Looking for tuba advice from non-tubists

ttf_jackbird
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:02 pm

I'm thinking about getting a tuba. But then I see F, Eb, CC, BBb. I was hoping this would be simple. Alas. I'm not a big guy, so does it follow that I should have a small tuba? So F or Eb? Is there a serious difference other than that step? Is an F easier for a bone player to transition to? What am I getting myself into? Can I buy something off eBay? Mack? Wessex? I just want something perfect for about $5. Probably can't get to anywhere to test tubas. Is there a "sure thing" out there, like an 88h of cheap tubas? I'll probably be playing small orchestra and chamber groups. Doubling on tenor.

Advice?
ttf_davdud101
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Post by ttf_davdud101 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:04 pm

**Disclaimer: I KNOW NOTHING**

Someone posted in another thread that Eb's are good for smaller folks and do a good job covering the whole range.
But I've only played sousaphone mostly for about 4 or 5 months in a brass band, and used a Kelly 1.5G bass trombone mouthpiece, so take this with a molecule of salt.
ttf_JohnL
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Post by ttf_JohnL » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:33 pm

For a basic doubler horn, I like the 3/4 Yamaha Bb's, particularly the YBB-103.
ttf_BGuttman
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:17 pm

For your mental sanity I recommend a BBb.  The valve combinations are exactly the same as a Euphonium.

Some BBb's are kinda hard to fill.  I learned to play an Eb tuba (mine is 125 years old!).  Then I branched out to an F.  But I play the Eb most of the time since I don't play tuba a lot lately.

I did manage with some smaller bore BBb tubas so that might be a good option.

Sometimes you can find an old Eb 3 valve for $200 or so.  Might be a good starting point.  Eb fingerings are easy to learn.  Read the bass clef as tenor clef and put your fingers on those buttons.  So Image Image is open (no valves) and Image Image is 1st valve (if it's flat).
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:20 pm

Quote from: JohnL on Dec 07, 2017, 07:33PMFor a basic doubler horn, I like the 3/4 Yamaha Bb's, particularly the YBB-103.

I double the motion.

A Bb tuba would make the most sense to a trombone player without previous valve experience and the 3/4 school models can be found used cheaply. I have one.

I also have an Eb tuba.  It's more like a euphonium than a real bass instrument.


ttf_jackbird
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:36 pm

This is more complicated than I expected. Is a 3/4 a smaller bore? Would an Eb cover bass trombone parts? I assume 4 valves would be enough? I don't want to rattle the rafters, just play some low notes with a nice deep sound. Thanks for the video. I'm not getting the relative scale of these things. The video helped see an Eb next to a person. It does look like a bloated euph.

Maybe something older with character? https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3006503513
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:49 pm

1.  3/4 size BBb tubas are usually smaller bore.  Some smaller bore tubas are not called 3/4, though.

2.  My Eb looks like an oversize Euph as well.  Its chromatic range is down to "pedal A" on a bass trombone.  Adding a 4th valve lets you get more notes.  A compensating 4th valve gets you chromatic to the pedal.

New tubas often come with obscene prices.  I know of one that is $10,000.  Way too rich for the likes of me.  Older with character is the way to go.
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:54 pm

Quote from: jackbird on Dec 07, 2017, 08:36PMThis is more complicated than I expected. Is a 3/4 a smaller bore?

Yes.  "3/4" is an approximate indication that the bore is smaller than a 4/4, which is an approximate indication of something.


