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Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby Sidanas » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:43 pm

Hi everybody, I know this subject could sound a bit too specific...but maybe there's someone out there who's in my same situation.
I'm having a hard time playing V.W. on my Eb Besson, it seems to require a very high amount of air than with my old F.
Anyone who is in the same trouble?
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby bloke » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:49 pm

Fingering patterns/slurs aside, I would wager that the 1950's version of your tuba (with the 15" bell - vibrant / very fast, clear response) would make playing that piece easier than with the 19" bell version.

...not suggesting that is an option...or even that those instruments are easy to locate in good condition...but "just sayin' "
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby barry grrr-ero » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:38 am

hmmmmm . . . I don't have a basis of comparison because I've only played the VW on Eb - I've never owned an F. I found the top notes to still be a tad dodgy on Eb, but I never felt that 'air' was the problem. What eefer are you playing? The compensating 3 + 1 eefers are usually small bore-ish, and don't suck up a lot of air. Are you using a true Eb/F mouthpiece?
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby Sidanas » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:50 pm

I'm using a 3+1 compensating, I found that a little more air pressure is required to play that piece with that horn. The moment I forget to put this pressure than scratches become...it does not forgive! I'm using a Bach 22 but it doesn't matter I think.
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby bloke » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:33 pm

I honestly don't know if I'm enough of a "tuba hero" to play that piece (at least, as I would wish to hear myself play it) on a 19" bell comp. Eb.
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby barry grrr-ero » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:40 am

"I'm using a Bach 22 but it doesn't matter I think"

Personally, I would dial down to a shallower Eb/F m.p. for soloing in the high register. We take the VW for granted these days, but it really sings way up there. I'm not surprised that it feels like a lot of work on a Bach 22. That's just me - I don't naturally have a great high register, so I have to work at it and use equipment that keeps it simple.

added later: I don't know your particular situation, but the 19" bell helps make your 3 + 1 eefer a more versatile piece of equipment. I would think twice before switching that bell out. But what it does mean, is that you will want to dial down for the higher and lighter stuff. Assuming that your receiver takes standard 'American' shanks, you might consider Miraphone's TU-13 "R. Winston Morris" model. It's like having a small Geib, and was designed by Mr. Morris for high tessitura/solo work, etc. In addition to the VW, you could easily do most of your Mendelssohn and Berlioz excerpts on it (learn them, if you haven't already).
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby PaulMaybery » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:13 am

For a while, 10 years, I was with The Salvation Army, and pretty much was using an Eb Besson Sovereign as my main tuba. In the SA brass band, the tuba (like British Brass Bands) was in treble clef. Having been a band director for the first 6 years post college, I was very accustomed to trumpet fingerings as I gave my lessons, trumpet in hand. Hence it was a no brainer to pick up the Eb after 35 years on the F tuba and adapted to it almost instantly. The treble clef fingers made that possible.

So, to the point. During that time I had wanted to play the VW on the Eb as I really enjoyed the buttery sound of that particular tuba. Sure, Eb Bass parts sit on the same lines and spaces as bass clef, but my mind just would not let me own it. So, using Finale music software I re-entered the 1st 2 mvt's of the VW and put it in Eb Treble clef. I even took to mimicing the fonts so it pretty much looks just like the Oxford type face and layout. While this was a challenge and I must say rather fun, I realized I really did not care to do this with all the Bass Clef solos in my repertory.
What I did find to miy delight was that the Eb was an excellent fit for the VW. And that inherent dark and somewhat resistant blow on the Sovereign was never a problem.

Eventually I retired from the SA and went happily back to the F tuba and bass clef. I suppose I am a true Yankee at heart regarding the issue that tubas should be in BC. I enjoyed playing those 2 mov'ts but really never did them in public as I had earlier on the F tuba.

As I mentioned in a recent post, had I began on an Eb, my life, tuba wise, would have been much different. It seems much the same as ones first and native language. Oh well.

BTW: On that large lead pipe Sovereign I wound up chosing the Patrick Sheridan MP - I think I got it from Dillon. It was the only one that I thought that gave the horn its spark. The Wick MPs for soloing I though were a bit too dark for my tastes. I did use one for band playing.
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby peter birch » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:00 am

bloke wrote:Fingering patterns/slurs aside, I would wager that the 1950's version of your tuba (with the 15" bell - vibrant / very fast, clear response) would make playing that piece easier than with the 19" bell version.

...not suggesting that is an option...or even that those instruments are easy to locate in good condition...but "just sayin' "


I didn't find it any easier to play on a 1950s Imperial EEb when I was younger, than it is on my 2000s Courtois today :)
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby Billy M. » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:46 pm

I play on one of those old 50-60s 15" Bessons that Bloke is talking about. It makes a bit of a difference. As for the horn, I have only found more fun with fingerings than with air stream for it. It being a little longer than an F tuba might affect versatility but I would assume not much since it's really more about the player than the equipment in most cases. Does your old F tuba have rotary valves or pistons? What type of horn is it?

Have you been playing on the Eb for a long time? Are you used to doing all sorts of repertoire on F?
It is impossible for one with their finite mind to comprehend the incredible miracles, mercies, and powers of an infinite God. It is good to know He's there and loves us, though.

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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby Sidanas » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:19 pm

Hi everybody, now that some time has passed since my first post, I have come up with an explanation. That's my instrument which is very stuffy, confirmed by my teacher who tried it. Difficult to play over mezzoforte or under mezzopiano. Definitely one of the worst sovereign that came out of factory, made in Germany...
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby ValveSlide » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:19 pm

In general, those are excellent instruments.

Looking for additional answers recommended.
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Re: Vaughan Williams on Eb Besson

Postby barry grrr-ero » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Exactly. You're not playing Prokofiev 5, you're play the VW. You don't need to blow doors down. If it's truly that bad, then I would take it to a GOOD tech and have them look it over. The piston ports could be out of alignment - any possibility of ailments could make it a bit more stuffy, I suppose. Again, you don't need a big m.p. to play the VW. I suggest a little wider and shallower than a Helleberg or other 'funnel' type mouthpieces. You do have to be able to form low notes quickly on the VW, and you need a fair amount of agility. I'll gladly sacrifice a tad of tone quality to use a slightly wider and shallower piece. That's just me. Good luck!
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