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Observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:08 am

Biggest surprise... The tornister euphonium is quite good, and that hot mess of jumbled tubing that people have been calling a tuba and posting about here on tubenet is actually decent!

Biggest disappointment. The packer 3/4 4 valve BBb. Not ready for prime time yet. I had high hopes it would be great (based on my experience with other packers)

The wessex Chicago horns were good, with the presence feeling a little more nimble and the full York having a richer tone, but I thought both were good.

Yes the Eastman York is as good as advertised.

There is a old piggy at Dillon calling my name. Son of a bitch that thing plays good

Between the MRP and a tuono, I have to give a slight edge to the tuono. It was the first time I got to play both of those back to back

The Eastman Eb has MUCH better intonation than before and seems to play nice, but I didn't like the small bell. They said the large bell version will be at tmea

More tomorrow!
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby bort » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:18 am

Thanks Mark -- can you give the Miraphone Hagen (any models) a try, if possible?
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby the elephant » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:49 am

I enjoyed that Piggy when it was in my care. But it wanted to get played, and alas, I had no use for it. Oink!
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:51 am

Mark Finley wrote:Biggest surprise... The tornister euphonium is quite good, and that hot mess of jumbled tubing that people have been calling a tuba and posting about here on tubenet is actually decent!



This is the hot mess horn. Not a wessex, sold by Dillon. Surprisingly fun to play
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:57 am

bort wrote:Thanks Mark -- can you give the Miraphone Hagen (any models) a try, if possible?


I didn't see the 5/4 here. Not sure they brought one, I'll ask today. This review is based on me playing one last year at tmea


I would say the comparison between the 5/4 and 6/4 would be the same between the new wessex Chicago models. (not a comparison between the miraphone and the wessex)
The 5/4 is nimble and graceful with a great sound. The 6/4 is just a bit less graceful with a even bigger/richer sound. The 5/4 is one of, if not the most impressive BBb tubas I've ever played. Especially for the massive difference in cost, I couldn't see buying the 6/4. We're talking about a $5000 to 6000 difference
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Oldschooltuba » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:23 am

Mark, you were temped by my piggy when I sold it last year.... and it was silver, magic silver at that.
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:20 am

Yeah, yours was so unique. Never seen a silver piggy before. This one is from the late 60's and the metal is a lot thicker than the piggies from the 80's. It just plays so solid and responsive. Nice narrow slots, and the best intonation I've ever seen in a Piggy.

I'm going to be struggling all day today with the option of buying it. It's a great horn, but I don't need it, which is the reason I sold the piggy I owned for almost 20 years
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby UncleBeer » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:12 am

Did you honk on the new Wessex contrabass trombone prototype? Also interested in your impression of their big 6/4 BBb "Grand".

And of course their French tuba! 8)
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby the elephant » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:40 am

The "Michigan Pig" is calling you, Mark...
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby cktuba » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:51 am

Did anybody get a chance to play the Eastman 562 BBb (looks similar to the GR 51)?
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:21 pm

UncleBeer wrote:Did you honk on the new Wessex contrabass trombone prototype? Also interested in your impression of their big 6/4 BBb "Grand".

And of course their French tuba! 8)


Contrabass... Improvement over the old one, seemed to play a little foggy and stuffy all over the horn, instead of very stuffy on just that one F in the staff. They are still tweaking the leadpipe, so hopefully productions horns are better. The valves are SO MUCH BETTER

The grand. Lovely sound, quick response, for me, I had to put the tuning slide in a middle area. The Bb's were sharp and the F and D were flat, maybe 15 cents each way
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Three Valves » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:23 pm

The onion rings at the bowling alley are top notch!!

I want to see the JMU Brass Band this afternoon.

