E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso?? Bookmark and Share

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E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby TubaofGilman » Tue May 09, 2017 5:03 pm

Hello gentleman still trying to decide. I have been playing the E flat tuba for about 8 years now. Our community band has grown considerably. To about 50 to 60 member strong. I am not getting the volume I need from the E flat tuba with a 16" bell. Have been thinking about CC tuba and also a E flat cimbasso.
Need some advice from some duel players.

Thanks
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby toobagrowl » Tue May 09, 2017 5:18 pm

How many tuba players does your community band have? How many trombone players?
Eb tuba and Eb cimbasso are two very different sounds....
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby Mark Finley » Tue May 09, 2017 5:19 pm

Community band? Get a BBb. There are a bunch out there to choose from, but for a new horn a great place to start is the 210 that mack brass sells. Wessex sells a similar horn with 5 valves.

BBb will be an easier switch from Eb, plus the keys the band music is written in will lay better on it. No need to go to a CC when there are so many great BBb horns out there

Too many used options out there to even start that discussion, but a used Miraphone 186 is a great tuba that can usually be found for a reasonable price used.

Look at tuba exchange in NC or Baltimore brass for places that might have nice used horns in stock,, Mack brass is in Virginia, you would go there yourself and try a few horns out
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby TubaofGilman » Tue May 09, 2017 5:28 pm

We have only one tuba and two trombones.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby toobagrowl » Tue May 09, 2017 5:35 pm

TubaofGilman wrote:We have only one tuba and two trombones.


Wow, then definitely tuba :!: I agree with Mark.....look for a good full-size (4/4) BBb tuba. Or a full-size CC. I really think a band that size needs a true contrabass bottom, especially if you are the only tuba :idea:
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby Donn » Wed May 10, 2017 12:46 am

Right, and full size is your best bet - not extra big. There's one on craigslist in Pickens that might do pretty well.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby PaulMaybery » Wed May 10, 2017 7:54 am

Cimbasso is fun in a band as more of an alternative color and perhaps a downward extension to the trombone section sound. Though it works best on the tuba part, in a band, it should be considered an 'addition' to the tuba. But the tuba in a good healthy concert band should be, as mentioned here earlier, a full size instrument capable of laying out a good bottom to the band, not just harmonically but also with weight/strength and a certain presence and ambience. In the right hands a cimbasso certainly can produce quite a bit of sound but it's a rather different nature than the tuba. It is in reality a contrabass trombone. I've used in a symphonic band but we had 2 other very fine players. It put a little edge to, and a bit more focus on, the bass line. But I did not feel it was suitable for all the pieces on the program. The Italian bands, that use cimbasso, such as the Carribinieri, also have a tuba section. In a photo of the US Marine Band, under Wm. Santleman, you can see a (slide) contrabass trombone in the back row along with tubas, and a full trombone section including a normal bass trombone. My belief is that the band likely inherited the contra from the tenure of Francesco Fanciulli who succeeded Sousa and preceded Santleman. Used with imagination and good taste, I rather like the cimbasso in a well balanced concert/symphonic band setting.

As a side bar: You will probably not see a part called "cimbasso" in any of those band scores, it would be using the tuba part.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby opus37 » Wed May 10, 2017 8:14 am

I have been playing an Eb for close to 20 years. My horns have up to a 20 inch bell. I can very comfortably manage to keep up to the needs of a 30 piece band. 40 is definitely pushing it. I think what you really need is a second tuba player, preferably a BBb player. (I play in a 40 to 60 piece band with 1 and sometimes 2 other tuba players and that works well.) With your 15 inch bell size Eb, you might want to consider amplification. Someone like Oystein Baadsvik could pull off what you are trying to do, but if you are a mere mortal like me, I don't think you can do it. A 5/4 or larger BBb might work, but I think you would be happier with a second tuba player. An alternative to consider is a Conn 28K. (A large bore, 4 valve Eb sousaphone). That might work, but it is a sousaphone, which for some bands and venues, would just be wrong. I don't think a cimbasso would sound right to pull off what you are trying to do.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby TubaofGilman » Wed May 10, 2017 10:07 am

So what I'm getting from you guys is that instead of getting a CC consider a Bb. Stay with the Eb tuba instead of purchasing an Eb cimbasso.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby PaulMaybery » Wed May 10, 2017 11:05 am

Here I go again.

Some of the vintage Ebs are pretty hefty such as the old large Conn Eb. From my work with the old band literature with the Yankee Brass Band, we have learned that with about a dozen or so players, 1 or 2 of those old small E-fers work just fine. I'm not sure exactly when, but it was in the last quarter of the 19th century that the larger Ebs appeared. (Conn had an 1886 patent on his Wonder instruments.)

There is a theory that, in the Eb cornet style brass band, the larger Eb was intended for the lower octave of the Bb & Eb Bass that were written to play in octaves. The Bb (9 ft) bass sort of became obsolete and morphed into the modern euphonium. The BBb was not really being used much before the 1880s, so the tubas could split those octaves with small and large Eb tubas. Those older parts also really don't go below A below the staff.

