What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

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What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

King 2341 (modern)
19
30%
Eastman 534
4
6%
Miraphone 1291
22
35%
Wessex Viverna TB480
4
6%
Kanstul 33-S
4
6%
Other (please add a comment)
10
16%
 
Total votes: 63

toobagrowl
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by toobagrowl »

I agree with Bort on the B&S/VMI 3301 & 3302 BBb tubas. Those are great 4/4 piston BBb tubas :tuba:

Some people are listing 5/4 & 6/4 rotary tubas (GR-51/55, Fafner, etc). Read the subject title :!:
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by tofu »

The 1291 shows up at $10,199 at Guitar Center and they show the King 2341 at $7,300. And in my experience you probably have a better chance of seeing a bigger actual selling price discount on the King vs the Miraphone. An almost 3K differential is a pretty big difference in price and ought to buy you a substantially better horn. I'm not sure a 1291 is 40% plus better - especially to the market the King is aiming at and I think there is a difference in who the main market for these 2 horns is. The 1291 I think is closer to a 5/4 and the King is definitely a 4/4. The King is an excellent traditional jazz horn - and a great all around horn. I would not think of the 1291 as a really nimble jazz horn. OTOH the 1291 is a much better HS / College orchestral horn than the King IMHO and better at projecting to the back of the hall. I think for bang for the buck the King is hard to beat and that's why you see so many HS bands with them.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by fourbass »

The 1291 is a 5/4 size tuba.

https://www.miraphone.de/instruments/tu ... -valves-71" target="_blank
https://sites.google.com/site/beckertuba/home-1
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by Donn »

Taxonomy works best when there's some natural condition that leads to distinct types. Biological taxa, for example, tend to be unable to breed across genera, and often species, but below that level it can get pretty fuzzy.

Among conical brass, we find them segregated quite naturally by length, but width varies practically infinitely and the existence of any real types is at best coincidental. The best you can do, and we've talked about this before, is fill them with water or something, and then we can talk about your 60 gallon tuba vs your 53 gallon tuba (just making those numbers up.) I see the continued failure to get and publish those values, and the continued use of 4/4 etc., as a sign that people really just don't care.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by toobagrowl »

ren wrote:There’s a minor point to be made here. These are unless you are a serious bflat tuba aficionado, student horns we are talking about.
We could go around in circles all day on what is "professional" and what is "student" when it comes to horns. I mean, generally speaking, most ppl and marketing will think: 3/4 3-valve tubas as 'student'; 4/4 4-valve tubas as 'intermediate'; and 5/4 & 6/4 5-valve tubas as 'professional'. But we all know there are pros who make money on 3-valve BBb sousas and tubas, and plenty of students and amateurs playing large, 5-valve contrabass & bass tubas. Of ALL brass instruments, there is far greater diversity/variation among tubas, as there is no set standards. Tubas come in sizes from the baby tornister (1/4 size?) to the huge 6/4 size; from 3 to 6 valves; and in four standard keys: F, Eb, CC & BBb. And to complicate even more, we have upright bells, recording bells, sousaphones and helicons.
But at the end of the day, what determines if a tuba is 'professional' or not is the player behind it...

Doc wrote:Players want to use the best equipment they can to make it easier to sound/do their best. Those who are taking auditions (and are of the caliber that will actually be considered), have come to terms with their concept of sound a long time ago, and they usually have found a way to get that necessary equipment for auditions. They may still be open to finding better equipment, but they have graduated into a different category of player. And once they are working, they can more easily afford/justify expensive specialty equipment (BAT, BART, cimbasso, etc).

I would hardly call all of these student horns, but it’s easy to paint them as such since working pros who use BBb tubas can justify and afford the best available. I owned a 1291BBb. It is NOT merely a student instrument, and to insist that it is such is biased absurdity. And the pros that use these other “inferior” instruments might take you to task on BS like that. Unless your definition of a pro is limited to one who holds an orchestra seat, and even those pros aren’t in the habit of making statements like that.
+1
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by tofu »

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Last edited by tofu on Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by TheTuba »

Stryk wrote:
ren wrote: Its people who insist that a dude playing a miraphone for a couple of days means miraphones are viable orchestra instruments here that is the problem.
When Pokorny plays a Mirafone, the CSO York, or a garden hose, he sounds like Pokorny. No matter the instrument, you sound like you - the instrument may play a minor role, but the person and what they can do with the instrument is the largest factor. If you don't have THE SOUND, you better have technique out the wazoo and unquestionable musicianship to make up for it. The only player I know of in my lifetime to have all of the qualities to the highest degree was Bobo. Perhaps his choices had some merit.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by MikeMason »

I spent about 30 minutes with a 3301 10 years ago. It was a very fine tuba.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by Ltrain »

Wow, this thread has taken off like an unmonitored garden weed since I last checked it... and I thought it was dead! The conversation diverted away a bit from "the OP's intent" (hem hem) but I figured I'll try to answer some questions that may or may not have been directed at me (at least for the sake of driving further discussion)...

