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Dear friends, I need some help. I've run across a "Rudolf Meinl" CC tuba that appears to be 20-30 years old. It has four rotary valves. It plays well, however I know nothing about this company. (From the name, I assume it's a Swiss or German company). Is R.Meinl a smaller company, or is it a large conglomerate? Are their tubas handmade or machine-made? Finally, right now I'm playing on an Alexander CC basstuba. It's the same age and condition as the Rudolf Meinl. Are these manufacturers similar? As far as tone and quality are concerned, is R.Meinl better than Alexander? Thank you for any help you may offer. One more question, Might there be another European company that produces better horns (tonality) than either of these?
Thank you for your honest opinions!
Many of us here own/have owned Rudy Meinls. They are not a big operation like Meinl Weston or Mirafone. They make some of the best tubas out there. Definitely worth a try.
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
Rudolf Meinl, and Rudolf Meinl, Jr. operate a small but wonderful factory just outside of Neustadt/Aisch in Bavaria, between Wurzburg and Nurenburg. The firm Rudolf Meinl makes a full line of brass instruments, but are primarily renowned for their professional tubas, which are second-to-none.
Musik-Alexander, located in Mainz, has a long history of brass instrument making dating back to 1782, but only assembles about 12 tubas a year now, according to my sources. Their primary production is their french horns, and they have not made a full line of instruments for some years now.
Alexander tubas in general have been known for having intonation and consistency issues, but there are a number of players out there who are willing to deal with these issues to get the unique sound that the Alexander offers. Rudolf Meinl tubas have been more consistent overall, and I think they offer the best overall package of sound, intonation, consistency of quality and ease of playing of any line of instruments made today. And, they have the price tag to go with that. "You get what you pay for".
Why are you looking for a different tuba? If you aren't happy with the Alexander, try the R-Meinl. If you prefer the way it plays, and can afford it, then it's worth considering buying. As others have said, they have a great reputation for quality and design, but it has to be right for you.
Other good European tubas are made by B&S, VMI, Meinl-Weston, and Hirsbrunner, to name a few. Some of their tubas may play better for you, but I don't think that you could go wrong with the Rudy-Meinl.
I love Rudy Meinl tubas.
I currently own the piston 4345 and used to own the Rudy 5/4 CC (thinks back with longing). I decided to sell the 5/4 a few years ago since so little of my work called for a horn that size and was thrilled to find a tuba with all the advantages of a piston tuba while maintaining the uniquely colorful Rudy signature tonal characteristics.
I have also had occasion to try the 3/4 CC and it is a dream to play! I have heard great things about their F tubas and those who I have heard play them have sounded wonderful.
I can't recommend Rudy Meinl tubas highly enough. This is wonderful forum to gain insight through feedback from others, but you'll want to make your decision based on your own play-testing and the qualities you personally seek in a tuba.
Doing the web thing is not yet a thing for everybody. You also will find prominent US based tuba personalities, which do not even "do the e-mail thing". And I will blame nobody, as I was a late-comer to the web myself.
Are the Rudolf Meinl piston tubas documented on the web? I haven't found them on the company web-site yet.
However I found a huge (11MB+) downloadable .pdf brochure on their new oval Bariton 4RV model. I find that one being the perfect solution to a problem which does not even exist:
They have transferred the action of the 4th valve from the right pinkie to the left index. I would say: much ado for just about nothing!
I am convinced, that this Bariton is in the top-5 of its species. But if I ever would afford it, I would order it with a plain set-up of 4 right hand paddles matching the 4 in-line rotors.
There are more permutations for low brasses:
I've played on a couple of 3/4 Rudy Meinl CC tubas. They were GREAT horns! A part of me wonders why I have owned 5 tubas so far and have never owned a Rudy. I'd love to try both the piston and rotary versions of the 4345. They look to be good all around tubas or good size.
Everybody refers to the classic "Rudy" sound. I wonder what gives them that sound. I have a theory (it's ONLY a theory) that it may have something to do with the bell flair. Every Rudy Meinl tuba has an interesting bell flair unlike any tuba I've ever seen. It appears that the bell is rather straight for a while and the the flair happens with a rather steep angle.
I wonder if Lee Stofer knows the secret? If Lee does....can you do "it" to my tuba? (just kidding)
Conn 52J - Sidey SSH Classic - MF3H
I do have a 5/4 Rudi bell available in the shop now, but it might be pretty dicey to try to fit that to your Conn ;^)
The Rudolf Meinl sound does have to do with their bell throat and flare, but also is highly affected by the fact that they fit a proportionately large leadpipe and valve bore to their instruments. This makes for free-blowing characteristics in all their instruments.
Concerning Rudolf Meinl's "Neue B-Bariton 3+1", or new 3+1 euphonium, (Hans-Reiner Schmidt model, silver-plated) I think the whole idea of this instrument is to try to provide a top-quality rotary euphonium that is set up in such a way that piston euphonium players who are used to a 3+1 instrument can switch instruments more comfortably. As a tuba player, if I were to double significantly, I'd love to own the "B-Kaiser-Bariton", or Bb euphonium, in rose brass, lacquered, with 5 rotors. I have played one, and it is just delicious. That could be THE definitive Strauss tenor tuba.
Lee A. Stofer, Jr.
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