Here's a simple King 3/4 Bb tuba.  3-valves Purchased for $125

This is a Besson 4/4 3-valve compensating Bb tuba Purchased for $400







ttf_jpwell
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Post by ttf_jpwell » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:15 pm

Here is another slant on the topic. I play tenor and bass trombone. I started with a Chinese BBb tuba I quickly out grew its sound. Construction was poor. I then upgraded to a mira 191 it sucks the wind out of you fast!!! It sounds real good and can it play low notes. I play in a brass band, started on EEb tuba. My current EEb is a Mienl Weston 2141, its awesome. It doesn't suck the wind out of you. Easy to keep up with the big tubas. Can easily play bass trombone parts. In some ways its easier to play than a bass trombone. It has taken my about a year to get pretty good at it. I learned treble clef then learned bass clef, its just moving flats and sharps around. The biggest change in the playing tuba is learning to move lots of air. If you have time to learn EEb fingerings go for it. If you play it safe go BBb.
ttf_Doug Elliott
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:47 pm

Tubas come in lots of different configurations, far more so than trombones.
The "quarter" designations are sort of related to bore size but really they are marketing designations for different sizes within each manufacturer's offerings, and there are no standards at all - there are big overlaps in bore size vs quarter sizes.   It's really more about the size of the larger tubing closer to the bell.  For a doubler, to be easier to play look for 3/4 or 4/4 at the most.  BBb will be the easiest to learn if you already know fingerings, and will make the most sense since the bottom of the range matches your expectations.

The Cerveny on eBay is probably workable, but if you buy something like that expect to possibly put hundreds of dollars into repairs to get it playable. Shipping can get expensive and hard to avoid shipping damage.  A lot depends on where you are - there are specialty shops and specialty repair people who can give you good advice, and one of those places is probably the best place to buy, so you're not getting unknown problems.
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:44 am

I've got an old Holton "Monster" Eb which is more the size & sound of a 4/4 Bb. It only has 3 valves but the "privilege" tones between the 1st partial and the pedals are really excellent so it has a great low range.
the advantage of Eb over F are they are typically way less expensive and you can read bass clef as tenor clef (or Bb treble) & not have to do a whole lot of thinking.
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:42 am

Thanks, all, that's exactly the kind of info I need. The dizzying array of bells and bores and valves is crazy against the relative uniformity of the trombone world.

I think I'll look at Eb horns because I can do the tenor clef thing, and I don't want to tote all that extra metal around, and I've got enough trouble putting air through a bass bone. Plus I'll probably wind up using it in smaller groups.

One more question. I think I can handle 4 valves, I have a 4v compensating euph. Should I just keep it to 4 or is there some advantage with 5? I tend to the keep it simple philosophy here. And then rotors or pistons? Pistons seem simpler.
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:02 am

Try before you buy. 
I have a 1907 Eb York Monster that was High Pitch and I had to have an extension made for the tuning slide to get it down to normal pitch.  I didn't know that until other work had been done so it was playable.
Whatever you're looking at, do some research.  If you're not willing or able to put more money into repairs, go somewhere you can try a bunch.  Baltimore Brass is probably the best known place for that.
Valve configurations vary widely.  You're used to right hand 3 valves, left hand 1 valve, right?  You can get used to anything with enough practice, but a lot of tubas are right hand 4 valves - how's your pinky for operating a valve?  I can't really do it, especially pistons.
Try before you buy.
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Post by ttf_timothy42b » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:37 am

Quote from: jackbird on Yesterday at 05:42 AM

I think I'll look at Eb horns because I can do the tenor clef thing, and I don't want to tote all that extra metal around, and I've got enough trouble putting air through a bass bone. Plus I'll probably wind up using it in smaller groups.


I looked at this a few years back when a friend was trying to get a small oom-pah band together to make some extra cash.  I did play tuba in a community band many years ago, probably embarrassingly badly. 

You will be surprised to find most Eb horns are neither small nor light.  I've looked at various models at conferences, even brought a mouthpiece and played a few one year.  If there's any weight advantage to an Eb I can't see it.  It's not like an Eb alto trombone, that's basically 3/4 size.  I don't know why this is, but I think you'll be better off with one of the smaller BBb tubas.  IMO, and not currently a tuba player. 

My sister has an Eb sousaphone.  Gorgeous tone, but as heavy as a Bb, and the case won't fit in any known make of vehicle.  She never figured out Eb fingerings in concert pitch, but only played it when Eb parts were available.

