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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby bloke » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:57 pm

Not to terribly long ago, I saw a 3+1 vintage Besson (satin silver) on eBay, in what appeared to be gently-used condition.

The satin silver did NOT look redone. I would be suspicious of "overhauled" instruments, because ALMOST NO ONE rebuilds the valves when they remove dents and refinish instruments. i.e. a car with a brand-new paint job, body work, and 400K miles on the engine/transmission...a "fake car". :|

ALMOST EVERYTHING about musical instruments is CONDITION and PLAYING CHARACTERISTICS. ALMOST NOTHING about musical instruments is "year made".

more specifically to your question: I know of no originally silver plated Besson tubas from that era that were "bright" silver...only "satin" silver.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby tofu » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:29 am

bloke wrote:more specifically to your question: I know of no originally silver plated Besson tubas from that era that were "bright" silver...only "satin" silver.


I don't disagree with any of your post. I've never seen an original bright silver Besson either. I do own one though that is either a '69 -'70 -a 3 valve comp New Standard I bought just out of college for brass band playing and had it completely rebuilt back in '82 including the valves by Allied in Elkhorn when they were still in the repair business. I had it replated bright silver, because I thought it would be easier to maintain than the frosted silver. While I haven't done any brass band playing in a long time, and really don't use it now for my current gigs I still hang on to it because it was a good player before the rebuild and came out a superb player after. Looking back, I can't believe how little they charged me. They even rebuilt the case. I was working in WI at the time and ever couple weeks I'd show up with another mouthpiece for them to replate. I think in total they must have done five. I dealt with one of the Getzens who was into hot rods at the time, as was I, and they were great to work with. It was really interesting to see the process and progress every couple of weeks on the rebuild. I must have been a PITA for them. They surely could not have made any money on that job. I was completely blown away with the work they did on it - just superb.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby bloke » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:50 am

Yours is the rare instrument that received a valve rebuild as part of the restoration...because you owned it prior to the restoration.

I see instruments flow out of some of these eBay-selling overhaul mills that are only cosmetically restored...and then they are brought to me with their new owners asking why they play "funny".

That having been said, I'm really glad for you that you ended up with what you judge to be a good valve rebuild job out of Wisconsin.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby andrew the tuba player » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:15 am

I don't think they care too much about satin vs bright. That being said I'm the only one with a satin silver horn in the group so it still may have been part of the need vs want situation. But you can't really get any more british brass than an old besson comp. So I dont think they'd mind. (In fact i believe most of the band owned instruments are bessons.)

I do see what you are saying about being wary of "over hauled" intruments especially from ebay and whatnot. The only way I'd really look into one is if it was on here and the seller could tell me who did it and how it was overhauled. A shiny boat anchor ain't gonna make a lot of music.

I'm not sure that 2 big Conns would be the way to go.


I know i made this post only a few hours ago but it piqued my intrest at work. I do often find myself wishing I had mine with me. I may pull it out this week and play some of last seasons music and see how it does. The biggest thing will be to see how controlled and consise i can make 16th (and a few 32nd) note runs at brisk tempos.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby bloke » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:29 pm

Just fwiw...

One of my PERSONAL projects (an instrument to KEEP, and NOT sell) is a recording bell 3+1 Besson.

(I also own a recording bell 3+1 Eb Besson, and I made an upright bell for it. That upright bell will fit BOTH the Eb and the BBb.)

This BBb appeals to me because it...
- is fully chromatic
- sounds great
- can make an astonishingly loud sound
- plays in tune
- 's recording bell config works well at outdoor gigs
- 's upright bell works for whatever
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby tofu » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:41 pm

bloke wrote:Yours is the rare instrument that received a valve rebuild as part of the restoration...because you owned it prior to the restoration.

I see instruments flow out of some of these eBay-selling overhaul mills that are only cosmetically restored...and then they are brought to me with their new owners asking why they play "funny".

That having been said, I'm really glad for you that you ended up with what you judge to be a good valve rebuild job out of Wisconsin.


Yeah...it's like cars & houses - shiny sells - meanwhile the internals (typically the most expensive stuff to fix/replace) suck.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby TheGoyWonder » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:18 pm

Well it's a numbers game. I've never encountered a yamaha, even beat, without tight valves. Bessons of New Standard era, even when pretty, will probably have flaky valves. I've had one with tight valves once, it was still tricky to play (loved its ff tone though)
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby andrew the tuba player » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:35 pm

Well i got the 20j out and it did pretty well. Mine still has some kinks to work out so it doesnt make it easy on you.

