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Best tubas for a High school band program

Postby Tubadork » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:13 pm

Any ideas? and why?
Candidates:
Yamaha 641
Miraphone (186, etc...)
Jupiter 582
King 2341

Any other ideas, not really interested in the St. Pete's.
Thanks,
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Postby richland tuba 01 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:22 pm

Miraphone 186 Basic Model.

Same as normal 186, but gold brass leadpipe and brass slides. No fancy scrolling on the back of the valves either. But it's still great.
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Postby KevinMadden » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:32 pm

It really only comes down to the Mira and the King.

A Yamaha is a very similar horn to the Mira without that miraphone sound and will probably be much more expensive.

I've never played the jupiter, and dont really know much about the brand, but for some reason it has a bad taste in my mouth ergo... i'd take the king over it.

and personally i think pistons are a better choice for schools mainly becasue they are easier to fix and maintain

I'd go with the kings
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Postby Tubaguy56 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:37 pm

if you can wait I think Jupiter is coming out with a new line of tubas in the near future that you might want to check out....
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Postby tubaeuph » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:48 pm

Stay away from the Jupiter, any Jupiter instrument I've been around has had horrible intonation and problems with the valves sticking for no reason even right after they've been oiled. I would definitely go with the king, they are superior horns for a high school band. They have good intonation, excellent response, good tone, and are real powerhouses. The Miraphones aren't a bad choice either but I would really go with the king.
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Postby Scooby Tuba » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:48 pm

Depends on what kind of high school...

Respectful, responsible, kids who will take care of the tubas they use? (hey, come on, it could happen, stop laughing...)

Then the relatively delicate front action horns you're looking at would be fine horns. My druthers would be the Miraphones or the Kings (if I could pick the Kings out).

However, I would consider the "out of commission quickly factor" of all of these and look at the Yamaha 321 and it's Weril copy.

Yep, I know they're not cool and fashionable. They do play well enough for most HSers and where they are knocked over after being set on their bells (which will happen...), much less damage occurs with their up right valves and slides.

S"just saw a brand new pro 186 destroyed at a local middle school by a 8th grader"T
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Postby Tubaguy56 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:57 pm

normally I would stay away from jupiter too, but I've seen some of this new line their working on, and they are lookin good.
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Postby bloke » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:06 pm

Due to the typical way that kids - on average - are [not] brought up today, you would want something that

1/ is priced ok
2/ plays well
3/ suffers abuse well
4/ can be easily repaired with easily-obtainable parts

Although I am not a Conn-Selmer instrument retailer, the only (new) instrument that comes to mind is the

King 2341

bloke "NO rotary tubas / NO top-action piston tubas...These generally do NOT suffer abuse/hard use well."
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Postby Charlie Goodman » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:50 pm

To address the problem of kids not taking care of the horns:
In my high school, we had two Miraphone 186's in really good condition that only the kids in the symphonic band could use, and then the older "good" horns that the rest of the concert band players used, and a pair of ridiculous top-action horns (I think Yamaha's?) that they gave to the kids in freshman band. It seemed to work pretty well, because the kids that got to use the good horns were protective of them because they felt like they had earned the right to use them, and the older Yamaha rotaries played reasonably well for the concert band, and the freshmen could abuse the beaters to no end without much in the way of an effect.

Since then, the directors bought a few more 186's, and now that everyone has them, nobody treats them well. These horns are less than a year old and already look like they've been through a war.
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Postby Scooby Tuba » Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:07 pm

bloke wrote:bloke "NO rotary tubas / NO top-action piston tubas...These generally do NOT suffer abuse/hard use well."


At band festival recently, I saw a nice new King go over valves first. Every stem was bent, the casing was pushed in slightly so that the knuckles made the valve stop even once the stems were tweaked back.

So, why no top action? The knuckles can get punched I guess, but they seem to keep playing even when knocked over.

S"truely curious because band programs will be in my future for at least 15 more years"T
Last edited by Scooby Tuba on Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TubaAlex » Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:11 pm

VMI 2103
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Postby tubop » Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:12 pm

I learned to play on the King 2341 of Old. I played it quite a ways into college. I don't know if I would have taken very good care of someone elses rotors. Those King tubas are tough and they play well. Troy University has just ordered several of them, for what it's worth.
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Postby bloke » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:01 pm

So, why no top action? The *knuckles can get punched I guess, but they seem to keep playing even when knocked over.


When the top-actions (YBB-201/321/and other similars) really go over hard and the slides hit the floor the casings nearly always get jacked. I don't mean a little twist, etc...I mean JACKED.

I don't mind sticking some new stems on a King and taking a twist or two out of one or two of the casings, but these top-actions (again, when they REALLY hit hard) often need major surgery...and top-action casings are much less accessable than front-action casings (when any sort of re-rounding is required).

