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Helleberg questions

Postby ppalan » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:20 pm

I have a Helleberg 7B which doesn't seem to work well for me but I also have a Kellyberg which, although I don't like it a lot, works better than the 7B on both my Yamaha 321 Eb and my Miraphone 186 CC. I've been told that the Kellybergs are like the Helleberg 120 but on the Kelly site they say their stainless Kellyberg is "their own design". So, here's my question...What is the difference between the Helleberg 7B and the 120 (eg as sold at Dillon's)? :?
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ps I tried a search but got a gajillion hits about Hellebergs after reading a bunch, I wasn't finding an answer.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Rob » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:38 pm

You'll likely get lots of replies and someone will point you to the right place. I haven't played the Kellyberg, I believe I've seen them, and they look like the 120 Conn. The rim on the 7B is quite a bit bigger if I'm not mistaken, maybe with even a more rounded edge. I believe the 120 is a bigger(volume/depth) mouthpiece as well. One quick place I'll point you, that I haven't used but have considered as they offer a trial return is

http://www.mouthpieceexpress.com/catalo ... s_id=17856

keeping in mind I have no affiliation. I have both of these mouthpieces though and would agree that they are quite a bit different so if you don't like the 7B, the 120 is not similar. There are some specs listed on this mouthpiece on mouthpiecexpress, but there are also other sites, that elude my memory and the bookmarks on this computer I'm on at the moment, that will list all the pertinent details which might help you to figure it out.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to find someone that has one(likely at least every other tuba player), and try one out, they are not very rare. They also show up on craigslist and I think ebay with some frequency, and are popular with kids that then stop playing and parents have a mouthpiece they dont need.

Good luck,
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby skeath » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:08 pm

August Helleberg was principal tuba with the Sousa Band, and is thought to be the designer of the funnel-shaped mouthpiece that bears his name. That said, it seems that everyone who makes a "Helleberg" mouthpiece tries to improve it.

I first started playing a Conn Helleberg in 1971. At that time Conn made 2 versions: the 7B (quite small), and one that was quite large, but unmarked. Whether either one of these represents the original August Helleberg design is open to debate, but the larger "Standard" size became very popular during that decade, and became the model to copy. Both Schilke and Walter Sear soon came out with their own versions, all slightly different. I personally never liked them (rim either too rounded or too wide), but many people did.

Most makers now have a model called "Helleberg"; I have tried most of them, with mixed results. I like a seriously narrow, flat rim (very flat), and most of these fail that test. I have a Kellyberg, but have hardly played it. It is certainly bigger than a 7B, but I can't say how much. The only modern Helleberg that meets my standard is the Sidey SSH, which is a spectacularly accurate copy of a 1971 Conn Standard. However, I actually found my ideal mouthpiece (for my horn) by modifying a Laskey 30H. The Laskey is made by the original designer of the Schilke II. It originally failed my test, but after 3 modifications (and 2 ruined mouthpieces), I found the fix that I like.

Back to the OP's original question: the biggest difference you are feeling between the 7B and the Kellyberg is the cup size. If your Kellyberg is plastic, you may not like the sound, which is influenced by the resonance chamber.
If it is not plastic, the issue could be the contour of the rim.

For those of us who like the Helleberg design, the rim width and contour are more critical than for those people who prefer a wider or more rounded rim, so you have to take that into consideration.

Buy 3 or 4 mouthpieces, and sell the ones you don't like as well. As a starting point, you could try the Kelleyberg, Sidey SSH, and Laskey 30H. They are all similar, yet slightly different.


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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby sailn2ba » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:29 pm

I used (and still have) an unmarked Conn Helleberg for years. It displaced all others I tried, although I could comfortably use a Bach 18. Recently, when I borrowed a horn, it had a Helleberg 7B with it, and that didn't work at all for me. Fortunately, I had brought my (120?) along. I also have a Kellyberg that I like for outside in cold weather. . . feels a lot like the Conn for sound and attack, but different feedback.
A year or so ago I got a horn with a larger Euro leadpipe and am now using a Laskey 30H . . . had a seamless transition.
In any case, the 7B is very different from the (120??), and I personally prefer the (120?).
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Donn » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:52 pm

My favorite Tubenet reference thread on the Helleberg line (including the 7B), is The Conn Helleberg. There's another thread back there somewhere with some nice photos of the same model mouthpiece, manufactured a few years apart with visibly different rim profiles.

As noted above, the "Helleberg" name is widely used and abused. The Kellyberg is a clone like several others, all fairly similar - but a little difference in the throat or something could make a giant difference in how it plays.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby basspiper » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:35 pm

I haven't tried taking any measurements, but I do have a Helleberg 7B, 120 and a plastic Kellyberg. Of the three, I find the Kellyberg to be (slightly) the largest, and the 7B the smallest. I like the Kellyberg best, but don't like it all that much. It is much better than nothing, so makes a good spare. I use a Stofer Geib most of the time.

