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The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Dylan King » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:52 am

What is the world’s smallest tuba, anyway?

I did some kind of weird review of one of the contenders.

Y’all are welcome to watch, y’hear.

https://youtu.be/SoG4lJJ3pIY

Have a great day!

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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Mark Finley » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:47 am

Enjoyed that!
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby bloke » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:06 am

superb video production ! 8)
(Of course, you're a pro...)

Did someone get buffaloed ?
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Dylan King » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:03 am

Yeah! Cool valves, right?
:D
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby MaryAnn » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:15 am

Great video. Wow is that thing out of tune with itself.....!!! I'll take my old and gone MW 182 any day.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Stryk » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:54 pm

Hilarious! Bravo!
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Three Valves » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:12 pm

Soldered on coins like a pro!!

I just hot glued mine. :oops:
Who needs four valves??

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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Dylan King » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:04 am

The nickels definitely help with the horn’s ergonomics. It is out of tune with itself, in a way. It’s more likely that I never spent enough time trying to get it in tune, due to its “not so fun to” playability.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby MackBrass » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:14 pm

Dylan King wrote:The nickels definitely help with the horn’s ergonomics. It is out of tune with itself, in a way. It’s more likely that I never spent enough time trying to get it in tune, due to its “not so fun to” playability.



Wow, what a slam on this horn. I dont think these were ever intented to be used in any kind of concert setting but more for a true travel and practice horn. I find the pitch to be actually pretty good, no worse or better than any other horn. As to making music, just need to practice a little and it will happen, even the stuffy low register will open up.

Here is a short little ditty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEnb8kd ... ex=19&t=0s
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Three Valves » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:59 am

Well, sure, the one you played was SILVER!!
Who needs four valves??

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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Dylan King » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:07 am

Admittedly, this instrument was obviously not intended for concert or performance use. And I’m sure if I spent some time with it, it would have played better in tune. I just didn’t like playing it from the get-go, so it just sat around until I made this video.

For travel or practice, why not? I guess...

It is surprisingly well built, however. It might make a nice lamp or coffee-table stand, if one had three or four of them to make the legs.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Bill Troiano » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:16 am

I believe that travel tubas were designed for traveling - for when you're on the move and you can't take your full size tuba along for practice. Perhaps it was Al Baer who first requested it and MW built one for his use, which was later copied by other manufacturers. I'm not sure about this, but I did hear Al on a concert with the Canadian Brass in Avery Fisher Hall, where he used his travel tuba in a piece - can't remember the piece. I remember that it sounded fine, but was clearly a small bore, compact sounding instrument.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Dylan King » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:19 am

I might have been a little harsh on the instrument for entertainment value, but my rant was honest in its exagerations.

On another note, I would not hesitate to buy an instrument from Tom McGrady. I really enjoyed meeting him and talking about tubas back when I got this horn in 2012. He in no way oversold anything, and obviously has a good and decent business.

It’s great that there is so much competition these days in the multi-billion-dollar tuba cloning industry.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby BWBTuba » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:04 pm

While I do not own this particular instrument, I do have a Wessex CC Tornister tuba. Yes, like the F Tuba in Dylan's video, it is challenging to play, is stuffy and some of the notes do not slot easily, but I have found it to be a very good, and valued, practice horn. It requires considerable and sustained breath support, and with the right mouthpiece - which I have found with the able assistance of a fellow TubeNetter (who was gracious enough not to blow off my request for advice because of this instrument being unfairly judged by some as "a toy") - the tone quality I can produce is improving significantly with practice. There are many tubas of many sizes and vintages, manufactured in many countries, that can be challenging to master for all sorts of reasons, but the real value of these "practice tubas" is demonstrated when you switch back to your full-sized primary instrument, and that practice, having to work hard on breath support and articulation, really pays off...at least that has been my experience. The Wessex instrument I have, as I'm sure is the case with the one made for Mack Brass (I also own a Mack Brass TU410GB CC), is well made, the valves are quieter (after a dubro conversion), and increasingly enjoyable to play, recognizing its intended use and the improvements it has contributed to in advancing my skills. I believe that one of if not the first of these small F Tubas (similar to the one in the video, but I recollect made by Meinl Weston) was originally offered as a practice tuba for traveling professionals, purpose-built to address their need for a small horn they could carry around and use while their primary instrument was unavailable. Neither Mack Brass nor Wessex have ever, to my knowledge, suggested that these instruments were anything more than what they were conceived and built to accomplish...a well constructed horn available (unlike the original Meinl Weston practice F Tuba, priced as something in excess of $10K) at a reasonable price.

