The bulk of the musical talk
Moderator: Uber Moderators
I noticed a former Yorkbrunner owner now trying to find a Nirschl 6/4, so I had to inquire why since they seem to be in the same general "class" of tubas (as in capital ships).
Being a 4/4 CC Nirschl owner, I myself would only ever upgrade to an HB-50 or larger Nirschl and have been interested in the prospect. But my real curiosity is what players think of the HB-50 compared to 6/4 Nirschls.
I imagine there will be a small sample of folks who have had experience with both.
One of the biggest challenges with this comparison is sample variation. My own admittedly anecdotal evidence would suggest that there is a greater amount of sample variation with the HB-50. Some are stunning, some not so much. I have also played both stunning and not so stunning Nirschl's but the gap between the great ones and the so so ones was less than with the HB-50's I've played. I've played 6 or 7 different Nirschl's and only 3 Yorkbrunner's.
I've owned each, and played each with large orchestras. I currently own a Nirschl. When I bought my Nirschl I was playing a Yorkbrunner. It took about 5 minutes of play testing the Nirschl before I decided that that was the sound I'd been searching for my entire playing career. I'd found my voice. With MY two samples, the Nirschl had a cleaner sound with excellent color. My Yorkbrunner had a very good sound, but was no where near as nimble and easy to play, and ultimately wasn't the sound I'd wanted. The Nirschl had the girth that I love from 6/4 tubas but had plenty of center/core to the sound for definition. It was easier to play in all registers and their was no comparison between the low range of the Nirschl and the stuffy low range of the HB-50. The Nirschl was more nimble and felt like I was playing a 4/4 sized tuba. The orchestra section mates I was subbing with at the time took immediate notice to the difference in the sound I was putting out. For me, and for those two instrument samples, it was a no brainer.
However, Yorkbrunner's have been made for quite some time. I know they've made adjustments to the new ones that are being produced but I've not played one. There are a lot of great older ones out there. My advise would be to be less concerned about the actual brand and really zero in on what it is you're looking for in a large 6/4 tuba. No one can tell you what will work best for you and the way you play. If you want ultimate play-ability and slotting, you need to look at the Baer models from Meinl Weston. If you're looking for a great deal look at the rotory valved Neptune. If you're looking for shear volume and meat check out the MW2165. If you're looking for a good York copy because you love the sound like I do, then try as many Nirschls and Yorkbrunners out as you can and find the one that most nearly matches your ideal combination of great sound and play-ability. If you recently won the lottery check out the Yamayorks. If you're not sure what you're looking for then be content with letting this search go on for a few years until you are. Good luck! Hope this helped.
The difference between the two is in sound. The Yorkbrunner sounds like a Hirsbrunner, the Nirschl sounds more "American" (see other threads for that definition). My personal experience is that the Nirschl is that it is more efficient but also more inconsistent.
I really love hearing Mike Sanders (St. Louis) play his Yorkbrunner. Nirschl certainly has sold over 100 of his 6/5's but I'm not sure who's playing a 6/4 Nirschl besides Dave Kirk (Houston).
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.
I've never owned either and only have limited experience with each - only played one Nirschl-York and 2 or 3 Yorkbrunners. That said, the Yorkbrunner is a taller and heavier instrument, and it has a slightly more directional sound compared to the more diffuse "true York" sound of the Nirschl-York. I thought the Nirschl was a little stuffy in the low register but played almost as well as a large Eb in the middle and upper registers and the Yorkbrunner better in the low range, imo.
The Yorkbrunner almost sounds like a mix of York and Kaisertuba to my ears - denser/thicker and slightly more direct than the Nirschl 6/4, but still very mellow.
With that very limited experience with both and listening to orch. pros play them, I prefer a good Yorkbrunner. Out of all 6/4 piston BATs, there is a 'sweetness' to the Yorkbrunner sound that catches my ear.
Hirsbrunner workmanship seems a bit better (a fairly clear "plus").
Hirsbrunner is heavier and seemingly less vibrant (a possible "minus").
