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F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Doc » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:22 pm

With all the new tubas hitting the market today, I’d like to ask pose this question anew:

Based on your own trials and experiences, which F tuba do you believe has the best (nearest to point-and-shoot) intonation? Tuba/mouthpiece combos are also welcome in your responses. If anyone has experience with the Packer, Wessex Berg, and new Wessex and Eastman models/prototypes, please chime in.

Thanks!
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Steginkt » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:26 pm

I played a Willson F in college with amazing intonation. The partials were all in tune with each other, and the A at the top of the staff was just a hair low. That being said, I didnt care much for the sound, the ergonomics, or the response
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Bob Kolada » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:48 pm

I played a Miraphone 1281 for a year or so for everything. Once I got the horn dialed in I rarely moved slides for anything except low notes. Open C's were fine. It did not have a great low register though; low C was fine but below that was kind of meh.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby tubacorbin » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:33 pm

Every 2250 I've ever played, including the 2250-TL "french touch" I used to own, all had really easy "point and shoot" intonation. I own a Packer F now, and intonation is equally as easy as the 2250.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby DouglasJB » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:25 pm

Aside from A and Bb at the bottom of the Staff, my Kanstul 80 is extremely in tune.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby joshealejo » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:55 pm

The B&S Alessandro Fossi is very in tune! The low register is no problem with the 6 valves and the 2nd valve kicker is always a hero when needed (but that is not always). I use a Loud LM 15 with It and sonetimes the LM9, but I always go back to the LM15.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby ckalaher1 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:26 am

My 5+1 GB Miraphone Elektra has exceptional intonation. I use a PT64 in it to give me a little bit more resistance to the blow. Great tuba. I use it for everything that I possibly can.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Casca Grossa » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:03 pm

Bloke’s F tuba
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Why have 3 valves when you can have 6 and a main tuning slide kicker???
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Doc » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:33 pm

Casca Grossa wrote:Bloke’s F tuba


I won’t argue against that, but I bet it ain’t for sale. Well... there might be an amount he’d take for it, but not a price mere mortals could afford.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby JasonEuphonium » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:03 pm

The answer, of course, is my F tuba, and no one else's.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby besson900 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:16 am

All new rotary 5 ventiles(5099 & 3099) B&S tuba s have great intonation.B&S company is producing them for a such a long time that they fixed this problem in them

2nd one is MW 2250, I had a problem while playing this model just on A which I had to play by pressing 3 valve(normally 12 combination)

That's just mine opinion I used to play Canadian Brass MB-64 mouthpiece
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby bloke » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:49 am

Mine has enough combination of buttons to mash so that (for any pitch) something will work great (even some alternates for "it's very cold in here"). Some tuba players, though, probably don't like thinking about mashing six levers (plus a rarely-used #5 slide trigger) - and some of those levers - in illogical-to-tuba-most-players ways, though it's still infinitely less complicated than an oboe, bassoon, or (even) a piano.

Here's something odd (good?...bad?) about my instrument:
The lower C# is sharp with the 2-3 valve combination, and the in-the-staff C# is flat with the 2-3 valve combination...
...but with 1-2-6, both of those pitches are in tune. Yes, I'm reporting that using 1-2-6 corrects both of those pitches in OPPOSITE directions.
The above-the-staff C# is easiest with the valve combination 2-4...very secure and right on pitch. If I've really been practicing a ton (iron chops), and the tuba is quite warm (which, in orchestral playing, is almost never the case), or if it is in the context of an A major chord, 2-3 works for the top C#.

