Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas? Bookmark and Share

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Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby WagnerRing » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:24 am

Bass trombonist looking for good instrument as doubler on BBb tuba. I'd appreciate hearing feedback from people with experience with the Kanstul 33-T and 33-S. I've also considered the King 2341 and MW Hojo 2011TA. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby arpthark » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:43 pm

FWIW, it will be much easier (and probably cheaper) to find a King 2341... great tubas and very plentiful on the used market.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby WagnerRing » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:22 pm

Agreed with your comments about the King 2341 and greater ease in finding these on the used market. But the Kanstul tubas with their recreation of York type sound, look like really great horns, build quality looks first rate. I haven't been able to find any Kanstul horns to try locally. Some of the BMB tubas like the J-744 also look like really good alternatives. The BMB tubas seem to have an excellent reputation for sound and quality.

http://www.bigmouthbrass.com/instruments/j-744
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby TheGoyWonder » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:36 pm

Kanstuls look cool. I've heard the 33-T is preferable, no idea why, but as a bonus that's the one that looks exactly like a vintage York.

But as a doubler you probably want easy-to-play. The common european 4/4 tall-bell rotary tuba (186, cerveny, b&s, "stencil") are hard to beat there, they all slot nicely with good pitch. Easy to find with and with lower budget.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby bort » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:43 pm

In 20 years of playing the tuba, dozens(?) of visits to BBC and Dillon's, and playing in more ensembles than I probably should have... I've never seen a Kanstul tuba in-person.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby arpthark » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:51 pm

bort wrote:In 20 years of playing the tuba, dozens(?) of visits to BBC and Dillon's, and playing in more ensembles than I probably should have... I've never seen a Kanstul tuba in-person.


East coast bias? I haven't either. Maybe at Midwest one year?
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby thevillagetuba » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:23 pm

arpthark wrote:
bort wrote:In 20 years of playing the tuba, dozens(?) of visits to BBC and Dillon's, and playing in more ensembles than I probably should have... I've never seen a Kanstul tuba in-person.


East coast bias? I haven't either. Maybe at Midwest one year?


I tried the Kanstul 90-S at BBC about 6 years ago. I remember them having the 90-S, 33-S, and possibly the 66-S (I remember there being three different models, at least). The 90-S played very similarly to the Getzen G-50, but with longer tuning slides :shock:. The horn was very comparable in both size and weight to the Getzen. I wouldn't really think of one of these Kanstuls as being the ideal double for a trombonist, though, as they are quite expensive and not often up for sale used. I'd lean more towards the King and your probably best bet, IMHO, would probably be a MackBrass or Wessex as they are significantly cheaper, you won't lose as much when you go to sell it, and are really easy to play.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby Davidus1 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:52 pm

Read Lee Stofer's comments about Kanstul tubas. He has high praise for them. His opinions are good ones to pay attention to. He is a fine player and an excellent instrument repairman. I wish you well in your search.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby bort » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:59 pm

arpthark wrote:
bort wrote:In 20 years of playing the tuba, dozens(?) of visits to BBC and Dillon's, and playing in more ensembles than I probably should have... I've never seen a Kanstul tuba in-person.


East coast bias? I haven't either. Maybe at Midwest one year?


Totally -- east coasters want nothing to do with California stuff, except for beer and produce. Just kidding. :P

I can only guess it's because Kanstul just plain doesn't make a lot of tubas, and they are so new that they haven't had time to cycle through the market yet. It only makes sense that I'd see more 40-year old King 2341's or Miraphone 186's than brand-new or slightly used Kanstul tubas. I also don't know if BBC or Dillon stocks anything new by Kanstul, or if they are special order only. It could be as much bad timing in my visits to the shops as anything else!

I'd certainly like to try one!
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby pjv » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:32 pm

Just a thought;
many tbn really do well doubling on Eb (4v, full comp). Other then that a King would also do well. Most tbn-players aren't used to tuning with their lips/air. You'll be happier with a tuba having little or no intonation "quirks".

