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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Patrase » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:05 am

Am located in Australia but same principles apply.

When we compete I have been asked to play a 3+1 compensator. Our section will be
2 x Besson 982 EEb
1x LMI royal BBb (like a Besson 994 but better made and freer blowing in low register
1x Besson 994

The above combo makes it easy to blend. I think playing in a Bass section is what being in the military would be like. Set a chain of command within your section and follow the leaders style and more importantly intonation. For me on 2nd EEb that means doing weird stuff - 2nd valve pulled out 1cm etc - I just imitate the 1st EEb players slide positions (might use the same mouthpiece too) and put most of my mental effort into matching that player.

We have a different section for performing. Recent concert had Fafner and Pt6P on Bb parts and Willson Eb and Firebird/PT15/Norwegian Star (same player changed from these and settled on Norwegian Star). Sounded terrible at first but after begging the rest of the section (all music majors or music graduates) to listen and play in tune we got compliments from the conductor. The same conductor who normally wants everyone on Brass Band tubas.

So I think the attitude gets you the result - in terms of intonation and a blending sound. The players must be humble enough to adopt the chain of command approach.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Will Jones » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:49 am

When I played in the River City Band (I think 96-97) our principle tuba was the late Neal Tidwell, who also taught at Duquesne where I was at school. He played a CC Scherzer on the Eb parts. Holy hell he sounded amazing. I've never heard such a compelling tuba sound in my life. I heard he eventually moved to a more common model, maybe a MW of some sort, and that he sounded even better. People who've played that scherzer say its the most out of tune thing ever. But you wouldn't have known it when you heard Neal play it.

The River City band, from my recollection, uses french horns rather than alto horns and an Eb trumpet rather than Eb cornet. The Eb player just said the trumpet was much easier to play in tune. I never once thought it didn't blend with the cornets, but that might have been because of the player more than the horn. I wonder if the instruments have changed with James Gorley at the helm.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Lectron » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:55 am

Still french horns and trumpet

Tubas are...from top of my head, Eb compensators (980/982 combo) and Fafners
A proper BBb tuba!!
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Scubatuba » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:46 pm

I have heard brass bands with Cc and F tubas and frankly it is not the same as BBb/Eb, they just dont fit the overtones series of the band. Trust me it makes a difference and sounds rather thin. I like the analogy of taking a c trumpet into a big band......
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Jacob.Guilbeau » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:23 pm

As a Euphonium player (and not a Tuba player) I think it does make a difference - you are going for the right "style" and the right style calls for Eb and Bb compensating bass and contrabass saxhorns (which is why they are referred to as Basses and not Tubas)

That being said, play what you got and don't discriminate. Later on you can focus on getting the appropriate instruments if time and budget allow.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby MEWienand » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:30 pm

Hello
We have 3 Besson 993 BBb
1 Besson 981 EEb
and I play a Willson 3400 TA compensator from the 80s with a 15.5" Bell.
:tuba:
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:17 pm

I've always been on the perimeter of Eb tuba playing.

Only, in the last few years have I barely pierced the Eb tuba "mainstream" (as - at least - the one I'm using now is a widely-used/well-respected make).

Based on playing them at shows, playing customers' instruments, playing those which I bought for resale, and my limited experience, the compensating Eb tubas seem to offer (for now, and in general) the best intonation.

Of the non-comp's, the Willson (which supports Sir Isaac Newton's theory) is one of the better in-tune ones, though (to my tastes only) a bit bland. I find the FA-5 version to definitely be more lively (i.e. "not bland"), but also not quite as well in-tune. (Do others find this to be true?)

The brand of comp that I sell, JP, really impresses me...referring - in particular - to the upper-line 377 model, but this comment should be probably be viewed as (if not a blatant advertisement) biased.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Jess Haney » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:19 am

bloke wrote:I've always been on the perimeter of Eb tuba playing.

Only, in the last few years have I barely pierced the Eb tuba "mainstream" (as - at least - the one I'm using now is a widely-used/well-respected make).

Based on playing them at shows, playing customers' instruments, playing those which I bought for resale, and my limited experience, the compensating Eb tubas seem to offer (for now, and in general) the best intonation.

Of the non-comp's, the Willson (which supports Sir Isaac Newton's theory) is one of the better in-tune ones, though (to my tastes only) a bit bland. I find the FA-5 version to definitely be more lively (i.e. "not bland"), but also not quite as well in-tune. (Do others find this to be true?)

The brand of comp that I sell, JP, really impresses me...referring - in particular - to the upper-line 377 model, but this comment should be probably be viewed as (if not a blatant advertisement) biased.


The neo Eb and Bb are great horns and in my opinion having played them side by side with the JP much lighter and with an all around better response and playability. I see both every year at NABBA and the Neo line is the top shelf for compensated basses. The JP is heavy and lacks the nuances the Yamaha provides with color and timbre dimensions.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:32 am

Jess Haney wrote:The neo Eb and Bb are great horns and in my opinion having played them side by side with the JP much lighter and with an all around better response and playability. I see both every year at NABBA and the Neo line is the top shelf for compensated basses. The JP is heavy and lacks the nuances the Yamaha provides with color and timbre dimensions.


