What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K? Bookmark and Share

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What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

King 2341 (modern)
15
27%
Eastman 534
3
5%
Miraphone 1291
21
38%
Wessex Viverna TB480
4
7%
Kanstul 33-S
4
7%
Other (please add a comment)
8
15%
 
Total votes : 55

Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Stryk » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:15 am

ren wrote: None of these horns will win anyone a job in the US.


Horns don't win jobs, players do. :tuba:
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Doc » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:51 am

Players want to use the best equipment they can to make it easier to sound/do their best. Those who are taking auditions (and are of the caliber that will actually be considered), have come to terms with their concept of sound a long time ago, and they usually have found a way to get that necessary equipment for auditions. They may still be open to finding better equipment, but they have graduated into a different category of player. And once they are working, they can more easily afford/justify expensive specialty equipment (BAT, BART, cimbasso, etc).

I would hardly call all of these student horns, but it’s easy to paint them as such since working pros who use BBb tubas can justify and afford the best available. I owned a 1291BBb. It is NOT merely a student instrument, and to insist that it is such is biased absurdity. And the pros that use these other “inferior” instruments might take you to task on BS like that. Unless your definition of a pro is limited to one who holds an orchestra seat, and even those pros aren’t in the habit of making statements like that.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby fourbass » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:54 am

[url]https://sites.google.com/site/beckertuba/home-1[/url]
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby cktuba » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:20 am

fourbass wrote:The 1291 is a 5/4 size tuba.

https://www.miraphone.de/instruments/tu ... -valves-71" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank


Sooooo... by that logic... these 2 horns are both the same size...

Image

Image

The pics do not do justice to the size difference. I would love to see a side by side of the two. IMHO the 1291 is a largish 4/4 and the Rudy 5/4 is a 6/4. The point being these size designations are extremely subjective and companies will use whatever designation they feel best fits their marketing strategy. Is it dishonest?? No! Because these designations are inherently subjective.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Doc » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:02 am

cktuba wrote:
Sooooo... by that logic... these 2 horns are both the same size...

Image

Image

The pics do not do justice to the size difference. I would love to see a side by side of the two. IMHO the 1291 is a largish 4/4 and the Rudy 5/4 is a 6/4. The point being these size designations are extremely subjective and companies will use whatever designation they feel best fits their marketing strategy. Is it dishonest?? No! Because these designations are inherently subjective.


:mrgreen:



Gee, Wally... I’ve played these side by side. That 1291 seems kind of big to be a 4/4, and that Rudy seems kind of big to be a 5/4. Eddie Haskell told me I don’t know what I’m talking about since I’m not a professional. I’m not too worried about it, Wally, but don’t tell Dad. You know how he gets.
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Donn » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:10 pm

Taxonomy works best when there's some natural condition that leads to distinct types. Biological taxa, for example, tend to be unable to breed across genera, and often species, but below that level it can get pretty fuzzy.

Among conical brass, we find them segregated quite naturally by length, but width varies practically infinitely and the existence of any real types is at best coincidental. The best you can do, and we've talked about this before, is fill them with water or something, and then we can talk about your 60 gallon tuba vs your 53 gallon tuba (just making those numbers up.) I see the continued failure to get and publish those values, and the continued use of 4/4 etc., as a sign that people really just don't care.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby toobagrowl » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:52 pm

ren wrote:There’s a minor point to be made here. These are unless you are a serious bflat tuba aficionado, student horns we are talking about.


We could go around in circles all day on what is "professional" and what is "student" when it comes to horns. I mean, generally speaking, most ppl and marketing will think: 3/4 3-valve tubas as 'student'; 4/4 4-valve tubas as 'intermediate'; and 5/4 & 6/4 5-valve tubas as 'professional'. But we all know there are pros who make money on 3-valve BBb sousas and tubas, and plenty of students and amateurs playing large, 5-valve contrabass & bass tubas. Of ALL brass instruments, there is far greater diversity/variation among tubas, as there is no set standards. Tubas come in sizes from the baby tornister (1/4 size?) to the huge 6/4 size; from 3 to 6 valves; and in four standard keys: F, Eb, CC & BBb. And to complicate even more, we have upright bells, recording bells, sousaphones and helicons.
But at the end of the day, what determines if a tuba is 'professional' or not is the player behind it...