The more valves, the more notes in tune.  Er, the more notes potentially in tune.  Some tuba players are more conscientious about this than others.  Some lip notes, some pull slides, some have figured out good alternate fingerings.   
ttf_jackbird
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:38 am

Hmm. Ok. Baltimore brass I can probably do. Checked out their site, and they have lots of new and used tubas. geez. If only for the education and experience of playing a bunch of different things, this would be a great visit.

Also found this at Mack brass. Might make a weekend of it and go see both next time Im up around DC (after the holidays prolly).

Anyway, this mack brass thing ticks all the boxes. BBb, 3/4, 4v, cheap, smallish without being freakishly small. It's a copy of a Yamaha 103 that a couple people recommended, but has an added 4th valve.

http://www.mackbrass.com/MACK-TU520L__BBb_Tuba.php
Image
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Post by ttf_klimchak » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:45 am

The Wessex Junior BBb tuba is around $1000.  Ridiculously easy to play.  I got one for my middle school and is an easy one to get students to switch to.

Nice case and fit and finish are good. Comes with a smallish easy mouthpiece.
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Post by ttf_trombonemetal » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:49 am

Yeah go to Baltimore Brass. If you’re lucky Mr Fedderly will be there. He is the owner, former tuba teacher at Juilliard and Peabody, former tubist of the Baltimore symphony, Arnold Jacobs disciple, and all around great person. Can’t think of a better person to buy a tuba from.
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:21 am

When you say "up" to visit Baltimore Brass, you might be closer to The Tuba Exchange in Durham NC.  A friend of mine got a really nice pair of tubas (CC and F) there.  He traded in a tuba I had sold him.  Note that CC is a tuba that mostly appeals to classical tuba players.  I think it's the hardest of the 4 to learn.

https://www.tubaexchange.com/
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Post by ttf_timothy42b » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:48 am

I lived across the street from Mack, say hi if you're driving by. 
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Post by ttf_fsung » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:55 am

Quote from: jackbird on Yesterday at 05:42 AMI think I'll look at Eb horns because I can do the tenor clef thing

OK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?
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Post by ttf_Radar » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:03 am

Quote from: BGuttman on Yesterday at 08:21 AMWhen you say "up" to visit Baltimore Brass, you might be closer to The Tuba Exchange in Durham NC.  A friend of mine got a really nice pair of tubas (CC and F) there.  He traded in a tuba I had sold him.  Note that CC is a tuba that mostly appeals to classical tuba players.  I think it's the hardest of the 4 to learn.

https://www.tubaexchange.com/
I switched pretty easily from a BBb to a CC tuba.  If you know troble clef Euphonium fingerings or Trumpet fingering you already know CC tuba fingerings.  You just have to get used to those fingerings in Bass Clef.  I find CC has a couple of advantages for me: 1) Physically smaller than it's BBb counter part (and with a forth valve can play all the required notes) 2) I prefer the tone I get on a CC it seems to have fewer overtones and has a less muddy sound than a similar BBb (I spent a fair amount of time sitting with a BBb Miraphone 186 and a CC Miraphone 186 going back and forth and I personally preferred the clarity of the CC tone.  It seems to work better in small ensembles yet I can still get enough sound to fill in the bottom of a concert band as the sole tuba.  It really is a matter of personal preferences.
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:04 am

Quote from: fsung on Yesterday at 08:55 AMOK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?
I had to think a minute because I would never try to play an instrument that way, but:

Third space bass clef Eb looks like Bb in tenor clef.  Both are open notes on Eb and Bb tubas, in the octave to be the 4th partial.
If you read a bass clef part in tenor instead, it plays correctly on an Eb instrument - written Eb, read Bb, Eb comes out.