All of the upper-end JP tubas are fab'ed of 80:20 alloy brass, and (yup) are not the thinnest gauge (though paling, compared to the Swiss-made instrument, mentioned above), and probably about "B&S-ish" if one seeks a non-scientific/non-mathmatic metal thickness/overall weight reference.

The newest version of the Yamaha ("dash-II") is a significant improvement over the previous (no "dash-II" in the model #), but my favorite of the Yamaha Eb compensating tubas is the first one that they offered, which was the late 20th C. model YEB-631 (17-3/4" bell diameter). I haven't spent that much time with the "dash-II", but the 631 intonation (from one example to the next) is superior, hands-down, to the 632...and (with no real slide-pulling opportunities on 3+1 comp. Eb's) that's really an important comparison, when comparing same-key comp's.

Were I one who owned a wide "array" of tubas, it would be fun to own a 15" bell Imperial, a Yamaha YEB-631 (17-3/4" bell), and (as it seems to me to play just as the classic 19" bell Besson) JP377....along with my (somewhat rare) 1958 Besson 22" detachable recording bell 3+1 Eb comp.

Though all are basically the same type of instrument with the same plumbing system, they all sound quite different (at least, to the player. I'm sure that - to most everyone else - they all "sound like tubas").

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
somewhat off-topic: I would encourage (most all) makers of the BBb 3+1 comp's to revisit 1950's - 1970's Edgware Street body bugle taper. None of the "bigger" current models I've played seem to match the (extraordinarily good, other than a sharp Eb in the staff) intonation of the old English-made BBb comp. instruments, and (at least, to me) most of the currently-made ones offer borderline "wild" intonation characteristics, at least, when compared to the classic Edgware St. version (pre-1990's, pre-continental European, and pre-Asian)...so (again) I strongly suspect that that expansion of the bell pancake (post 1980's) was not the only change in these instruments.
=============================================================
NOTE: I typed a lot of stuff above, but readily admit that I'm still learning about "compensating" instruments as a family of instruments (make-to-make, and model-to-model). As a learner, though, I believe I probably do have more opportunities (repairing them, etc.) to peruse more models than do most.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby ken k » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:07 pm

In the Lancaster British Brass Band we have two Ebs, my cohort plays a Besson 983. Last year I switched from my old Boosey Imperial with the 19 inch bell to a Miraphone Norwegian Star. I play the top part and I always felt my sound with the big 19" belled Imperial was too broad. I like the precision in the tone of the NS although there are a few funky notes. Also the ergonomics of the NS are much better on my neck and left arm, since I have some disc issues in my neck.

The BBb parts in our band are played by one guy on a CC either an Eastman, Czerveny Piggy, or Hirschbrunner, and one guy on BBb, a King 2341.

We are not a competing band, although we do use the traditional instrumentation with cornets, tenor horns, and baritones.

http://www.lancasterbbb.org/


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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby TheGoyWonder » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:00 pm

Brass band has much bigger problems:
1. Finding competent percussionists. Usually they still need to be spoonfed every single thing. And even then, will routinely overplay and overpower the band, or set a high "noise floor" of unmuffled miscellaneous arrhythmic ringing that ruins all nuance.
2. Lameduck sound of tenor horn vs french horn, and to a lesser extent cornet vs trumpet.
3. monodynamics: in concert band, at least instruments come in and out and dynamics can be fairly automatic. But brass band is kitchen-sink most of the time. and the arrangements don't help, often saying "ff" forever...which might even be okay if the music had obvious peaks but it tends to be either stubbornly rigid or rambling in form, not flowing.
4. Goofy euro arrangements...better or worse, they just aren't in the language of American wind playing. weird foreign feel.
5. Composers...there's not really an answer to Reed, McBeth, Tichelli, Hazo ect.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:07 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:Brass band has much bigger problems:
1. Finding competent percussionists. Usually they still need to be spoonfed every single thing. And even then, will routinely overplay and overpower the band, or set a high "noise floor" of unmuffled miscellaneous arrhythmic ringing that ruins all nuance.
2. Lameduck sound of tenor horn vs french horn, and to a lesser extent cornet vs trumpet.
3. monodynamics: in concert band, at least instruments come in and out and dynamics can be fairly automatic. But brass band is kitchen-sink most of the time. and the arrangements don't help, often saying "ff" forever...which might even be okay if the music had obvious peaks but it tends to be either stubbornly rigid or rambling in form, not flowing.
4. Goofy euro arrangements...better or worse, they just aren't in the language of American wind playing. weird foreign feel.
5. Composers...there's not really an answer to Reed, McBeth, Tichelli, Hazo ect.


