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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?
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' "
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?
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.
"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).
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.
Wessex 5/4 CC "Wyvern"
Wessex 4/4 F "Berg"
BMB CC BAT (sad to give up for adoption - check out Baltimore Brass)
Wessex Cimbasso F
Mack Bass Trombone
Conn 5V Double Bell Euphonium
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
courtois 181 EEb
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.
Miraphone 1291 CC
1968 Besson New Standard Eb
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