But realistically even without perfect pitch I think it's better to hear the correct note and know what you're playing, instead of pretending it's something else.  On an Eb half of the fingerings are the same, you only have to learn the other half. 
ttf_GetzenBassPlayer
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Post by ttf_GetzenBassPlayer » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:05 am

Give Dan Oberloh a call. He has some used instruments in his shop. He is a tuba player himself and knows how to ship instruments.
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:07 am

Quote from: fsung on Yesterday at 08:55 AMOK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?

If you see an Eb on bass clef, that same note would be Bb in Tenor clef. The fingering for Eb on an Eb tuba is open. Same as Bb on a Bb instrument. To get the fingerings for Eb tuba, just pretend you're playing a Bb instrument and reading tenor clef (and adding 2 flats, I think). This is all ok as long as your ear isn't offended by the difference between the written and sounding notes. Fortunately I don't have perfect pitch, so I think I can cope.

ps - overlapping posts with dougE. I must type too slow.
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:09 am

Quote from: fsung on Yesterday at 08:55 AMOK, not being facile in tenor clef, I'll bite: excepting British brass band and certain "world music" ensembles, tuba parts are non-transposing instruments (i.e., are notated at concert pitch, so how does facility reading tenor clef make an Eb preferable to a BBb, C, or F?
I think I mentioned this a little higher in the thread.  The fingerings for an Eb instrument reading bass clef look like the fingerings of a Bb instrument reading tenor clef.

As an example, Ab:

 Image Image .  On an Eb instrument this uses the 1st valve.  If you saw  Image Image and were playing a Euphonium you would also use 1st valve.  As you can see, the note positions would use similar fingerings of an Eb tuba reading bass clef or a Bb Euphonium reading tenor clef.

This has a long history.  In the US Civil War era bands consisted of collections of Eb and Bb instruments each reading a transposed treble clef.  The purpose was that any musician could play any part on the appropriate instrument without having to learn new fingerings.  The exception was the tuba, which was generally an Eb instrument and read bass clef.  Thus a player of a different instrument could still play the tuba part using the same set of fingerings.
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Post by ttf_mwpfoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:43 pm

These notation tricks might be used to get through an emergency situation, but they shouldn't be at the core of one's understanding of their instrument - the mental gymnastics will ultimately prove limiting:

Someone is shouting "G major" in the middle of a jazz set, let's see now ... in tenor clef ... Image

If you've learned treble clef and tenor clef and Bb transposition, mapping Eb tuba fingerings to bass clef notation will take maybe an hour to fully comprehend. The open bottom note on an Eb tuba is an Eb. Read an Eb and play an Eb. Go from there. It's a strange, immediate challenge that quickly becomes familiar.

A lot of New Orleans brass band stuff plays like it was written for Eb. For concert band and everything else these days: get a BBb.

 Image
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:23 pm

Quote from: mwpfoot on Yesterday at 12:43 PMThese notation tricks might be used to get through an emergency situation, but they shouldn't be at the core of one's understanding of their instrument - the mental gymnastics will ultimately prove limiting:
Well, not really. It would just be a way for me to immediately hit the ground running. I already do this, and have done it for years with other instruments. Trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax, etc. I use clefs to do some transpositions, and it just works, as well as you can read mezzo soprano clef, you can read, say F horn music right now, no learning curve.

Actually, clefs are just one way to understand it. I think of all music as lying on the Grand Staff, with middle C a fixed point between bass and treble. The movable clefs just move the 5 lines of the staff up and down, like a magnifying glass focusing on a portion of the Grand Staff.

Eventually I would learn to bridge the new fingerings to actual pitches, but that would take a little time.

QuoteSomeone is shouting "G major" in the middle of a jazz set, let's see now ... in tenor clef ... Image
G is a third below Bb, so C is a third below Eb. Easy. or Bb to Eb is down a 5th, so G to C is down a 5th. Eventually you'd just know it without any tricks, if you did it enough.

QuoteIf you've learned treble clef and tenor clef and Bb transposition, mapping Eb tuba fingerings to bass clef notation will take maybe an hour to fully comprehend. The open bottom note on an Eb tuba is an Eb. Read an Eb and play an Eb. Go from there. It's a strange, immediate challenge that quickly becomes familiar.

