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What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby the elephant » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:31 am

Let's take that other thread waaaaaay back to your first time playing tuba or euph. What did you use, and was it simply what the band director handed you, or did you research or what?

I switched to tuba in the middle of 9th grade, the day I got my braces off. I took home a Conn 14K sousaphone and an Olds mouthpiece that I was simply handed out of a box. This was my very first tuba setup and I used that and an Eby's Scientific Method book with a metronome and a fingering chart to get going over the Christmas break. When school started back up I had a concert tuba issued to me and was encouraged to buy a new mouthpiece if I could afford it. The issued horn was a Mirafone 186-4U BBb, and after some research I bought a Miraphone Rose Orchestra. After comparing the Rose to the Olds I gave the Olds back and never used it again.

I played on this mouthpiece with these two horns for the remainder of high school. We also had Conn 36Ks for rehearsals. We used the white rats in all rehearsals except for game days. We used the 14Ks in performance — never the 36Ks.

The 14Ks were purchased new in 1964; all 12 were C series instruments, and we were required to know our serial numbers as a part of the Inspection portion of Marching contest. Mine was C66363. I got to play that same horn at an alumni band performance some time back. It was like coming home. 8)

The 36Ks were purchased sometime in 1969, I think, based on old band photos and stuff like that. (I graduated in 1983 but was one of the band historians, so I saw all this old stuff.) The school opened its doors for the first time in the 1964-1965 academic year, and it owned the 12 14Ks and also a dozen 24Js. These had disappeared by the middle 1970s when the rotary valve Mirafone craze had fully engulfed the TMEA/UIL world. We had a dozen 186s starting sometime around 1973 or 1974. I wish I knew where all those 24Js had disappeared to...

As far as my first personally owned stuff, I bought a brand new YBB-641 (the better ones made toward the end of the first version, with a one-piece yellow brass leadpipe that played so much better than what Yamaha makes today) for $2400 shipped in a factory hard case from Dallas to San Antonio for $2200. Prices were a lot lower back then. I played on that with a Conn Helleberg and my Miraphone Rose Orchestra from then (November of 1983) until I sold it in 1991. I have lost the Rose but still have that Helleberg.

What tuba and mouthpiece did you first use? Were they yours or issued to you by the school? How long until you changed your setup?
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Three Valves » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:05 pm

We were the first class enrolled at our brand new middle school and it was chock full of new stuff. (1973)

I didn't know the make of the sousaphone or mouthpiece then, I didn't care!!

Upon reflection they seemed to be King fiberglass sousaphones, in a Wenger chair and a Bach 24AW.

This lasted until High School. (77-80) There I had a Conn 20J (We called her Betty) for concert band. I preferred the funnel shaped Conn#2 mouthpiece to the Bach 18s we had. That was what we got. It never occurred to me to buy my own mouthpiece or tuba. We did get two shiny new concert tubas. I don't know their make but they had thin metal and made a tinny sound that I didn't like.

I was really into band. I took up the upright bass along with tuba in 5th grade, but stopped after 9th grade. The orchestra didn't travel or do half time shows!!

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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby hrender » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:08 pm

I was drafted to play tuba at the end of my sophomore year of HS. After a 20-minute lesson on the last day of the school year, they gave me a school horn to take home, a ~1970 Besson 3v comp with whatever the stock Besson mouthpiece was. When marching band practice started up a month later we played duct-taped Conn 14Ks with Conn 2 mouthpieces. We had King 2350s for "show" horns that we played with King 26 mouthpieces.

My first horn of my own was a YBB-641 that I bought new in '79 for 2 grand. I played that for four years of college. I tried different mouthpieces with it but had the most success with a Miraphone C4.
Last edited by hrender on Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Stryk » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:10 pm

Fiberglass Conn sousaphone with a Herco mouthpiece.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby opus37 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:22 pm

When I was upgraded to tuba, I played a 38K with a Conn 2 mouthpiece. A year later, they purchased a Meil Weston 25 which had a bach 18 mouthpiece. When I purchased my first horn, I used a herco small shank on a 1912 Martin Eb. The herco was about the size of a Denis Wick 3.
Last edited by opus37 on Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby adsteve » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:43 pm

EDIT: I didn't read the thread! My first horn I ever played was an old E flat tuba my grade school owned. For the life of me I don't remember what brand it was, but I know it was small and silver. I had a Bach 24AW that I paired with it. After a few months, the school bought a little 3/4 Yamaha, 3 valve, front piston, BB-flat tuba.

My first horn I OWNED was a Yamaha YCB 661 piggy horn with the left handed 5th valve. If I'm not mistaken, I bought a PT-88 and that was what I used the entire time I used the horn. Great little horn and I wish I hadn't "upgraded." I was convinced to go to a PT-20 rotary horn. Immediate buyers remorse.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Tubajug » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:52 pm

My first horn was a school-owned instrument and mouthpiece. It was just a little 3-valve something or other. I have no idea what the mouthpiece was.

In high school I bought a Conn Helleberg because someone told me they were good mouthpieces. I used that one all through high school in marching and concert band. In high school I discovered a 5-valve Miraphone 186 BBb in the back room and convinced my director to let me use it.

During my first year or two of college I had bought a second Helleberg (gold plated this time!) and used my original as my marching band/spare mouthpiece. I used that gold plated Helleberg on the school Kalison DS, and then on the tuba I purchased for myself: a Mirafone 186 CC with 4 valves.

