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water filling mouthpipe

Postby pjv » Fri May 22, 2020 2:22 pm

It has always seemed rather strange to me that German style tubas most usually have a mouthpipe design which, once it rounds the bell, goes upwards, creating a major trap for water. Strange because the rest of these tubas are designed to very efficiently drain as much water condensation as possible from all valves straight through to the main tuning slide.

I know the mouthpipe is long, but still, it seems like a major contradiction in craftsmanship. They even do it often with F tubas.

Or am I missing some greater design?
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby Matt G » Fri May 22, 2020 2:31 pm

Does the roughly 15 degree tilt keep this from being a problem?

I also think that rise in the bend allows for a place for condensation to collect while the horn is on its bell and the player is counting rests so that it doesn’t dribble out the mouthpiece and welcome the player with some unwanted liquid when they pick up the horn.

This is assuming the player sets the horn down with (from the player’s perspective) a counterclockwise rotation and picks it up with a clockwise rotation.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby bloke » Fri May 22, 2020 3:14 pm

' interesting point.

The ancient student model Yamaha YBB-102 featured a "bassoon bocal"-shaped mouthpipe tube, and - potentially - could have featured the same annoyance...but I never played one long enough for that to happen...

...so what are you doing to deal with this...?? pulling the mouthpiece and draining the condensation out the receiver? ...or has this actually presented itself as a problem for you personally?
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby pjv » Fri May 22, 2020 7:01 pm

Though I have played some tubas where the holding position was enough to let it drain, it’s not always the case.
When at rest laying the tuba across my lap (in the typical rest position) is enough to drain it.
It can be a problem when I play for some time with barely any rest. On a humid day that can happen after about 3 min non stop playing.
I can hit my spit valve on the fly (even while playing if it’s really necessary), but slanting my tuba doesn’t work on delicate passages.
I didn’t mean for this to be a whining session. But considering all the details going into making a product of this kind of craftsmanship, the hundreds of years which have lead to the horns we play today, I just can’t imagine that water build up in the most narrow tube on the tuba would be a non issue. Lowering the valve set down the body of the tuba would create more than enough room for a proper drainage slant on the mouthpipe. You’d also gain a more comfortable playing position for your hand as well. (I remember some of Matt’s rebuilds had this).
Maybe it’s all about tradition. Mouthpipes go around the bell, then they follow the bow before they verge off to enter the valves.
If I ever have to replace a mouthpipe, I might just have it bent so it ends higher up on the bell. Sure, the tuba might have to rest on the chair but so what, I’ve had that before.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby bloke » Sat May 23, 2020 9:32 am

Most of those tubas (with the long upwardly-looping mouthpipes) are B-flat tubas (agreed?), and many B-flat tubas (in the USA) are played by wind-band tuba players.
Those players are (yes?) going to warm up their instruments and - particularly, in the winter, when indoor temps barely reach 70 degrees, and there's a constant cooling tendency - considerable condensation will tend to continuously form.

...and not meaning to hijack the thread, here...
Orchestral tuba players have a little bit different cold/condensation problem to deal with:
When they practice at home, they end up being "all warmed up", but - in the real world of performance (and rehearsals, as well as auditions), they are mostly playing cold instruments. Not only do cold tubas play flat, but they tend to form condensation really quickly, as well as play out-of-tune more so than they would if warmed up - as the front-ends of the air columns begin to warm, but the larger back ends of the air columns remain cold by the time most passages have ended. I suspect it never occurs to any of us (when shopping for an instrument to play in an orchestra) to test/evaluate an instrument's intonation/response when it is cold.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby pjv » Sat May 23, 2020 10:14 am

Thanks for the 2 cents.
My playing requirements are both long playing or short bouts, more often the former.
I started off as an orchestra player but ended up in the everything else circuit (pop, jazz, theater, quintet, etc).
I gave up CC when I started getting crazy from improvising on a Bb (bass or tenor) trombone/euphonium/whatever and then making the switch to CC tuba, sometimes in the same tune.
Fortunately I live close to Germany so I have more than enough quality BBB’s to choose from. However I often end up in rehearsal spaces which could be warmer (including my own). So I deal with excess condensation all too regularly.
I get your point about CC and BBb worlds.
Seeing that BBb and F are the default tuba’s Germany
AND
they have a very vibrant orchestra scene as well as a their more traditional bands (wind bands, etc)
AND
they are the ones making German tubas....
AND
Germany can also be rather cold
I figured the must have a reason for having never changed their mouthpipe design.

But maybe it’s me? Maybe I produce more hot air when playing than other players, or not enough, cause even when the tuba is warmed up the instrument fills up regularly.

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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby bloke » Sat May 23, 2020 10:24 am

Were I a manufacturer of an extraordinarily nice-playing model, I'd probably try to not change much of anything in particular about it. :?:

Were I a manufacturer seeking to compete with those who made very nice tubas, I'd probably be tempted to reference competitors proven/excellent designs, to a certain extent...even if one of those features tended to create a minor nuisance.