A lot of New Orleans brass band stuff plays like it was written for Eb. For concert band and everything else these days: get a BBb.

 Image

Yeah, both ways work. Different methods for different folks.

I'm probably going to go with a BBb, but not because I'm afraid of relearning the fingerings for Eb. There just don't seem to be enough benefits of going with Eb compared to BBb. I won't use a tuba to play high, I've got a euph and a trombone for that. There doesn't sound like there's a huge weight or air requirement difference. The sound is really what I'm after, and it sounds like the BBb is going to have that weighty sound, while the Eb might not.
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:05 pm

How much are you planning to spend on a tuba?
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:07 pm

$5 Image

Well, that's the question, right? If I could find something that would work, I'd spend $250 or $700, or maybe $2000. I can buy used bones on ebay because I know what I'm looking at, but I can't buy a used tuba because it's a mystery. I'm gonna have to find a way to go visit one of these places y'all have suggested. That Cerveny I saw earlier is cool looking, but it has some serious dents in it, I have no idea the sound or even the pitch, and the owner doesn't instill any confidence at all. I asked him about the valves and he said "Well, they're not jammed, if that's what you mean".

After getting a horn, I'm gonna have to go through all of this again with tuba mouthpieces. Ug. I just want a simple answer. Here's your new tuba. Play this. Its perfect for you. I don't have the energy to be a tuba tech geek.
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Post by ttf_BGuttman » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:21 pm

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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:26 pm

I think you should go cheap and used if you don't even know yet if you're going to like it.


Here's my $400 tuba.
SERIOUS dents all over, bell crumpled.  That's why the price was so low, but the valves work and it plays fine for my amateur purposes.


Get yourself a middle-of-the road tuba mouthpiece, look on Craigslist, and try out some cheap tubas.


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Post by ttf_JohnL » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:48 pm

One of the nice things about tubas is that the "working parts" (i.e., valves) are pretty well protected at the center of mass. A tuba can be all banged up to h*ll and back and still work just fine. I seen 'em that looked like they fell off a truck that still worked.
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Post by ttf_marccromme » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:42 pm

I played tenor and bass trombone for decades and did learn to play Eb tuba decently within 6 month. Don't worry about fingerings and transposition tricks, whatever you choose, you will lean to press the right buttons within one month. It is really not that hard!

For a trombone doubler an 4/4 or 5/4 Eb tuba is the perfect choice: it has enough humpff to support any concert band or synphonic orchester, yet is nimble enough to play most solo literature as well. This is a really good all-round size tuba, and it does not suck so much air than 5/4 C or Bb tubas. And most Eb tubas have a fine low range too.

If you want to play modern Brass Band literature, you will find yourself in the need to a 5 (5+0) valve uncompensated, or a 4 (3+1) valve compensated instrument. These are expensive (Miraphone Nordic Star, Meinl-Weston 2141, Yamaha Neo, Besson Sovereign), but sometimes you can find an older Besson 700 which is pretty OK, or the Yamaha 6** something, the anchestor of the Neo. Or a Wessex Danube or Wessex 3+1 band Eb tuba.

For marching a 3/4 to 4/4 size uncompensated Eb tuba with 4 valves will do; the Yamaha 321 is really good, also the largest of the Cervenys is fine, but there are others.

Google for the tuba forum 'tubenet' for more info!
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:45 pm

Quote from: BGuttman on Yesterday at 02:21 PMHere you go:

Image

Thanks! I guess you had already given your 2 cents, so i still owe you $4.98.