I think we, as a community, are quite fortunate to have companies like Mack Brass and Wessex working closely with the Chinese manufacturers to, as they have and continue to accomplish, provide these vastly improved, quality instruments to us, and at reasonable prices. No one is compelling anyone to buy Wessex, Mack Brass, or tubas that other companies offer that are "niche" instruments (like the practice tubas) nor those that happen to be made in China (with the benefit of close collaboration and oversight by people like Tom and Jonathan with these manufacturers, seeking to design, develop, build, and make available to us the highest-quality instruments possible, and making those instruments affordable). However, given the almost daily posts on TubeNet highly recommending the purchase of these tubas (made in China) to those wanting to buy a new or pre-owned instrument, I'd suggest that perhaps passing up the opportunity to try one because of its country of origin, or some "niche" capability it may provide, is shortsighted. To denigrate such instruments for the sake of entertainment, not having put the time and effort into a serious evaluation of the instrument and what it might be capable of providing to the player (for what it was intended to do) should also perhaps be appropriately viewed, in context, as something entertaining but not to be taken seriously as advice on what such instruments can offer you as a player. No disrespect is intended to Dylan and his always entertaining videos, but this one, in my view, was not credible nor of much value to those who may be contemplating the purchase of such an instrument... In fairness, this may be what he intended, but it could be perceived as implicit, highly negative, criticism of the company who offered this horn for sale. As Tom clearly demonstrated in the video he contributed to this thread, the instrument is capable of offering much more in the hands of another skilled tubist who had mastered the challenges of this particular tuba. Thanks to Tom for his clarifying contribution to this discussion, and for the deep commitment he has made on our community's behalf at Mack Brass.

I suspect that the majority of us who frequent TubeNet enjoy the occasional humorous "trash-talk" comments but also appreciate the advice of respected colleagues on horns, mouthpieces, and a wide variety of other topics of general interest to the community. However, when those comments have the potential to infer and be interpreted as unwarranted (I emphasize this qualifier) and perhaps unjustified and unsupported criticism directed at the products and companies that are legitimately doing their utmost to serve the community - and perhaps unintentionally make potential customers less inclined to try any of their products - I believe that we need to be more mindful when engaging in this kind of repartee, and any future entertaining videos that might be posted here. Such comments may ultimately lead to diminishing the enthusiasm and hard work of these companies, and the good and reputable people they are led by, in freely offering news and views regarding their "latest and greatest" products and services to us on this important community forum. Being constantly put in a position of having to defend themselves and their products on an almost daily basis, largely based on biases and opinions formed years ago about Chinese tubas...that many, including me, would say are far less (if at all) justified for the much-improved quality products of companies like Mack Brass, Wessex, BMB (which I also own and play as my primary instrument) for example, companies that have worked very hard to make these improvements in quality and consistency...would have made me give up trying to change closed minds a long time ago. Everyone has the undeniable right to "speak their minds", but perhaps this might be done with a bit of diplomacy and civility, recognizing that livelihoods are involved, and what we say may have unintended consequences. Should TubeNet be a place where truth, as you perceive it, is told, and demonstrably poor or inferior products and services about which you are knowledgable are criticized for what they are?...absolutely. Should we also be challenging these "truths" put forward in the posts when we disagree?...also, absolutely. But, should we do this in a way that is more than just idle entertainment for the TNFJ, I don't think so, but then again, perhaps you might disagree...

I acknowledge and appreciate Dylan's newest post on this thread providing some "mea culpas" for the "harshness" of the video, which was posted while I was drafting this comment. While his "rant" may have been "honest in its exaggerations", I would again offer the opinion that perhaps his review might have been different had he spent more time and effort with the tuba before he made the video, particularly given the obvious quality of the performance by Tom on this same tuba model in the video he shared with us.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Dylan King » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:32 pm

Look guys. Admittly I haven’t spent much time playing this horn, as I said in the video. I’ve owned many fine F tubas over the years, and the bottom line is that this travel tuba just can’t compare to a full-sized instrument. The reason I haven’t played this tuba very much over the years is that I just don’t like it. I was trying to be open about the horn, while also maintaining some amount of tongue and cheek humor.

YouTube is a tough place to be. Am I a serious tuba reviewer? Not really. People like Chris Olka are much more thourough and qualified to do a serious review on any tuba. My approach is more Marx Brothers, Rodney Dangerfield, and Frank Zappa than Yo Yo Ma, Itzak Pearlman, and Arnold Jacobs. Please take this review with a grain of salt, and enough pepper to sneeze your brains out.

I checked the Mack Brass website before I produced the video, and didn’t see this horn for sale anymore. I’m not trying to hurt the sales of this horn; just give an honest opinion as a tuba-clown on YouTube. I meant no offense to Tom, or any of the manufacturers releasing practice tubas. They are what they are. Maybe I should have added a section about that, but for whatever the reason the final edit is what it is.

