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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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Radar

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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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Doug Elliott
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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.

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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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