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looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby yemag » Sat May 26, 2012 12:55 pm

Hi All,

I've started playing the tuba again after a 25yr hiatus. I bought a beat-up Conn 10J to start playing again. It went well and I'd like to upgrade to a moderately priced 4 valve tuba since the Conn seems to play sharp in the lower registers. Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe a Cerveny or a Chinese tuba? Used and dented is OK. Thanks,

-Yemag
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby tclements » Sat May 26, 2012 1:33 pm

WARNING, HIGHLY OPINIONATE MATERIAL AHEAD!

The best all around BBb tuba you can put your hands on is the Mirafone 186-4U. If you want something with a bigger sound, a 191.

Good luck!
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Levaix » Sat May 26, 2012 3:59 pm

Any idea on your price range? That'll change a lot of answers.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby yemag » Sat May 26, 2012 4:10 pm

My price range is $2K to $4K. More like $2K.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby bloke » Sat May 26, 2012 5:11 pm

For $2000, you can

- buy a Chinese copy of a Hirsbrunner 192
- pay for the shipping
- buy a really nice bag (or an MTS case, etc.) for it.
(They come with a styrofoam-board-cordura nylon-zipper closure case, which is semi-disposable.)

These tubas are very accessible, and offer very good intonation. Although the metal used in the linkage is a bit soft (about as soft as the metal used in Yamaha linkage), this is a well-built tuba.

Try it with my "Symphony" mouthpiece. :wink:
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby yemag » Sat May 26, 2012 5:20 pm

Cool. Can you suggest a distributor? I heard that buying direct from China is risky.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby toobagrowl » Sat May 26, 2012 7:09 pm

In addition to the Miraphone 186 BBb, you have the VMI 103 BBb and Meinl-Weston 25 BBb tubas. You really can't go wrong with these as they are solidly built tubas that play well with good pitch, response and sound. I like the VMI and M-W better sound-wise than the Miraphone, but they are all very good and are in more-or-less the same 'class'.
These tubas run roughly in the $2,500 - $3,500 range, used.

If you like pistons, the King 2341 BBb is a great choice. Usually $3,000 - $5,000 used.

The St. Pete BBb and Cerveny 681 BBb are decent tubas for a bit cheaper, but not quite as well-made and consistent as the above models. Usually around $2,000 - $3,000 used.

All tubas listed above are 4/4 size, 4-valve BBb tubas.

I don't really have any experience with the Chinese tubas so I will let the others comment on them.
Last edited by toobagrowl on Sat May 26, 2012 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Tubajug » Sat May 26, 2012 9:24 pm

Dillon Music has a Conn 5J (4-valve version of the 10J essentially) and a King 2341 with both an upright and a recording bell. Both tubas are between $2,000-3,000.

http://www.dillonmusic.com/c-1013-tubas.aspx" target="_blank" target="_blank

Dan Schultz also has a King 1241 with a recording bell for $1850 on his website.

http://thevillagetinker.com/horns_for_sale.htm" target="_blank" target="_blank
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby yemag » Sun May 27, 2012 1:02 am

Thanks guys!
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Bob Kolada » Sun May 27, 2012 2:55 am

I like those VMI's, dislike 186's and 25's, and prefer the King as an overall Bb. Best "4/4 Bb" out there.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby bisontuba » Sun May 27, 2012 9:02 am

yemag wrote:Cool. Can you suggest a distributor? I heard that buying direct from China is risky.


Hi-
Check out MACK Brass -- a sponsor of Tubenet--- www.mackbrass.com

Mark
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun May 27, 2012 10:26 am

I'm not an advocate of buying new horns... unless you are convinced that this will be the very last tuba you purchase. There's just too darned much depreciation. Someone mentioned in another thread that a tuba cannot be considered as an investment in terms of gaining value. I think I would have to dispute that statement. Of course... I'm greatly biased because my forte is making old horns playable again.

The newest tuba I own is a Miraphone 1291 5V. It's about eight years old and came to me in great shape despite a few repairs. Granted... one of these even used is still probably out of your budget. However... I think I can be pretty much assured that if I decide to sell mine a few years from now, I won't take much of a loss on it.

If I was seeking a tuba for all-around playing I would zero in on a good used King 1241 or 2341. Don't discount the earlier horns with a detachable bell. I think they are better that the new style Kings. Next in line would be a Miraphone 186, Meinl 20, or Meinl 25. The Meinl 20 and 25 are the same horn except the 25 has a slightly larger bottom bow and bell. The valve section parts are the same. With any of the horns I've mentioned... you can rest assured that any severe damage can probably be repaired without breaking the bank.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Tubaman2365 » Sun May 27, 2012 12:20 pm

yemag wrote:Cool. Can you suggest a distributor? I heard that buying direct from China is risky.

Where are you located? I would suggest going someplace you can play test the horns.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby bloke » Sun May 27, 2012 2:05 pm

yemag wrote:Cool. Can you suggest a distributor? I heard that buying direct from China is risky.


I typically only sell these locally (to schools, etc.) MackBrass (a person who is here on tubenet) probably can order one for you. His prices are competitive.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby yemag » Sun May 27, 2012 5:31 pm

I live in San Francisco
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Levaix » Sun May 27, 2012 8:34 pm

Keep an eye out for used B&S stencils... I like mine more than a 186, and it was under $1500. Very versatile BBb, especially if you like German horns. Names on the bell may include Sonora, Karl Zeiss, and a couple others I'm forgetting.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun May 27, 2012 9:23 pm

Levaix wrote:Keep an eye out for used B&S stencils... I like mine more than a 186, and it was under $1500. Very versatile BBb, especially if you like German horns. Names on the bell may include Sonora, Karl Zeiss, and a couple others I'm forgetting.


+1. I forgot about those horns. In fact... I have a B & S/VMI 101 stencil in the shop right now waiting on some minor dent removal. I'm sure the seller will put it up for sale as soon as I have it ready.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby TheHatTuba » Sun May 27, 2012 9:45 pm

TubaTinker wrote:
Levaix wrote:Keep an eye out for used B&S stencils... I like mine more than a 186, and it was under $1500. Very versatile BBb, especially if you like German horns. Names on the bell may include Sonora, Karl Zeiss, and a couple others I'm forgetting.


+1. I forgot about those horns. In fact... I have a B & S/VMI 101 stencil in the shop right now waiting on some minor dent removal. I'm sure the seller will put it up for sale as soon as I have it ready.

another +1, I had a chance to compare my old Sonora/B&S CC to a Mirafone 186 4U CC. Similar intonation, and a slightly broader/darker sound than the mira at a fraction of the cost.
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby pauvog1 » Sun May 27, 2012 10:36 pm

Kalison DS
B&S PT-18p
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Re: looking to upgrade - need advice

Postby Levaix » Mon May 28, 2012 9:57 am

TubaTinker wrote:
Levaix wrote:Keep an eye out for used B&S stencils... I like mine more than a 186, and it was under $1500. Very versatile BBb, especially if you like German horns. Names on the bell may include Sonora, Karl Zeiss, and a couple others I'm forgetting.


+1. I forgot about those horns. In fact... I have a B & S/VMI 101 stencil in the shop right now waiting on some minor dent removal. I'm sure the seller will put it up for sale as soon as I have it ready.


Haha, that's fortuitous! When I wrote that post I had actually checked your website to see if you had any listed for sale. :lol:

OP should seriously consider this horn, as I'm assuming the price will be reasonable. Never regretted buying mine.
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