5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ??? Bookmark and Share

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5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby marccromme » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:02 pm

I play myself a 5 valve Eb bass, and like the technical possibilities for especially E (or A) 235 or 24 and Ab 45.

I am considering buying a 5/4 (used) Bb contrabass tuba, but this one - a Melton - has only 4 valves. It seems pretty normal for Eb and C tubas to have 5 valves, but the available Bb tubas I have seen here near Copenhagen have all only 4 valves (rotary, or are English 3+1 compensated)

Why is this so? Why does one not see many more 5v rotary Bb tubas? 4v can't fill the gab to the pedals ... Just curious .. seems odd to me.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:02 pm

answer:

The vast majority of tuba music is written above low Eb. Were I to score/arrange a piece, would not write below F, just as I would probably not write below D for oboe, etc., etc...
That having been said, with only four valves on a BBb tuba, "Low" Eb can be managed with slides, D can be played fairly well with 234, and C# (I've only encountered a handful of these, the most notable in conjunction with a "world premiere" of a young composer's composition that was given more exposure than it deserved) can be managed with all four valves down.

Writing this low or lower - typically but not always - is found in conjunction with other examples (in other parts) of bad orchestration and/or mediocre compositions in general...

...but sure, for a non-compensating instrument, 5 valves are required for the instrument to be fully chromatic, and 6 valves (typically, only found on production F tubas) are required for an instrument to be fully chromatic with no low-range slide-pulling requirements.

- My BBb sousaphone features four valves, which is all I need.
- My to-be-restored Edgware St. ("Besson") recording bell BBb features four "compensating" valves, and thus will be fully chromatic.

Miraphone offers 5-valves on their standard rotary BBb models (when importers order them that way). Willson offers a 5th valve as s.o.p. on their large BBb tubas, and Melton offers a 5th rotor on their piston versions of some of their upper-end-and-large piston model tubas.

Jinbao of China offers a 5-rotor version of a Hb 192 knock-off.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby TUbajohn20J » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:07 pm

I loved my 5 valve Willson BBb. I have to admit I rarely used the 5th valve. Only for low b natural 12345 and every now and then I used it for low Eb 4-5. It was nice to have but not a necessity. With a good slide pull you could get low notes in tune using just 4 valves.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby Patrase » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:58 pm

I have been told that they tried 5 rotary valves on the rotary Fafner but it was too stuffy, so they stuck to four. Obviously the piston Fafner doesn't have that issue. But if you search the boards there were 6 valve B&S Bb rotary tubas in the 70's. As to 4 valve Bb's versus 5 valve versions they probably kept them to 4 valves because the intended use of the 4 valve Bb tuba's is that they be affordable and be played in Wind Bands by amateurs, rather than championship level Brass Bands or Pro level orchestras.

To fill in the intonation gaps the easiest solution would be to add a second valve trigger to get 2 and 4 combinations in tune. But that leaves 1 and 4 sharp, unless you pull slides.

If you are going to use it in a Brass Band with compensating Bb then get a second trigger installed to avoid being chronically out of tune on 24 combinations, or get ready to ride the 4th valve slide.

You can play a low B natural above the pedal Bb on 12 using false tones on the Melton Bb I tried. Worked well. So in practice, with a 2nd valve trigger, pulling slides and using false tones, you can play the full chromatic range on a four valve rotary Bb.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:38 pm

I resort to slide-pulling and trigger-throwing with a couple of my instruments because there are no other viable options.
I believe, though, that were it a viable option, we would all (simply) choose regular-ol' button-mashing to either of those other choices.
I like playing my comp. Eb and my 6-valve F, because they only involve button/lever mashing, and little-to-no slide pulling nor triggering.
I nearly kept a M-W 2155 (rather than selling it), because I could just blow into and mash down buttons and a lever.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby Art Hovey » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:01 pm

Dillon sells a very nice BBb tuba with 4 pistons and one rotor. It is moderately priced and plays very well. But I would like it more without the 5th valve because of the extra weight. A BBb tuba is heavy enough without a 5th valve. It is true that 2-3-5 is better than 2-4, but I am willing to pull my 4th or second valve slide when necessary for those two notes.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby TheGoyWonder » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:32 am

Usually on german tubas 4th valve can be jammed all the way in for a low Eb 124, and usually on American tubas 4th can be run long (1-3 used instead) and 1st valve pulled for a low Eb 14. If this sounds like a PITA maybe a 5th valve would be good for you.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby oedipoes » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:55 am

marccromme wrote:Why is this so? Why does one not see many more 5v rotary Bb tubas? 4v can't fill the gab to the pedals ... Just curious .. seems odd to me.