I have a 5th valve (right hand) thumb trigger, but only use it for two pitches:
- low A, which I like to play 5-6-4 (and barely trigger the 5th slide, as this combo is "perfect" vs. 2-3-4 which is "good") and (depending on the context) "low" F, which I CAN play with 5-6-1-2-3-4 and trigger the #5 slide out as far as possible. This offers the option of a "brassier" low F vs. the more "hollow-sounding" (no-valves-down) low F.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby pjv » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:49 pm

I just purchased a MW 4260 (tradition). It's real game changer for me. Superb intonation, easy player in ALL registers, even sound from top to bottom, and a sweat sound as well. I also like how it sits/balances. The mouthpipe is at a perfect height for my body and it seems like my mpc is placed just a little bit farther beyond the bell than many tubas. This is a good thing because I like to have my mpc at a slight angle pointed downward and this give me more room to do this comfortably. My B&S Symphonie (for example) is just a bit too close to the bell. What happens (with me) is I then have to jut my neck a bit forward to get a comfortable playing angle. With the MW I don't have this. (I don't think I explained this clearly.) Anyway it comes down to a tad extra room. And if you're big bellied you'll like this horn.
Lastly it's very well designed. 5th and 6th are placed after the 4th valve and all the valve slides (with the exception of the 4th) are placed so that all the condensation runs into the main slide. At the end of the day the only tuba turning I do is a half turn to empty the water out of the fourth. Living in a cold and often humid country I'm in love with this set-up.

Also check out the Miraphone Elektra. They all have great intonation though many I tested had a low 8th harmonic which is a nasty register to have to muscle tune. Fortunately some didn't have this quirk. Worth trying. GREAT valves.

I was also very impressed with the intonation of the Berg. Worth trying and definitely worth keeping an eye on what Wessex is up to.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Doc » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:20 am

Thanks for all the replies.
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: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby swillafew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:27 pm

I had an old one with flexible pitch that was great for being able to bend it. My latest one is a MW 2182 that requires one alternate fingering, and it otherwise easy to tune. On others, just using a few alternates tuned them well.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Doc » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:19 pm

I’m particularly interested in knowing about models that do NOT require slide pulling, and as few, if any, alternative fingerings as possible. I don’t mind alternate fingerings necessarily, but yes, I want to narrow in on a unicorn as much as possible.

Sidebar:

I’m not necessarily window shopping, but I don’t imagine my F will be my last one either. I have never minded slide pulling until recent years - an old shoulder injury likes to make itself known. I have no interest in keeping my left arm elevated unnaturally and feeling pain just to pull slides. Strangely enough, the upper bow of my kaiser allows me to rest my left arm on it to pull (rarely) the 1st slide. No strain, pressure, or pain. My Kanstul was a wonderful tuba, but there was no good place to rest my arm to relieve pressure. Of tubas I’ve tried in recent times, I thought the Eastman 632CC had potential as a bigger tuba because of its design (more shoulder-friendly) and superb intonation. There were some other tubas that might work, but they were quite expensive. But a 6v F tuba is very comfortable with enough valve combinations to avoid slide pulling. Having said all that, which amounts to very little, I’m always interested to see what else is out there that might better fit my needs.

And, yes, I have considered EEb, but I’m not currently willing to devote the time and effort to become a proficient reader on EEb.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby mctuba1 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:38 pm

I have never pulled a slide or used any alternate fingerings for any pre perantucci f tuba i have owned. These older tubas from the late 60's to late 70's are hand made and have a truly graduated bore where every valve or tuning slide is different in size. The body is slightly smaller than the modern day PT15 but still packs the same punch. Currently i have 2 5v regular brass and a rare 6v gold brass. From what i understand the 6v GB was overhauled in poland and could pass as NOS.

Today there are several piston f tubas that have great low registers and my Gronitz F is one, but none have the sound that comes close to these older PT8's, at least this is my opinion. My Gronitz is about the closest piston f tuba that has the german rotary sound i go for. Although the gronitz has an amazing low register i never play it because i keep leaning toward the B&S PT8.

If anyone is interested in the gronitz let me know.

One thing that younger players need to think about when choosing an f tuba, think of the pitch and sound. Although the lower register can take some time getting used to on rotary f tubas, its well worth the work you put into it. After a while, you will be playing them like a piston horn.

