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THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ahead

Postby BrooklynBass » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:51 am

WARNING: POSITIVE RANT BELOW. It's not too late to click "back". You've been warned :tuba:

It's been a wild first half of 2017, so I wanted to share my experiences, especially for those (like me) who are returning to the horn after some considerable time off. This week marks 6 months since I bought my Eastman, and A LOT has happened since then.

I graduated from University #1 back in 2006 with a BA in Music (and not the useful, Education flavor of degree either). Young, jaded, broke, single, and full of “rocker angst”, I sold my horn upon graduation—a Miraphone 186-5C (purchased new in 2003 at the pre-global-financial-crisis price of around $5K!)—for a quick sale price that would hurt too much to type out on screen.

2006 – 2008, I had a retail job in “the city” and tried and failed (hard) as a bassist in money pit of an original “indie rock” band. To set the scene, I [cringing as type this] had a lip ring (only admitting this to demonstrate how far I removed myself from tuba-ing). Having my fill of and rock n roll (though being mid-20s and single was fun at the time), I moved on. The upshot to that period of 20s overindulgence was I met my later-to-be-wife, I went on to get my masters (business-related), and a sequence of jobs (some of which were music-related) led me here to NYC.

I missed playing tuba, badly. It started out subliminally (I actually had several reoccurring dreams about playing over the years). I had a brief “relapse” in 2009 blowing out my chops on a borrowed fiberglass sousaphone in an insane amateur brass band in Chicago called “Boo Boo Brass Band” (we played in dive bars and what came out of the spit valves was usually contained some amount of beer; we played “Where the Weed At” and “Too Drunk to F***). That group was a lot of fun, but it only kindled my interest in more serious playing.

After moving from Chicago a year later, I buried my tuba desire again due to the strain of making ends meet on top of student loans on entry-level income. Even affordable European horns stopped being affordable after the financial collapse (my 186 nearly doubled in price), and Chinese horns were no where near the quality and reliability they are today. I still had CC fingerlings beaten into me from college, so I decided getting a BBb and relearning fingerings on a cheap beater would be discouraging and I'd end up quitting again. I was stuck.

The irony of being a musician is that (unless you're a pro/really lucky) one (often) has much greater music gear purchasing power in a non-music career. That said, early 2017 brought the good fortune of an annual bonus and a hefty tax return. It was FINALLY tuba time. I even got my wife’s sign-off! But what horn?

So, I came to TubeNet looking for advice. We all know going to the “interweb hivemind” for advice can sometimes be a fool’s game, but you guys really came through for me. I was about to settle on a horn that would NOT have been a good fit AT ALL. Six months ago, I had no idea of the type of playing I’d be doing, I totally would have regretted my the unguided purchase decision. But I reached out here on TubeNet and instead of a bunch of noise, I got real advice from real players. I was rapidly directed to Matt Walters to talk about the Eastman 632, then Rich Serpa reached out to me with an amazing testimonial about that same horn. This is what community is all about, folks. These guys really listened and understood my playing needs and my budget, and made a solid recommendation accordingly. Respect.

Within weeks of starting that thread, I was off to the DC Conference to check out the Eastman. It was love at first honk! Post-sale, Matt set me up with his last Cronkhite gig bag, and some solid playing advice to get me back up and running after a decade off. I also had the honor of meeting Michael Parker (another TubeNetter, Eastman evangelist, and an all-around A+ human) who set me up with literally the best playing and feeling mouthpiece I’ve ever owned. The buying experience was reminiscent of Ollivanders wand shop in Harry Potter—he let the mouthpiece choose me :) I drove back to Brooklyn with an awesome new rig and a new copy of Arban’s.

Six months later:

I'm back to, and perhaps exceeding, my collegiate playing ability it terms of sound, dexterity, and even sight reading! I’ve even landed 2 paying gigs (more than I can say for my rock bass days). I was a minstrel of sorts on a pirate ship at an EDM festival (even weirder & more awesome than it sounds; two words: topless mermaid). And I got hired as part of a big brass section for a sold out 4th of July Show in Montauk. The latter gig is spinning off into more opportunities with this cover band as part of their "deluxe" wedding/corporate package.