I guess another problem that I have is that the vast majority of instruments of this design that are currently out in schools are Yamaha YBB-201 or YBB-321 tubas. The Yamaha bottom-sprung piston instruments have NO "relief" area in the top or the bottom casing interiors, so when problems arise that may involve the casing interior at the very top or the very bottom of the casing, one has to be extra-EXTRA careful to avoid expanding the threads and ending up with a cap that will not easily screw back on. I have spent many hours undoing parents, band directors, and other "technicians" screw-ups in this particular area. It isn't fun, and it isn't a job that I view as particularly rewarding or profitable.

*and yes, the knuckles going into top-action piston casings nearly always are flattened after a couple of years of use. The comparable knuckles on front-action tubas rarely get hit.

btw: If anyone is planning on ignoring my advice and looking at a tall top-action school 4/4-5/4 BBb, look at the *Weril 980. It is a complete (far more affordable) Yamaha 321-BB clone, but (for whatever goofy reason - just like the Weril euphonium) the Weril 980 tuba sounds a little better and plays in tune a little better than the Yamaha-321.
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*Currently, I'm not a Weril dealer...I might (??) be again in the future. Weril separated their "concert" instruments away from D.E.G. Music (D.E.G. is still selling the Weril "marching" instruments), and Weril is now doing their own U.S. distribution with their "concert" instruments. In the midst of my move, I never stopped to fill out Weril's contractual papers. I think Baltimore Brass might be selling them, and they also sell the King 2431 (as does Dillon Music).
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Postby Scooby Tuba » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:09 pm

bloke wrote:When the top-actions (YBB-201/321/and other similars) really go over hard and the slides hit the floor the casings nearly always get jacked. I don't mean a little twist, etc...I mean JACKED.

I don't mind sticking some new stems on a King and taking a twist or two out of one or two of the casings, but these top-actions (again, when they REALLY hit hard) often need major surgery...and top-action casings are much less accessable than front-action casings (when any sort of re-rounding is required).


Yep, makes sense. Have seen some very flat knuckles, that's for sure. They're usually very "tippy", too, so you know that pounding's only a matter of time. The one thing that's good about the Yamahas, good or bad, they are pretty consistent horn to horn, I guess.
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Postby richland tuba 01 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:30 pm

Our school only uses rotors, and we have 6 miras, all the others are cervenys(dang that cerveny metal is soft). Although our tuba section is just a slight bit more respectful than normal HS tuba sections, and even those guys I mentioned before that punch the sousaphones won't do anything to the concert horns because they know that they'll get them in the future.

Although I know we're in the top 1% of bands in the country in terms of nice kids.
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Postby iiipopes » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:26 pm

When my high school finally got the budget to get tubas instead of making souzys do double duty, the choice was King.

Good playing instrument, smaller bore needs not quite as much air, sturdily built, easily rebuildable, the valves are not finicky, and since the basic design has been made for almost a century every shop has a bunch of crash parts in the drawers or hanging off the back wall available for repairs.
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Postby ken k » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:35 pm

I will cast a vote for the King 2341 also. We have four of them at my school, two older models with the detachable bells and two newer one- piece models and the sound of the section just rocks....

They are easy to play, since they are a fairly small bore, even if your player is not too serious and does not practice all that much. They are in tune with themselves and have a good scale. Also, very important, they are pretty durable, with good bracing.

People keep saying you gotta try them first, but obviously when purchasing a school horn that usually is not possible. I have played many and have not found quality issues. Perhaps a lacquer run or a sightly sloppy solder joint here or there but as far as playing goes, they are very consitient. Much more so than say a Czerveny. They tend to be a bit stuffy in the extreme low fourth valve register (below low 4th valve F), but really how often does the typical high school literature go that low. In this respect the Miraphone would be better, but then you have the rotor valves to deal with. If you could maybe get one or two Miraphones to save for the very best (and hopefully the more conscientious) students, perhaps that would be a good way to go, assuming you actually hved the luxury to buy more than one at a time.

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Postby tofu » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:37 am

-
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Postby bloke » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:58 am

tofu wrote:Perhaps a school's procurement policy wouldn't allow this, but why not buy reconditioned Conn 20j's with recording bells?

These old birds are tough as nails, true BATs, plenty of spare parts available for repair ...valves??...crooks??...slide tubing??... and with a recording bell can't be set down on its bell which eliminates the big knocked over damage issues. They also allow a band that plays in not great accoustical areas such as gyms to not lose the bass and bands with just a couple of tuba players can still get a good balance with a couple of recording bell 20j's.

Why a HS band needs shiny new horns is beyond me since it seems the shiny lasts about a nanosecond. true dat, but hardly any gumbmit entity will entertain bids on "reconditioned" anything-in-particular


There are enough old detachable recording bell King 1240 3V tubas out there to be acquired and rebuilt to supply high school bands from now into *eternity *(only a slight exaggeration).
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Postby iiipopes » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:01 am

Indeed, and with the way their 1st valve slides are positioned, it's not too difficult to start teaching them how to pull slides: a little for 12, an inch or so for 13, depending on how 3 is pulled for 23 to be in tune, and, well as best you can on 123.
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