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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby besson900 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:27 am

Most of You guys are living in USA but i think You dont know how it looks like i Europe

Im from Poland and here doesnt matter what kind of Tuba You are playing , piston or rotary. When we have auditions You can meet piston and rotary players, if You are playing good it doesnt matter what kind of instrument You have. From 4-5 years i see that rotary players(99% B&S) are switching into the piston(99% MW 2250) and if i had the money i would buy 2250 too. Low register and legatos or slurs sounds better on piston i think and thats the reason.

In Germany or Austria NOBODY is playing piston tubas or CC flat tubas, if you have one of those instruments You can be 100% sure that You will dont get this job there. If You are student You have to switch it for B&S of traditional sound MElton like 4460. My friend last year joined to Stefan Heimann class in Mannheim and he have 2260RA, Stefan sayd that this instrument have too much "american" sound and it is too big for F tuba and even that he have rotary he have to change this instrument for other more "germany"

BUMP for Pistons(or try to find other F tuba with low register like 2250 have) :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba:

Sorry for my gramma, i hope u understand me ^^
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby TheTuba » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:18 am

besson900 wrote:Most of You guys are living in USA but i think You dont know how it looks like i Europe

Im from Poland and here doesnt matter what kind of Tuba You are playing , piston or rotary. When we have auditions You can meet piston and rotary players, if You are playing good it doesnt matter what kind of instrument You have. From 4-5 years i see that rotary players(99% B&S) are switching into the piston(99% MW 2250) and if i had the money i would buy 2250 too. Low register and legatos or slurs sounds better on piston i think and thats the reason.

In Germany or Austria NOBODY is playing piston tubas or CC flat tubas, if you have one of those instruments You can be 100% sure that You will dont get this job there. If You are student You have to switch it for B&S of traditional sound MElton like 4460. My friend last year joined to Stefan Heimann class in Mannheim and he have 2260RA, Stefan sayd that this instrument have too much "american" sound and it is too big for F tuba and even that he have rotary he have to change this instrument for other more "germany"

BUMP for Pistons(or try to find other F tuba with low register like 2250 have) :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba:

Sorry for my gramma, i hope u understand me ^^


Understand perfectly, and thanks for the current audition theme over in europe!
Still searching for a 8/4 EEb
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: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:54 am

The USA trend - for several decades now (beginning around 1980, with a Swiss company attempting to copy an old American oversize band tuba chopped down at the factory from B-flat to C) has been towards bland-sounding Instruments with wide bells. Many of these offer a type of resonance which tends to be pretty forgiving, regarding the quality of a player's lips' buzz, but require considerably more effort to get the sound to the fore, when required.
Due to this style of instruments, when a bunch of American tuba players begin discussing playing techniques, you'll see a tremendous amount of emphasis on "tons of air", and not much emphasis at all on "the quality of the buzz produced by the lips".
I see no particular end in sight, and I can imagine that when five or six good players at a USA audition (out of a hoard of 80 or 90 applicants) show up and produce sounds whereby the "bass knob" is turned up to +3 and the "treble knob" is turned down to -3, regardless of how well they play, the sixth player in that group who offers a sound more resembling a "0/0" bass/treble balance in their sound will be dismissed, due to their sound being comparatively "odd".
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby pjv » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:28 am

A M/W piston F tuba. Would you please be more specific. The 45slp, the larger 2250 and Titan, or the smaller 2182?


I've tried several and was very impressed. Also with the quality of their triggers. As far as I know the 45 was originality designed for the US market, but this is an old model and times are changing rapidly.

I've tried Gronitz. Lovely sound and intonation.

I'd rather they all had 6 valves.

ps. I don't play in an orchestra and use the F for brass quintet and often in recordings.
pps. I tried a Wessex Berg and it had amazing intonation (and only 5 valves!). Unfortunately it also had very noisy valves. I'm assuming the shop I tried it at had severely neglected the necessary maintenance.
Last edited by pjv on Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby Bnich93 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:30 am

If the only way to get the job is to sound exactly like they expect you to sound but with better technique and musicality, then why would I desire to get rid of my Swiss copy of an American oversized band tuba which was chopped from BBb to CC?
2008 Hirsbrunner HB50 w/Warburton 30DL
1990s Mirafone 181 F w/Parker Cantabile 3 piece
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Audition-winning tubas...

Postby Doc » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:08 pm

Dear Lord little baby Jesus forgive me for daring to mention this topic...