I wanna go cheap, but I don't trust it. I know how much my bass trombone education cost me, and I don't have that much time, money, or energy for another education. Craigslist might be a place to start. I don't think there are many interesting tubas lurking around here. But I'll start looking.
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Post by ttf_Radar » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:16 am

I think for your purposes, whatever you find available in your price range in playable condition, you'll learn how to play, and it will work.  There are a ton of variables in Tubas They basically come in 4 different Keys (BBb, Eb, CC, & F), piston valves or rotary valves, I whole array of sizes (much like violins for kids) you can find 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 fairly commonly.  I as a Tuba, Trombone, and Euphonium player have my own preferences that I've developed over the years, but what works for me may not work for you. My best advice to you would be with a limited budget find something available locally that plays well and learn it.  The CC and F Tubas are less common and usually go for higher prices than similar BBb and Eb tubas, you're most likely to find a Student model 3 piston valve 3/4 Tuba since this is what most students here in the US start on, but older 3 valve Eb Tubas are also plentiful.  Because of their size you can have fairly large dents in a Tuba and it will still play just fine, so don't let cosmetic issues keep you from selection a tuba that is otherwise very playable.  I know some pretty good Tubists who are playing on some pretty ugly instruments.  When it comes to Tubas new and shiny isn't always better.
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Post by ttf_fsung » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:38 am

Thanks for the explanation. That's about what I expected. I still think it would be simpler just to learn to play the part as written than it is to deal with the mental gymnastics involved in reading tuba parts in clefs (add two flats/cancel these accidentals but not those/oh no! double sharp/flat!!!).

Quote from: jackbird on Yesterday at 01:23 PMQuote from: mwpfoot on Yesterday at 12:43 PMSomeone is shouting "G major" in the middle of a jazz set, let's see now ... in tenor clef ... Image

G is a third below Bb, so C is a third below Eb. Easy. or Bb to Eb is down a 5th, so G to C is down a 5th. Eventually you'd just know it without any tricks, if you did it enough.

A# minor.  Image  Image Image

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ttf_jackbird
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:41 am

I'm not finding anything within an hour drive. This will take some patience. Just discovering compensating vs non-compensating. I'm not going to have the option to be picky. Theres no sense in trying to finesse this. I just don't want to wind up with a horn I can't play. Thanks for all the advice!
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:58 pm

I had an idea that doesn't necessarily relate to my search, just curiosity, really. A BBb is probably the thing, but the design, sound, clarity of some CCs is attractive. Some CCs have 5 valves with the 5th being a step+. What if that valve were turned around so the horn is normally lowered by that step, thus becoming a BBb, with an ascending CC key. It would be like the silliness of getting an Eb alto with  Bb attachment, and playing with that engaged.

By the way, I passed on that Cerveny on ebay. Between needed repairs, uncertainty about valves, slides, and key of instrument, plus a bad vibe from the seller about shipping, it just wasn't worth it.
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:00 pm

Quote from: jackbird on Dec 09, 2017, 06:58PMIt would be like the silliness of getting an Eb alto with  Bb attachment, and playing with that engaged.I'll note that you wouldn't be able to immediately play after engaging the Bb valve. You'd have to lengthen the other three valves to play in tune.


QuoteBy the way, I passed on that Cerveny on ebay. Between needed repairs, uncertainty about valves, slides, and key of instrument, plus a bad vibe from the seller about shipping, it just wasn't worth it.

Be patient and watch and just make low bids.  Don't get tempted into a bidding war. Whatever tuba you lose out on today, there will be another one like it in a month.

Eventually you'll snag something for a low price.

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Post by ttf_greenbean » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:09 pm

I would probably stick with a BBb.  They are plentiful and play well.  I would also stick with known quantities: Miraphone, MW, R Meinl, B&S, Cerveny, and King.  Spend some time on Tubenet.  There are many players there that cycle through horns and are good to deal with.
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Post by ttf_jackbird » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:22 am

Quote from: greenbean on Dec 09, 2017, 11:09PMI would probably stick with a BBb.  They are plentiful and play well.  I would also stick with known quantities: Miraphone, MW, R Meinl, B&S, Cerveny, and King.  Spend some time on Tubenet.  There are many players there that cycle through horns and are good to deal with.

