Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question Bookmark and Share

The bulk of the musical talk

Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby jperry1466 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:44 am

I've had this Mack Brass 410 CC for 5 months now, practicing 1.5-2 hours per day. Some said "let us know how it goes", so here it is. By and large, you guys were right; it's not the horn, it's me. Having sold my Getzen Meinl Weston in the early 1980s, it was a long layoff on the CC while I was teaching HS band. The E above the staff has been a real problem, but it finally has started responding (if my chops are fresh). I had occasion to play a silver-plated twin to my Mack and got the same results. At TubaChristmas a graduating college player was interested in Mack and wanted to play my horn and popped the E out with no problem. My range (up to G) and my technique otherwise seem to be back. The biggest problem is I don't have the air capacity any more. I do well to get 8 beats on one breath at mm=80, so I have to take far too frequent breaths to maintain my sound. In the last 19 years, I've had a kidney transplant, knee replacement, and this past year shoulder surgery and then 12" of colon removed with a lot of abdominal muscle cut up, so I'm pretty out of shape as well. What irks me is playing in a community band next to a nice young band director who plays like I used to. My brain knows what to do; at 67 my body isn't cooperating. Gonna keep at it, though, go as far as I can, and have fun. Getting old ain't for sissies. Thanks for all the help and tips. You guys are a great source of information.
User avatar
jperry1466
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 am
Location: North Central Texas

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Tim Jackson » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:23 am

Well… the lungs ain't coming back cause with age comes loss of elasticity of the lungs. You can certainly learn and work toward making use of what you got. IMHO range has more to do with depth of understanding of the embouchure and can be learned/discovered. 5 months is a good start but I'll bet if you keep up that practice regiment in another year you'll be more excited about the playing. Study everything written on the art of brass playing. (not just the art of tuba playing) If you want more range - find someone that really has it together and study with them. Discovering new techniques and finding good coaching will really move things forward. Ain't nothin like makin a comeback! Happy New Year!!
Tim Jackson
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 11:34 pm
Location: Pensacola Florida

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Doc » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:32 am

Thanks for the update, and congratulations!

Many superb brass players have overcome physical obstacles and handily dealt with aging enough for us to know that playing incredibly well after injury/surgery/getting older is most certainly possible. It just takes work and patience. And maybe some good advice here and there.
Like most things about making music playing an instrument, it is mostly mental - or so it seems to me, especially as I get older and deal with those things that come with age.

So the lungs aren't quite as elastic as when we were 20? Whether that's true for everyone or not, how about we work extra towards maximizing our potential regardless of age?

Maybe muscles get more fatigued than in years past (and we're out of playing shape to boot). Finding more efficient ways to practice can help.

Even though the body may not seem to respond as it did in past decades, it is still an amazing creation that is capable of WAY more than we give it credit. How about we take the mental approach that mentally/musically we WILL make it happen and let the body unconsciously find a way to respond? (a nod to Song and Wind concepts)

Those are just some of the questions I ponder about my own playing. YMMV.

Regardless, I hope you continue to enjoy your new tuba and experience improvement to your satisfaction. Let's hear that thing when you're ready!
Last edited by Doc on Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
User avatar
Doc
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 6708
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:09 am
Location: South Texas

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Stryk » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:42 am

I have been doing the same thing over the past five years after retirement. I am just now getting an F to sound something like a tuba. Part of me thinks, "Why? You will never need to play those notes." Then the other part of me replies, "Because I want to do what I used to be able to do." Bloke gave some good advice on the range issue - if you can only play little squeely sounds up there, keep playing them until they sound like little tuba sounds, then like real tuba sounds. As far as the air supply goes, I just take more breaths. It may not be a musical answer, but it is a practical answer. Keep us posted!
Terry Stryker

Old, ugly horns that play really, really well.
User avatar
Stryk
Retired Educator
Retired Educator
 
Posts: 2121
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:55 pm
Location: Panama City, Florida

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Donn » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:19 pm

If you can't be young, be crafty.
User avatar
Donn
TubeNet Sponsor
TubeNet Sponsor
 
Posts: 5465
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:58 pm
Location: Seattle, ☯

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby iiipopes » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:39 pm

Donn wrote:If you can't be young, be crafty.

Indeed. "Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance." - David Mamet
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 Modified Helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Wessex BR115 & B&H 3-valve comp w/ Wick Ultra SMB6
King Super 20 trumpet w/ Bach 3C/76
Fanned fret bass and electric guitars
User avatar
iiipopes
Utility Infielder
Utility Infielder
 
Posts: 8009
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:10 am

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby WC8KCY » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:50 pm

Thanks for the update, and best wishes for a Good New Year...

