Low register issues Bookmark and Share

The bulk of the musical talk

Low register issues

Postby k123ason » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:08 pm

I just got a brand new 4/4 Bb tuba, silver plated, rotary valves. It's a great horn, amazing mid-high register especially. But there is a problem when I play notes in the lower register (E1-Bb1). For example if I were to play a Low-E (2+4) if I don't play it loud enough, it will move up a semitone or two to F or F# with a slightly more muffled sound (imagine if you were to press your valves half-way down and play, it makes that muffled sound) I don't know if it's just a tuning issue or if it's supposed to be this way. I can play in the low register easily on different tubas. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
k123ason
lurker
lurker
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:35 pm

Re: Low register issues

Postby BrooklynBass » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:40 pm

Make, model, and more specs please... even better, a picture!! :)
Eastman 632S "Stella" (Parker & Stofer-Geib mpcs)
Tricked-out Fender P Bass & Aguilar Amplification
In search of: CC sousa or helicon solution
--------------
Member, Brooklyn Wind Symphony
Director, L Train Brass Band
User avatar
BrooklynBass
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:58 am

Re: Low register issues

Postby Dan Tuba » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:08 pm

It's very hard to diagnose the problem without seeing and hearing what you're doing while attempting to play in the low register. However, here are a few "suggestions." When playing in the low register, think " slow" air. Keep in mind that "slow" air refers to the speed of the air, not "necessarily" the "volume" of air. Slowing the air down can be accomplished several ways. Here are a couple.
1) Placement of the tongue. Think ah or oh instead of ee. Your goal here is to lower your tongue placement in the back of your mouth.
2) Open throat. Try buzzing your mouthpiece, place your hand at the end of your mouthpiece. If the air is "cold" , your throat is probably closed. Try humming or singing while you buzz, this may or may not help you "open up" You can also practice "breathing" :D Inhale using "how" exhale using "ho." Or any combination of those two. The exhalation should yield " warm" air and an open throat.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that some tuba makes and designs require "slower" air in the low register than others. Once mastered, this type of tuba may or may not yield greater "efficiency." Some people refer to this type of tuba as " stuffy. " However, it's a matter of "opinion."

Good luck and I hope this at least provides a little help. Believe it or not, I'm still working on the same stuff.
Conn 25J
JP 3+1 Compensating EEb
Bach 24AW
Dan Tuba
pro musician
pro musician
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:21 pm
Location: Waynesville, Missouri

Re: Low register issues

Postby bloke » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:16 pm

BrooklynBass wrote:Make, model, and more specs please... even better, a picture!! :)


Good grief, old man!
They TOLD you that it's silver.
Go on then...Diagnose the problem... Image
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 37405
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Low register issues

Postby Art Hovey » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:49 pm

A few years ago I was helping a student who was using a brand of BBb rotary tuba that is found in many high schools. When he tried to play low F it came out as a low G. Eventually I discovered that when I play low F on that model (and several other similar tubas) I can lip it up to G with very little effort. You can make them play low F if you know how, but they don't play themselves. Students who have not yet learned to make their chops buzz low F just can't get that note. Tubas that have what I would call a "good" low register do not have that poor slotting; you can lip up the low notes a little bit, but not a whole step. In my opinion a tuba that has a weak low register should not be in any high school.
User avatar
Art Hovey
pro musician
pro musician
 
Posts: 1314
Joined: Sun May 02, 2004 12:28 am
Location: Connecticut

Re: Low register issues

Postby bloke » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:14 pm

Art Hovey wrote:A few years ago I was helping a student who was using a brand of BBb rotary tuba that is found in many high schools. When he tried to play low F it came out as a low G. Eventually I discovered that when I play low F on that model (and several other similar tubas) I can lip it up to G with very little effort. You can make them play low F if you know how, but they don't play themselves. Students who have not yet learned to make their chops buzz low F just can't get that note. Tubas that have what I would call a "good" low register do not have that poor slotting; you can lip up the low notes a little bit, but not a whole step. In my opinion a tuba that has a weak low register should not be in any high school.


I can think of one that is advertised for $9565 that I consider to be a scourge.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 37405
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Low register issues

Postby TheGoyWonder » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:32 am

I've tried the Made in Chyna 4-rotor BBb (the short-bell or Hirsbrunner copy)
It does exactly this. It's junk. I'd bet even money this is the tuba he's talking about.
TheGoyWonder
3 valves
3 valves
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:11 am

Re: Low register issues

Postby k123ason » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:50 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:I've tried the Made in Chyna 4-rotor BBb (the short-bell or Hirsbrunner copy)
It does exactly this. It's junk. I'd bet even money this is the tuba he's talking about.


