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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby bloke » Tue May 28, 2019 8:51 pm

Often, when I hear experienced players first checking out 3/4 size tubas, the sound is somewhat grating, because they tend to (again, at least - at first) blow through them in the same manner with which they are accustomed to blowing through larger tubas.

I post about 20X as much as I should here, so most everyone knows all of my thoughts/opinions...

Here, though, I've often said this: Each instrument must be given what that instrument needs, and not given what a random player is accustomed to giving to their own instrument.
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby iiipopes » Wed May 29, 2019 7:25 am

Donn wrote:Obviously, it depends on the situation. 1,000,000 sousaphone players can't be wrong, but they might be wrong in some ensembles. 3 valves is going to work fine for lots of common tuba situations, with no slide pulling. I'd tune 3 so it's right on for 1+3 (and slightly flat for 2+3, sharp for 1+2+3.)

This is how 3-valve tubas were tuned as well for concert band. So the excuse that 1+3 is sharp is hot air. Even for trumpet players. Look closely at early Harry James movies and you will see he pulled his trumpet 3rd valve slide and set it so no triggering was necessary. And on my souzy I have the upper loop of the 1st valve circuit converted to a movable slide as well so I can push on 2nd space C and pull for the lower register. And as bloke also observed, on many sousaphones, the privilege tones are perfectly in tune and have good tone from open privilege Eb downwards.
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby bloke » Wed May 29, 2019 9:00 am

Wandering off-topic, I'll go one further...

High schools should stop spending our hard-earned property and sales tax money on "konsert toobuhz" and use SOUSAPHONES (5/4 or 6/4, and - with superb false tones - fully chromatic) for indoor playing...as they did during Sousa's time, and through the 1980's. Additionally, the sound (of players who've, perhaps, not completely mastered fortissimo playing) is sent forward - into the concert hall and towards the patrons. Listening to vintage band recordings, better bands "then" (and their sousaphonists) did ~not~ suck.

Those rolling their eyes were not around when our section of four (fiberglass) 36K sousaphones was in action...and did not consistently have the "floor wiped with" the not-coached-by-anyone operators of those sousaphones in auditions for chairs in regional and statewide events - year-in and year-out.
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby Bellalkaloid » Wed May 29, 2019 12:21 pm

NCSUSousa wrote:My advise on jumping into tuba on a budget - Just pick one of Tom McGrady's BBb tubas (http://www.mackbrass.com) and get yourself back in shape without trying to learn a new key. You could wait and shop for a used instrument - King 2341, Miraphone 186, etc, but you're not going to find a less expensive decent BBb even if it's used. I could post about the virtue of a 4th valve or a 4/4 (or larger tuba), but most of it was said by Elephant or other previous postings in this thread from other actual pro tuba players. For a little bit more $, http://www.wessex.com tubas might do more (5-valves and such).

Sometimes, I wish I had made the switch to CC and bought one of Tom's CC 410 tubas when I got back into playing, but I didn't know his website existed (it was BRAND NEW when I bought my BBb from Tuba Exchange and I didn't hear about it until later).


Thank you SO MUCH these links. I took a look and I think I'm already in love with some of these... I was really clueless about what was out there, hesitant to spend grands on a used horn without even knowing what I would be getting, or how it'd work. I nearly bought a plastic cool wind for $1200, but just couldn't do it. :|

Watching demo videos, those CC tubas really do sound amazing, especially in the low notes. I hear their fingerings are completely different though, and it's like "learning a new language"... would you say this is true?
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby NCSUSousa » Wed May 29, 2019 12:56 pm

Bellalkaloid wrote:
NCSUSousa wrote:My advise on jumping into tuba on a budget - Just pick one of Tom McGrady's BBb tubas (http://www.mackbrass.com) and get yourself back in shape without trying to learn a new key. You could wait and shop for a used instrument - King 2341, Miraphone 186, etc, but you're not going to find a less expensive decent BBb even if it's used. I could post about the virtue of a 4th valve or a 4/4 (or larger tuba), but most of it was said by Elephant or other previous postings in this thread from other actual pro tuba players. For a little bit more $, http://www.wessex.com tubas might do more (5-valves and such).

Sometimes, I wish I had made the switch to CC and bought one of Tom's CC 410 tubas when I got back into playing, but I didn't know his website existed (it was BRAND NEW when I bought my BBb from Tuba Exchange and I didn't hear about it until later).


Thank you SO MUCH these links. I took a look and I think I'm already in love with some of these... I was really clueless about what was out there, hesitant to spend grands on a used horn without even knowing what I would be getting, or how it'd work. I nearly bought a plastic cool wind for $1200, but just couldn't do it. :|

Watching demo videos, those CC tubas really do sound amazing, especially in the low notes. I hear their fingerings are completely different though, and it's like "learning a new language"... would you say this is true?


I never made the jump to CC, but I figure it would have been easier to do it right away when I got back to playing. Everything I've read here suggests that the 410CC tuba is good.
For the past few weeks, I've been borrowing my dad's Mack 210 BBb while he's recovering from shoulder surgery. It's significantly a better instrument than my TE-2110. I might sell my TE-2110 and call Tom or Jonathan to get something else this summer. I know my dad will want his tuba back when he's approved by the docs to pick it up again.

Edit - I just realized I didn't put the right link for wessex tubas in my original post - https://wessex-tubas.com/
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby toobagrowl » Wed May 29, 2019 2:44 pm

@ Bloke regarding use of sousas in school band. My high school in the 1990s did that as well -- we used our King sousas for both marching and concert band, and they sounded great in the auditorium. I think sousaphones have an advantage over comparable tubas for such ensembles for the false tones and the more diffuse sound, which works well for large ensembles where the tubas (sousas) ARE "the basses".
Also, every BBb sousaphone I've played has good or very good overall intonation that is malleable due to the response characteristics of sousas :!:
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby Radar » Wed May 29, 2019 3:01 pm

bloke wrote:Wandering off-topic, I'll go one further...
Those rolling their eyes were not around when our section of four (fiberglass) 36K sousaphones was in action...and did not consistently have the "floor wiped with" the not-coached-by-anyone operators of those sousaphones in auditions for chairs in regional and statewide events - year-in and year-out.


I love my 36K Fiberglass sousaphone. I can play just as loud as the other Tuba players in our Fire Department Band playing on metal horns that weigh a good 15 pounds more. My intonation and tone are just as good as theirs are as well. It would be a great all around horn for a Middle or High School on a budget. I really don't see why Fiberglass Sousaphones get such negative reactions.
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby Donn » Wed May 29, 2019 4:33 pm

Could have something to do with the esthetics. A certain kind of scruffiness is OK for musical instruments, but what you get with "fiberglass" isn't that kind, they really look like junk when they start getting scruffy.

And there's a widespread misconception that because materials make a difference in stringed instrument soundboards - the part that actually generates the sound - therefore materials make a difference in all musical instruments, so any alternative material compromises the sound. Clarinets must be made of wood, tubas must be made of brass, flutes must be made of silver, though none of this is tone generating.
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby The Big Ben » Wed May 29, 2019 8:43 pm

Donn wrote:Could have something to do with the esthetics. A certain kind of scruffiness is OK for musical instruments, but what you get with "fiberglass" isn't that kind, they really look like junk when they start getting scruffy.


Unless, of course, it is Bloke's Kosmic Multicolored 4v SparklePhone. Every band in America should have one.
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Re: impact of # valves and 3/4 size

Postby Three Valves » Wed May 29, 2019 9:19 pm

Scruffy??

Why I oughta...
Who needs four valves??

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