I still have both those Hellebergs, but have gone through several horns since.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Bnich93 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:02 pm

The first horn that my elementary school handed me was an older Yamaha YBB105 and whatever mouthpiece was in the case.

In high school I happened to be there when they got a brand new round of silver King 2341s which we used Helleberg style mouthpieces(maybe conn, don't remember).

Marching band we were equipped with a fleet of silver king sousaphones. Summers of bleeding shoulder made me quite jealous of schools with fiberglass horns.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Sousaswag » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:06 pm

YBB 103/ Helleberg
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby bort » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:09 pm

I think it was an Olds 99... but what I remember most was that the 1st valve stem had snapped off some time in the past, and there were no funds for repairs... so I had to hold the valve stem in place in order to play it. Kind of a miracle that I stuck with it. I guess it was either that, or the trombone with a major dent/hangup around 4th position (or the one with the same thing at 1st position). What a wreck.

Shortly after I knew I liked playing tuba, I bought a Bach Megatone 18 -- the description sounded pretty good to me, it was for all around playing, and I liked "sonorous" (whatever that meant! :P). I used that mouthpiece through college and for a few years beyond. It's no longer my favorite, but it's still "home" for me.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Billy M. » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:19 pm

Silver Yamaha 201 3 valve BBb tuba with a Vincent Bach 18 mouthpiece.

The school was brand new and we were the first to use the instruments and the mouthpiece recommendations were either Bach 18 or Yamaha 67C4.

Mom and dad decided to get the Bach 18.
Last edited by Billy M. on Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Bill B » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:20 pm

My first tuba in 7th grade was a large Martin 3 valve rotary BBb that I used a Conn "EZ Tone" mouthpiece on. After that, it was a Conn 20J with a Conn 2 mouthpiece. When I purchased my first tuba in high school, it was a Miraphone 186 BBb that came with a C4 mouthpiece.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby sousaphone68 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:17 pm

Started playing age 12 on a BH 3 valve Imperial Eb. I think it came with a Kosi Cup I bought my own mouthpiece a Denis Wick 5 not long afterwards.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby KingBassTrombone » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:01 pm

The first time I played tuba was as a senior in high school, filling in the bass role in pep band for one game.

That horn/mouthpiece combo was a King 2350 sousaphone with a Conn "S" Eb tuba mouthpiece, shank wrapped in duct tape to fit. It worked better than one may think.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Ace » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:22 pm

Cuesnon Eb with Schilke 60 bass trombone mouthpiece.

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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby MaryAnn » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:54 pm

I really have no idea....I took the music ed brass class in college, and had a three upright valve "baritone" with whatever mouthpiece they gave me. I didn't get more serious about euph until 25 years later.
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby humBell » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:52 pm

The group what put up my infantile tubaistic flounderings at ripe old age of 35 has a Miraphone (184?) with 4 rotary valves and a yamaha 67c4 that i used prinarily for the first yearish. They also had a ybb-321 with both a Conn 2 and a Bach 18. Occasionally for one reason or other i would play the Yamaha with the Conn and think "so much easier to get notes!" I don't care to admit how long it took me to finally try the Conn 2 with the Miraphone and realize it was the mouthpiece that was easy to sound, not the tuba.

First owned? I got me a craigslist Hüttl sousaphone sans neck. A local repair shop sifted through a nbin of sousaphone parts and came up with an Olds neck and worked it to fit. I was grateful enough to purchase a Bach 18 from them as well. The misleading question is which cast more: sousaphone? or neck and mouthpiece? The answer being the tax was the difference...

So much easier to answer the first pair than what i use now, as i kinda waffle around a whole bunch...
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby the elephant » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:21 am

Okay, someone pointed out I did not list my middle school stuff. I switched to tuba in 1979. From 1976 up to that point I was a pretty darn decent trumpeter. However, our MS tubas were all 3 valved comp Besson Imperials in lacquer, very beat up but monstrously good players for little kids. They lived permanently on some sort of Besson tuba playing stands. They stayed out in the hall next to the end of the percussion section on their stands year round. We had six of them out, I think. I thought they were pretty gross as a MS kid, but after graduating HS as a tubist I went back to teach there for extra money. Those horns actually kicked some righteous butt. I think the kids all used Bach 18 and Olds 2 mouthpieces. Some had smaller ones, but only for 6th grade. I have no idea what they were.

The Imperials all were purchased in the 1950s, I think, for the one HS we had back then, and my MS inherited half of that dozen.

Okay, I just found a small section of our full band photo from 1978 (about 150 kids) and I am the goober in the Red Circle of Death, DOC in hand, thinking I am cool. I am pretty sure these are not 3+1 but simply 3 banger compensators. I really liked them a lot when I was in college. However, for some reason none of the tuba players in that band did well as tuba players. However, four of the trumpeters in that photo detail were Texas All-State tuba players in later years, and two of us play for a living now. Go figure.

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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Three Valves » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:45 am

I could tell that was 1978 just by the hair!!
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Re: What Was Your FIRST Horn/Mouthpiece Combo?

Postby Mark Finley » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:14 am

Meinl weston 11 (home tuba) and a yamaha 321 (school tuba) in 7th grade with a 7b mouthpiece
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