It was also around the same time that Gilmore and Sousa were promoting larger concert bands and the BBb was eventually introduced in the 1880s with the Dodworth Band in New York. Most of the town brass band players had traditionally played on Ebs. So for Conn, York, Holton etc to offer a huge Eb tuba, the town brass band players could get that heftier sound and stay on Eb.
In the history of things, the band market was definitly divided between the amateur town band players and the professionals in the larger "business bands" in the cities. The basic problem with the vintage Ebs is that they were most likely built as High Pitch or Low Pitch. When modified for A 440 they usually suffer in the intonation department. A good hefty Eb such as the Willson can surprisingly mimic the BBb.

So what does all this mean. Sure a Jumbo/Monster/Giant Eb tuba should be able to carry most of the load, but it will never get the broader sound of the large BBb. (or CC) I do agree heartily with an earlier post that adding a BBb to your Eb would be a practical and wise choice.

On the other hand, if you have the time to invest, moving to BBb would really be an easy fix for the band.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby TubaofGilman » Wed May 10, 2017 1:26 pm

Thank you very much. I have been eyeing the Wessex Danube for an Eb. I have been using an old Russian Eb tuba that the band had. I played the Bb tuba in high school long ago but I started playing the trumpet. While looking at fingering for the CC tuba I noticed that while looking at the sheet music for instance Eb below the staff is open on the Eb tuba. But just looking at the note as an Eb is played 23 on the CC tuba like on a trumpet. Which seems that it would be an easier transition to pickup on than relearning the Bb tuba. But for what I am using it for would it be worth it to pickup the Bb again. We play music like (Selections from Chicago, William Tell Overture, Hymn to the Fallen, Bravura, Jupiter, Mars and all Sousa marches).
Just trying not to make a bad investment in a type of tuba that's not going to work with the type of music being played.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby imperialbari » Wed May 10, 2017 2:26 pm

Interesting that you read the bass clef music as pitches, not as a code for which buttons to press. Not always the approach in amateur bands.

From that perspective choosing a CC tuba would make sense for you. Only you usually get more tuba per $, if you buy BBb rather than CC.

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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby opus37 » Wed May 10, 2017 3:33 pm

Based on what you are playing, the BBb will be the better choice.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby bloke » Wed May 10, 2017 5:21 pm

I have a cimbasso.
I bought it ~hoping~ that I could have as much use for it as (...well...) I have.
It offers a good "color" when playing
- early music transcribed for brass quintet
- brass quintet compositions written with bass trombone (instead of tuba) in mind...as long as the parts don't go much above an F or G above the staff.
- orchestra pops concerts - some of the selections, some of the time
- Italian opera overtures (the "classic" excuse tuba players use - on their spouses - to buy one)
- trombone quartet music (yeah...I actually just played a "low brass section" chamber recital...though these, obviously, are rare)
(I sell instruments that do not earn their keep.)

The local community bands have generously offered me an open invitations to play with them.
One of them - in the past, I would rehearse with sometimes (if not right before a concert), because a long-time friend played with that band, and that was about my only opportunity to see my friend.
:arrow: I honestly can't imagine having walked in there with the cimbasso and barking out the tuba (or even bass trombone) part.

All of that blather (that I just typed) having been said...
Which model of 16" bell Eb tuba have you been using?

...and (if you'll beg my pardon for asking)...
How loud are the trumpet and percussion sections in your band, say: during passages marked between mezzo piano and pianissimo ?
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby ufonium2 » Wed May 10, 2017 9:13 pm

TubaofGilman wrote:Hello gentleman still trying to decide.



Why are you only asking men?
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby TubaofGilman » Wed May 10, 2017 9:47 pm

I am so very sorry. I did not mean to offend. Ladies and gentleman may respond.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby KiltieTuba » Wed May 10, 2017 9:49 pm

ufonium2 wrote:
TubaofGilman wrote:Hello gentleman still trying to decide.



Why are you only asking men?


Why are you trying to start something that isn't there?
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby bloke » Wed May 10, 2017 11:27 pm

Seriously...
Someone posts for the 8th time, and someone else comes after them with that sort of noise...?? :(

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXQkXXBqj_U
Last edited by bloke on Wed May 10, 2017 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby Mark Horne » Wed May 10, 2017 11:50 pm

I chose to learn tuba on a CC precisely because I could use my trumpet fingerings when reading the concert-pitch bass clef. With a CC you will find a wider variety of instruments to choose from generally, but as has been mentioned earlier, at a generally higher price than a BBb (if for no other reason, you will typically want 5 valves for a CC).

The CC will be a bit more responsive than a comparable BBb, but for about 90% of band music the fingerings will lie better on the BBb (to this day a struggle with the alternating 2-3 to 2-4 combinations like those you might find in the Sousa marches).

That said, in one of my community bands I play french horn, and our sole tuba player uses a compensating Eb (19" bell), and I think the sound is ideal for the ensemble of about 40 musicians - great range and definition; just maybe not quite the same depth that a big contrabass could provide.
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Re: E flat tuba or e flat cimbasso??

Postby TubaofGilman » Thu May 11, 2017 10:25 am

Trumpets and percussion very loud.
Are numbers are:
9 flutes, 1 oboe, 7 clarients, 1 bassoon, 6 bass clarients, 6 saxes, 6 trumpets, 5 percussion, 3 French horns, 2 trombones, 1 tympani, 1 mallet, 1 euphonium and 1 tuba.
Not sure of the name of the Eb tuba and it's a 3 valve.
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