First, what's my musical goal? I don't do any serious solo work, I don't play in a quintet, and I'm certainly never going to be auditioning for any paying gigs that could replace my non-music day job (unfortunately). I'm still getting my technique grounded after quitting the instrument for 12 years – it's now been almost 18 months since I got my Eastman 632 (CC). I chose to come back on CC because that's what I was coerced into studying in college. The Eastman has served me well. It's a gorgeous horn that I've put through its paces and I've bonded with it. However, in the last 6 of those 18 months, I've been playing BBb sousaphone for over 90% of my total weekly playing... so much so that I can safely say "I relearned BBb".

Why a BBb/piston/4-quarter-sized horn? As I stated above, I'm not a pro by any means, and with my day job, I have limited practice time on one key of tuba as it is. BBb would allow me to settle into "mastering" one key and practice my concert band and brass band music efficiently on one instrument. It's also about space efficiency – having to unpack my sousaphone just to practice BBb is an ordeal. I'm also limiting the size to 4/4 for NYC floor real estate and subway-schlepping reasons. Pistons? ...I just prefer pistons ;) Right now, my Eastman is a perfect compromise in size, sounds, looks, and playability... I'm just starting to question why I'm still playing CC since I play literally only concert band, dixieland, and pop tunes. Why not play BBb like that music calls for?

Why the models in polls? Not only do they tick all the boxes stated above but I found great deals on each one. I also have a very motivated potential buyer of my Eastman 632 (if I can bring myself to sell it), so I was seeking direction around BBb alternatives for a quick replacement...

King 2341 (modern) – I have seen great deals for these on the used market. I also heard that MAW valves do absolute wonders for opening up this horn. For the selling price of my Eastman, I could snatch up a used 2341, drop in some MAW's, and still have $$$ left over.

Eastman 534 – Same as above if I can get over the lack of aesthetic refinement that this horn is missing compared to the 632.

Miraphone 1291 – I'm reluctant to announce this... there is an "otherwise like-new" 1291 BBb with a bell repair scar on WWBW (and sister sites) for just a little over $7K :shock:

Wessex Viverna TB480 – I'm just a fan of Wessex, especially their "original" creations. This horn seems to pack a lot of firepower for not a lotta $$$. I'm intrigued.

Kanstul 33-S – After hearing glowing reviews over the 90 model, I negotiated a deal with Jack Kanstul (through my NPO foundation) to acquire a 33-S for what I could nearly afford. However, after being unable to find a horn to demo and hearing "not so glowing" reviews about this model, I decided to walk away. I'm still curious about his horn – especially the deal with its tiny bore!


Conclusion: I've learned it's wise not to be hasty with these things. I'm going to slowly shop around (maybe wait until ITEC '19). So, I'm keeping my 632 until I PLAY something that actually works better for me. It seems the 632 is simply an unprecedented bargain and IMHO perhaps even "best in class" in terms of value. Who knows, maybe something better won't come alone (at my price point) and I'll just get over the BBb vs CC thing like so many of you fine people have already suggested a just "play the notes"! :tuba:

Signing off for now but setting a reminder to tune back in later,

Ryan
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Post by TubaKen »

"ren" said:
None of these horns will win anyone a job in the US
Nobody in the us plays bflat tubas in ill say it “orchestras”
As a performance career path orchestra is the only one I’m aware of for tubist in the United States.
no one does or ever will play one in a US orchestra again.
There are only two kinds of tubas.
I'm amazed (some of) you guys keep responding to "ren". Didn't your mama tell you not to feed the trolls? :lol:
If he hadn't said he spent eight years (!) playing a 188 (and apparently hating every minute of it), I'd have guessed he was a high schooler, what with the "casual" spelling and grammar, and the grand "definitive" pronouncements.
As someone who won a symphony job using a miraphone I can tell you it was a terrible instrument and I wish I had never played it.
This last one just strikes as me bizarre. You really won an audition on an instrument you hate? Why would you keep playing it?
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