Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha 641 Bookmark and Share

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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby Sousaswag » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:24 pm

I'd go with the King. I seem to remember the low range of the 641 not being there when I played one back in high school. Not to mention the issue of other students knocking the horn over and making the rotors immobile. If you are *really* concerned about durability, go with the 321 since top action pistons are pretty hard to damage.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby WC8KCY » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:29 pm

Sousaswag wrote:I'd go with the King. I seem to remember the low range of the 641 not being there when I played one back in high school. Not to mention the issue of other students knocking the horn over and making the rotors immobile. If you are *really* concerned about durability, go with the 321 since top action pistons are pretty hard to damage.

I had use of a local college's 641 when playing in one of their wind ensembles. Anything below low A was stuffy and needed some extra coaxing. The high range was squirrelly too.

It's hard to accept that such a beautiful looking instrument could be such a chore to play.

Frankly, low F and below are easier and more dependable as false and pedal tones on my Holton eefer than when played with the 4th valve on the 641.

This model harkens back to Yamaha's early days of building uninspired designs that were not quite sorted out and made to sell at a certain price point...back when people settled for a Yamaha when they couldn't afford the horn they really wanted.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby nworbekim » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:10 pm

i have a 2341 and it's a tank. i wouldn't say bullet proof, but it would take a LOT of punishment. the weakness is the bolted in valve section. mine would get loose and the the slides would get out of alignment and the valves would start sticking. i had mine aligned and xtra braces added to make the middle section solid. no problems since.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby Three Valves » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:40 pm

In middle school I never dropped my sousaphone from its wenger chair.
Who needs four valves??

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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby iiipopes » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:37 am

Three Valves wrote:In middle school I never dropped my sousaphone from its wenger chair.

This ^ is what my middle school (we called it Jr. High) had.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby the elephant » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:41 pm

My opinion: The Kings are cheaper, play better for the kids, sound better and play better in tune in the band. They are "predictable" in a very good way.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby The Big Ben » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:37 pm

After reconsidering things like ease of handling, I'd like to make a pitch for 3/4 BBb horns. Middle school kids have dimensions that go all over the map. 4'8" girls to 6'4" boys. While a 2341 is not a "big honking horn, for a player between 5'0" and 5'6", it is of significant size, The 3/4 size can, indeed, make a joyful noise. In the concert band I play in, there are two 3/4 horns in a 3 horn section. The third has a 6/4 Holton (top loader) and has just begun to play it with the group. Before the Holton, he had a BBb 186. There was never a complaint the band (50+ pieces) of not having enough tuba.

There are some adequate to good 3/4 BBb tubas out there. Mack and John Packer make 4v 3/4 BBbs. JP's looks like the "desirable" Yamaha 103 with a 4th valve. Jupiter makes both piston and rotary 4v 3/4 BBb tubas. A few users have spoken well of the Jupiter 4v BBb here on TubeNet. Conn makes the 5J 3/4 4v BBb. If three valves are fine, there are many other choices as well..

As an owner of a 3/4 BBb (Olds 099-4) I thought I would put this in for consideration. Putting at least one 3/4 BBb into the mix of a middle school tuba inventory might be a good thing.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby bloke » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:25 pm

The Kings are pretty cool…and the slide alignment issues do not matter for middle school.
The big bell pancake makes it more difficult to knock them over, but will also be folded backwards at least two or three times a year.

Yamaha 641 tubas are thinwall instruments...very easy to dent, and (thus) kinda-easy for me to half-(_!_) straighten back out. I believe cases are included, and seem to consist of Clorox-bottle-thick plastic shell with a styrofoam interior.