Having had a stroke about 12 years ago that left me unable to play brasswinds for a couple of years, I know where you're coming from. I still have air supply and support issues, and I've found relief by moving to more air-efficient tubas and mouthpieces to make the most of the air I still have.

It helps me to remind myself that with each passing year, I learn more about music and gain a clearer understanding of what the composers and arrangers intended when I'm studying the chart in front of me. I'm playing far more tastefully and musically at age 49 than when I was at University in my 20s.

So what if I can't blow like The Big Bad Wolf anymore--I'm the best musician that I've ever been. I bet you're now making the best music of your life, too, even if it's more of a physical struggle than it used to be. Give yourself a pat on the back for that.
euphonium - E-flat tuba - BB-flat tuba - double bass - electric bass - clarinet - organ
WC8KCY
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:24 am
Location: Not too far from Interlochen

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby GC » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:12 pm

Condensed version: make up for physical shortcomings with experience, musicianship, and taste, all to the best of your ability.
JP/Sterling 377 Eb; 1914 Conn Monster Eb (for sale; my avatar), ca. 1905 Fillmore Bros 1/4-size Eb; Warburton "The Grail" T.G.4, Mr. P 6.4; for sale: Bach 42B trombone; recently retired from bass guitar after 44 years
User avatar
GC
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1566
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 6:52 am
Location: NW Georgia

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Three Valves » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:00 pm

GC wrote:Condensed version: make up for physical shortcomings with experience, musicianship, and taste, all to the best of your ability.


I always used enthusiasm and volume!! :tuba:
Who needs four valves??

Mack Brass Artiste
MackBrunner 210L
RT50
User avatar
Three Valves
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 3415
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:44 am
Location: The Land of Pleasant Living

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby jperry1466 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:59 pm

Thanks for all the great replies, advice, and words of encouragement. After doing some research, I find that lungs indeed lose elasticity with age, and my already thin lips will get thinner, too. As a teacher, I always had to figure out work-arounds, and I will this time as well. I also want to find a good teacher who will take on an old guy.

WC8KCY, your story is especially inspiring, overcoming a stroke, and at 49 you're 18 years younger than I and possessing a great outlook. You're right; 44 years after the degree and after a 33 year teaching stint, I am a much better musician and more knowledgeable about all instruments than I was back when. Thank you for sharing.

All that said, I am taking your advice about moving to more air efficient tools. Someday I will go to a 3/4 tuba, but for now I have been experimenting with mouthpieces. The Standard Conn Helleberg seems to need a bit less air than that the ones I have been using, and I recently got a Lexan Kellyberg for TubaChristmas and found it is even more air efficient "tighter" as ken k said in another thread.

My question: Does anyone know if the dimensions of the silver plated Kellyberg is identical to the lexan model? And does anyone have other suggestions for an air efficient mouthpiece that doesn't get a terribly "bright" sound? I prefer something with a 32-32.6 inner diameter and a flat rim. Thanks again!
User avatar
jperry1466
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 am
Location: North Central Texas

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby WC8KCY » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:51 am

jperry1466 wrote:My question: Does anyone know if the dimensions of the silver plated Kellyberg is identical to the lexan model? And does anyone have other suggestions for an air efficient mouthpiece that doesn't get a terribly "bright" sound? I prefer something with a 32-32.6 inner diameter and a flat rim. Thanks again!

Thank you so much for the kind words, jperry...

In search of the ultimate air-efficient mouthpiece myself, I am putting a newly-acquired PT-31 through an evaluation right now. It is described as folows: 32.5mm cup diameter, medium funnel-shaped cup, 7.5mm diameter rim described as "fairly sharp inner edge, moderately round rim", and a 7.4mm throat.

Looking at the PT-31 and Kellyberg side by side, the contact point and width on the embouchure is very similar to the Kellyberg. The inner rim appears more rounded, but in practice has a bit more bite than the Kellyberg, ensuring precise attacks. There is a bit more of a bowl shape to the cup versus the Kellyberg and it is not quite so deep. So far, I am delighted with the air efficiency. On my Schiller 3/4 BB-flat it produces a darkish tone, but with enough overtones to prevent that godawful "peashooter tuba" sound you might associate with, say, a YBB-103 played through a poorly-made Bach 18.

