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Best tubas for a High school band program

Postby Tubadork » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:13 pm

Any ideas? and why?
Candidates:
Yamaha 641
Miraphone (186, etc...)
Jupiter 582
King 2341

Any other ideas, not really interested in the St. Pete's.
Thanks,
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Postby KevinMadden » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:32 pm

It really only comes down to the Mira and the King.

A Yamaha is a very similar horn to the Mira without that miraphone sound and will probably be much more expensive.

I've never played the jupiter, and dont really know much about the brand, but for some reason it has a bad taste in my mouth ergo... i'd take the king over it.

and personally i think pistons are a better choice for schools mainly becasue they are easier to fix and maintain

I'd go with the kings
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Postby Tubaguy56 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:37 pm

if you can wait I think Jupiter is coming out with a new line of tubas in the near future that you might want to check out....
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Postby Tubaguy56 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:57 pm

normally I would stay away from jupiter too, but I've seen some of this new line their working on, and they are lookin good.
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Postby Charlie Goodman » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:50 pm

To address the problem of kids not taking care of the horns:
In my high school, we had two Miraphone 186's in really good condition that only the kids in the symphonic band could use, and then the older "good" horns that the rest of the concert band players used, and a pair of ridiculous top-action horns (I think Yamaha's?) that they gave to the kids in freshman band. It seemed to work pretty well, because the kids that got to use the good horns were protective of them because they felt like they had earned the right to use them, and the older Yamaha rotaries played reasonably well for the concert band, and the freshmen could abuse the beaters to no end without much in the way of an effect.

Since then, the directors bought a few more 186's, and now that everyone has them, nobody treats them well. These horns are less than a year old and already look like they've been through a war.
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Postby iiipopes » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:26 pm

When my high school finally got the budget to get tubas instead of making souzys do double duty, the choice was King.

Good playing instrument, smaller bore needs not quite as much air, sturdily built, easily rebuildable, the valves are not finicky, and since the basic design has been made for almost a century every shop has a bunch of crash parts in the drawers or hanging off the back wall available for repairs.
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Postby ken k » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:35 pm

I will cast a vote for the King 2341 also. We have four of them at my school, two older models with the detachable bells and two newer one- piece models and the sound of the section just rocks....

They are easy to play, since they are a fairly small bore, even if your player is not too serious and does not practice all that much. They are in tune with themselves and have a good scale. Also, very important, they are pretty durable, with good bracing.

People keep saying you gotta try them first, but obviously when purchasing a school horn that usually is not possible. I have played many and have not found quality issues. Perhaps a lacquer run or a sightly sloppy solder joint here or there but as far as playing goes, they are very consitient. Much more so than say a Czerveny. They tend to be a bit stuffy in the extreme low fourth valve register (below low 4th valve F), but really how often does the typical high school literature go that low. In this respect the Miraphone would be better, but then you have the rotor valves to deal with. If you could maybe get one or two Miraphones to save for the very best (and hopefully the more conscientious) students, perhaps that would be a good way to go, assuming you actually hved the luxury to buy more than one at a time.

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Postby tofu » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:37 am

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Last edited by tofu on Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby iiipopes » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:01 am

Indeed, and with the way their 1st valve slides are positioned, it's not too difficult to start teaching them how to pull slides: a little for 12, an inch or so for 13, depending on how 3 is pulled for 23 to be in tune, and, well as best you can on 123.
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Postby MartyNeilan » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:17 am

A lot of schools looking at the rotor Mirafones make the mistake of buying similar looking Cerveny tubas, because of the price difference. The comparable Cerveny's are great playing horns, but extremely fragile; better to spend the few extra bucks on an S-series Mirafone than have a pile of twisted up brass in a few years. Don't overlook an MW25 if your school can buy one of those; they are probably even stronger than the 'fones.

Given a choice between the absolute best sounding, and absolute most in-tune tubas for MS-HS students, I would choose pitch. Kids at that stage are just going to put down buttons and blow; and that 5-10% difference in tone will be completely lost on all the notes 20 cents or more out of tune.

Plus, its always funny to see the kids who have one of their valve tuning slides out about 10 inches, just because.
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Postby jonesbrass » Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:40 pm

'nother vote for the Miraphones. I've found them to be extremely durable over many years of touring with them.

