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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby oedipoes » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:25 am

gwwilk wrote:
bort wrote:
oedipoes wrote:Even more on topic:
https://youtu.be/-pzTLk-thrQ
This is a 5-valve :wink: Rudi BBb, and quite a musician in the driver's seat!


Awesome! Is that a 4/4 or 5/4 Rudi? It doesn't seem too gigantic...

It looks like a 4/4 Rudi by the size and flare of the bell stack. The delayed applause after the orchestra had finished caught me by surprise.


I think it's a 5/4.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby gwwilk » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:30 am

oedipoes wrote:
gwwilk wrote:
bort wrote:...

Awesome! Is that a 4/4 or 5/4 Rudi? It doesn't seem too gigantic...

It looks like a 4/4 Rudi by the size and flare of the bell stack. The delayed applause after the orchestra had finished caught me by surprise.


I think it's a 5/4.

My Rudi 5/4 Bayreuth is on the far side in my avatar, and its bell stack is larger and it is taller than the Rudi in the video. When I place it on the floor beside me bell up it comes up above my chin. The drum throne in the avatar sits about 8" higher than rehearsal hall chairs.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby Jess Haney » Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:24 am

Rick Denney wrote:My beef with the Willson 3100 was two-fold: 1.) there was no practical or useful place for my left hand, and 2.) the instrument didn't provide a lot of feedback, requiring a keener sense than I have to what is happening out front. Great sound, but seems to me not super-forgiving of players who lack big horsepower.

The Fafner seemed like a superb instrument the time I tried it, but it did not force an instant and lasting love affair as has the Hirsbrunner 193 for me. The Hirsbrunner's intonation is really excellent, and I am only occasionally tempted to use the auto-returning adjustable first valve slide. My section mate and I never have trouble being in tune with each other (he is playing a new Miraphone 187, I think). I'm looking forward to trying the two kaiser Miraphones, and I'm glad they've upped their big-tuba game since the old days of the 190.

The Rudy 6/4 is a special-effects beast, and the miracle of it is not that it is easy to play, but that it can be played usefully at all. It is markedly larger than any of the above. The Rudy 5/4 is more like the instruments we are discussing, but it does have some lingering intonation issues in return for its glorious sound (such as the famously sharp sixth partial). That is a trade-off some of the newer instruments don't require, but the Rudy has been around enough so that used examples are relatively affordable and available.

All of these are significantly different than the Yorkish designs that include everything from the Holton 345 to the GR41. Even in my living room, the differences between the Holton and the Hirsbrunner are marked, and I think in the case of the Hirsbrunner it's a bit more punchy and penetrating in its sound and projection, but without quite the same breadth and foundation, at least with me at the tiller. The Hirsbrunner is about the same size, but it's at least six inches taller, and it's wrapped a bit more narrowly, so the bell stack is much longer, with a bit less visually obvious taper.

Some of these are available with a fifth valve (the Hirsbrunner is not), but the alternate resonances for low Eb and down seem so good as to not miss it, and to prefer it without the extra tubing and weight. I never find myself really needing a 5th, but then I rarely get asked to play below low F or E anyway, and the intonation is good enough on these. The only time I'd like the 5th is for managing some alternate fingerings that facilitate trills, but that also is not exactly a frequent request except in my own practice room.

Rick "who'll bring both the Holton and the Hirsbrunner to the reading session on Thursday--but not sure which one Ray will get to play" Denney



Good feedback on some great horns. I Would like to add my take. I have a friend that has the Kanstul Grand BBb and I have my Willson. The Kanstul is like butter and has an absolutely beautiful timbre when caressed the proper way. It is dark chocolate cake topped with hot fudge. It has tuning issues but a convenient trombone slick tuning slide on the inner back side helps with this issue. Against the Willson they are different designs on sound concept. The Willson is a road grader and yes it lacks resonant "feedback" but that sound is powered out the bell with some pretty good force. The Willson will reach farther because it has more "core" with its weight. Its like swinging a sledge hammer as compared to a railroad tie. I would love to get my hands on a Fafner or Gronitz PBK but Colorado is a wasteland of Miraphone 186's and Yamaha 321's and it is rare to see something of larger stature.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby toakstertuba » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:47 am