I can’t always talk about how good or great a tuba is. In my opinion, this one just isn’t.

Please dont take me too seriously. I’m just a fat man on YouTube who talks about tubas once in a while...
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby toobagrowl » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:14 pm

We all have our preferences and opinions. I think many of us "get" that this is a little 'travel tuba'; nothing more, nothing less.

I thought the video was weird and funny at the same time :lol: -- we need more humor like that today :D Keep doing what you are doing, Dylan :tuba: :!:
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby Douglas » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:50 pm

mctuba1 wrote:
Wow, what a slam on this horn. I don't think these were ever intended to be used in any kind of concert setting but more for a true travel and practice horn.


It wasn't great but it served a purpose. I had one when I lived a small apartment and it was better than braving the snow to get the music building.

Are you selling the new improved ones or is that a Wessex exclusive?
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby MackBrass » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:50 pm

Dylan King wrote:Look guys. Admittly I haven’t spent much time playing this horn, as I said in the video. I’ve owned many fine F tubas over the years, and the bottom line is that this travel tuba just can’t compare to a full-sized instrument. The reason I haven’t played this tuba very much over the years is that I just don’t like it. I was trying to be open about the horn, while also maintaining some amount of tongue and cheek humor.

YouTube is a tough place to be. Am I a serious tuba reviewer? Not really. People like Chris Olka are much more thourough and qualified to do a serious review on any tuba. My approach is more Marx Brothers, Rodney Dangerfield, and Frank Zappa than Yo Yo Ma, Itzak Pearlman, and Arnold Jacobs. Please take this review with a grain of salt, and enough pepper to sneeze your brains out.

I checked the Mack Brass website before I produced the video, and didn’t see this horn for sale anymore. I’m not trying to hurt the sales of this horn; just give an honest opinion as a tuba-clown on YouTube. I meant no offense to Tom, or any of the manufacturers releasing practice tubas. They are what they are. Maybe I should have added a section about that, but for whatever the reason the final edit is what it is.

I can’t always talk about how good or great a tuba is. In my opinion, this one just isn’t.

Please dont take me too seriously. I’m just a fat man on YouTube who talks about tubas once in a while...



HI Dylan

Just wanted to let you know I definitely wasn't offended by your post and I get it, this horn just wasn't for you and that's ok. My response was more about with a little practice these can be pretty good for a small horn. They will never replace the real deal but they do serve a purpose with the right intent.

If I were in college or was doing a recital I would have no reservations in finding a piece to use it on as they are actually pretty fun to play. Everyone is different and what one person thinks or feels the next 20 may feel different and vice versa. Just so you know I did find your video entertaining and I would like to pick your brains on the equipment you use and how you set up your mixer for sound as the sound was great. As I get older and as my playing declines I can use all the help possible to cover up my deficiency's.

One final note, this tuba is actually just a redesigned french horn using just the F side of course. Due to the use of French Horn valves and bore, this can be very stuffy in the lower register. As most of is already know, rotary valve F tubas are pretty squirrelly in the low CC area and this is exaggerated even more by being smaller all around. If you were able to put a tuba mouthpiece in a french Horn the end result would be this little travel tuba.
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Re: The World’s Smallest Tuba

Postby roughrider » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:58 pm

Dylan King wrote:Look guys. Admittly I haven’t spent much time playing this horn, as I said in the video. I’ve owned many fine F tubas over the years, and the bottom line is that this travel tuba just can’t compare to a full-sized instrument. The reason I haven’t played this tuba very much over the years is that I just don’t like it. I was trying to be open about the horn, while also maintaining some amount of tongue and cheek humor.

YouTube is a tough place to be. Am I a serious tuba reviewer? Not really. People like Chris Olka are much more thourough and qualified to do a serious review on any tuba. My approach is more Marx Brothers, Rodney Dangerfield, and Frank Zappa than Yo Yo Ma, Itzak Pearlman, and Arnold Jacobs. Please take this review with a grain of salt, and enough pepper to sneeze your brains out.

I checked the Mack Brass website before I produced the video, and didn’t see this horn for sale anymore. I’m not trying to hurt the sales of this horn; just give an honest opinion as a tuba-clown on YouTube. I meant no offense to Tom, or any of the manufacturers releasing practice tubas. They are what they are. Maybe I should have added a section about that, but for whatever the reason the final edit is what it is.

I can’t always talk about how good or great a tuba is. In my opinion, this one just isn’t.

Please dont take me too seriously. I’m just a fat man on YouTube who talks about tubas once in a while...

I enjoy your reviews, Dylan. A sense of humour is sadly needed more and more these days.
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