Unless you like slide pulling :lol:
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby WagnerRing » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:47 am

thevillagetuba wrote: I'd lean more towards the King and your probably best bet, IMHO, would probably be a MackBrass or Wessex as they are significantly cheaper, you won't lose as much when you go to sell it, and are really easy to play.


Thanks for your comments. I have thought about Chinese made tubas as an alternative and agree they are certainly obtainable at a much lower price point. Some of the MackBrass or Wessex tubas look like they could offer good value. In general, I've been leery of Chinese made horns in the past since I'm unconvinced of their build quality and longterm reliability. However, the consistency and quality of some of the Chinese tubas seems to have improved significantly. Some Chinese made tubas seem to be made to a higher standard of quality and consistency than "generic" stenciled versions. The MackBrass tubas are really tempting at their prices. How does quality of MackBrass compare to Wessex, Wisemann, Eastman, John Packer, etc?
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby thevillagetuba » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:51 am

WagnerRing wrote:
thevillagetuba wrote: I'd lean more towards the King and your probably best bet, IMHO, would probably be a MackBrass or Wessex as they are significantly cheaper, you won't lose as much when you go to sell it, and are really easy to play.


Thanks for your comments. I have thought about Chinese made tubas as an alternative and agree they are certainly obtainable at a much lower price point. Some of the MackBrass or Wessex tubas look like they could offer good value. In general, I've been leery of Chinese made horns in the past since I'm unconvinced of their build quality and longterm reliability. However, the consistency and quality of some of the Chinese tubas seems to have improved significantly. Some Chinese made tubas seem to be made to a higher standard of quality and consistency than "generic" stenciled versions. The MackBrass tubas are really tempting at their prices. How does quality of MackBrass compare to Wessex, Wisemann, Eastman, John Packer, etc?


I cannot speak to Eastman tubas (though, I am familiar with their french horns and euphoniums) or John Packer instruments as I have not personally seen them. From the Eastman horns and euphs I have played, I would say that they are on par with the quality of what I have seen from MackBrass and Wisemann, only because I have seen variances in quality from all three (the variance being from "good" to "wow," but I've never touched one that was "garbage" or "not worth what they cost"). I paid a visit to Wessex last December and found their horns to be of even better quality than the ones I had previously seen. Wisemanns are pretty hard to come by new and don't often go for sale in the used section here, but the Wessex equivalents (not the same horn with a different stencil, but "large C tuba" vs "large C tuba") were by far better players and felt better when playing. The same is true for when I compared the newer Wessex F (the Berg) to the MackBrass F (though Wessex does still sell their equivalent of the MackBrass, which they call the Strauss model). Personally, I just sold my "non-of these makes"-stenciled Jinbao Euphonium (same model as the MackBrass 1150) and am waiting for my Wessex Dolce to arrive at the end of the month as I was that impressed with how differently and better it played than the one that I had. I had my euph for a year and a half without any problems (other than the 4th valve cap being a pain) and my student is enjoying using now. The Wisemann and MackBrass horns that I see others playing in my studio have held up as well as my horns have with the exception of the usual problems (valve threads not being great) and some of those horns are three or so years old and have been treated as most students treat their horns (not regularly maintained, neglected for long periods of time, heavily used during others, all depending on what their current courseload is and where they are for different festivals/camps in the summer).

Best advice is to always try to play before you buy. If that's not possible, then I do not see any way that you could go wrong with either a MackBrass or Wessex (speaking from experience), especially with their warranties. Depending on the model, the two importers might have pretty much the same model at different prices, or the Wessex will have some significant changes that might be worth the extra cash. John Packer is spoken of highly by a lot of qualified people (techs and players who know what they are talking about) and I would personally call Joe at Mid-South Music (he posts as "bloke" here one the forum) to see what he has and what it would cost you.

