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What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Watchman » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:16 pm

In my mind categorizing sizes of tuba goes like this:

3/4 - beginning band "baby" tuba

4/4 - bigger than 3/4 but not too big.

6/4 - CSO York

5/4 - ????

The 5/4 designation seems rather problematic. Miraphone makes a bunch of 5/4 piston tubas that seem to me like 4/4 tubas. Rudy Meinl has a 5/4 that is huge. B&S PT-6 or a Thor is a "real" 5/4 to me, but a lot bigger than a Meinl 2000 which some people call 5/4. Also, what are the Miraphone 187, 188, 190? Beefed up 4/4? Isn't that the definition of 5/4? People don't call them 5/4 though. What about an HB-21? Everybody seems to agree that's a 4/4, but it feels bigger to me than a Miraphone 129X.

Anyway. What do you all think a 5/4 tuba is?
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby tylerferris1213 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:28 pm

I think of it as a horn with ALMOST the control of a 4/4, but ALMOST the same sound as a 6/4. If you can't have a 4/4 AND a 6/4, get a 5/4. I also know a lot of people use 5/4's for auditions.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby bloke » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:10 pm

What do you all think a 5/4 tuba is?


not sure either, but this is about 3/4 tuba:

Image

btw: The contraction for "you all" is "y'all".
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Ken Crawford » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:45 pm

A 5/4 tuba has a bell throat that measures between 17-18.5 inches in circumference at the ferrule. That's the official rule.

6/4 18.5+
4/4 less than 17"
3/4 really small...

These are the official, unquestionable rules for ?/4 tuba sizes.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby WakinAZ » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:56 pm

I think a 5/4 tuba is bigger than a 4/4 tuba, but smaller than a 6/4.
It's kind of like pornography - you know it when you see it.

But (as it has been noted on this site), the sizing seems to be creeping up.
A horn that was considered the standard 4/4 back in the day looks kind of wimpy these days.
[North Americans and most Europeans are getting bigger/fatter, discuss..]

188s and 187s, etc. might be 9/8 or 4/4+. Bringing in */8 designations in might be helpful, but a lot of tuba players cannot count past 4.

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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby roweenie » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:32 pm

bloke wrote:
What do you all think a 5/4 tuba is?


not sure either, but this is about 3/4 tuba:

Image

btw: The contraction for "you all" is "y'all".


With the valves missing, I'd say it looks more like 5/8ths to me....
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby TheGoyWonder » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:37 am

i will accept nothing short of PURE WATER DISPLACEMENT.
maybe with a small correction factor for valve type and #.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby swillafew » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:45 am

Image

5/4 on the left, 4/4 on the right, both B&S. They both play well, sound a little different but not different enough to correspond to the math of the fraction. 4/4 horn is supposed to be the same bell and bugle as a Thor which is 5/4. :tuba:
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Mark » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:48 am

I have always thought of the PT6P as a prototypical 5/4 size tuba.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Dylan King » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:34 pm

I think of it like t-shirt sizes.

3/4 = Medium
4/4 = Large
5/4 = XL
6/4 = XXL

There is no size “Small”.
We’re talking tubas, after all.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby marccromme » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:42 pm

Dylan King wrote:3/4 = Medium
4/4 = Large
5/4 = XL
6/4 = XXL

:D
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby cktuba » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:22 pm

IMHO the GR51 is a 5/4 (look at the bell throat and bows) and one of (if not the) best contrabass tubas made by B&S. I have been seriously considering a switch to BBb... Because of how well they play and the fact that they are much more affordable than their CC cousins.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby WC8KCY » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:55 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:i will accept nothing short of PURE WATER DISPLACEMENT.
maybe with a small correction factor for valve type and #.

+1
Using water, or beer, would be repeatable and precise.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Ken Crawford » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:15 pm

cktuba wrote:IMHO the GR51 is a 5/4 (look at the bell throat and bows) and one of (if not the) best contrabass tubas made by B&S. I have been seriously considering a switch to BBb... Because of how well they play and the fact that they are much more affordable than their CC cousins.


Well the GR55 they call a 5/4, an extra inch of bell flare and larger bore 4th valve.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby swillafew » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:01 pm

IMHO the GR51 is a 5/4 (look at the bell throat and bows) and one of (if not the) best contrabass tubas made by B&S. I have been seriously considering a switch to BBb... Because of how well they play and the fact that they are much more affordable than their CC cousins.


In the spirit of agreement, I think the math on the fractions is not so important as the sound made.

Well the GR55 they call a 5/4, an extra inch of bell flare and larger bore 4th valve.


Those are nice horns, I played one the day I bought the 51. They are very close cousins, hard for me to tell that one was better or even different.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby groth » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:09 pm

Anything over 40'' tall might be considered 5/4.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby Dan Schultz » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:54 pm

groth wrote:Anything over 40'' tall might be considered 5/4.


The B & S model 101 tubas with a stovepipe bell are 42" overall and would not qualify as a 5/4 in my estimation.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby bloke » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:59 pm

4/4 tubas are for sissies, and 6/4 tubas are for sissies trying to pose as he-men.

Only a real he-man can play a 5/4 tuba, so - for most of you - this discussion is only academic.

:|
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby ckalaher1 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:11 am

It's like asking what flavor of ice cream is best, or who had the best curveball ever. Tuba size classifications are about as clearly delineated as the morning fog.

For whatever reason, I think 5/4 marketed tubas to be kind of the "McMansions" of the tuba world. Not from a quality or sound perspective, just marketing. Not many horns trying to be 4/4 tubas or 6/4 tubas (6450 maybe), but the 5/4 designation is the classification dumping ground for anything bigger than a 186. Maybe it just seems that way to me. Don't get me wrong, lots of great tubas in there.

The prototypical 5/4 would seem to be PT6/PT6-P/5450/GR55. Lots of other tubas marketed as 5/4 feel up for grabs with regards to classification.

Probably wrong on lots of counts, and not above being corrected. Doesn't matter much anyhow.
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Re: What is a real 5/4 tuba?

Postby williamp » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:42 am

A 5/4 tuba has a bell throat that measures between 17-18.5 inches in circumference at the ferrule. That's the official rule.

6/4 18.5+
4/4 less than 17"
3/4 really small...

These are the official, unquestionable rules for ?/4 tuba sizes.
kmorgancraw


I'm curious where these "official and unquestionable" rules originated and if all tuba manufacturers agree with them.
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