I did hear back from the band and rotary horns are fine. My 52j is most likely being sold tomorrow and i have my eye on an older silver Mirafone 186 4u. It has some plating wear (the usual Mirafone "wrist strip") but it has also just been fully serviced and checked over by Dan Oberloh so it should be good to go. I've always said I'd own a silver 186 one day and that day may finally be at hand.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby imperialbari » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:39 pm

If the band can afford having strict opinions on the pitch of their tubas, then they also can afford buying you a tuba of the desired pitch.

Not that I don’t have my own opinions of non-standard tubas in brass bands. The problems I have met are all related to sounds pointing out of the tutti by being too bright or by being too heavy.

Some players of rotary F tubas play too brightly and edgy to support the band.

Some players of huge CC tubas inch their ways onto the Eb chairs, because that part is so easily read by people only knowing the bass clef. A bad idea because the bass line gets way too fat and heavy.

Some lighter rotary BBb tubas used for playing the BBb part cannot provide sufficient support for the band, and when the players push them, the sound gets too edgy.

If you play in tune with your section mates and don’t overblow, then I see no problem in using your Conn.

Phil Smith’s attitude cited above here is wise,

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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby Jess Haney » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:55 pm

imperialbari wrote:If the band can afford having strict opinions on the pitch of their tubas, then they also can afford buying you a tuba of the desired pitch.

Not that I don’t have my own opinions of non-standard tubas in brass bands. The problems I have met are all related to sounds pointing out of the tutti by being too bright or by being too heavy.

Some players of rotary F tubas play too brightly and edgy to support the band.

Some players of huge CC tubas inch their ways onto the Eb chairs, because that part is so easily read by people only knowing the bass clef. A bad idea because the bass line gets way too fat and heavy.

Some lighter rotary BBb tubas used for playing the BBb part cannot provide sufficient support for the band, and when the players push them, the sound gets too edgy.

If you play in tune with your section mates and don’t overblow, then I see no problem in using your Conn.

Phil Smith’s attitude cited above here is wise,

Klaus


I can agree with most of this said seeing it myself first hand. Klaus is pretty on point with some of the misfortunes of ill-experienced tuba players in brass banding. Although to the contrary most bands will not supply large horns for everyone. That being said if you are interested in the idiom enough you tend to purchase the equipment desired. If I played in an orchestra regularly I would probably own a CC.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby andrew the tuba player » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:35 am

The band does own a Besson 993 but it is being used by our other player. They do supply cornets, Alto horns, baritones and maybe a euphonium but we just don't have the funding for another BBb tuba right now as our concerts are free and we run off of donations. And that's what it really boiled down to. They said they would like to have a section of matching horns but with personal owned tubas that's a bit unrealistic.

I did however find that it was so much easier to play on the 20j (being a BBb). There were passages that I never really mastered with all of the rehearsals and I was able to run through them after about 5 minutes with it so it will really help me.

That being said I have sold the 52j and I am in the process of buying the 186. Thanks for all of the help and advise.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby imperialbari » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:18 am

Sorry to say so, but soundwise your decision is on the bad side.

The 52J has a sound quite similar to the Besson 981 Eb, just being bigger because it is in CC.

With all due respect to the 186 and its wide usefulness. Brass band is not among the sound concepts it was designed to satisfy. Clearly less relevant for brass band than the 52J.

bloke has pointed towards the older B&H Imperial or Besson New Standard, which I hardly can protest, as I have a 3+1 New Standard comper myself. Only they have to be selected carefully due to their age.

The new King 2341 would work well. As would the old 2341.

The 52J is very similar to the new 2341.

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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby TheGoyWonder » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:30 am

One data point is that the brass band competition spaces in Ft Wayne are pretty bass-friendly, so the really big tubas aren't necessary. Probably because the giant pit under the main stage and the raised platform in the other room are great resonators. 186 is a good choice, in fact a tight-sounding BBb can do well in the (bad but common) arrangement tactic where Eb and BBb tubas repeatedly trade off a line.
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Re: Equipment Advise

Postby andrew the tuba player » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:09 am

I have given a lot of thought to the sound concept and especially with this being an older 186 with the smaller bell it will have a brighter sound. The venue that we play is a large church auditorium that can suck a lot of the clarity from the bass line due to how the room resonates the sound. I figure that a brighter sound may help to highlight the clarity a bit. Also when we have split parts my section mate generally takes the lower octave (especially with me having a CC) so hopefully it will help the higher octave pop out a bit more and give it a little more color. My personal sound also generally runs on the warmer, more mellow side so I think I should be able to blend well with the section on parts where this sound is called for.

Also.a few years back I had a 186 5uc (also with the smaller bell) that I used in our community band. My section member (who is also our Eb section leader) plays on a 983 and we were always able to blend very well in a variety of settings.
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