Here's a (certainly, as far as the nearly-two-century timeline of tuba building is concerned, yes?) recently-designed German-manufactured B-flat tuba. To me, it's absolutely the best extra-large/oversize B-flat tuba I've ever played. It features a mouthpipe (which, I would imagine, could collect water) just as you describe in your post.

Image
(I'd LOVE to own one of these...I only wish that I felt that I NEEDED one of these, so I could justify acquisition.)
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby bloke » Sat May 23, 2020 10:38 am

EDIT:
Some players are wildly superstitious re: water keys.

That would not be me. (The more, the better.)

I might even be tempted to put one on a mouthpipe tube, on such as tuba...the newly-created issue, then, being that it could drop water onto the machine/valveset of the instrument.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby pjv » Sat May 23, 2020 10:39 am

Agreed.
I tried out two of them at Miraphone, side by side with the Hagen’s 497, 496 and all the F models.
Great service. Great tubas. Terrible testing room. If you’ve every warmed in a restaurant kitchen then you got the idea.
I left the 6/4’s behind for the same reason: larger than I can use. But it was almost a painful parting.

I went with the 496 because it’s more of that 5/4 feeling. It does most everything I need but is a little bit sensitive in the upper register.
These last couple of days I’ve been trying it out with an Imperial/profundo mpc and it gives me just a bit more control than I had with the Symphony/no profundo rim. Profundno. I have no idea why.
So I hope I feel the same way next week after my lips have settled into this setup.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby Donn » Sat May 23, 2020 12:04 pm

bloke wrote:(I'd LOVE to own one of these...I only wish that I felt that I NEEDED one of these, so I could justify acquisition.)


Bummer, huh? $20K burning a hole in your pocket, but no band gigs that would call for one of those BBb tubas.

The leadpipe does seem rather more extravagantly upside down than my mental picture when the subject was brought up, which was more the classic curve that you'd see in an Alexander for example.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby bloke » Sun May 24, 2020 9:49 pm

Before the last two presidents’ money printing schemes, those things were about $12,000.
I can only imagine how they will be priced after this president’s similar scheme.
Interestingly, back when they were only $12,000 retail, places actually had them in stock.
———————
I am having to teach myself to charge (what seem to me to be) stupid high prices for my services, but no one blinks, and then – when I go to spend the money – I see that what I charged (arguably) were bargain prices.

That having been said, the money being offered for ‘feshunul horn-tooting is drying up - and not just at my level, but at the “full-time“ level as well.
‘ funny How “artists” (of “high art” - and this would include the craftsman in classical music cover bands) seem to resent “the rich”, but those are the really only people who ever pay “artists” of “high art” to “art”...and the more “the Rich” are soaked - or their worth is “stimulused” away, the more - just as with all the rest of us - they look for places in their expenditures where they can cut...
...and yeah, were I “rich”, and if “others’ tune playing“ were part of my budget, that would probably be towards the top of the list of things to cut first, were my “rich person’s” budget to feel pressure from “stimuluses”.

bloke “...so what was the topic? oh yeah: trolls trolling trolls who troll trolls. :|
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby pjv » Mon May 25, 2020 2:48 am

Actually the topic was about German style mouthpipe placement and whether it just happened this way or is their a unbeknownst to me reasoning cause I think it sucks.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby bloke » Mon May 25, 2020 9:38 am

Exactly.
The water aspect may well suck, but there probably aren’t too many other places to put that capillary portion of the instrument - on a large vertical main slide B-flat tuba - without screwing up hand position.
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Re: water filling mouthpipe

Postby P@rick » Wed May 27, 2020 3:25 pm

That water trap in the mouthpipe is something I encountered on basically every German style tuba I have played. My upper body is long, so I tend to hold the tuba quite straight. This is also practical because the tuba weight is more in balance and my left arm does not have much weight on it. But the water trap is always there :(

When you tilt the tuba a bit more, then the water trap is not there with many tuba's (exceptions there), but that's in most cases uncomfortable.
If noise is not a problem I give a blow in the mouthpipe (no buzz) before I empty it all with the spit valve in the main tuning slide (still talking about German tuba style).
If silence is required, I tilt the tuba just enough to have the water to leave the trap. Twirling not required, but keep an eye on your colleague on the left :wink:

I still think that German style tuba's are most practical when it comes to draining water, but some effort is needed to overcome the design.

I can imagine that you want the the mouthpipe to be as "flowing" as possible, eliminating tight bends, for tone.
I can also imagine that you want the fragile mouthpipe close to other bigger tubing so it's not that exposed, thereby making it less fragile by design.
I see both of my assumptions in many German style tuba's...maybe manufacturers are choosing these factors above the anoying water trap?

P.s. I never have the problem when I'm marching with a German style tuba... :mrgreen: :tuba:
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