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Thread: M&M Tubas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    534

    M&M Tubas

    There has been some discussion about the M&M Tubas on other websites but wanted to see what you folks thought of them. There is an interesting horn posted on eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISA...=tab%3DWatching


    It looks like a nice instrument but obviously one should play one to test. The website for M&M mentions Ronald Bishop as a professional endorser of the instruments. Just curious if anyone has had a chance to play one and what did you think? I know that in general Chinese made instruments aren't that popular but I remember a long time ago that similar things were said about the Yamaha instruments.

    PS They have Euphoniums I see as well. Has anyone played one of those?
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  2. #2

    M&M Tubas

    There are a few hesitations I have. One is getting parts/repairs over the life of the instrument. That's tough to deal with when buying a new horn because you need a crystal ball to know what's coming in the future.

    But playing quality is possible to assess. At the conference I had the chance to try two samples of the Tuba Exchange compensating euphonium (from China). One was silver played and the other was lacquered. The playing seemed OK in the main register, but any note involving the 4th valve valve seemed very poor. It was almost like there was a leak. A look inside showed poor fitting of the inner tubes near the 4th slide. This is an obvious problem and one I'm sure the manufacturer will correct with pressure from TE. However, one has to wonder what else might take longer to find, or might only show up as the horn goes through the usual stresses of a horn's life.

    On the other hand, the TE horn is not expensive, so one might consider it a "stepping-stone" horn that you will get rid of later as you trade up another level. The two samples I played were not acceptable even on that basis, but other reports indicate that my experience is not necessarily typical.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    534

    M&M Tubas

    Thanks for the reply. The spare parts concern is a serious concern that I have heard from others as well. I had not heard about the 4th valve.

    I am a tuba player that played for 20 years but put it aside when my wife and I had our children. I am contemplating starting up again on the Euphonium as I have played trombone/Euphonium in the past. I am looking at the different prospects for a horn and am leaning toward a King at this point. The other horns mentioned (i.e. Jupiter) sound interesting but I am going to have to try them out before I would consider them. I've heard that quality control is getting better and better with the Chinese horns so maybe in the future they will be quality instruments. Thanks for the info. Dave
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  4. #4

    M&M Tubas

    i currently own a m&m bb flat tuba, its almost an exact clone of the miraphone 168 bb flat tuba, it plays great and is a major steal for only 2 grand.


  5. #5

    M&M Tubas

    Frequently, a lot of players are willing to be quite critical of an instrument they ARE NOT playing and i have also been guilty of this. M&M, Tuba Exchange, even Dilllon Music are in the business to make money. We must realize that in some instances, the seller will swear by their China instrument and tell us how wonderful it is. The truth may or may not come forth. If one decides that a China made horn will sufficiently provide a sound suitable for the music and playing situation, then I'd consider it provided the repair and guarantee needs can be met. I'm honking on a 5/4 Miraphone and I bought the instrument because it plays better than me. It's my big baby, but I really like what it'll do. I also have a 3/4 Jupiter that I purchased for gigs where people drink beer. It plays satisfactorily for the purpose. Bottom line, buy the shoe that fits, just make sure the shoe strings don't break each time you put the shoes on.


  6. #6

    M&M Tubas

    I personally have an mm BBb miraphone 186 clone, it plays with a full tone especially for 2000, now im only a high school player so my opinion is more towards other student concerned about this tuba. It plays great but isn't a top of the line instrument. I love it.


  7. #7
    I am mystified by this scare talk about spare parts. Yes, I suppose it is possible for a rotor to crack or something like that, but the chances are remote. Tubing can always be fabricated or soldered, as can most metal parts. I might or might not be able to get replacement parts for my Chinese tuba, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    The best situation would be to find, as I did, a used Chinese tuba. That way, if you sell it, you are not taking the big new vs used depreciation hit. Also, I got the horn, a Mirafone 186 clone, for $1000 from a student going to graduate school and moving to CC. He didn't seem to have any trouble with the horn and, although it was a brand I'd never heard of [Golden Cup], it seemed to play fine, open and in tune. Meanwhile, I didn't have to wait to save more money and I have $1000 to $2000 sitting in the bank rather than in the tuba at home. If the tuba needs repair and the parts can't be had from China, I guess the interest on that money will take care of it [fabrication, etc].

