open letter to Jonathan, and a poll Bookmark and Share

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interest in 3+1 compensating Eb with a recording bell

I'd be interested in a buying a detachable recording bell Jinbao-made compensating Eb tuba from Jonathan.
3
9%
I'd be interested in buying a set of these Jinbao-made parts: lower bell, detach. recording bell, detach. upright bell, and shorter upper bow - to convert my own fixed-bell compensating Eb tuba
4
12%
I'm a compensating Eb player, and I'm not the least bit interested in any of this.
26
79%
 
Total votes : 33

open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby bloke » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:41 pm

The only person that I could imagine being interested in possibly offering this to the public would be Jonathan, so I'm offering this to him.

It's no secret that I love my recording bell Besson Eb, and (based on how few of them I've seen) I have to assume that these are somewhat rare.
In order (50 - 60 years ago) for them to make their Eb tuba accept a recording bell, B&H had to shorten the upper bow. This accomplished two things:
- clearance for the recording bell
- enough length taken away from the rest of the tuba to be able to make a full-blown recording bell (Yes. The lower/upper bell parts on these instruments were considerably LONGER than the regular 15"/19" fixed-bell one-piece bell.)

A while back, Jonathan purchased an example of the least expensive version of the old B&H/Besson recording bell Eb tuba from me (3 valve / non-compensating). If (??) Jonathan took measurements prior to selling it (or never sold it...??) he doesn't need my help.

Otherwise (if he's interested, and if there is interest from consumers), I'm willing to take some adequate measurements of my tuba's upper bow, lower bell part, and detachable recording bell, and send them to him.

My only motivation?
I think these are cool, and (therefore) assume that quite a few others may agree. I could easily be wrong about this, and (who knows?) it's quite possible that no one is the least bit interested in having something like this...

...and yeah, I'm thinking that the subset-of-a-sub-set of musicians who might be interested in this would be 1920's/1930's jazz musicians...or community band Eb players who do a bunch of outdoor concerts...
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Wyvern » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:33 pm

Joe, Just to let you know I have seen your post.

I still have that bell front Besson, but the low demand for the Wessex XL bell front BBb tuba (although it is a great player), has meant I have not proceeded towards making a bell front compensated Eb.

It seems to me, that there are very few people that want a bell front tuba today - they are out of fashion. Wessex do make other horns of limited interest, so I will not rule out in the future, but there are other new tubas that are my priority at present.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby bloke » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:02 pm

yep.
I agree that they are out-of-fashion (since - I guess - the '60's - when Miraphone tubas made their way to the USA, and into somewhat wide distribution)...but more players may (??) eventually realize that they are...
- cool
- useful for...
>> gigs in short-ceiling rooms
>> gigs outdoors
>> indoor gigs in large rooms where there is no band shell
>> jazz band gigs were "presence" is required

I'm glad that you still have that tuba. :D
I'd like to imagine that you would allow Jinbao to (at least) measure those four parts (listed in the previous post) prior to selling it.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Wyvern » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:30 pm

bloke wrote:players may (??) eventually realize that they are...
- cool
- useful for...
>> gigs in short-ceiling rooms
>> gigs outdoors
>> indoor gigs in large rooms where there is no band shell
>> jazz band gigs were "presence" is required

Agree with all of that.

If a time comes that enough people want, then we will make. So do vote if you would like this created!
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Michael Bush » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:00 pm

I just want to congratulate Joe on a very well made poll. :wink:
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Donn » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:05 pm

Your compensating Eb sousaphone probably ought to come first.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby MaryAnn » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:59 pm

Locally....a friend showed up to a concert band needing tubas with a bell-front BBb and was invited to leave. However, that conductor really does resemble the joke about the horns in back etc.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby hrender » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:47 am

Wyvern wrote:I still have that bell front Besson, but the low demand for the Wessex XL bell front BBb tuba (although it is a great player), has meant I have not proceeded towards making a bell front compensated Eb.


