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Looking for other thoughts/options

Postby Voisi1ev » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:57 am

Whats up Tubenet,

I know enough of you lurking here, apologies since you folks have heard me talk about this for a while, but curious about other ideas options for horns I might be missing. I also understand the idea of getting information from randos on the internet comes with a disclaimer.

So I play in two groups.
Lansing Concert Band - Good sized wind band, I think around 75ish + or -. Plays some pretty meaty literature most of the time. Lots of "college" level stuff. Been mostly playing my Conn 52J.
Capital City Brass Band - Good group, in section 2 at NABBA. I've been playing on a Yamaha Bb Neo for about a year.

I'm hoping to eventually to turn these 2 horns into 1 for reasons...
-Lugging gear
-Expense of maintaining/outfitting 2 horns.
-Not needing to keep track of the tendencies/characteristics of 2 horns.
-Dislike of having a horn that faces right when playing in sections where most face left

Right now I'm leaning toward selling both and picking up a Prokofiev.

Reasons for the Prokofiev
-While I've also played C in brass band for a season or so, Bb horns seem to be at least 20% easier. Honestly at this point I'm pretty key neutral, none of the fingerings bug me, and there are things I like/dislike about both C and Bb.
-I love the sound from my Neo, but dislike the ergonomics of the 3+1 on a larger horn.
-Seems like the Wessex Prokofiev is in the wheel house of what I'd like, a 4+1 front action, nice big presence of sound for brass band, can probably find a suitable mouthpiece for times where I'm more interested in clarity when playing in a big section in concert band. Not interested in the Grand, I need my full chromatic range.

Curious if any of this sounds crazy/other ideas for 4+1 or compensating horns I might look at.

That said, about a 60% I just keep playing both or even just the Yamaha. Not really in a rush, just collecting ideas.

Quick Edit: I have in fact tried the Prokofiev and like it a lot.
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Re: Looking for other thoughts/options

Postby bloke » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:39 am

My personal instruments (regardless of open bugle length, and I play/use all of the four common lengths) first must past the not-annoying/not-difficult intonation quirks test.


In the distant past, I was sucked in by how tubas sounded to me (from below the bell) and/or how they "felt" to play...no longer.

Second, an instrument that I use must be well-constructed: piston/rotor and casing construction (true-ness, porting craftsmanship, etc.). slide tubing fit and alignment (both paralle and coplanar), and other build/assembly factors. As to the factory-built instruments that I personally own...I've spent (I'm not sure how many hours on each, but...) MANY hours on each one of them taking some things apart and either putting them back together properly or differently - to my personal liking.

I find various tubas resonance tendencies "interesting", but this is down on the list (yes: really) from the things mentioned above. Recordings tell me that I sound very much the same when playing all sorts of different-looking tubas.

I have (and never say never) sworn off 6/4 tubas. Most of them offer difficult/annoying intonation quirks, and I'm really not sure that I am particularly (getting down past things that would disqualify some of them to the "resonance tendencies" stuff) with their typical characteristic sound. Several years ago, I bought one, and changed-and-changed-and-changed it until (though still with the 6/4 intonation quirks) I liked the type of sonority it offered. Guess what? :? It ended up sounding about like a tuba that I already owned/own, which I will probably never sell.
other 6/4 tubas I've owned: I would sometimes catch myself "overplaying" them to obtain the type of sound that I liked to hear (ie. when playing smaller tubas).

To some (a few) orchestra concerts, I find myself carrying a 5/4 contrabass tuba, an F tuba, and a cimbasso. (To quintet recitals, I might also bring a kaiser bariton or euphonium.) I park outside the stage door, or drop off instruments at the stage and go park. It's really nice to be playing ~just~ the right (in my view) instrument to meet a music composition's requirements...and no, I don't nerd-out with music directors/conductors asking them instrument questions for which they have no opinions. I make these decisions on my own (just as would a trumpeter, when choosing from one of their own several trumpets).

bloke "For those who don't mind them, I'm delighted to sell tubas that require the valve combination, 1-3, for the third partial, but - for myself - I'm through with personal ownership/playing of such instruments."
Last edited by bloke on Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for other thoughts/options

Postby tclements » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:19 pm

I've been playing exclusively CC since 1971, until I added an F tuba in college. Earlier this year, I purchased a Prokofiev JUST to play 'Star Wars.' Now, this is my 'go to' tuba for just about everything. If I could buy 3 for my Wind Orchestra, 2 for my Brass band, and 5 for my Community band, I would ... in a heartbeat. If you do almost exclusively big group playing, and want ONE tuba for that, Go get yourself one.
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Re: Looking for other thoughts/options

Postby barry grrr-ero » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:34 pm

If it's a question of blending with the other BBb tubas in your Capital City Brass Band on your 52J, I'm sure Bloke could sell you a set-up that would make it blend well with them. On my "Neptune" CC tuba, I have a 'Blokepiece' that makes the horn blend perfectly with the BBb guys near me: Orchestra Grand cup (or is it Grand Orchestra?), combined with a 32.6mm Profundo rim. The "Profundo" adds an extra 1/8th inch to the overall cup depth. As much as everyone hates the Bach 24AW, I could well imagine that piece lending that kind of sound as well.

When I need fatter and faster speaking low notes, I'm going to try Bloke's new 32.9 rim on that set-up. I'm hoping it'll give me a bit bigger dynamic range and fatter low notes, yet still not cover over the BBb tubas in terms of timbre. We'll see.

I'm not in any way trying to shoot down yours and Tony's idea of a Wessex "Prokofiev". Just keep in mind that that's a very big tuba. It means getting a big gig bag and committing big space in your car, etc. Your 52J may be perfect for chamber brass situations and smallish jazz groups.
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