Wessex Tubas - what would you like? Bookmark and Share

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Re: Wessex Tubas - what would you like?

Postby olaness1 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 11:32 am

If you came out with a rotary compensating Eb and/or Eb, I'd be all over it.
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Re: Wessex Tubas - what would you like?

Postby Ltrain » Sun May 17, 2020 4:42 pm

The rotors would need to be twice the height (and weight) of normal rotors. Wessex’s machining capabilities aside, would you really want to play a horn with requires heavier than normal springs and linkages to move these XL rotors?
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Re: Wessex Tubas - what would you like?

Postby iiipopes » Sun May 17, 2020 8:16 pm

olaness1 wrote:If you came out with a rotary compensating Eb and/or Eb, I'd be all over it.

Hirsbrunner made a BBb 3-valve comp rotor; it didn't sell well. I sent an email to them years ago, and then they said they still had the tooling, a new tuba would cost me $25,000.
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Re: Wessex Tubas - what would you like?

Postby 2ba4t » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:42 am

Thank you former previous responses by email.

Corona and other factors forced us to emigrate earlier than planned so nobody will have to waste time on me in Andover. I am an expat. However, I see that you have this 'suggestions' thread on tubenet. So I am posting this there and sending you a copy. But this may not exactly be the right time ...

Before making suggestions I decided actually to carry out my own ideas as far as possible before anything else:

Multi-tuba. The crook's way out.

As we all know the bread and butter range includes many notes an octave below the bass clef. Eb and F tubas need extra valves for these and they do not really ring out without much effort. This is why John Fletcher did the unthinkable and used first an EEb and then the 'impossible' CC.

However, the USA fashion of vast organ-like CC and BBb tubas creates a very distinct, huge, different tuba voice - which OK many love. So do I. But we can't pretend that it blends with the bones. And, in a world rapidly returning to authenticity and narrower bore instruments throughout, it ain't authentic at all. It is like using a string bass in a string quartet. Cverney's 1845 CC patent was big bore but had a narrow exponential bell. The di-radial, sousa bells we all have today make a completely different sound. Sumptuous, egomaniacal but entirely different from the cimbasso-type sound that was in the heads of many composers 1850 - 1940.

I experimented by adding straight tubing on my EEb 983 and converting it into a CC(!!!). Sorry to report - it worked beautifully. The low register leaps out and rumbles and is pretty close to a real CC. I added removable slides to the general tuning slide so if I started with Le Corsair, then Prokofiev Symphony XXX and the encore was Dvorak Scherzo I could simply easily put in and remove the CC crook. Yes the 2nd valve and compensating back 3rd slide also need crooks.

Emboldened I just did this to a Jinbao six valve F copy of XXX - a recent one that blows superbly. Sorry again. It works excellently as a mini CC.

Obviously I also made an Eb crook for my Cverney F and it worked so well that I immediately sold my Cverney Eb! I have yet to cobble together one for the Jinbao 6v F.Adding enough for an F to BBb conversion compromises the 6,7,8th partials as you might expect. [But if that piece does not use them - why not?]

5th valve.
I spent time with a calculator and then built [for Eb]  a 73 cms 5th valve. This was far more in tune than the compensating system. I made it as a dependant valve within a Cverney F 4th valve and, lengthened it for my Cverney Eb. But now I have improved on that by making an independent 5th a full tritone. This means you have a cracking full one valve [for Eb] EE and AAA AND masses of fingering to play all the way down in tune and have a full 'pedal' EEEb by using all the valves. You can now trill between EEEb and EEE - a commonly needed attribute. Yes, obviated by my previous EEb to CC crook.

4th valve accessibility on huge right-hand bell tubas and Pinky problems on continental line up tubas.

ONE: If there is a left valve, I swap the left hand valve length so that I have my '4th' valve length on my left hand to be better able to play rapid stuff. The right hand old '4th' valve then can be 73 cms or of course a tritone. I find this far niftier - like the good old 3 + 1 B&H comps on which we were dragged up

TWO: In extremis, I re-direct the linkage of the standard 1,2,3,4 line up so that the 4th valve is now operated by the left hand. This means mounting a left-hand paddle far north. The best place is often for the left thumb at the back of the instrument. Unfortunately, you need a sky-hook to sit it on. Lots of iron mongery.

Recording bells

John was getting really interested in forward-pointing bells - and 45% - when he was taken away from us. I think you should have that option on all instruments.


We discussed plastic tubas, even back then. However we know that plastic valves stick due to expansion [Hisrchbrunner]  - but carbon fibre etc [or newer material] valves and a plastic, shiny finish plastin tuba seems inevitable (sorry, yall). These were piloted with brass valve sections as you know fifty years back.


I greatly enjoyed playing a George III serpent that Anthony Baines kindly lent me from the Bate Collection in the Oxford 'Bate Band' and performing a Galliard sackbut suite on it. This was only 50 years back. Since then I have been determined to get a serpent made which was fully keyed. It has an ethereal and haunting sound as you know. Go on. You make ophicleides. Use plastic.

Again, as ever in homage to the one person who has contributed most ever to our tuba world in practical terms. [OK with Sachs and Weiprecht and Cverney] I love the thought of a resurrected British F tuba. I remember that of my teacher and mentor, Arthur Doyle.
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