Doc wrote:Players want to use the best equipment they can to make it easier to sound/do their best. Those who are taking auditions (and are of the caliber that will actually be considered), have come to terms with their concept of sound a long time ago, and they usually have found a way to get that necessary equipment for auditions. They may still be open to finding better equipment, but they have graduated into a different category of player. And once they are working, they can more easily afford/justify expensive specialty equipment (BAT, BART, cimbasso, etc).

I would hardly call all of these student horns, but it’s easy to paint them as such since working pros who use BBb tubas can justify and afford the best available. I owned a 1291BBb. It is NOT merely a student instrument, and to insist that it is such is biased absurdity. And the pros that use these other “inferior” instruments might take you to task on BS like that. Unless your definition of a pro is limited to one who holds an orchestra seat, and even those pros aren’t in the habit of making statements like that.


+1
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby bloke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:58 pm

yup...
The Bb tuba offerings seem to "jump" from under-$7K to $11K-and-up...
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby ren » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:38 pm

Student tuba is not meant to be pejorative merely informative. Nor does it reflect price point. Nobody in the us plays bflat tubas in ill say it “orchestras” and besides gigging/freelancing we have established some different standards. As a performance career path orchestra is the only one I’m aware of for tubist in the United States. It is not a “niche” unless compared with the other paths which are actually niche to nonexistent. You can be paid to play sousaphone in a church or for a Mexican drug cartel.

Bflat tubas work great in military bands I should add but the military will buy you any tuba you want.

The larger question is what is your sound concept? Do you have one? If not buy the cheapest one you can find. But if you do what is the point of buying the same instrument twice?

Buying a horn that doesn’t match what you want to do can harm your progress towards that concept significantly. Which still doesn’t explain somehow teachers pushing tuba students to buy miraphones in 2018 when no one does or ever will play one in a US orchestra again.

It’s great to love the tuba. All tubas. But generally students are the folks least likely to have an unlimited budget for tuba purchases and ironically sometimes in need of a really good one in case they can’t afford to buy another while they are practicing for 15 years or more.

Buying a tuba should be a fully informed decision.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby tofu » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:39 am

.
Last edited by tofu on Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby ren » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:24 am

There are only two kinds of tubas.

Free blowing tubas and non free blowing tubas. Miraphone and the all of the above Germáns make the latter.

Someone not sure who maybe bill bell. Maybe Harvey Phillips maybe Arnold Jacobs decided free blowing tubas although there were many bad sounding ones available at the time.

That maybe just maybe free blowing tubas could be easier to play and whatdaya know also sound better. Vibrato not required.

And then... wait for it.
Hirsbrunner started making them at a very high price. So people who cared about these weird free blowing instruments could buy them without calling bob rusk to solder a set of sousaphone valves onto a prewar bflat instrument and cut it to c. And even those sounded great.

And now we have a omg Choice. We can actually buy free blowing tubas if we want to at a reasonable price and maybe have fun with them, improve our playing and maybe get a job.

Oh the horror!
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby ren » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:01 am

tofu wrote:Ummmm....you better get this message to Gene Pokorny of the CSO. I've seen him a couple of times using a Miraphone Siegfried. And Alan Baer in the NY Phil has been using a Miraphone 188.


This isnt the 70's man. When everyone played a miraphone because bobo did. His miraphone 184 was basically a euphonium. We all got bamboozled by teachers telling us to buy them.

One offs dont matter. If you have the job, you can experiment with anything you want up to a point even yamahas :). Nobody is playing miraphones regularly in a US orchestra of merit for more than 20 (30?) years for a reason.
Its people who insist that a dude playing a miraphone for a couple of days means miraphones are viable orchestra instruments here that is the problem.