If you wanted to be “trendy,” simply follow the trend of playing tubas that, for at least a time, were WINNING auditions, and we all know (from experience and Tubenet posts) that the pair of tubas that has won the most auditions in recent history is the PT6/PT15. Audition with those horns, then follow the accompanying trend of “graduating” to a Nirschl, Yamayork, York conversion, HB 50, Baer, etc. Once you are employed, then you can play whichever F tuba suits you and the orchestra.
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: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:49 pm

Most European export-to-America piston tuba valvesets are 19.5mm bore, so most German export-to-America piston tubas (regardless of the size of the tuba) are going to feature 19mm bore valvesets.

Piston valve ports offer less resistance, and 19mm offers less resistance than does 17mm or 18mm, so some of the piston F tubas made in Europe are going to call for a constant heroic playing effort (to which players become accustomed, and soon no longer realize how hard they are working)...and it's interesting how a fairly-in-tune instrument, sometimes, isn't - any more - when a rotor valveset is removed and a piston one is soldered on in its place.

To the comment (a couple above) where I inadvertently pushed someone's buttons...
I don't use this one, but I hear it often:
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/You+pays+your+money
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby pjv » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:16 pm

I'm still curious which MW tuba you played
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby Donn » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:26 pm

It isn't like I'm in the market for any F tuba, but curious about the acoustic design conversation ... I find a couple Miraphone Fs at hornguys - Petruschka with pistons, and Firebird with rotors - and the same 19.6mm valve bore! So I guess they might call for some heroism, though a casual scan of comments doesn't turn up anything of that nature, but in any case maybe a good piston/rotor comparison case.

But what I wanted to point out, is that the Petrushka's leadpipe is maybe a foot closer to the mouthpiece, so there's that much more potentially conical bore after the valves - and on the other hand, that last valve bore is 20.4mm, where the Firebird's exit bore is 21.2.

So ... search me, no idea how to predict the outcome from this, but just thought it would be fun to bring on more specifics to work with as you settle down to hash that out.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:16 pm

ok Donn,
only one person's opinion:
A Petruschka is a cute little F tuba that (yes, due to the bore size) feels like a huge tuba. Serendipitously, it's certainly not the worst F tuba on the market, intonation-wise. I do believe that people who (may be pretty good F tuba players, but) tend to shy away from playing their F tuba - and play their C instrument whenever they possibly can manage to do so - may well be attracted to this model. I can't help but wonder, though, how that particular tapered F bugle might play with 17.5mm tubing in the valveset. Valveset bore-wise, Miraphone does seem to be well into the largeness arms race. Even their c. 19.5mm bore rotary instruments must be (not 19.5, but) 19.6mm bore.

...and I also tend to wonder how some of those R-M tubas (as many of their 6/4-size - labeled "5/4" - rotary C instruments are reasonably tuner-friendly) might play with not-gigantic-bore valvesets mounted on them.

You're also a sax player, and (yeah...you may disagree, as you tend to do so) I'm wondering if you might agree that quite a few last-two-or-three-decades-released models of saxophones (size-wise) are "a bridge too far"...i.e. "The classic model blah-blah plays really great, so can't you just imagine how it would be even greater if we made something similar yet bigger?"
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby Donn » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:57 pm

I can't really comment on modern saxophone design. Once, for a 20 seconds or so, I tried out someone's bari, Taiwanese I think, and it felt awfully feeble to me, but hard to draw any general conclusions from that. I believe my King Zephyr bari has the largest bell ever known to have appeared on a low Bb bari, and I believe the low end on that sax benefits from that. I also have a couple tenors that may illustrate design trends - an early, mid '30s King Zephyr, and a mid '50s Martin Indiana. In I think the late '30s, HN White changed the Zephyr design, and like the similar Super 20 those are prized by players who are into the modern sax sound typified by Selmer (Paris) horns, which is practically everyone. My Zephyr pre-dates that change; I like it a lot - which is good because no one else is going to really want it. The Martin is more of the modern thing, being more like 60 years old rather than 80, and it's good too, but I play the King. Woodwinds in general don't support dimensional experimentation as well, so changes have to be pretty subtle, and most players don't have the means to measure them.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:02 pm

yeah...My analogy mostly refers to those more recently-offered "blown out" versions of saxes which (at least key-design-wise) resemble a MkVI or VII.

They play "big"...OK "Super 20-ish" if not even bigger, but - well - don't lend themselves (as well as do VI's, and some of those old USA models you list) to being played particularly subtly. German sax makers came out with the BIG French-looking saxes first...and then (of course, via a tsunami) the Asian manufacturers.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby Donn » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:14 pm

I'm guessing this is 99% about the tenor saxophone. For the bari, I've read complaints that modern baris (excuse the language, but ...) lack "balls." I wonder if bass tuba players go to larger bore piston tubas for a similar reason, in part?
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby bloke » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:03 am

Donn wrote:I'm guessing this is 99% about the tenor saxophone. For the bari, I've read complaints that modern baris (excuse the language, but ...) lack "balls." I wonder if bass tuba players go to larger bore piston tubas for a similar reason, in part?