I've skipped a few pages but has anyone played on a Wessex Luzern 5 valve? I bought one a couple months ago and I'm very, very impressed. Huge sound (not just loud but has a sound you can feel even at softer dynamics), astonishing intonation (in a good way), very even across the range and the z valves are awesome. I played a 70's "4/4" Rudy CC through college and never thought I'd find a horn I liked as much but the more I play it, the more I'm thinking I like the Luzern more. One would think with what it's modeled after that it ought to be good. In fact, I hope one day to play one side by side with its Swiss inspiration to compare them. It's an all around amazing horn (not just "for the price") and I highly recommend trying one (and not just in an elephant room).
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby ufonium2 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:10 pm

A student of mine just bought a used Luzern, and he and I are both very happy with it. His linkages had been modified by the previous owner (I don't know how or why--the previous owner explained it to the student but the student couldn't explain it to me) so I can't speak to how the OEM linkages were, but it's a heck of a tuba.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bloke » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:32 pm

I probably already posted in this thread, but...

...The 3+1 comp "large Bb" tubas found ALL OVER THE PLACE on your island are SUPERB instruments.
- excellent pitch (perhaps asking for adding the 4th valve for the upper Eb...but that's about all...)
- majestic sound
- fully chromatic
- LOUD !!! (if need be)

If you really want something loud-LOUD, locate one of the late-1950's/early-1960's "recording bell" versions (assuming not-worn pistons), and (OK...just to make some conductors/associates happy) have an auxiliary upright bell fashioned for it.

bloke "Sometimes, the solution has been right there - all along." :|
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby oedipoes » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:19 am

bloke wrote:...The 3+1 comp "large Bb" tubas found ALL OVER THE PLACE on your island are SUPERB instruments.
- excellent pitch (perhaps asking for adding the 4th valve for the upper Eb...but that's about all...)
- majestic sound
- fully chromatic
- LOUD !!! (if need be)


If you like how they play, yes, but they are an ergonomical nightmare, even with a BBC stand.
If they would be more compact, I would consider them again, but I don't play any full sized 3+1 comp BBb anymore.
(I think Mr. Tuba has designed some more compact wrapped ones with Hirsbrunner, and also with Melton, but I didn't play them.)
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:10 am

This is the standard remark...along with the standard remark about Willson tubas (completely bypassing their playing characteristics) that they are heavy, etc., etc... (OK, then, they tend to sport fewer dents...whatever...)

This-tuba...that-tuba...the-other-tuba... If they are good, I seem to be able to find a way to hold and play them without leg cramps, arm cramps, or backaches. Surely, I'm not alone. I'm no superman.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bort » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:47 am

I briefly complained about the weight of my Willson. Then I got stronger, and stopped complaining. :P
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby Donn » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:06 pm

According to what I can get from some quick surfing, a Willson 3050 weighs 27 lbs, a Holton 345 weighs 29 lbs. Is the same complaint standard about the Holton, since it weighs even more? Or is there perhaps so much joy to be had playing it, that the weight recedes as an issue?
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby hrender » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:13 pm

Enjoyment overrides discomfort in almost all activities.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:12 pm

Were most tubas "not comfortable" to hold, I would remark on those that are "not comfortable to hold".
Truth be told, with "most tubas" (yeah...a few are just too oddly-designed), I can come up with some leg-spacing, tilt, etc., that works famously.

All of that having been said,
I >>ALWAYS<< (though old and fat) sit on the FRONT of the chair. (My back never-ever touches the backrest.) I just don't see anyone else doing that. Perhaps, others might consider trying it, and combining that with seeking out a comfortable tuba-holding position...(??)

bloke "nope...I'm :arrow: not going to be like some other (mostly trumpet-)mouthpiece-selling schmuck and (right on my website) try to tell tuba players that they don't like my tuba mouthpieces is because they don't know how to play. :lol: ...but I might suggest trying sitting on the FRONT of the chair...

...and no, I'm NOT going to supply a link to that seller's page for you can see what I'm referring to. :oops: "
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bigboymusic » Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:15 pm

All of that having been said,
I >>ALWAYS<< (though old and fat) sit on the FRONT of the chair. (My back never-ever touches the backrest.) I just don't see anyone else doing that. Perhaps, others might consider trying it, and combining that with seeking out a comfortable tuba-holding position...(??)


