of a pair that were restored by a friend and he sold it to me for the princely sum of $200.  It's an 1892 Conn Worcester Eb with 3 valves.  i still have it and still play it.  I started learning it by playing my Arban's exercises (the ones I knew) on the Eb.  Bit by bit I got to the point I didn't need to write fingerings down and could sightread fairly well.  At one point I played a tuba solo called "Beelzebub" by Catozzi with my Town Band.

I also moved on to an F tuba: a Mirafone 180-5U.  I found it to be excellent as a tuba for someone who plays Trombone.  Fit my community orchestras just fine.

Good luck and have fun.
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