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Please give impressions about the Cerveny CC "Piggy" model tuba.... good characteristics (as well as not-so-good), general intonation issues, choice of mouthpiece, modifications that tend to make the horn play better, etc. Thanks.
The person to ask this would be Norm Epley - he's had an older Piggy for years and he's used it as his main CC since. Sounds great on it, too. Fun little horn - plays way bigger than its size. I'll PM you his email.
1996 B&S PT-6 CC
2010 B&S JBL Classics F
I own one of the first batch of Walter Sear Piggys that dates back to about 1970. It was my only CC tuba for quite a number of years. It is only a 4 valve model and it plays great. I won the Tanglewood Fellowship on it in 1985 and have played it around Europe quite a bit in the past. I subbed with the Boston Pops on this horn at Tanglewood and it DOES play bigger than it looks. Great sound, incredible high range and substantial low range presence. Mine has a new leadpipe on it and the valve paddle mechanism is off a Rudy Meinl 5/4 and works great. I've played some of the newer 4 valve models and they play quite similarly though the valve action is not as good as mine.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions I can answer.
All the best.
"The music business is a cruel and shallow trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Hunter S Thompson
My first Piggy was the 4 valve model and I was urged to send it to Larry Minick so he could add a 5th valve, a 2 step valve. Roger Bobo spotted this Piggy in Minick's shop, played it and asked if he could borrow it. Couldn't say no to Roger Bobo who used that tuba with the LA Phil in their Hollywood Bowl season. Sold it but a few years later got another Piggy to use when the Willson 3050r is too weighty to haul around. The Monette Parana 94 mp works pretty good as does the much less expensive G&W Bayamo. Watch out for dents if you haul the Piggy in a gig bag. Unlike the Willson the Piggy will dent rather easily.
The piggy is a "big" tuba in a "small" tuba package. I really like these tubas, as well, and they would make a great 2nd CC to go with the Willson . . . the upcharge for a factory 5th valve is substantial compared to some other tuba manufacturers, though.
Willson 3050S CC, Willson 3200S F, Cerveny CFB-653-5IMX, 1922 Conn 86I
Gone but not forgotten:
Cerveny 681, Musica-Steyr F, Miraphone 188, Melton 45, Conn 2J, B&M 5520S CC, Shires Bass Trombone
According to Mr Sear, John Fletcher first said it looked like a "little piggy" while playing through that first batch at Walter's studio. Paul C.(Plilly Orch) also bought six of them. I got down there a few days laterand there were only six left but I didn't have the money to buy one anyway. They are great. The Cerveny company actually called them the "Opera Model" the theory being that they sound big but don't take up alot of room in a crowded pit. Ed
The Singing Whale
Steve, the older Piggy tubas (Walter Sear era) can be really great or just average. In my experience, the newer ones run more like good-to-below average. On newer Piggy's, check that the C in the staff and the C below the staff are in tune. Avoid those horns which are out of tune.
The 5th partial is usually flat in any case.
Last edited by Alex C on Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
City Intonation Inspector - Dallas Texas
"Holding the Bordognian Fabric of the Universe together through better pitch, one note at a time."
Practicing results in increased atmospheric CO2 thus causing global warming.
Sorry if I'm being slow, but are you saying the ones with the C's in tune are likely to be a mess in other ways?
looks like Alex adjusted his comment.
I had a c.1978 Piggy, had the Sanders name on it, from then Custom Music. Great horn. I had a trumpet hook added to the first valve slide so I could pass my hand through the horn and move the slide, instead of reaching over it. Made a lot of difference in my comfort playing. Mine was also unlacquered when I had it. Big, deep, beautiful sound, and I really only used the 1st slide for a couple of pitches.
I sold it when I realized how much I really loved playing F for everything. It went through a fire, was relacquered as part of that settlement, and apparently was at least as good a player as before. Maybe unlacquered isn't the answer.
If I ever get a contrabass again, it probably would be the first thing I'd look for. Then, the YamaYork.
Not an expert on these, but I did own one for 3 days. It played well, valves were good, and tuning was passable, but there were two things I didn't like:
1. Ergonomics. I could not reach over it with my left arm, to reach music, adjust a stand, etc. That's a deal-killer for me.
2. I thought the construction was cheap, and the sound was coarse and unrefined. It sounded like it was made of sheet metal. You get what you pay for.
I'm probably picky, and that used instrument may not be representative of the class, but I just wasn't willing to settle for it, and luckily I didn't have to.
Sandy Keathley, DMA
Yamaha YFB-822S F
Gnagey Holton/King CC
Unmarked Rotary Helicon in F
Gone but not forgotten: Alexander 163 CC 5V, Mirafone 186-5U CC, Nirschl 5/4 CC
Great little horn. Pound for pound it's worth the money. I probably wouldn't buy a new one 'cause you can probably get a used one in good condition for less money. An old one is going to sound great so you might as well save some Do-Re-Mi.
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