I played two community band concerts and, as of 2 weeks ago, I made it into the advanced, audition-only group for the 2017-2018 season (Brooklyn is blessed with not one, but three different/levels of community ensembles).

From nothing, I started a second line brass band interest group that, since March, grew into a performing collective of over 30 active (dues-paying, contributing) members. We’ve participated in two NYC parades (winning a “Best New Group" mention at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade), and we continue to receive invitations to play at some really cool venues – including a paid gig at a “secret” warehouse party in Brooklyn tomorrow where I'll be debuting my original chart "Bushwick"!

Since getting my tuba (not to mention a sousa, and several mouthpieces... all sourced through this site), I've had literally no time to be bored! It’s been a crazy ride so far, but I certainly look forward to the journey ahead!

Like all internet forums, we all know there’s some obligatory pessimism and in-fighting at times, but I hope that everyone’s net experience is equally positive to mine. There’s good people here. If you made it this far, the punchline to this LONG post (sorry) is I owe a lot of my recent accomplishments to the awesome folks of THIS community. So, a sincere THANK YOU, People of TubeNet. In a world of fake news, this is an internet diamond in the rough. This is how it's done. Bravo!

Much love,

Ryan “have tuba, will travel” H.
Last edited by BrooklynBass on Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby lost » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:13 am

Ryan, great to have you in the tubenet community contributing awesome posts like this. I've done a little "honk" in my day and it's loads of fun.
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby roughrider » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:32 pm

What a terrific post! Your journey has brought you back into the tuba fold and we as a "community" here at TubeNet certainly need more of these types of stories. Well Done Ryan!
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby bloke » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:47 pm

...now just WHO was it who first suggested getting an Eastman tuba from Matt...??

:roll:
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby BrooklynBass » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:12 pm

bloke wrote:...now just WHO was it who first suggested getting an Eastman tuba from Matt...??

:roll:


Well, no good deed goes unpunished, right?

Yet you are right again, sir viewtopic.php?f=2&t=76920&p=613329#p613329" target="_blank

THANK YOU, BLOKE!! :wink:
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby Three Valves » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:50 pm

Came for advice.

Got advice.

Followed advice.

Happily ever after.

Let that be a lesson to you out there, kids!!

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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby bloke » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:50 pm

I'm sure it's fun to pretend to disagree with me, but - when it's all over-and-done with, everyone knows that I'm right...

...and I don't blame anyone for not buying one of my mouthpieces because "me being right" makes them upset. There are other players who probably benefit from using them more than they would. :P :lol:
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby ken k » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:07 am

very cooooool Ryan!
kk
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby Tampaworth » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:04 am

Great post! I've learned a lot both on Dave Werden's forum and here on the Tubenet. I started as a decent but, looking back, somewhat unfocused high school Trumpet player who gradually moved to TC Euphonium and, after quite a long time, to CC tuba. As a piano player, the CC fingerings were a natural coming from the ability to read BC and TC. I figured the Tuba would the an easy study based on my prior success on Euphonium, but quickly realized I was wrong and that Tuba was another animal entirely. I took lessons for the better part of a year from a University MM Grad Student who studied with Jay Hunsberger at the time. His guidance as well as some freely offered guidance from Tom McGrady from time to time have helped me work on initially weak areas such as low range and lip slurs, etc which are since light years better, but far from perfection. It was Tubenet that steered me towards my 686 Clone and then Wisemann 900 which I got from Tom McGrady at Mack Brass. After a rather extensive mouthpiece safari, I've settled on the Blokepiece Symphony at Tom's advice and "grew" into the #2 33.2 rim, eventually settling on the Houser Modified Helleberg 33.2 which I got from Bloke also. I really dig a sharper rim for articulation. Like Ryan, this forum has been a source of information, encouragement, and entertainment on my Tuba journey. Thanks to all the Tubenet contributors for a place to go that's fun, informative, and a way to constantly improve.
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby bearphonium » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:50 pm

Great post, Ryan. I think I read some of those "asking" posts. I didn't even know what to ask, and yet have also been helped a great deal on this forum.
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Re: THANK YOU from a returning player! Warning: LONG post ah

Postby bloke » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:28 am

serious post:

' really glad you're having a bunch of fun, and that you're really excited about it.
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