As someone who won a symphony job using a miraphone I can tell you it was a terrible instrument and I wish I had never played it. Its not a free blowing instrument, it has a shrill sound, and I dont need a tuba with "solid construction", that sounds like crap in an orchestra setting. (unless Im in germany in which case GO miraphone!)

I will say this, I studied back when I was young with great players, and none of them owned, wanted or felt the lack of a miraphone. Except for one.

The odd thing is how much peer pressure teachers put on students to buy miraphones. The "normal" thing would be to in 2018 realize theres no reason to even justify buying one.
Reminds me of the Catholic Church.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Stryk » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:22 am

ren wrote:Its people who insist that a dude playing a miraphone for a couple of days means miraphones are viable orchestra instruments here that is the problem.


When Pokorny plays a Mirafone, the CSO York, or a garden hose, he sounds like Pokorny. No matter the instrument, you sound like you - the instrument may play a minor role, but the person and what they can do with the instrument is the largest factor. If you don't have THE SOUND, you better have technique out the wazoo and unquestionable musicianship to make up for it. The only player I know of in my lifetime to have all of the qualities to the highest degree was Bobo. Perhaps his choices had some merit.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby TheTuba » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:27 am

Stryk wrote:
ren wrote:Its people who insist that a dude playing a miraphone for a couple of days means miraphones are viable orchestra instruments here that is the problem.


When Pokorny plays a Mirafone, the CSO York, or a garden hose, he sounds like Pokorny. No matter the instrument, you sound like you - the instrument may play a minor role, but the person and what they can do with the instrument is the largest factor. If you don't have THE SOUND, you better have technique out the wazoo and unquestionable musicianship to make up for it. The only player I know of in my lifetime to have all of the qualities to the highest degree was Bobo. Perhaps his choices had some merit.


+1
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I mean if you want to, you can buy me the tuba in my name :P
If you're selling a good BBb or CC 5/4 or large 4/4 with 5 valves in 2021 under 6,000, please, contact me!
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby bloke » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:37 am

yeah...
Jobs where Gene had to go through the whole nine yards of preliminaries/semi-finals/finals...he used a Miraphone 186 in the first round.
Ask him. :|
:arrow: in tune
:arrow: clear sound

None of the European tuba players use the mushroom-shaped-bells/Grand Rapids-Elkhorn-style tubas when doing their jobs. They all use (even when quite large) "stovepipe"-style bell tubas...and - when some of the finest European orchestral tuba players compare those knock-offs of Grand-Rapids-style 6/4 tubas to those they normally use for us (in youtube videos), I always prefer the sound of their large stovepipe-style tubas (OK...they're BBb length...whatever). Finally, I just don't see the really fine European tuba players having to "blow the crap" out of their regular go-to contrabass tubas, but their sound is always clear, quite audible indeed, and on point.

Though it isn't shilled on this website by the importer or any of the importer's dealers, Eastman has provided the market with a carefully-assembled huge Grand-Rapids-shaped (C-length) tuba that is easy to play in tune, yet doesn't cost $40,000, and costs about the top of the range mentioned in this thread. I'm still not...I've had a house full of those things, and (though they are really cool to look at, and they attract visual attention on stage...at least, to the two or three former/current tuba players in the audience), I think I'm done with them.

bloke "...and - just as a reminder - the original topic put forth was 4/4 and BBb"
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Mark Finley » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:16 am

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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby MikeMason » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:58 am

I spent about 30 minutes with a 3301 10 years ago. It was a very fine tuba.
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby Ltrain » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:09 pm

Wow, this thread has taken off like an unmonitored garden weed since I last checked it... and I thought it was dead! The conversation diverted away a bit from "the OP's intent" (hem hem) but I figured I'll try to answer some questions that may or may not have been directed at me (at least for the sake of driving further discussion)...