The low register on this particular tuba is a lost cause, but I did try the PT-31 on my Martin E-flat sousaphone and found that the false tones and pedal tones spoke with real authority.
euphonium - E-flat tuba - BB-flat tuba - double bass - electric bass - clarinet - organ
WC8KCY
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:24 am
Location: Not too far from Interlochen

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Donn » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:13 am

jperry1466 wrote:My question: Does anyone know if the dimensions of the silver plated Kellyberg is identical to the lexan model? And does anyone have other suggestions for an air efficient mouthpiece that doesn't get a terribly "bright" sound? I prefer something with a 32-32.6 inner diameter and a flat rim. Thanks again!


Current production, it sure sounds like the Kelly Helleberg is for you. If you aren't in a hurry, Sidey Hellebergs come up occasionally used, and meanwhile you have your Lexan Kellyberg. That's about it, for stainless steel. The published diameter specs are a little larger, but you can't be too sure about that - mouthpiece cups don't really have a specific diameter, because of their curved interior profile, and differences in how you decide to measure can easily account for 1/2 a mm.

In brass, if you want to try something with an extra nice rim, a bit flat but slightly dished, it won't cost you much to try a Faxx fhb. I have one of those, and I suppose it may a bit brighter than my Lexan Kellyberg, or it's just clearer. The darkest, smoothest sound is my Conn 1, and James R. New C-1 copy thereof, but it has a very rounded rim. Very near it is my Schilke 67, 32.4mm, typical Schilke rim. These two are substantially darker/smoother than anything else I have.

No idea if they are they air-efficient - I am not very aware of this aspect of playing, I'm one of those slobs who breaths in when I need to. I've noticed that for example a Marcinkiewicz H1 takes noticeably more breath control on the part of the player, maybe it has less resistance or something - but as much as you practice, I'm sure that isn't such a big issue for you.
User avatar
Donn
TubeNet Sponsor
TubeNet Sponsor
 
Posts: 5465
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:58 pm
Location: Seattle, ☯

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby Doc » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:21 pm

Blokepieces are stainless. With many rim/cup/backbore shapes, dimensions, and sizes available, you can surely find exactly what works for you.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
User avatar
Doc
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 6708
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:09 am
Location: South Texas

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby jperry1466 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:21 am

Thanks, WC8KCY, Donn, and Doc, for your thoughtful answers and good advice. When I get to the point of making a decision, I think I need to sit down and give Bloke a call (if there are enough hours in his day to answer my million questions) and see what might be the best combo for my needs. I realize everything is a trade-off and compromise will be the rule, so I'm wondering how to combine air efficiency with the dark, mellow sound I want to keep. With what I know and have at hand at the moment, the Kellyberg, whether stainless or plated, is pulling strongest at me. I'm still considering the addition of a 3/4 BBb tuba to fit various needs.

The PT-31 sounded very interesting, WC8KCY, so I am looking at it. But I realized I have an old old (1926 Buescher?) mouthpiece that I want restored that is almost identical to your description and specs of the PT-31. It is a bell-shaped (outer shape) with apparently nickel-silver plating that I need to talk to Dan Oberloh about restoring. It is pretty air efficient and gets the sweetest sound of any mouthpiece I have. Trouble is, it is a little beat up. I'm also trying to figure out what I want to do about my 1906 York EEb tuba that would make a great restoration project for me or someone else. Right now, it takes up space in my office. But that's for another thread.
User avatar
jperry1466
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 am
Location: North Central Texas

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby WC8KCY » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:14 am

jperry: I think I would give bloke a call, too, if I were you.

I did an extended test-play of the PT-31 yesterday afternoon and it revealed some serious intonation and playability issues--to be specific, the slots are very "loose" on this MP; pitches simply don't lock in, it's easy to blow flat, and maddeningly easy to hit incorrect partials in the upper register. It does sound gorgeous, and is in fact very sparing with air, but is otherwise treacherous. It remains to be seen if more face time will solve these riddles.
euphonium - E-flat tuba - BB-flat tuba - double bass - electric bass - clarinet - organ
WC8KCY
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:24 am
Location: Not too far from Interlochen

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby hrender » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:28 pm

I have a silver-plated brass Kellyberg, which I like very much, as well as a plastic Kellyberg. So far as I can tell, they are dimensionally the same, but I haven't pulled out my digital caliper to check. I think a call to the Kelly people would be worth making if you want more accurate information.
hal.
User avatar
hrender
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 2344
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 5:18 pm
Location: Fruited Plains

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby the elephant » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:39 pm

Re: Kelly mouthpieces…

I have been told on the phone by two different people there (family members, perhaps?) that the polycarbonate pieces are taken from a real mouthpiece and then repeatedly cast with minor variations until they arrive at a final product that plays as close to its namesake as they can get, then these are mass produced. The steel and brass/silver pieces are simply copies of the polycarbonate mouthpieces, meaning they will not play exactly like the pieces that were copied, but are metal recreations of the altered plastic piece designs.