As to piston f tubas, every model i have played i have had to manipulate tuning slides. This is someonthing i am not really willing to do on f tuba. If you watch, most pros that play rotar f tubas, they dont touch a slide.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Doc » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:19 pm

mctuba1 wrote:I have never pulled a slide or used any alternate fingerings for any pre perantucci f tuba i have owned. These older tubas from the late 60's to late 70's are hand made and have a truly graduated bore where every valve or tuning slide is different in size. The body is slightly smaller than the modern day PT15 but still packs the same punch. Currently i have 2 5v regular brass and a rare 6v gold brass. From what i understand the 6v GB was overhauled in poland and could pass as NOS.

Today there are several piston f tubas that have great low registers and my Gronitz F is one, but none have the sound that comes close to these older PT8's, at least this is my opinion. My Gronitz is about the closest piston f tuba that has the german rotary sound i go for. Although the gronitz has an amazing low register i never play it because i keep leaning toward the B&S PT8.

If anyone is interested in the gronitz let me know.

One thing that younger players need to think about when choosing an f tuba, think of the pitch and sound. Although the lower register can take some time getting used to on rotary f tubas, its well worth the work you put into it. After a while, you will be playing them like a piston horn.

As to piston f tubas, every model i have played i have had to manipulate tuning slides. This is someonthing i am not really willing to do on f tuba. If you watch, most pros that play rotar f tubas, they dont touch a slide.


The first time I played a B&S Symphonie, I was astounded how easy it played, not to mention the sound. I’ve always considered the 6v goldbrass Symphonie as the holy grail of F tubas. I’ve only ever seen a couple for sale, and never when I was in a position to buy. So... I’ve had Miraphones. My current 181 is a first gen 6v goldbrass that plays pretty well, although it’s no unicorn. Fortunately, it was playable and affordable at a time I needed an affordable player. And, btw, I am really enjoying the sound I’m getting with my new Blokepiece Solo.

I have made the same observation about B&S/PT players. I haven’t played a PT that really spoke to me, but I certainly don’t rule them out. You never know when a particular tuba might be a match. IMHO, none of the PT tubas seem to come close to the Symphonie/Pre-PT instruments.

My first F Tuba I bought about 30 years ago was an Alex. It was all about “the sound.” That Alex did make a wonderful sound, and I learned the low range just fine, but intonation was a workout. Maybe I’m just getting older, Tom, but I don’t want to work that much playing F tuba or any other tuba these days. I’m not necessarily complaining about my current tuba - it does the job - but there’s no harm in thinking about how to improve on what you have. Know what I mean?
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Alex C » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:32 am

The F tuba with the best intonation is the Yamaha YFB-821. The YFB-621 is its equal but small tubas are not loved these days.

The greatest aspect of the 821 it that it seems to be consistent across the production run. One 821 plays about as well as every other 821. I tried one with a lousy low register, only later to find out that it had been run over and repaired. A college of mine said it was as close to a "point and shoot" F tuba as he could imagine.

Someone complained that they didn't like the sound of yamaha tubas. My friend said, "You know what I like best about the sound? When I pick it up and play it the conductor never says, 'Tuba, what's going on back there.' " He now plays a Euro horn, who knows why.
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Re: F Tuba with the BEST intonation?

Postby Alex C » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:38 am

bloke wrote:Mine has enough combination of buttons to mash so that (for any pitch) something will work great (even some alternates for "it's very cold in here"). Some tuba players, though, probably don't like thinking about mashing six levers (plus a rarely-used #5 slide trigger) - and some of those levers - in illogical-to-tuba-most-players ways, though it's still infinitely less complicated than an oboe, bassoon, or (even) a piano.



A friend studied with a tuba player (Don Akron? is that a name from the past?) who played an Alexander F. He said you could watch Don(?)warm up on scales and you could not tell what scale was being played by the fingerings being used. He also said the sound and intonation was great My brain wouldn't let me use "false fingerings" so much.
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