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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby Rick Denney » Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:21 pm

bloke wrote:This is the standard remark...along with the standard remark about Willson tubas (completely bypassing their playing characteristics) that they are heavy, etc., etc... (OK, then, they tend to sport fewer dents...whatever...)

This-tuba...that-tuba...the-other-tuba... If they are good, I seem to be able to find a way to hold and play them without leg cramps, arm cramps, or backaches. Surely, I'm not alone. I'm no superman.


I do recall certain blokes claiming in no uncertain terms about the ergonomics of York-style tubas with the lead pipe that doesn't wrap fully around the bell, such that none of those remain in their collections. But perhaps the ability to tolerate poor ergonomics requires a test longer than a year or three.

Rick "who can manage any uncomfortable tuba...for a while." Denney
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby Wes Krygsman » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:19 pm

I say if money is no object, go for the Nirschl. They are so easy to play.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:43 pm

Rick Denney wrote:I do recall certain blokes claiming in no uncertain terms about the ergonomics of York-style tubas with the lead pipe that doesn't wrap fully around the bell, such that none of those remain in their collections.


yes...but I EVENTUALLY discovered the "trick", which is to allow those instruments (those which are very closely modeled after one that is used in Chicago) to nearly lay against my body... At that point, I discovered balance, fit, ease of support (no stand), and (is as necessary with virtually 100% of those) an ability to balance with the left hand WHILE simultaneously manipulating slides.

I REALLY LIKE most of those tubas, but (though I'm delighted to sell them to others, as they are really great instruments) I find their ("their" - as a family of instruments - yes "generalizing") intonation to be a bit more challenging that I personally care to address. Further, I honestly believe that the particular instrument that I've decided to retain offers superior focus (than most of "those") with at least as much decibels, more clarity, and more (what is this...the same as "clarity"...??) "projection".

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Last edited by bloke on Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby Wyvern » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:45 pm

bloke wrote:I probably already posted in this thread, but...

...The 3+1 comp "large Bb" tubas found ALL OVER THE PLACE on your island are SUPERB instruments.
- excellent pitch (perhaps asking for adding the 4th valve for the upper Eb...but that's about all...)
- majestic sound
- fully chromatic
- LOUD !!! (if need be)

If you really want something loud-LOUD, locate one of the late-1950's/early-1960's "recording bell" versions (assuming not-worn pistons), and (OK...just to make some conductors/associates happy) have an auxiliary upright bell fashioned for it.

bloke "Sometimes, the solution has been right there - all along." :|

I am sure Malcolm has played the large compensated BBb and does not take to them, like quite a lot of players. Personally the last time I played one I ended the gig with both back and neck pains contorting to hold and play.

That is of course why Wessex has designed our TB570 Excelsior BBb, to be comfortable to play while still having the advantages of the compensating system. Mind you Malcom has visited and played that too, so knows what they are like.

Of course choice of tuba is very personal and one person's object of desire is another's object of hate. I know what Wessex is for DP - haha!
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:47 pm

oh...Should I be selling something here...?? :?

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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby Wyvern » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:51 pm

bloke wrote:oh...Should I be selling something here...?? :?

If you have a large Bb you think may fit the bill, yes... :D
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Re: Choosing a large 5v Bb

Postby oedipoes » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:16 pm

bloke wrote:I might suggest trying sitting on the FRONT of the chair...


Yip, I do sit on the front of the chair.
I play my Eb tuba holding it in my lap on a piece of anti-slip drawer liner, perfect for me.
The Rudi 4/4 BBb stands on a BBC stand between my legs, and is very comfortable to play like that, my Willson 3100 was still not comfortable in that position, so I sold it.
The Besson sov. BBb I played in brassband was also on the BBC stand, but was never comfortable because of the position of the valves with respect to the mouthpiece.
I'm (only) 1.75m tall, so with most BBb tubas the distance bottom bow-mouthpiece is too big, so that the mouthpiece hits my forehead when the tuba is sitting in my lap, even when tilting the tuba diagonally left or right.

I play tubas for my own pleasure only, so they need to be comfortable.
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