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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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Author Topic: Looking for tuba advice from non-tubists  (Read 5167 times)
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jackbird
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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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BGuttman
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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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Bruce Guttman
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bonesmarsh
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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The tiny version is obsolete, and as I recall, all beginner band methods 50 years ago had special Eb tuba books as standard issue.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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jackbird
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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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BGuttman
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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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Bruce Guttman
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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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robcat2075

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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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Robert Holmén

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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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Kanstul 1662. Bach 45B. Kanstul 1555. Besson Euphonium. Kanstul 66-S Tuba. Sackbuts in F/E/Eb Bb/A
And several horns I should sell.
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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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Robert Holmén

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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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BGuttman
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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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Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch. President 2017-2018
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