    By the way, I have a friend who builds and tweaks trumpets and he is not having any trouble, outside of the language barrier, getting parts for the Berkeley line of Chinese trumpets. If you're buying a Jin Bao, talk with Tom McGrady of Mack Brass, because Tom sells longer tuning slides for his models, so I guess he's able to order these from China and could probably get other stuff, too. I've tried to contact a couple of Chinese manufacturers through Ali-Baba with absolutely no success, so I'm puzzled with how you get them to respond. But it's clear some folks do have a channel to them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,000
    Well, the most recent parts of this thread are now over two years old, right? So very likely things have changed a lot. When I started reading it (noticing only that there was a new posting and not looking at the dates of the earlier ones), I was totally shocked to see that TE was letting people try a horn that didn't work well -- and was totally inconsistent with my own experience with my Mack Brass horn. But that problem report was about five years ago! Likewise, the concern about parts. I believe that both Tom and Jonathan Hodgetts (Wessex) have stated online that getting parts is not a problem with these horns. At least not any more of a problem than with any other horns, and we've all seen stories about difficulties in getting some German or British parts as well. But getting parts -- for virtually anything -- is always something of a concern. Don't know exactly how I'd get genuine replacement parts for the 1924 Buescher I have. And I do know that I can get parts for the Cerveny -- but they are far from reasonably priced! (However, I can get some Chinese-made replacement parts for things like the valve keys that are drop-in replacements, and for a lot less. Actually, the entire assembled set including keys and the linkage is less than half of what Cerveny wants for just the linkages themselves.)

    In terms of talking to the Chinese manufacturers, they naturally want to do a wholesale business and not a retail or customer service business directly with owners. Nonetheless, a couple of years ago when I contacted one through some AliBaba link, I got a response in about a day. I asked if their cases were available independently of the instruments. The answer was "No", but it came quickly and politely.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  9. #9
    As another data point, Tuba Exchange has drawings and parts lists on their web site for a number of the horns they sell. And I've bought parts for my 1150 euph from them using their list.

    --Frank

  10. Lightbulb M&M Instruments...my Experience...

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidus1 View Post
    There has been some discussion about the M&M Tubas on other websites but wanted to see what you folks thought of them. There is an interesting horn posted on eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISA...=tab%3DWatching


    It looks like a nice instrument but obviously one should play one to test. The website for M&M mentions Ronald Bishop as a professional endorser of the instruments. Just curious if anyone has had a chance to play one and what did you think? I know that in general Chinese made instruments aren't that popular but I remember a long time ago that similar things were said about the Yamaha instruments.

    PS They have Euphoniums I see as well. Has anyone played one of those?
    "I went through the same research/questioning you are about five years ago. I bought a M&M copy of the King 7B bass trombone. I was very disappointed in that the trombone was lightweight with hardly no resonance, out of balance from end of slide to rear tuning slide. It was very uncomfortable to hold and use the dual independent rotors. I ended up having a repair tech here locally (works for GreenHoe? Trombones)make repairs/straighten out the mess. It cost me $700 to correct the issues plus I ended up having the tech rework the slide tubes and receiver (repair suggested by tech). As of today the trombone still doesn't play as well as I would like. It ends up the valve clearance to the valve casings is too great. Even using "thread cutting oil" as valve oil doesn't seal the gap. oil any heavier would surely slow the valve rotation to much to use effectively.

    I also bought a tuba (BBb Marifone 4/4 upright, 4 rotory valves.) When the tuba arrived it wasn't in the condition advertized. The bell had been crushed and somewhat repaired but very noticable. I had a chance to play the tuba for several days before I sent it back. It too was lightweight with little resonance. The upper range from "C" in the staff upwards was very stuffy, far less or thin resonance. "C" above the staff was next to impossible to play without running up several notes to it. I ended up buying a model 25 Monel-Wesson 4/4, 4 rotory valve tubas which I love very much."

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