Regarding the BMB horns, since they were brought up earlier... I have never really cared for these. I have tried them a few times and they play decently, are build about as good as anything else that's coming from China (I do tend to often see imperfections such as plating compound leaks and lacquer wearing quickly on those horns more so than on others) and they have a nice big broad sound, but I don't think they are the easiest to just jump into and learn/play some tuba if you aren't regularly putting some time in on them.

A little long-winded, but hopefully all of this will help you make your decision.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby TUbajohn20J » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:12 am

I loved the 33T! Reminded me of a top action King. Very fun to play

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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby Eupher6 » Sat May 13, 2017 8:30 am

I bought a Kanstul 33-T about 7 years ago and played it regularly for quite some time (focusing largely on euph right now). I found the horn low pitch for me, to the point that Lee Stofer (from whom I bought the horn) had to take out a small section after the valve set. Brought it in tune beautifully. Being a doubler, I can't comment too much about technical matters (and especially about the entire Chinese Connection), but I found the horn to give a rich, warm, velvety sound, the kind that does not evoke or provoke trumpet retaliation. :-)

Intonation is even throughout the register, horn slots very well. Durable, reasonably. I enjoy this tuba and intend to have it for years to come.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby EdFirth » Sat May 13, 2017 9:41 am

I have been using Kings since the late seventies and had one of those Kanstul tubas at my house for about a month awhile back. They are both great. The Kanstul has a .656 bore compared to .687 on the King. Having the fifth valve is a nice touch but getting at the first slide was a bit difficult(not that you need to move it that much). Sound preference is a personal thing but I did like the sound of the Kanstul a little better and the pitch was comparable on both. Either would be a good choice but I notice that no one has mentioned the Conn 5J. Physically smaller than either of the other two, same bore as the Kanstul, beautiful characteristic tuba sound,very comfortable to sit with, and less expensive. If you've ever watched the movie My Girl the little tuba solo is played by John Allred on a 5J. Just something to consider. Ed
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby opus37 » Sat May 13, 2017 11:42 am

Since I'm an Eb player, I have little to say about the 33. I own a 66T. I bought it from Lee about 7 years ago, on his recommendation. I have been very happy with it. By changing the mouthpiece, I can change the character of the sound from full and dark for concert band and orchestra work, to bright enough for quintet work. It sounds like the historic York. It is not the German sound, it's more organ like. It slots well and I can easily lip the full range of notes in tune. Being 4 valves, the low E has no fingerings, Oystein Baadsvik suggested I just lip the low Eb up a bit and that works fine for the few times encounter that note in music. I've seen a few 33's and 66's for sale on the used market. They are reasonably rare. I think you will be happy with the horn if you find one.

Bort, I don't live that far away from you if you really want to try one.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby Lee Stofer » Fri May 19, 2017 11:23 am

When the Kanstul York-style tubas first came out, I traveled to Frankfurt, Germany to assist in exhibiting them at the 2010 Musikmesse. I was rather pleased with the model 90 CC, which was offered in only one configuration. After doing a bit of play-testing of the model 33 BBb's, I concluded that the 33-T was ever-so-slightly more friendly and fun for me to play, perhaps because it was lighter in weight and completely true to the original York style. I liked the model 66 Eb tubas pretty-much equally, the 66-T being a really smooth performer and the 66-S being a slightly more aggressive-sounding instrument.
Kanstul is a small company in Anaheim, California that makes fine instruments, and if you can find one of these instruments it would be worth your while to check it out. The company has recently been focused on exporting the vast majority of their output, so you are not likely to see new Kanstul tubas on display in stores.

The King 1241/old 2341/new2341 tubas are really good workhorses that have been around for many decades and are hard to beat in price and performance. Like the Kanstuls, the King design is pretty heavily York-influenced.

A Conn 5J is a great alternative if you want something a little smaller, or a Josef Lidl LBB-701, which is a Czech-made 3/4 BBb that is similar to the size of a 5J, but with 4 rotors.
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Re: Opinions on Kanstul 33-T and 33-S BBb Tubas?

Postby Bob Kolada » Fri May 19, 2017 7:38 pm

What are your doubling needs?
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