Thanks, I've been checking it out over there already. I'm arranging to have a look at a Miraphone 186, 4v, Bb. A little beat up, but used by a pro, so it works. Should be plenty of repair parts available for this model.

Thanks all for your help. I was pretty lost, but this feels like a reasonable solution.
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:36 am

Good choice, maybe a little bigger than you want but that's a good standard tuba that will always hold its value.
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Post by ttf_Radar » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:17 pm

Quote from: jackbird on Dec 10, 2017, 06:22AMThanks, I've been checking it out over there already. I'm arranging to have a look at a Miraphone 186, 4v, Bb. A little beat up, but used by a pro, so it works. Should be plenty of repair parts available for this model.

Thanks all for your help. I was pretty lost, but this feels like a reasonable solution.
You can't go wrong with a 186 in playable condition, they are very versatile horns, and yes parts are available for them from Miraphone. 

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Post by ttf_jackbird » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:49 am

One more question for maybe the more seasoned tuba players out there.

Some of these tubas have bells right about at head level. Some have long bells that are up above your head while playing. Does having the bell right next to your head mess with your ears? Is it nicer to have the bell further from your head, like a trombone? I would imagine that if you're honking away, it might get hard to hear anything other than your own racket.
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Post by ttf_Doug Elliott » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:59 am

I don't have direct experience with different tuba, but it's better to hear yourself.... Hard to know what you're playing when you can't.
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:10 am

Quote from: jackbird on Dec 11, 2017, 09:49AMOne more question for maybe the more seasoned tuba players out there.

Some of these tubas have bells right about at head level. Some have long bells that are up above your head while playing. Does having the bell right next to your head mess with your ears? Is it nicer to have the bell further from your head, like a trombone? I would imagine that if you're honking away, it might get hard to hear anything other than your own racket.

For the sake of your hearing, the farther away the better.

I put away my Eb [s]Euphonium[/s] tuba for that reason.  Even though it wasn't pointing at my ear the bell was close enough (less than a foot) to be causing a pain problem after playing for a while.


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Post by ttf_jackbird » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:36 am

I don't think I would have any problem hearing myself. The reason this came up for me was that I just played in a situation where I was on trombone, but the tuba was sitting right next to me, leaning that bazooka my direction. The trumpet player leaned back and said I was sharp, but I was just matching the tuba since it was all I could hear. I certainly couldn't play against that.

Anyway, I just found this picture on the Jin Bao site. Maybe what I really need is a soprano saxophone. Image
Image
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Post by ttf_timothy42b » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:52 am

Quote from: robcat2075 on Dec 11, 2017, 10:10AMFor the sake of your hearing, the farther away the better.

I put away my Eb Euphonium for that reason.  Even though it wasn't pointing at my ear the bell was close enough (less than a foot) to be causing a pain problem after playing for a while.



Wait, there's an Eb euphonium?  I did not know that. 
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:56 am

Quote from: timothy42b on Dec 11, 2017, 11:52AMWait, there's an Eb euphonium?  I did not know that. 

Whoops! Sorry. Corrected. I keep thinking of it as a euphonium because that's what I thought I was buying.  Image

And it sounds like a euphonium.
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:16 am

As a strictly amateur tuba player, I say go for a Bb tuba. Keep it simple. I played a 3/4 through high school, and switched up to a 4/4 for college, and almost couldn't put enough air through it.  Don't overthink the mouthpiece. When you try a few tubas, pay attention to the mouthpiece.

I think you'll like the Miraphone - it's an immediately playable tuba. My personal tuba is a beat-up old Jupiter BBb with three valves. Looks like hell, was abused by any number of middle school would-be tuba players before I got it. It plays like a dream, has a great tone. I took a chance on a $100 ebay special and got lucky. I was more cautious buying a trombone online. Those I usually by in pawn shops.

I have never had an ear-level bell on a tuba. They're all above my head. The closest I had was a convertible tuba that I carried on my shoulder for marching. 
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