This is a shame. My community band director has been nothing but complimentary about my switch to a bell-front horn (old 1240). I think the prejudice against these horns is completely irrational.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby pecktime » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:14 pm

I like recording bells, and i like Eb. I'm not sure about compensating tubas though (i've never played one). If you drew the group of people interested in each one of those things as a venn diagram, I would wager the interesection of all three sets would be far smaller than the intersection of any two two (say a recording bell Eb, or a recording bell compensating tuba of some other key)
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby bloke » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:19 am

I've been playing Eb tubas/sousaphones/helicons in jazz bands since c. 1978, when I picked up a York-made stencil Eb sousaphone for $5, and needed two instruments for back-to-back dixie/polka gigs (one: 5 nights/wk. l the other: 6 nights/wk.
(I found a Conn fiberglass 36K BBb for $50 for the polka band gig. The gigs were only a block apart, but I just didn't have time to carry both my bass guitar and a sousaphone from one bar to the other… I also had two amplifiers...and I also had to quick-change from shirt/slacks/vest into lederhosen. Yeah, this was back when Memphis was a cool town, and before all the murdering and private/public stealing ruined everything.)

I still can't read and play Eb tuba as well as the tubas of the three other common lengths, but where's the need, and what's to read?
I've owned all sorts of Eb instruments over the years... Some with a good sound, some with a good intonation, and some that were fully chromatic… but never all three...
UNTIL I lucked into this 1959 3+1 compensating Besson E flat with a recording bell;
It's just freaking perfect.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby oedipoes » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:29 am

bloke wrote:UNTIL I lucked into this 1959 3+1 compensating Besson E flat with a recording bell;
It's just freaking perfect.


I wonder if these recording bell Eb and BBb compensators were made for the US only, never seen one, didn't even know they existed, although the regular Besson Eb's are the most commonly used tubas here...

The 'traditional' instrument for this type of playing in this region were probably the 3 piston Eb (or BBb) Helicons that we call 'Bombardon' .
(made by Mahillon, De Prins, Schenkelaars, ...)
They are very popular band room wall-hangers now...
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Wyvern » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:32 am

oedipoes wrote:I wonder if these recording bell Eb and BBb compensators were made for the US only

I believe they were only made for the US market and never sold in Europe.

The only bell front tubas I know of in UK, were a few orchestral F tubas - which were made with recording bells in the days when that was required for primitive recording equipment to be able to pick up the tuba sound.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby bloke » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:06 am

I guess if I just played "bass lines" in jazz bands, a contrabass tuba would be fine, but band leaders tend to point to me, and - of tubas in the four typical lengths - it's mostly easiest to make up crap on the fly that sounds good to the customers (for me) when playing an Eb tuba.

The rare "recording bell" feature serves this genre well, as most jobs are in regular "rooms" (not concert halls) or outdoors.

again...

B&H accomplished the recording bell Eb by
- manufacturing a shorter large upper bow (to get it out of the way of the recording bell, as well as to allow for the extra length defined by the recording bell feature)
- using the same bell collar set they used on the BBb version...and (basically) the same bell, except 1" less pancake radius (2" less diameter)
- obviously with the lower bell part expanding out more quickly...to meet that (BBb tuba-sized) female bell collar dimension.

One might think that these changes would screw the intonation up, but the intonation tendencies are the same as the best of the standard fixed upright bell versions.

A TubeNet brother did sell me a never-used Sterling BBb (19") bell (which I cut and fit to yet another B&H-made male collar, but I find that I rarely use the upright bell. I'm told (by other tuba players with good/critical ears) that the two bells sound about equally good to them.

general comment:
Playing a tuba with a recording bell IS an adjustment. With the sound going "out" (instead of bouncing off the ceiling...or off a shell's cloud), the player isn't able to judge volume as well, and it's very easy to over-adjust volume to "too loud"...

related comments:
The BBb version (that most all of us have seen) is a not-particularly-VISUALLY-aesthetically-pleasing but MAGNIFICENT beast.
sound - more than plenty
sound quality - superb
3+1 system - fully chromatic
bore - plenty large: .728" regular / .768" compensating side
intonation - astonishingly good...with the only "hiccup" being a sharp Eb in the staff, which can be fixed by depressing the 4th valve. They also tend to be "sharp-natured", but there IS enough tuning slide to get them down to A=440 (if any ensembles actually play that low these days...??)
The BBb's are great for community bands, and for amateur/professional outdoor orchestra concerts (typically "patriotic", and sporting many "flat keys" arrangements), again - as the sound goes OUT to the crowd, rather than UP (into space).

