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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby kmorgancraw » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:55 am

williamp wrote:
A 5/4 tuba has a bell throat that measures between 17-18.5 inches in circumference at the ferrule. That's the official rule.

6/4 18.5+
4/4 less than 17"
3/4 really small...

These are the official, unquestionable rules for ?/4 tuba sizes.
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I'm curious where these "official and unquestionable" rules originated and if all tuba manufacturers agree with them.


On the internet....But really, bell girth is the determining factor in tuba ?/4 size. It isn't overall height, bore size or bell diameter.

If it were bore size, a Cerveny piggy would be "bigger" than the CSO York.
If it were bell diameter, a Conn 3J would be the same size as the CSO York.
If it were over height, a King pit tuba would be a 9/4 tuba.

Bell girth gives a tuba it's characteristic sound. For example, the BMB line. The 4/4 vs 6/4 tubas are identical aside from their bell girths, and of course matching outer bows.

A uniform place to take this measurement is at the ferrule mentioned previously.

There are companies that violate the official rules occasionally, like the GR51/55 example in which they tack on a tiny bit of bell diameter and 4th valve bore size and market two "different" tubas.

Disclaimer: There are no official rules.
Last edited by kmorgancraw on Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby roweenie » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:31 am

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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby DouglasJB » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:50 am

Where would something like the PCK sit? It's not nearly as large as some other 6/4's, but we'll bigger then a 186
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby kmorgancraw » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:35 am

DouglasJB wrote:Where would something like the PCK sit? It's not nearly as large as some other 6/4's, but we'll bigger then a 186


I'm confident you'd find that it qualifies as a 6/4 by the official standards I laid out. The Baer is a small 6/4 as well, but qualifies.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Slamson » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:07 pm

A tuba can only be as "big" as the sound put into it.
I find it kind of laughable that some folks seem to think that buying the largest instrument available will automatically give them a "5/4" or "6/4" sound. Buying any tuba is like buying a car without the engine... that's where the player comes in. For most of us, getting a 6/4 is like putting an engine from a Corolla into a Chevy Suburban.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby eutubabone » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:43 pm

Ok, sooooo....what about the mouthpice one uses?
(Sorry, too tempting to not include this too.)
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Mike-Johnson-Custom » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:39 pm

kmorgancraw wrote:A 5/4 tuba has a bell throat that measures between 17-18.5 inches in circumference at the ferrule. That's the official rule.

6/4 18.5+
4/4 less than 17"
3/4 really small...

These are the official, unquestionable rules for ?/4 tuba sizes.

Hmmm.
But that doesn't take bell length into consideration.
It's the same argument as the valves being called a certain size. But I've worked on BBb Tubas with .728" bore and 14" leadpipe. or .846 with a 30" leadpipe. How do you say which is large bore, when it's all related to a function of bore.

Mark wrote:I have always thought of the PT6P as a prototypical 5/4 size tuba.

The PT6, 5/4, uses the same bell mandrel as the Melton 25 BBb, 4/4....
Also look at Sam Gnagey's CCs.
They take a 4/4 BBb and put a 6/4 Eb bell on it...
So then the pitch comes into it.

Soooo confusing. :shock:
The Yamayork is 6/4 but physically small. So is it a small 6/4 or a large 5/4.... :|

Just a few thoughts...
Last edited by Mike-Johnson-Custom on Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby GC » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:01 am

Hm. But the PT-6 is a CC where the 25 is a BBb. The PT-6 is a relatively larger instrument considering the key.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby groth » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:11 am

Dan Schultz wrote:
groth wrote:Anything over 40'' tall might be considered 5/4.


The B & S model 101 tubas with a stovepipe bell are 42" overall and would not qualify as a 5/4 in my estimation.

Have you ever played a Mack Brass TU200? 43.5'' tall and nearly 18'' bell is a big horn. It's billed out as a 4/4, but there's no way (at minimum it's a small 5/4 size). Especially before they move the lead pipes down, it's a very uncomfortably large horn.
Last edited by groth on Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby groth » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:15 am

eutubabone wrote:Ok, sooooo....what about the mouthpice one uses?
(Sorry, too tempting to not include this too.)

Very true, I have used smaller mouthpieces that make my horn really stuffy and sound like a 3-valve Yamaha top action pea shooter. Other pieces that make it sound as large as a 6/4, (and it's a standard 4/4).
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Ken Herrick » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:38 am

Hey, Joe, put that old King together and give somebody the chance to play a beautiful instrument - 5/4 or 6/4. I did comparisons, with knowledgeable listeners, and for volume and tone quality it beat the s++t out of Conn 25** and others and was a h++l of a lot easier to play. I'll even offer a couple hints on how to make them even better. I would be VERY interested to know the serial number on that one. It might be one of the Ohio State 6, though have doubts as after I got mine, plus one for Jake they were going to keep them. Harvey thought mine was pretty darned good too.

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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby bloke » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:29 am

Which color of 5/4 tuba would be the best, assuming it is a ~true~ 5/4, and not a wannabe?

As far as a mouthpiece is concerned (as someone asked) the definitive one, here, would be the Kellyberg Glitter Gold, and this is not subject to debate.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby cktuba » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:40 am

Did you say glitter gold Kellyberg???

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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby basslizard » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:51 am

Dylan King wrote:I think of it like t-shirt sizes.

3/4 = Medium
4/4 = Large
5/4 = XL
6/4 = XXL

There is no size “Small”.
We’re talking tubas, after all.


Small would be a baritone.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby nworbekim » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:10 am

My king 2341 is in the shop for maintenance and I used my TE 1914L (which is advertised as a 5/4) for a rehearsal last night. It was rough on an old guy. It was cumbersome and I felt like I was blowing air into a 5 gallon bucket. The sound was tremendous though... The guy sitting next to me wants to buy it. I might, I'm wishing for an upgrade euphonium from my king 2280.

I tried a couple of mouthpieces and actually a smaller mouthpiece than the Bach 7 I usually used in earlier days made it easier for me. A Bach 24AW helped. Hey! I got one of the Kelly berg gold sparklies on sale ... I use it when I want to stand out from the crowd... The kids love it :D
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby joh_tuba » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:33 pm

Mike-Johnson-Custom wrote:The PT6, 5/4, uses the same bell mandrel as the Melton 25 BBb, 4/4....


Is this true? IF soo they are almost certainly using a different section of the mandrel. The PT6 has 2" more bell flare and has a larger bottom bow than the MW25.

If true, they are probably spinning out the bell flare further *and* trimming the 'small end' higher to fit a bigger bottom bow.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Leland » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:41 pm

(not taking credit for this list)

3/4 - Violinist says, "That's a nice tuba"
4/4 - Clarinetist says, "That tuba sounds good"
5/4 - Trumpeter says, "That's a big tuba"
6/4 - Bass trombonist says, "That's f***ing awesome!"
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby kmorgancraw » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:32 pm

Leland wrote:(not taking credit for this list)

3/4 - Violinist says, "That's a nice tuba"
4/4 - Clarinetist says, "That tuba sounds good"
5/4 - Trumpeter says, "That's a big tuba"
6/4 - Bass trombonist says, "That's f***ing awesome!"


In my experience, other people in the orchestra don't see any difference in any tubas... Most are only thinking, "Yup, that looks like a tuba." Maybe your trombone neighbors will notice, but a violinist? Nope, they don't give two Schitts.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby bloke » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:18 pm

If you really want your tuba to be noticed, show up thirty seconds before the end of the scherzo movement.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby cktuba » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:01 pm

Of course the only real 5/4 tuba is the new Miraphony Brubeck model.
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