Candidly,
I received quite a few p.m.'s (a couple of years ago) when there was a discussion of attempting to form a pro-level brass band vs. a pro-level brass choir, with (at least, in the USA) the "brass choir" choice being the overwhelming recommendation. Professional players (who carve out time to do the same thing for fun as they normally do for remuneration) really aren't "into" competing, and certainly not into hitting to road to do so.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby hup_d_dup » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:53 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:Brass band has much bigger problems:
1. Finding competent percussionists. Usually they still need to be spoonfed every single thing. And even then, will routinely overplay and overpower the band, or set a high "noise floor" of unmuffled miscellaneous arrhythmic ringing that ruins all nuance.
2. Lameduck sound of tenor horn vs french horn, and to a lesser extent cornet vs trumpet.
3. monodynamics: in concert band, at least instruments come in and out and dynamics can be fairly automatic. But brass band is kitchen-sink most of the time. and the arrangements don't help, often saying "ff" forever...which might even be okay if the music had obvious peaks but it tends to be either stubbornly rigid or rambling in form, not flowing.
4. Goofy euro arrangements...better or worse, they just aren't in the language of American wind playing. weird foreign feel.
5. Composers...there's not really an answer to Reed, McBeth, Tichelli, Hazo ect.


Got it! Thanks for reminding us that you don't like British brass bands. Would you care to know which type of bands I don't like?

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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Peach » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:36 pm

Scubatuba wrote:I have heard brass bands with Cc and F tubas and frankly it is not the same as BBb/Eb, they just dont fit the overtones series of the band. Trust me it makes a difference and sounds rather thin. I like the analogy of taking a c trumpet into a big band......


Obviously it does make a difference using say, rotary F's & C's in place of comp Eb&Bb's, but to say it "sounds rather thin" is a sweeping generalisation. I also don't buy into the overtones comment - assuming pieces modulate widely, the key of horn matters not.
Would a section of four of the finest orchestral tubist sound "thin" playing F & C? Of course they wouldn't.
So it's the players more than the gear...
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby ken k » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:26 pm

Peach wrote:
Scubatuba wrote:I have heard brass bands with Cc and F tubas and frankly it is not the same as BBb/Eb, they just dont fit the overtones series of the band. Trust me it makes a difference and sounds rather thin. I like the analogy of taking a c trumpet into a big band......


Obviously it does make a difference using say, rotary F's & C's in place of comp Eb&Bb's, but to say it "sounds rather thin" is a sweeping generalisation. I also don't buy into the overtones comment - assuming pieces modulate widely, the key of horn matters not.
Would a section of four of the finest orchestral tubist sound "thin" playing F & C? Of course they wouldn't.
So it's the players more than the gear...
MP


I never bought into the whole overtone thing either. A CC tuba with the first valve down is a BBb tuba. Either the note is in tune or it isn't. I really don't believe it matters what kind of horn is playing it. But then again, I just may not have a good enough ear to hear the difference. I am an old fart after all.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby tubaport » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:32 pm

Crazy mix of horns in our band, but when we all play Bessons, the sound seems to resonate better. Bessons are my choice, especially on the Eb parts, but I also like the Yamaha Neos. I’ve heard sections sounds good on every type of combination, so I’d have to say the traditional 3+1 sections look good, but it really comes down to the players more than the equipment. I will say I like the bottom produced by larger bore Bbs than the little 4/4 horns. Just my 2 cents!
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:13 am

ken k wrote:I never bought into the whole overtone thing either. A CC tuba with the first valve down is a BBb tuba. Either the note is in tune or it isn't. I really don't believe it matters what kind of horn is playing it. But then again, I just may not have a good enough ear to hear the difference. I am an old fart after all.


Today, (arguably) the technology exists to enhance and correct an audio recording so that it is superior to a live performance.

People attend live performances, today, to SEE them just as much as anything. British brass band tubas are English-style top-action compensating instruments. That's what I would hope to SEE, were I to attend a concert. I would like to SEE two pairs of them, and to SEE them being played.

I would also be disappointed were I to SEE trumpets and were I to SEE Conn or King four-valve baritone horns (or Chinese tornister euphotones) used to play the euphonium parts, even IF they sounded great and/or even if they sounded just like euphoniums and cornets.

bloke "yeah...and there might even be a tenor sax player out there somewhere who can produce a convincing English baritone sound on their instrument, but NO."
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby pecktime » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:39 am

Just a quick derail: i’ve just been watching “Brassed Off” (great movie by the way) and the way the actors hold the tubas by the leadpipes while they carry them to rehearsals had me shouting at the screen.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Leland » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:41 pm

Might it matter more that all the section's instruments are pointing the same direction?

This came to mind as I watched this year's AFTEE performance at the Army workshop. I'm guessing that the upper euph parts were towards my right (audience right, stage left, that is) which meant that they were pointing to the back of the stage. Their perceived dynamics, then, were half as loud as what was coming out of the euphs who were pointing towards the audience.

This might not apply to the back row of a brass band, though, since nobody is pointed towards the audience. Hmm.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:46 pm

yep...
British brass bands should rethink seating (imo), and place the (again: 3+1 compensating BBb and Eb tubas) stage right rather than "along the back".
Last edited by bloke on Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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