The worst damage to 4/4 four-valve instruments that I have to address is from middle schools (see recent thread). I suspect that (for whatever reason...lack of being taught at home to be careful...?? mostly playing with virtual things, rather than actual things...?? 4/4 tubas just being too big for kids who aren't much taller than the tubas...?? something else...??) 4/4 size tubas with four valves may not (??) be the best choice for middle school use (at least "these days"). Often, middle schools' tubas' 4th valves are frozen (lime) due to never being used. Even if the band director is a tuba player and harps on "the 4th valve", the kids can see the fingering chart, and many of them can't easily line up their pinky fingers with 4th valve buttons or levers.
I SELL new tubas (and used ones)...and it's WAY easier for me to sell NEW ones...I have no new fiberglass sousaphones for sale, but I suspect (??) that the best choice for middle school use (as it worked out pretty well for me) is a good-playing (psst: King) fiberglass sousaphone sitting on some sort of PLAYING STAND contraption (pick your poison). Sousaphones make a BIG ROUND sound, King sousaphones play pretty well in tune, and sousaphones throw the sound out front. Are they sexy? nope. If you have kids that actually practice at home, consider sousa bags and two sets of bells. Sometimes, GOOD fiberglass sousaphones can be picked up at low cost. When I have them, I sell them (purdied-up decent) for about the same price as a new 3/4 high-grade Asian 3/4 tuba (ain't got no easily-restored fiberglass, right now). Some band directors are SO VERY BIASED against fiberglass sousaphones, that they GIVE them away :shock: ...i.e: "Haul away this worthless piece of junk."...etc...

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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby tofu » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:18 am

.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby Diego A. Stine » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:29 am

Don't get the Yamahas. I have to deal with them in my high school band. They're garbage. Stuffy, dead sounding, and some funky intonation. I have to pull out my main tuning slide almost all the way out.

The 2341 is a really solid sounding horn. It's a good, dependable BBb. Plus, piston valves are easier to take care of.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby bman94 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:36 am

The Big Ben wrote:There are quite a few Yamaha 321s in use in the high schools and middle schools around me. They seem to be pretty tough. You might talk to the people who would be repairing your horns to see if they have suggestions.


Not a big fan of the top action full size Tubas. We have two YEP 201s (one being sent in for repair) and even for me as a grown adult they are unwieldy to use. But I admit they have a nice big sound, actually a bigger sound than the 641s, but at least with the 641, even my shortest Tuba player can play on it (with the horn resting on the chair rather than on their lap).

iiipopes wrote:
The Big Ben wrote:There are quite a few Yamaha 321s in use in the high schools and middle schools around me. They seem to be pretty tough. You might talk to the people who would be repairing your horns to see if they have suggestions.

Except for the valve guides, which break if you look at them wrong or aren't as careful as a professional in re-inserting the valve after oiling. Then they are unplayable until fixed.


Valve guides are always a pain with any Yamaha horn I've used (Except for the Yamaha Neo Euphonium).

The Big Ben wrote:After reconsidering things like ease of handling, I'd like to make a pitch for 3/4 BBb horns. Middle school kids have dimensions that go all over the map. 4'8" girls to 6'4" boys. While a 2341 is not a "big honking horn, for a player between 5'0" and 5'6", it is of significant size, The 3/4 size can, indeed, make a joyful noise. In the concert band I play in, there are two 3/4 horns in a 3 horn section. The third has a 6/4 Holton (top loader) and has just begun to play it with the group. Before the Holton, he had a BBb 186. There was never a complaint the band (50+ pieces) of not having enough tuba.

There are some adequate to good 3/4 BBb tubas out there. Mack and John Packer make 4v 3/4 BBbs. JP's looks like the "desirable" Yamaha 103 with a 4th valve. Jupiter makes both piston and rotary 4v 3/4 BBb tubas. A few users have spoken well of the Jupiter 4v BBb here on TubeNet. Conn makes the 5J 3/4 4v BBb. If three valves are fine, there are many other choices as well..

As an owner of a 3/4 BBb (Olds 099-4) I thought I would put this in for consideration. Putting at least one 3/4 BBb into the mix of a middle school tuba inventory might be a good thing.


We have more than enough 3/4 Tubas. Out of the 12 Tubas at my school, 8 of them are 3/4 Tubas. I have all of my Beginning Tubas (6) and Intermediate Tubas (3) all on the 3/4 Tubas with some of them sharing between the different classes and my advanced Tubas (3) are all on full sized Tubas. I just personally like the effect the 4/4 has on the ensemble, and it helps greatly with balancing. I, as an adult can put a big sound into the 3/4 but a kid in their third year max will be held back in terms of raw sound that they are limited too

bloke wrote:The Kings are pretty cool…and the slide alignment issues do not matter for middle school.
The big bell pancake makes it more difficult to knock them over, but will also be folded backwards at least two or three times a year.

