Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

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DouglasJB
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Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

Hey guys, its been a while since I sold my last horn. (Family needed a new car...), its looking like I might have the possibility within the next 6-8 months to pick a tuba back up. Just a bit of background, I graduated college with a Major in Music (tuba) and minor in Business Management, I've owned CC tubas, F tubas, and Eb tubas. (Sorry BBb people... not my thing). In college I had CC and F for the usual occasions, after graduation I primarily played Bass tuba for what I was playing. (Brass chamber music, and while I had Eb the occasional fill in with the local college orchestra) I want to get back into playing, but I keep going back and forth between the option of having 2 horns (CC and F) or just one (Eb). Which would be the more versatile option? If CC and F it will most likely be a 4/4 or 5/4 Piston CC (think Besson 995-esk) and a rotary F (think PT__ line) or Eb choice would be almost limited to the Willson 3400FA5 (4P 1R). Not interested in compensating horns whether 3+1 or 4 online, or the Yamaha Eb's. I've played 5 valve front action tubas since I was 13 years old, thats where my comfort lies. What are your thoughts? Budget at this point in time isn't something I'm too concerned about as this is still several months off. Let's hear the Pros and Cons of each option, what do you have guys?

Last minute added thought, not 100% opposed to using only F (P or R), not ideal, but not excluding.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by TheodoreSmith »

I think a largish Eb is the most versatile kind of tuba. Big mouthpieces can make it sound big, small mouthpieces can make it small. Also, I tend to think Ebs have better low ranges too.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Sousaswag »

I'd avoid rotary F at all costs as your only horn.

If it were ME, I'd pick my big F. It's just more versatile than my huge CC, and it's the horn I do most things on. I bring it to teach, I use it in quintet, MOST random gigs I pick up here and there, at Tuba Christmas (mainly because it's lighter), in brass band, and at home I'll pick it up more often.

I use my CC in the HUGE community group with 7 tubas. I will play it at home when I practice, but it's not the main gigging horn except for those church gigs, really.

It really depends on your personal situation. What're you going to use this tuba for? I have uses for both of mine. If you're only playing at home, or in small groups, or you're never going to be the only tuba player, consider a big bass tuba. If you're in a community group with 2 or 3 other tubas, bass tuba will be totally fine. It'll never hold down a large group by itself, but if you don't need to do that, then don't!

If, for instance, you are only playing in large groups as the only tuba, pick a CC.

If the CC makes the sound you want to make, and you want to play super low and get that big sound, pick CC.

If portability and versatility are higher up on your needs list, pick the bass tuba.

Piston F or Eb is what I'd choose for that low range security.

I'd consider, in no particular order:

Besson 983
Willson 3200
Willson 3400(C)
MW 2250
JP 2250 clone

Finding any of these horns used will be a chore, with the exception of the 983. ALL of them pop up from time to time, but the Willsons are rare... I'd strongly consider the Willson bass tubas for a one-horn situation. That's my #1 pick.

Fun sidebar... I think I owned your old MW 2141... And promptly sold it because it was way out of tune with itself. Did you have that experience with it? I didn't put 2141 on the list because of the massive pitch problems the one I owned had. Supposedly the newer ones are better.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

Only notes I noticed were really bad were the Eb in the staff rode a bit high (23 or lipping fixed it) and low F (2345) a long pull of 3 (4 wasn't a good reach for me) fixed that though. I liked the horn, but the 4th valve slide was a reach for me, and we needed the $$$, more than I needed a tuba at the moment. I miss that horn honestly. The tuba player of Gomalan Brass (can't remember his name...) tried it, and he mentioned it was "one of the good ones".
I used a large MP on the horn though, a PT65 made the horn respond weird, but the Parker Titan worked well.

Not opposed to a large F, like a MW2250, or (if a good deal popped up) a HB12, or maybe a YFB822
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Sousaswag »

No kidding. I had issues all OVER that horn! I wonder if it was just me! The Eb in the staff was high, F at the top was flatter than a pancake (for me). Maybe I didn't own it long enough to get used to it.

Anyway, yeah, bass tuba is what I'd personally choose. I love my Willson F.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

My preference is for Bass tubas personally. I find they work well for what I do. Ive leaned heavily towards the Wilson 3400 (the big one) for a while, but had doubts. I need to find one to play again and see if it fits the bill or not.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Yane »

Second on the “depends on your use” comment: C for ensembles Eb for solo/chamber, but you can’t go badly wrong either way. When you find a horn you like and the price is right go for it.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

I'm not going to be playing in a large Orchestra, so I won't need a HUGE CC, a 4/4 will suffice just fine. Im just wondering if it were you, which way would you go?
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Yane »

If big ensembles aren’t your thing a big Eb should be fine, particularly if if you just prefer a bass tuba. Somebody on the board is selling a Eastman 853 for a killer price. You said you prefer a five valve but you might give the 853 a shot; with the right mouthpiece it does an adequate impersonation of a bigger tuba when required.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

I've tried 4 inline comp, not bad horns, just not my thing, again I've played 5V horns since I was 13, thats where my comfort lies.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Yane »

Sounds like you knows what you want; all that remains is to find it at the right price.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

Thats a tall order at this point
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Roger Lewis »

Get. 983 Besson. A perfect do everything horn.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by Sousaswag »

You might just have to bite the bullet and buy a Willson new. I NEVER see those 3400’s used.

UNLESS

You consider the F models… There’s a few used ones for sale now!
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

It'll be about 6 months before im ready to pull the trigger
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by barry grrr-ero »

I would consider a good 4/4 CC as a 'doing everything' tuba, such as the Eastman 832. Would I do "Bydlo" on that horn? . . . No. Usually one of the trombonists are dying to play "Bydlo" on a euph. That, or you can go borrow a euphonium somewhere to do it yourself. Sam Pilafian used to take a euphonium with him on Empire Brass gigs. That was his set-up: a good 4/4 CC tuba (MW 2141) and a euphonium.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by MKTuba »

barry grrr-ero wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 11:39 am (MW 2141)
The 2141 is an Eb. Sam used a 2145, which I think is what you are referring too. I know he used a MW 37 (Bill Bell model) as well as a yamaha 821 (621 with a large bell; the roger bobo model I believe) when he was in boston brass. I don't think Sam ever used an Eb with either of the quintets, but I have heard that he used a lot of different equipment over the years so who knows.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by DouglasJB »

The MW2141 was actually the last horn i had, I liked it, but there were a few ergonomic issues with the horn, I HATED the awkward reach for 4th slide, I play generally with my hand resting on the 1st slide, having the 4th raised up where it was was awkward, thats on thing the 3400 has going for it, the 3rd and 4th slides are in a lower position than 1st, making the transition easy.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by MKTuba »

I’ve heard good things about the 2141. Weirdly enough, if David (commented above) had your old eb, it actually used to belong to a friend and studio mate of mine.

I’m on the hunt for a bass tuba right now and am looking for a besson 983. I don’t think I could get behind a 5 valve eb, as I have been playing Compensating eb since I was 13 years old. However, I do play a 5 valve CC so who knows.
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Re: Most versatile Option Eb vs CC/F

Post by kingrob76 »

if I was going to only own one instrument for the rest of my life I would probably get a 188. You never know where music will take you and it checks almost every box for my tastes.
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