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New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby WC8KCY » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:55 pm

Just received my new Schiller-branded JBBB-520 tuba, and am a bit concerned: Compression on the 1st and 3rd valves is noticeably weaker than on the 2nd and 4th valves.

Is this something I should be worried about? If this were your tuba, would you exchange it for another?

A 10 minute test play revealed the tuba to be a very good player, by the way.
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby toobagrowl » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:12 pm

Since it's a Schiller (Jim Laabs) it would probably be difficult to return. I mean, it's a Jinbao-made tuba you bought at a low budget price. Don't expect German or Japanese or higher-end Chinese consistency and tolerances and overall quality :idea:
Besides, you said the tuba plays great; that's the most important thing. Also, make sure all valves are oiled and slides greased equally.
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby WC8KCY » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:56 pm

toobagrowl wrote:Since it's a Schiller (Jim Laabs) it would probably be difficult to return. I mean, it's a Jinbao-made tuba you bought at a low budget price. Don't expect German or Japanese or higher-end Chinese consistency and tolerances and overall quality :idea:
Besides, you said the tuba plays great; that's the most important thing. Also, make sure all valves are oiled and slides greased equally.

Well, you're correct on all counts. I needed a BB-flat tuba right away, and didn't have enough cash on hand to order the JP179 I really wanted. The used tubas I play tested and inquired about didn't meet my needs, either.

Anyway, a bottle of Hetman #3 valve oil and Hetman slide lube just came in the mail. I re-lubed the Schiller and it's sealing up a bit better now.

There's just one nagging thought--I live within a day's drive of Laabs in Stevens Point. Maybe there's a JBBB-520 there with tighter valves that I could do an exchange for. Maybe I should've just driven there and bought one in person in the first place...
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'18 Schiller JBBB-520 BB-flat
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby WC8KCY » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:00 pm

Double post...deleted
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'29 Holton Monster E-flat tuba - '37 Martin Indiana E-flat sousaphone
'18 Schiller JBBB-520 BB-flat
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby tizzdizz » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:03 am

I am curious, you wanted the JP179 over the 379? Isn't the 379 supposed to be higher up on the ladder? I tested a 179 in a local shop recently and really was surprised by it. They didn't have a 379 to try though. How was the buying experience overall?
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby bort » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:07 am

How much did you pay for it?

Wondering what else you could get for the same money...
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby WC8KCY » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:15 am

tizzdizz wrote:I am curious, you wanted the JP179 over the 379? Isn't the 379 supposed to be higher up on the ladder? I tested a 179 in a local shop recently and really was surprised by it. They didn't have a 379 to try though. How was the buying experience overall?

My plan is to get a 3/4-size tuba for strolling, beer tent, and stand-up gigs, and a 4/4 tuba later on for my concert instrument. For a 3/4-size tuba, the 179 looked like the best overall performer for the money.

The buying experience at Laabs was a mixed bag. I called them up to ask some questions and the rep was somewhat impatient on the phone, and wasn't aware of one of the Schiller models I asked about.

I ended up buying mine from them on eBay. That transaction went smooth. The tuba, ordered on the 10th, was at my front door on the 12th.

bort wrote:How much did you pay for it?

Wondering what else you could get for the same money...

I paid just under $1150 for mine, plus $180 shipping. I had a budget of $1500 to work with.

There weren't many good choices.

I watched eBay, TubeNet, and the used tuba listings at Baltimore Brass, Dillon's, and Tuba Exchange for close to three weeks before opting for the Schiller. An 4-valve 3/4 or small 4/4 from Conn, Holton, King, Martin, Olds, Reynolds, and Yamaha that was worth buying never turned up in my price range, and neither did a 3-valve comper from Besson/B&H. A good looking 103 for $1200 from a fellow TubeNet member did come up at the beginning of the search, but I thought I could snag a 4-valve or comp 3-valve horn for $1200 if I just waited. Nope...

I inquired at Custom Music regarding the Sanders Etude, and they are sold out.

I also talked to Matt at Dillon's about the $595 YBB-103 they have there, but it was just too beat up--there were multiple dents on the leadpipe, and that always worries me. It also didn't have a case. With $205 shipping and the cost of adding a case or gig bag, I would've been into that setup for a grand and still would have had dent work to take care of down the road.

The Mack 355L was of special interest. I did phone them and we talked at some length about it. At $1900 delivered, I just couldn't quite swing it.

Ergo, the Schiller.
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'29 Holton Monster E-flat tuba - '37 Martin Indiana E-flat sousaphone
'18 Schiller JBBB-520 BB-flat
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby Mark Finley » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:19 am

If exchanging it is an option and they have others in stock, I would go there in person and try out some others.

I've had tubas that didn't show much compression when I pulled a slide, but they still played great, and that's really what matters, isn't it?
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby Radar » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:04 am

I've had both good, and OK experiences buying horns sight unseen off the internet, if you have the option of play testing a horn before you buy I would always take that option. When I bought my Miraphone 186 off of E-bay I made the 4 hour drive from NY to where the horn was in Ohio to test and pick it up in person. If it concerns you and you have the option of going there in person, phone ahead, tell them about your concerns, then go and ask to try some others.
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Re: New tuba: Keep it, or send it back?

Postby WC8KCY » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:17 pm

Mark Finley wrote:If exchanging it is an option and they have others in stock, I would go there in person and try out some others.

I've had tubas that didn't show much compression when I pulled a slide, but they still played great, and that's really what matters, isn't it?

I'll give one of their techs a call Monday--perhaps uneven compression is common or unavoidable for this model.

And, it really, truly does play nicely. I just practiced on it and have been very pleased with the lack of stuffiness, the accurate tuning, the ergonomics, the air efficiency, and the full, rich tone. I have a rehearsal coming up Wednesday and am looking forward to discovering how it does in an ensemble. :tuba:
Eschew Obfuscation.
King 1165 "Artist" baritone - Yamaha YEP-321S euphonium
'29 Holton Monster E-flat tuba - '37 Martin Indiana E-flat sousaphone
'18 Schiller JBBB-520 BB-flat
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