I understand the bari-sax comment, particularly after having played some (real...and not "messed up by Selmer and sold as "Bundy") Buescher bari's. The intonation may (??) be challenging compared to (ex:) Yamaha 62, but the Buescher has that "thing".

Also, though, are the old-style bari-sax mouthpieces. The vast majority of bari sax mouthpieces sold today just don't lend themselves to making that "big fat" sound.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby Donn » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:13 am

Yeah, ain't it the truth - and same with the tuba mouthpieces. I haven't played one of those big Holton mouthpieces, but the Conn 1 was sure a "Revelation"! Big! Fat! Don't know if there's anything comparable for bass tuba, or what that would exactly mean. Conn 3 has the big throat and conical cup, but not the depth, and shallow X conical = small volume. Maybe that's OK.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby bloke » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:00 am

Donn wrote:Yeah, ain't it the truth - and same with the tuba mouthpieces. I haven't played one of those big Holton mouthpieces, but the Conn 1 was sure a "Revelation"! Big! Fat! Don't know if there's anything comparable for bass tuba, or what that would exactly mean. Conn 3 has the big throat and conical cup, but not the depth, and shallow X conical = small volume. Maybe that's OK.


I understand what you like about the (basically "Conn Chief") style mouthpiece. My incredibly talented high school colleague (who - in reality - is my primary model and teacher) played one of those for about three years, and then (in 12th grade) bought himself a Helleberg 120.

I have a couple of perfect-condition 52's sitting here...for when I finally restore a couple of Holton 345 tubas...I believe they should be included.
If someone likes the old Ampeg "tube" bass amp sound (bass-bass-BASS-BASS !!!) , they are probably going to like that deep/straight funnel very-large-throat tuba mouthpiece sound as well.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby EMC » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:08 am

I cant say ive played a piston F tuba that really gave me a sense i was playing an F tuba, like someone stated earlier it feels almost like playing a small tight CC tuba which personally ive never really liked, now I am a Rotor guy, let that be known up front, and im not going to act like these new piston f tubas arent good tubas, sure they are, but I do tend to believe that the whole point of busting out the F tuba should be for more than just just playing high notes a bit easier, There should be a definitive timbre and sonic difference, which is what i find more in the older rotor F tubas. Instead of what these huge piston F tubas seem to be trying to go for which is like as much of a Contrabass tuba they can fit in a bass tuba. Probably an unpopular opinion but I think some modern F tubas are just not very good. I havent played anything very new that really captivated me as much as many older f tubas have. That being said, Allessandros new F tuba is freaking great and deserves more praise than its gotten :tuba:
Last edited by EMC on Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby EMC » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:10 am

J.c. Sherman wrote:Alive and well! I use a YFB-621 as my F... not perfect for anything, but can do anything!

(Would still like and Alex F in the arsenal...)

J.c.S.



If you really are interested in an Alex F mine is up for sale at the moment :tuba:
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby pjv » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:16 am

I wonder what the audience hears when they hear an F tuba.
Would they hear the difference between a B&S Symphonie and a Kanstul 90?

People with a discriminatory ear might notice it up close, but in the hall? On a recording? Amplified?

We talk about the German sound (even the Germans talk about it). Common practice in German orchestras is to use the F for the difficult high stuff then they go back to BBb for the meat and potatoes work.

If it’s true that the unique timbre of a German F is most prominent in the lower register, then in my opinion the “average” German listener won’t even get a chance to hear that German F sound because the German orchestra players avoid playing them down low.
Yes a lot of generalizations.
A tuba player should just play on whatever he’s into instead of working themselves into a frenzy about how it’s “supposed” to be. (Something which I feel only becomes relevant when other players also join in on the “authentic instrument game”).
Orchestras are big and loud nowadays. There’s nothing dishonorable in wanting a F that makes the players work easier in all registers.

If I understand the OP correctly, he played on a MW F that played quite admirably. Which model F tuba did you play, Bloke?
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Re: Whats the ruling on piston F tubas?

Postby Doc » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:10 am

the elephant wrote:I used a Yamaha YFB-621 at work for twelve years. Two years ago I sold it and bought a Kurath F. (Oddly, both were manufactured in 1989. Hmm, good year, I guess...)


How's the Kurath working out, btw?
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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