Yamaha 641 tubas are thinwall instruments...very easy to dent, and (thus) kinda-easy for me to half-(_!_) straighten back out. I believe cases are included, and seem to consist of Clorox-bottle-thick plastic shell with a styrofoam interior.

The worst damage to 4/4 four-valve instruments that I have to address is from middle schools (see recent thread). I suspect that (for whatever reason...lack of being taught at home to be careful...?? mostly playing with virtual things, rather than actual things...?? 4/4 tubas just being too big for kids who aren't much taller than the tubas...?? something else...??) 4/4 size tubas with four valves may not (??) be the best choice for middle school use (at least "these days"). Often, middle schools' tubas' 4th valves are frozen (lime) due to never being used. Even if the band director is a tuba player and harps on "the 4th valve", the kids can see the fingering chart, and many of them can't easily line up their pinky fingers with 4th valve buttons or levers.
I SELL new tubas (and used ones)...and it's WAY easier for me to sell NEW ones...I have no new fiberglass sousaphones for sale, but I suspect (??) that the best choice for middle school use (as it worked out pretty well for me) is a good-playing (psst: King) fiberglass sousaphone sitting on some sort of PLAYING STAND contraption (pick your poison). Sousaphones make a BIG ROUND sound, King sousaphones play pretty well in tune, and sousaphones throw the sound out front. Are they sexy? nope. If you have kids that actually practice at home, consider sousa bags and two sets of bells. Sometimes, GOOD fiberglass sousaphones can be picked up at low cost. When I have them, I sell them (purdied-up decent) for about the same price as a new 3/4 high-grade Asian 3/4 tuba (ain't got no easily-restored fiberglass, right now). Some band directors are SO VERY BIASED against fiberglass sousaphones, that they GIVE them away :shock: ...i.e: "Haul away this worthless piece of junk."...etc...

bloke "Mr. Realville Buzzkill"


Yes! The 641 is are extremely dentable. The ones we currently have are really beat up with a lot of dents (again, before I got there, were in bad shape for a while).

As far as 4/4 being too big or not for the kids, I guess it just varies widely. All three of my 8th grader Tubas are just about or are my height (6 foot, 1") and they can handle them pretty well.

Shoot, I wish people would just give away fiberglass sousaphones. It's such a hassle for a pep rally having to drive out to the feeder high school to borrow some Sousaphones for my kids to play on.

But looking at the responses it seems like the King 2341 is the way to go.
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Re: Buying Tubas for Middle School Band:King 2341W or Yamaha

Postby BrassedOn » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:38 am

My regular horn is a 2341, love it. But not a light instrument.

In HS, I played a Conn 5J and Yamaha 321. Both were fine, but I preferred the 5J. For me, just easier to get around, and maybe still why I prefer a front action tuba. My football player build standmate fully enjoyed the Yamaha, so we never had much debate on who played which. But still, either could be oversized for a middle schooler or smaller build tubist.

Later, I picked up a Yamaha 104 tuba, the 3 upright valve, for cheap, not even needing it, I thought. Now not a fan of tuning in the leadpipe, and I never used the convertible feature, but dang it was an easy blow, playable with large and small mouthpiece (in terms of rim and cup), and very easy to haul around. It was an easy tote for a short onstage performance in the musical "Showboat!", for which I had to run from the pit, up a tight stairwell, and in and around backstage obstacles, but I used my King for the pit work. And when my helicon was in the shop, I slapped a BlueNote strap on the 104 and it was great for a long stand up job for a 5 piece classic jazz group. Good little horn.

I guess today, with all the neat horn stands and such, a smaller instrument is not as much as a necessity for the smaller student, but that 104, like its 103 cousin, is something a smaller tubist might feel comfortable holding and carrying, and it gives a good response to whatever input they can muster.
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