BTW . . . why avoid rotors? I don't get it.
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Postby tubatom91 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:43 pm

I am currently on a YBB-321 it sounds good but it has taken me this whole year to fix the valves. I think yamaha valved horns would be the best for lower level bands but mirafone 186's would be good for top band(s)..
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Postby Jason Arnold » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:01 pm

I will offer my opinion. Although I am not sure it is law or anything. I really like the King 2341. I have for quite some time. Now that I am teaching privately I have the opportunity to observe several different programs and learn what I can from each it gives plenty of perspective. As many of you know some of the most common brands for high school are yamaha and miraphone. The King is seen by some non-tuba people as a junior high horn. If I were buying a Bb for myself I would buy a King 2341. I don't like the sound the Yamahas get, the Miraphone sound is more likeable, but the King is less of a fight than these two. Again these are strictly my opinion and I am talking about Bb not CC. That's a different story. So please don't think I am slamming your horn. The only down side to a 2341 is that really annoying bend going into the third valve that makes it nearly impossible to drain. I have finally gotten to the point with my students where I make them take out their 3rd valve and pour it out from the front (before the lesson starts). And the only other con is the removable leadpipe assembly always seems to come loose. Happy Hunting.
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Postby jonesbrass » Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:44 am

Thanks, ck. In my playing experience, I've had FAR more trouble with pistons than I've ever had with rotors, but that belongs in another thread.
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Postby iiipopes » Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:27 am

Hey, jonesbrass -- what we're getting at here is not the relative amount of trouble of pistons v. rotaries, because all school music instruments will by definition get a lot of abuse.

What we're getting at is the King front piston setup is easier to work on and repair than either upright valves or rotary mechanisms.
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Postby Tubaguy56 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:28 pm

you'll get guys on both sides of the piston vs rotor argument, but I have to agree with the above that pistons are easier to maintain. Even upright, but thats just me, and I've never had a good experience with rotors.
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Postby TubaRay » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:41 am

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that there is a very wide range of high school tuba players. I mean this in a number of ways. The ability level varies greatly. Their seriousness(is that a word?) varies. Their sense of responsibility varies. Blanket statements about high school tuba players can not be expected to be anywhere near 100% accurate in all situations. When a school is in the market for new tubas, the director needs to assess what type of kids he/she has. As we can tell from some of our young posters on TubeNet, some are quite serious, intelligent, and responsible. Then there are others who appear to have been placed on this earth simply to annoy and destroy. This should be taken into consideration when buying school tubas.
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Postby KevinMadden » Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:01 am

TubaRay wrote:Perhaps it is worth mentioning that there is a very wide range of high school tuba players. I mean this in a number of ways. The ability level varies greatly. Their seriousness(is that a word?) varies. Their sense of responsibility varies. Blanket statements about high school tuba players can not be expected to be anywhere near 100% accurate in all situations. When a school is in the market for new tubas, the director needs to assess what type of kids he/she has. As we can tell from some of our young posters on TubeNet, some are quite serious, intelligent, and responsible. Then there are others who appear to have been placed on this earth simply to annoy and destroy. This should be taken into consideration when buying school tubas.


BUT that director must also keep in mind students they will have a few years down the road, while a director may have a bunch of serious responsible students now, five years from now they may have a bunch of hooligans for a tuba section. The choice must be made with the worst possible students in mind.
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Postby iiipopes » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:59 pm

Now, of course, this next post assumes a respected program with respectful students, regardless of their musical ability, including a good repair budget:

My director dealt with all of the above in this manner: when a student came into band as a Freshman, he/she was assigned an instrument for the duration of their playing in high school band, whether ending in graduation, dropping out, or otherwise. The student was expected to take care of the horn, was given proper instruction on the personal maintenance required, and the procedures for reporting damage or other circumstances needing attention. The student was NOT allowed to "trade up to a better horn" as they gained seniority. Rather, as their abilities improved and seniority achieved, the rewards were advances in section seating, "letter" awards etc. This resulted in the overall care and attention to the condition of the horns being better overall for two reasons: 1) there was no discounting the horn in hopes of a "better" one later, and 2) because the horn was "theirs," there was direct responsibility imposed on the particular student for damage not the result of normal wear and tear or accidents beyond the student's control.

I am a case in point. I happened to get assigned the oldest souzy in service. But by the time I graduated, it was the cleanest, shiniest, best playing one in the inventory, and everything was at least in a passable condition and all the horns lasted many, many years.

By contrast, the one semester I marched in an NCAA I university marching program, they had the "pass the horns down" system a lot of programs had. They had to get new horns every few years because there was no respect by and no accountability to the individual student, and they even had to differentiate between "practice field" horns and "performance" horns, and they were overall in worse shape than the high school horns.
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Postby iiipopes » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:14 pm

tubaman90 wrote:
tubop wrote:
iiipopes wrote:
My director dealt with all of the above in this manner: when a student came into band as a Freshman, he/she was assigned an instrument for the duration of their playing in high school band,




Now THAT is a great idea!


yeah it is, thats what we do, until we get a new horn, then the top guy gets it and his (in our case mine) is passed to the next guy, whos horn simply isnt used anymore cause its a st pete, but it will next year cause 5 tuba playing freshman are coming in.


Yes, but read the caveat in my next sentence. You are already demonstrating the problem with even a one-time hand me down: you are discounting the St. Pete. It will die a premature death that not even it deserves.

If it had been turned around for me with a new souzy purchased by the school as my director had asked for volunteers to play souzy on the field, I would have gotten the new souzy, as the seniors and other upperclassmen had already been assigned their horns.
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