I have had a 5th rotor added to my 4/4BBb Rudolf Meinl, if that answers your question...
I do not like to manipulate slides while playing, so the 5th valve reduces that necessity to a minimum.
You can order (almost) all 4-valve rotary tubas as 5-valve optionally, whether inline or as dependent 5th in the 4rd valve loop.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby marccromme » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:24 pm

Thanks for the good food for thoughts. So, the main reason seems to be that 5v are not required for Bb since most music does not go further down than Eb or D. On the other hand, the convenience of 235 for low E and middle B are nice in keys with many sharps, and one does not need to trigger on second or 4th slide as much.

Personally I find 24 combinations very arkward, especially when coming from or going to 23 (= E major, B major scales on a Bb tuba, A major or E major on Eb tuba).

So I think I'll check it out and see if I can live with a 4v Bb bass, or if I need an additional 2nd trigger or 4th pull or even a 5th valve.

Thanks for your valuable input!
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby TheGoyWonder » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:47 pm

my theory on 5-valves: sometimes I want one, but then I do this little exercise: try to play 1234, even as a non-note, with some semblance of quality. When I can do it, I'll have earned myself a 5-valver.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby imperialbari » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:09 pm

The rep that many many German amateur bands play rarely takes the 2nd tuba part (meant for BBb instruments) below G below the bass stave. You will see marching German amateurs with very well made BBb tubas that only have 3 valves. All a matter of weight.

Where players of rotary BBb tubas start asking for a 5th valve, is when they join British style brass bands playing the newer competition rep. They might get happy with such a 5 rotors instrument, but I am not sure they actually will become happy. The only BBb tubas better suited for the British brass band sound concept than the 3+1P compers after the Blaikly design, are big front action piston BBb tubas or even big BBb sousaphones. But very few of these have more than 4 valves.

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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby oedipoes » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:28 pm

imperialbari wrote:Where players of rotary BBb tubas start asking for a 5th valve, is when they join British style brass bands playing the newer competition rep.
Klaus


As those brassband composers like Mr. Sparke tend to write also for symphonic wind band, 5 valves are a very welcome feature in that setting as well...

Orchestra: This guy thinks he needs 5 valves, and he souds mighty good...
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby Bill Troiano » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:06 pm

I had a friend, back when I lived in NY, who owned and played a 5 valve 1291 BBb.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby Lectron » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:36 am

Quite a few people have their 4V rotary ordered with 5V
And very often it's not even considered a custom job, already having prefabbed parts and model number.

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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby LCTuba89 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:11 pm

I very seldom see BBb tuba with 5 valves but everyone that I have seen and played were very impressive. The 5th valve makes the Ride significantly easier to play especially if it's a 4 piston + 1 rotor setup.

In the future I'd like a 5 valve rotary BBb tuba just because I like having easier access to certain notes.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby marccromme » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:34 am

TheGoyWonder wrote:my theory on 5-valves: sometimes I want one, but then I do this little exercise: try to play 1234, even as a non-note, with some semblance of quality. When I can do it, I'll have earned myself a 5-valver.


On the right tuba it is quite manageable - my MW 2141 5v Eb has a fine low range.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby marccromme » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:38 am

imperialbari wrote:
Where players of rotary BBb tubas start asking for a 5th valve, is when they join British style brass bands playing the newer competition rep. They might get happy with such a 5 rotors instrument, but I am not sure they actually will become happy. The only BBb tubas better suited for the British brass band sound concept than the 3+1P compers after the Blaikly design, are big front action piston BBb tubas or even big BBb sousaphones. But very few of these have more than 4 valves.

Klaus


Klaus - that is exactly why I am asking - I play in a 1st division DK Brass Band, and need my 5v on the Eb so badly. I suspect it will be the same on the Bb parts. And I am looking for a 5/4 or Kaiser size MW, Rudy or similar.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby Lectron » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:50 am

marccromme wrote:Klaus - that is exactly why I am asking - I play in a 1st division DK Brass Band, and need my 5v on the Eb so badly. I suspect it will be the same on the Bb parts. And I am looking for a 5/4 or Kaiser size MW, Rudy or similar.

You would miss the 5th
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby iumentum » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:36 am

marccromme wrote:Klaus - that is exactly why I am asking - I play in a 1st division DK Brass Band, and need my 5v on the Eb so badly. I suspect it will be the same on the Bb parts. And I am looking for a 5/4 or Kaiser size MW, Rudy or similar.


I play in 1st division brass band as well, and the 5th valve is a must. There are often no time to pull any slides in some of the pieces.
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Re: 5 valve Bb contrabass tuba ???

Postby TheBerlinerTuba » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:05 am

Hello Marc,

also es gibt B-Tuben mit 5 Ventile schon aber es ist nicht der Norm. Für leute die sie sich kein Boch haben Züge oder Triggers zu bedienen, kann man ein 5. Ventil einbauen.
Hier ist eine Cerveny Kaiser mit ein vollkonische Maschine von 21,20mm bis 22,20mm dann eine 5te mit 23mm.

Viele Grüße aus Berlin,
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