It's a Mack TU210S, is this a fixable problem? If not that's fine.
k123ason
lurker
lurker
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:35 pm

Re: Low register issues

Postby TheGoyWonder » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:25 pm

TOLD YOU SO. well there was a chance that importer was better than the generic, but apparently not.
Just dump it and buy well-used in a brand with the money. At that price point, Yamaha 321 or King 2-piece or East German rotary are about all you can get with 4 valves. and maybe St Pete if you want to stick with short-bell rotaries.
TheGoyWonder
3 valves
3 valves
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:11 am

Re: Low register issues

Postby Wyvern » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:19 pm

I would suggest you check rotary valve alignment and for any leaks. If neither of those are the problem, get professor to try to see if it is the tuba or you need to practice more, or change mouthpiece.

Could be any of those. Hope that helps!
See our fantastic new website at www.Wessex-Tubas.com

Visit our Facebook page
User avatar
Wyvern
Wessex Tubas
Wessex Tubas
 
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:00 pm
Location: Hampshire, England when not travelling around the world on Wessex business

Re: Low register issues

Postby Three Valves » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:13 am

My 210L works at my range "between the Fs" as I have yet to encounter written parts lower than a low F, with an occasional E, or higher than a high F, oh, with maybe an occasional hi G, A or B (which I bring down an octave anyway)

You know, if one is A LOT better (and more demanding) than me, one probably should not be playing a -$2K Chinese tuba.

Otherwise, every tuba I've played at any price is a compromise.

:tuba:
Who needs four valves??
User avatar
Three Valves
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 2181
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:44 am
Location: The Land of Pleasant Living

Re: Low register issues

Postby k123ason » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:45 pm

BrooklynBass wrote:Make, model, and more specs please... even better, a picture!! :)

Mack TU210S, BBb, 4 rotary valve, silver plating.
k123ason
lurker
lurker
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:35 pm

Re: Low register issues

Postby the elephant » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:17 pm

Get some cheap "EAR" ear plugs from your grocery store's pharmacy or the Personal Care aisle. (They are very inexpensive.)

Image

Follow the directions to properly insert one in your bell-side ear. (rotors or front pistons - left ear, top pistons - right ear)

Warm up and practice normally, getting used to being able to hear your buzz at the same time you hear the sound from your bell bouncing off the walls.

Does your buzz sound perfectly in tune to you as you play? Does it match what is coming out of your bell perfectly? If so, this is a centered pitch. If not, the pitch is not centered properly.

If you can accurately buzz all the notes on either side of your problem note (below, too!!!) then there is probably some sort of internal obstruction to the sound wave that prevents you from buzzing that pitch. Confirm this with other players on your horn, if this is the case. Also, play other tubas to see if it is just your face being unable to form a low F, or E or whatever.

Now work on that low E (again, or whatever note is the issue) and make sure that YOU are holding it when you get louder or softer. If, when you hear that YOU are holding that low note and it still creeps up there is something wrong with your horn. If you are not able to hold it steady you need to practice like this over time until this is no longer an issue for you. If it persists you may have something wrong with your horn; you may not. As people here have told you, it is difficult to diagnose playing problems via the written word.

However, I have solved many issues in my own playing over the years by doing this. I simply listen to how accurate my buzz is while I am playing the horn. If I am doing my job and the horn does not cooperate there is something wrong with my horn. If not, then I have identified issues in my playing and started on the road to fixing them.

PM me if you want more details, but there really aren't any. Make certain that you are buzzing the correct pitch in the first place. Diagnose from there.
In the multiverse there is a TubeNet where we talk about how we greased our cat with toothpaste and hot sauce so it would fly better in the rain. Even then someone would ask whether the cat was lacquered or silver plated.
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 12414
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: Yazoo City, Mississippi

Re: Low register issues

Postby swillafew » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:09 pm

There is an excellent product from Hip Bone music, a 20 minute warmup book. You get a CD of Gene Pokorny playing all the exercises. I play mine through an oversized stereo. I have played along with Gene (over a period of years) until my own pitch was less nasty and more like his.

Almost every page in the book goes down to the low E, and doing this requires a tremendous effort on the breath. A few of the pages can be played down an octave in case you feel frisky.

The post about buzzing the right pitch is of course spot on.
MORE AIR
User avatar
swillafew
4 valves
4 valves
 
Posts: 852
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 7:20 pm
Location: Aurora, IL

Re: Low register issues

Postby MaryAnn » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:55 am

Wade's ear plug trick should be taken very seriously. The "head noise" you get from wearing ear plugs will tell you exactly what pitch you are buzzing, and can be used to help your accuracy immensely.
User avatar
MaryAnn
Occasionally Visiting Pipsqueak
Occasionally Visiting Pipsqueak
 
Posts: 2634
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:58 am

Re: Low register issues

Postby pauvog1 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:31 pm

You could always reach out to Tom at Mack Brass. You could also take it to your local repair guy to check for any possible alignment issue. You could see if a thorough cleaning helps.

Those would be the first things I'd check whether it was an Chinese import or a high end European horn.
Kalison DS
B&S PT-18p
pauvog1
4 valves
4 valves
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:13 am


Return to TubeNet

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot], Superman258 and 24 guests