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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Three Valves » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:45 pm

Sgt Thiele of the USMC Band (tuba)joined the JMU Brass Band for a feature. I’m glad I went. I also went back for more onion rings!!
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Re: Observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:59 am

More thoughts from Saturday as I'm waiting for my flight

The concert on Saturday night was worth the trip. Absolutely phenomenal. There is the video on the army band Facebook page already, and a YouTube video should be available shortly

So many great tubas. The gap between the high level Chinese and the mainstream horns has closed so much that it's all personal preference now. I went back and forth between an Eastman 191 copy, a meinl 51, and a meinl 55, and they were all amazing, but slightly different. The Eastman was $3000 less than the 55, but it felt to be every bit its equal

The wessex calvary Eb might be my favorite horn that they offer. I liked it better than the Eastman, and "maybe" the besson 983, but it was really close. Great job Jonathan! Eastman is going to bring a compensating Eb with a larger bell to TMEA, so round two of the shootout will be in two weeks

First time I've played the 3+1 packer sterling Eb. Loved everything about it. It just felt solid and well built, intonation was as close to perfect as I could hope for, and it was comfortable to hold, even for someone my height

No, I didn't buy the piggy. I had to remind myself why I sold Mine in the first place. If I every start playing in a quintet I'll probably regret not having it
Amazing tuba

Went back and forth between the hagen 5/4 and the 6/4. The 5/4 is probably the best BBb I've ever played, the 6/4 might be the 2nd best. I hope that I can talk some of the schools I teach for into the 5/4 for the next round of purchases

MRP vs tuono shootout. Both amazing tubas, but for the exact same money, I'd go for the tuono. I thought the tone was broader and had more core. The MRP had a lot more overtones and more personality in the tone. My friend Zach (army band) liked the MRP, I liked the tuono.

The festivo was very nice. It played so much better than the prototype at ITEC 18 months ago. If you want a front action euphonium, buy without hesitation



God, I played so many horns I know I'm forgetting to talk about 90% of them. Ask away if you are wondering about something that is there.

It was GREAT having so many people come up and say hi to me. That's the nice thing abut being easy to spot in a crowd. I loved meeting every one of you

And I got meet Farah! (not Sean unfortunately) Zach and I ate lunch at the bowling alley on Saturday, and it was great catching up. Yeah, we got a pic of the two of us. Had to, I'm almost two feet taller than her. I'll post it later.

That's it for now, if you have any questions, fire away. This was by far my favorite experience at a conference. Something about having the army band there for the final concert just made it unbelievable event. I'll be back next year, and I encourage you all to be there too if possible
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Re: Friday observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:01 am

cktuba wrote:Did anybody get a chance to play the Eastman 562 BBb (looks similar to the GR 51)?


I played one that looked like a 191 that I thought was great, but I didn't see the GR 51 copy. I'll look at tmea
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Re: Observations from DC

Postby Ken Crawford » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:07 am

Anyone give the BMB revised CC 6/4 a blow?
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Re: Observations from DC

Postby groth » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:34 am

Let's not ignore the obvious as well, that there's a gigantic difference playing a certain horn in a convention hall with no acoustics, and a million people around you talking loudly and other horns, drums, instruments playing anything and everything versus how it sounds "in the mix" with the ensemble you normally would play with either outdoors or in a concert hall. I've played amazing "sounding" horns that were perfect I thought in every way at NAMM once and had the chance to use the same one in my normal day to day group and it wasn't the same sound I heard in the convention environment. I guess it's truly up to preference nowadays as to what country you want building your horn.
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Re: Observations from DC

Postby Ken Crawford » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:53 am

groth wrote:I guess it's truly up to preference nowadays as to what country you want building your horn.



It's a global economy. Your Buffet umbrella horn may already have Chinese valves in it...
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Re: Observations from DC

Postby Mark Finley » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:10 pm

Yeah, I said many times this weekend that it's hard to evaluate a symphony tuba without getting to try it in your hall with your section. For some situations the overtones of the MRP might be best, in others the 6/4 Eastman or Hagen that had core to the bone might be what you are wanting. Radically different tuba sounds
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Re: Observations from DC

Postby bort » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:12 pm

kmorgancraw wrote:
groth wrote:I guess it's truly up to preference nowadays as to what country you want building your horn.



It's a global economy. Your Buffet umbrella horn may already have Chinese valves in it...


...but not your Miraphone!
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