BOTH seem to vary considerably from one to the next.
Both (being 6/4 CC tubas) offer quirky intonation.
This varies quite a bit, too. Those earlier ones that were made from sheet brass were rather light in weight and vibrant in sound. I've owned a couple HB York models. One was very light (an early one), one was heavier (a very late one). I own the earliest one most recently, FWIW...
I'm waiting for all of these manufacturers to wise up and go back to smaller diameter pistons (like the first "Nirschl-York" valvesets made for Hirsbrunner) which are FAR less prone to sticking (due to less surface area).
When Hirsbrunner began making their copies of the Chicago York, they only had the "rehearsal" horn to work with. In 1995 they got their hands on the "concert" horn and found a number of differences. The "concert" horn had pistons that were 1 mm larger, the 5th valve was 2mm larger, the leadpipe taper was slightly smaller and the main tuning slide taper was also slightly smaller.
My 1994 Yorkbrunner was sent back to the factory (before I bought it) and was rebuilt by them with the larger 5th valve, the smaller leadpipe and main slide, but still had the smaller pistons. I believe that Mike Sanders' instruments are very similar. This makes quite a difference in the sound and response from where I sit.
I've played a few of the Nirschl copies and they are also great instruments. Randy Montgomery won Milwaukee on one of these as did Craig Knox in Pittsburgh. Also let's not forget Mike Roylance in Boston and Pete Link in Sendai. So it is a very competitive instrument. The Nirschls have a clearer sound than my Yorkbrunner which tends to sound like a velvet "cloud" in the orchestra. The Nirschl horns are a little brighter in their sound (when I play them) and are a tad more responsive. But the sound doesn't match what comes out of the Yorkbrunner FOR ME. Yasuhito Sugiyama won Cleveland on a Yorkbrunner and plays it extremely well and Mike Sanders does sound magnificent on his.
It all comes down to which one has the sound that makes your brain go "Ohhhhhhh, yyyeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh!". You need to experience them for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
I hope this helps, and remember, these are MY experiences.
"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
Interestingly enough, changes made to the Hirsbrunner York models in the mid 1990's weren't necessarily improvements. They began to be less balanced across the range. The changes were driven by requests. In this case, the customers weren't always right. Those earlier versions (like ones used by Mike Sanders and formerly by David Fedderly, etc.) are very different from those made from 1995-ish on. (The latest version seems to have moved back to a better balanced instruments.) The original main tuning slide taper and 5th valve seem to have been a much better fit for the rest of the system. I've had some great conversations with Peter Hirsbrunner and David Fedderly about this very subject. Tuba fashions come and go...
The York tuba pistons match the old .750" bore York sousaphone pistons (caps, etc...) They featured an extra-long length and a not-at-tight-as-one-might-expect fit. The extra-large diameter (rather than super-close tolerances) was relied on to cut down on air leakage, and the extra-long length (with a long "spring pocket" in the bottom) cut down on sticking. These were also (nearly astonishingly so) featherweight pistons. I've given Gene some spare parts (top and bottom casing never-buffed-on-by-overhaul-shops male thread rings - which lead solder in place, et al) from an old junk York sousaphone valveset.
When the Germans set out to copy these pistons with their "big valve" valvesets (in stainless steel, rather than traditional materials), they got rid of the extra-long length, brought the tolerances up to modern tolerances, and also built them in a typical "beefy" German manner...thus the sticking problems: Everything has to be "perfect" (and ZERO dirt or lime deposits) for the modern "big valve" pistons to work.
The original (smaller diameter) pistons that B&M made for Hirsbrunner (early '80's) appear to me to be "what they had on hand". Up in my junk, I have a couple of old 3/4" bore B&M-made Eb sousaphone valvesets ( obviously way pre-dating the Hirsbrunner York Model) which are virtually identical to the original type of Hirsbrunner York Model (smaller diameter) pistons.
Ask about or order Sellmansberger mouthpieces at 901-465-4739 or click the email icon.
Like us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sellmansberger-blokepiece-Tuba-Mouthpieces/193759374019965
Who is online