I play an older 186 and I have a really hard time controlling its bark with the 120. It's easily the worst mp I have in that respect. Every note barks, except the ones that are stuffy. The horn is much tamer with the Kellyberg--for me. The Kellyberg--to me--feels a bit more open-throated, takes a bit more air, and is very slightly larger on my face than the 120. The 7B is a size or two smaller than the 120 and I would guess that for many players it's a better bass tuba mouthpiece than contrabass.

On the other hand, I like the "feel" of the 120, so I will probably keep it in the hope that I will eventually own a tuba it works with.

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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Doug Elliott » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:22 am

By my measurements, from the mouthpieces in my collection:

Conn Helleberg 7B is 1.26" inside with a slightly rounded narrow rim and a cup equivalent to my P cup.

Conn Hellegerg is 1.30" inside with a totally flat narrow rim and a cup equivalent to my R cup.

That's quite a bit of difference between them.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby hrender » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:19 pm

For whatever it's worth, I've owned and tried the Kellyberg and the two Conns plus various other makers Helleberg versions (RM 1, Wick 1 & 2, Mike Finn 3, couple of Schilkes, the R&S SHII Heavyweight) none of which worked that well for me. I've settled on using a Deck 2 which I like a lot, which just goes to show that the Helleberg variations are different enough that it's worth trying several before discarding the whole class of Helleberg mouthpieces. The popular ones are the Schilke SHII, the Laskey 30H and a couple of the Perantucci (I think the PT-50 is the most popular of their Hellebergs). If you wait and buy used (which is mostly what I do) you can get them relatively cheaply. If you want to do this sooner, I'd suggest the Deck 1 or 2 (available for a limited time from Houser), the Mike Finn H, the Dillon CB-1 or the Houser MK 7, all of which I've heard very good things about and all of which should have good resale value.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby windshieldbug » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:56 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:from the mouthpieces in my collection


So is the closest one you make an "Elliberg"? :wink:
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Doug Elliott » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:43 pm

Hmmm...
Would you like to try it and see?
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby windshieldbug » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:Hmmm...
Would you like to try it and see?


I'm good now, thanks, but if I was looking for something you'd be the first place I'd go :D
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Alex C » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:36 pm

Helleberg made a different mouthpiece for every horn. The Conn Helleberg from the 1930's was simply a copy of one version of his mouthpieces. I have a Buescher Helleberg and another Helleberg with no manufacturer printed. In other words, there is no one "official" Helleberg mouthpiece.

It is concievable that the unmarked Conn Helleberg from the 60's is a copy of some Helleberg mouthpiece. The Helleberg 7B was reputed to have the same cup as the Conn 2 which was reputed to have the same cup as the 1930's Conn Helleberg.

People who have worked with Conn over the years have passed this information on to me, I believe it to be true.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby ValveSlide » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:28 am

The 1930's Hellebergs came in two basic varieties as well. One was similar to the 7B (the most common), one was similar to the modern Conn standard 120. Neither of them were labeled differently from the other (that I have ever seen). The larger ones are a bit more rare and I've seen only a few. Some will attribute the variation to tool wear, but the larger ones I've seen (and the I own) cannot be accounted for with tool wear comparatively.

Just think if the Helleberg family received 5¢ for every "Helleberg" mouthpiece ever sold...
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby iiipopes » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:17 pm

The newer Conn Hellebergs I have tried at my local music store are almost identical at @1.26 cup id, same rim, and differing only in depth of the funnel cup.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Donn » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:04 pm

iiipopes wrote:The newer Conn Hellebergs I have tried at my local music store are almost identical at @1.26 cup id, same rim, and differing only in depth of the funnel cup.


This is a new one for me - several new Helleberg models, about the width of a 7B? Seems like a good idea.
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Re: Helleberg questions

Postby Rick Denney » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:47 am

ppalan wrote:I have a Helleberg 7B which doesn't seem to work well for me but I also have a Kellyberg which, although I don't like it a lot, works better than the 7B on both my Yamaha 321 Eb and my Miraphone 186 CC. I've been told that the Kellybergs are like the Helleberg 120 but on the Kelly site they say their stainless Kellyberg is "their own design". So, here's my question...What is the difference between the Helleberg 7B and the 120 (eg as sold at Dillon's)? :?
Pete
ps I tried a search but got a gajillion hits about Hellebergs after reading a bunch, I wasn't finding an answer.


Just to reinforce the two actual answers you got, the Helleberg 120 and the Kellyberg are similar in size (though they may differ a bit in other ways), and the 7B is smaller. To give context to Doug's answer, his R cup is what I would call "traditional standard size", while his T cup is "large". The P cup is "smaller". Thus, the 120 is "traditional standard size" while the 7B is "smaller". The Kellyberg is also "traditional standard size". The PT-50 mentioned by someone else is "large".

As I've grown older, I've come to prefer mouthpieces with a bit more of a cup shape, particularly those that descend from the Geib design.

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