I have found that these stainless steel Kelly mouthpieces are something I like to play on, but they are one-piece designs (for tuba) and they cost a lot. FWIW I currently use the ridiculous Kelly SS "XXL" on my Miraphone 186 for some things and I really like it. Everything on the horn plays well, but I have to pull out the MTS about a half inch or more and the upper register (starting on my personal horn at B natural at the top of the staff) becomes too flat. If I only have a small amount of playing up there I can use alternates easily enough, so I will use this piece if I have a lot of low, loud, punchy stuff to play. I like it a lot for what it is. The rest of the time I use a Sellmansberger Symphony with the rim I like.

Just trying to add information to flesh out the specific topic of the SS Kellys. I did not read all of this thread; I just have been skimming if for the past week. The talk of the SS Kellys made me feel compelled to comment, as these are lesser known mouthpieces that a lot of people ask about but then do not purchase, probably because they are sort of not well known, have no options due to being a single piece, and cost a lot more than one would expect for a single piece tuba kazoo...
Last edited by the elephant on Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image

For all you do, this " target="_blank's for you.
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 14016
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby jperry1466 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:49 am

Thanks, hrender and elephant. That information is what I was looking for. I have a Kellyberg plastic as well as a Standard Conn Helleberg, and the Kellyberg seems to take slightly less air and has slightly better response. Unfortunately, it also sounds like I am blowing into plastic. But this may all just be in my mind.

On the other hand, all this practicing is getting my range and technique back. Just wish I had lungs.
User avatar
jperry1466
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 am
Location: North Central Texas

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby bloke » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:02 am

Before I started offering all sorts of crazy (not just embouchure opening diameters, but) rim profile options with my mouthpieces, I sort of assumed that these things didn't make much difference in sound/response, but just felt different (i.e. "To each his own.") Unlike a mouthpiece's exterior shape and mass, the rim is certainly (again: unlike what I thought in the past) an acoustic portion of the mouthpiece.
Comparing Conn Helleberg (silver plated brass) to Kelly-berg Lexan - there are a couple of differences:
- The rim contour of the Kelly Lexan is a bit more crowned. (That having been said, more recently-made Conn 120 Helleberg mouthpieces seem to be a bit more crowned than those made decades ago.)
- The Lexan material (particularly comparing new-to-new) is more "clingy", as far as the way it articulates a player's skin is concerned. This can have effects on both flexibility (needed instantaneous changes in the embouchure) and the individual vibrations of the player's "double reed" (lips).

Lexan is a good material to deal with temperature extremes (as it doesn't transfer them to the skin very efficiently) and to cope with metal allergies.
We offer them as an option. Some military bandsmen purchase them from us for winter use, and we just sold one to a player who lives very far south, as the hot automobile tends to render mouthpieces too hot to immediately play. We may have sold some to people with allergies as well, but (so far) no one has identified themselves in that way.

As a practical matter, the low cost of the molded Kelly acrylic mouthpieces are possibly a good choice for schools with sousaphones as a second set of mouthpieces, as not-particularly-attentive young players tend to allow their sousaphone bits to loosen, mouthpieces hit the deck, and acrylic mouthpieces can deal with this sort of punishment better than can metal mouthpieces.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 43208
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: Probably boring follow up to "New tuba-old guy" question

Postby jperry1466 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:37 pm

Thank you, bloke. That's very informative and reassuring. I've had friends accuse me of looking for the "magic bullet", but I'm always looking for the combination of rim, cup, and backbore that feels most comfortable and allows me to have confidence in knowing what the piece will do. I've always thought there had to be a reason for all the different sizes and shapes of components and am going to have to give you a call and go over my concerns and needs. Just need to formulate all my questions. I've always thought the mouthpiece must fit the horn as well as the player. Right now, I'm considering moving to something in a 3/4 size horn because of lung capacity. I don't like to give up a big sound, but feel that compromise may just be in my best interest. All this just to play 6-8 performances a year in a community group.
User avatar
jperry1466
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:29 am
Location: North Central Texas


Return to TubeNet

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: roughrider, rumhud and 27 guests