bloke "yeah...I guess if you don't play in a jazz band...or you don't play Eb in a jazz band...You won't be interested in this thread/proposal...but this is THE PERFECT Eb JAZZ BAND TUBA"
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Wyvern » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:32 am

It may be just the recording bell Eb I have, but I remember the leadpipe is also shorter than standard. A bit like a Fletcher pipe but smaller bore and shorter. It does not swan neck upwards or the player could not see past the bell.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Mark Finley » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:39 am

Donn wrote:Your compensating Eb sousaphone probably ought to come first.



This I would like to see
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Donn » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:49 am

Well, belatedly occurred to me it's unlikely you will see it soon, unless sousaphones can realistically use top valve clusters. Otherwise it would have to wait for a 983 copy, for the front valves. Maybe the bell front Eb could be marketed to the sousaphone niche, though I suppose the player would be ill advised to try to walk around with that bell in front of his face.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby Wyvern » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:57 am

58mark wrote:
Donn wrote:Your compensating Eb sousaphone probably ought to come first.



This I would like to see

Besson made a handful of these in the 1920's. I have considered reproducing, but after play comparing a vintage Besson to a Wessex SP28 sousaphone, have decided not to proceed as our existing Eb sousaphone played better overall

Picture of the vintage Besson attached for interest. Actually its bore profile is nearer to the Wessex 3/4 Bombino than the full size Eb tuba.
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Besson Eb sousaphone - 1.jpg
Besson Eb sousaphone - 1.jpg (95.38 KiB) Viewed 778 times
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby bloke » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:13 pm

Most of the Eb instruments that I've used in jazz bands over the years have been shoulder-mounted.

ONE of them (a small-bore GDR-made 4-rotor helicon that I enhanced to 5-rotors...and Klaus probably saved pictures...It eventually found its way to Hawaii, and I believe the buyer later passed away) offered really good intonation, but the resonance characteristics were too "directional", the rest of them (US-made sousaphones and helicons) offered a great quality of resonance, but difficult intonation. The "Reynolds" (similar to King, but just a bit different) Eb sousaphones seemed to offer the easiest (still difficult, and a lot of bending) intonation, but there really wasn't a 4-valve version (with even a 4-valve STILL not offering a "low F"). The one-or-two 4-valve Reynolds Eb sousaphones that I HAVE seen show themselves to be virtually identical to King (thus reverting to the even-more-challenging-than-Reynolds King Eb sousaphone intonation characteristics). Jonathan has arguably chosen the best (weighing all factors) 4-valve Eb sousaphone to copy (Conn).
Again, the B&H (Besson) recording bell 3+1 comp. Eb offers SOUND, INTONATION, BELL-FRONT, and "FULLY CHROMATIC".

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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby cambrook » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:53 pm

I've played a Besson 4V compensating Eb sousaphone that is very good. I'm guessing that not many (none?) made it to the USA or we'd have read about them here on TN. It belongs to "Gilly" who occasionally hangs out here, perhaps he can post some photos, from memory it looks a bit different to the photo Jonathan posted above.
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Re: open letter to Jonathan, and a poll

Postby bloke » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:11 pm

cambrook wrote:I've played a Besson 4V compensating Eb sousaphone that is very good. I'm guessing that not many (none?) made it to the USA or we'd have read about them here on TN. It belongs to "Gilly" who occasionally hangs out here, perhaps he can post some photos, from memory it looks a bit different to the photo Jonathan posted above.


The Besson (non-comp) sousaphones that I've seen appear to be yet-another set of front-action instruments made with top-action-style casings - with (factory-)altered exit knuckles...and (well...) the 983 exists...so...~IF~ there is actually an Eb sousaphone BUGLE in existence that actually plays in-tune to professional standards...

...but Jonathan already stated it diplomatically, though, as does the poll: no market
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