First, what's my musical goal? I don't do any serious solo work, I don't play in a quintet, and I'm certainly never going to be auditioning for any paying gigs that could replace my non-music day job (unfortunately). I'm still getting my technique grounded after quitting the instrument for 12 years – it's now been almost 18 months since I got my Eastman 632 (CC). I chose to come back on CC because that's what I was coerced into studying in college. The Eastman has served me well. It's a gorgeous horn that I've put through its paces and I've bonded with it. However, in the last 6 of those 18 months, I've been playing BBb sousaphone for over 90% of my total weekly playing... so much so that I can safely say "I relearned BBb".

Why a BBb/piston/4-quarter-sized horn? As I stated above, I'm not a pro by any means, and with my day job, I have limited practice time on one key of tuba as it is. BBb would allow me to settle into "mastering" one key and practice my concert band and brass band music efficiently on one instrument. It's also about space efficiency – having to unpack my sousaphone just to practice BBb is an ordeal. I'm also limiting the size to 4/4 for NYC floor real estate and subway-schlepping reasons. Pistons? ...I just prefer pistons ;) Right now, my Eastman is a perfect compromise in size, sounds, looks, and playability... I'm just starting to question why I'm still playing CC since I play literally only concert band, dixieland, and pop tunes. Why not play BBb like that music calls for?

Why the models in polls? Not only do they tick all the boxes stated above but I found great deals on each one. I also have a very motivated potential buyer of my Eastman 632 (if I can bring myself to sell it), so I was seeking direction around BBb alternatives for a quick replacement...

King 2341 (modern) – I have seen great deals for these on the used market. I also heard that MAW valves do absolute wonders for opening up this horn. For the selling price of my Eastman, I could snatch up a used 2341, drop in some MAW's, and still have $$$ left over.

Eastman 534 – Same as above if I can get over the lack of aesthetic refinement that this horn is missing compared to the 632.

Miraphone 1291 – I'm reluctant to announce this... there is an "otherwise like-new" 1291 BBb with a bell repair scar on WWBW (and sister sites) for just a little over $7K :shock:

Wessex Viverna TB480 – I'm just a fan of Wessex, especially their "original" creations. This horn seems to pack a lot of firepower for not a lotta $$$. I'm intrigued.

Kanstul 33-S – After hearing glowing reviews over the 90 model, I negotiated a deal with Jack Kanstul (through my NPO foundation) to acquire a 33-S for what I could nearly afford. However, after being unable to find a horn to demo and hearing "not so glowing" reviews about this model, I decided to walk away. I'm still curious about his horn – especially the deal with its tiny bore!


Conclusion: I've learned it's wise not to be hasty with these things. I'm going to slowly shop around (maybe wait until ITEC '19). So, I'm keeping my 632 until I PLAY something that actually works better for me. It seems the 632 is simply an unprecedented bargain and IMHO perhaps even "best in class" in terms of value. Who knows, maybe something better won't come alone (at my price point) and I'll just get over the BBb vs CC thing like so many of you fine people have already suggested a just "play the notes"! :tuba:

Signing off for now but setting a reminder to tune back in later,

Ryan
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Re: What's the best 4/4 BBb PISTON tuba under $10K?

Postby TubaKen » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:52 pm

"ren" said:
None of these horns will win anyone a job in the US
Nobody in the us plays bflat tubas in ill say it “orchestras”
As a performance career path orchestra is the only one I’m aware of for tubist in the United States.
no one does or ever will play one in a US orchestra again.
There are only two kinds of tubas.

I'm amazed (some of) you guys keep responding to "ren". Didn't your mama tell you not to feed the trolls? :lol:
If he hadn't said he spent eight years (!) playing a 188 (and apparently hating every minute of it), I'd have guessed he was a high schooler, what with the "casual" spelling and grammar, and the grand "definitive" pronouncements.
As someone who won a symphony job using a miraphone I can tell you it was a terrible instrument and I wish I had never played it.

This last one just strikes as me bizarre. You really won an audition on an instrument you hate? Why would you keep playing it?
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