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Thread: New Wessex Elf Eb tuba

  1. New Wessex Elf Eb tuba

    Using the same bell and bows as the 4-valve compensated Bombino Eb tuba (http://www.wessex-tubas.com/product/bombino/), Wessex is following with new student/junior 3-valve non-compensated Eb to be called the Elf with reference number TE333. Although it has the look of classic British design, it is in fact a new design.

    Made specifically for younger players, this has the mouthpiece receiver positioned lower than on the Bombino and is supplied with new JT mouthpiece with smaller diameter rim for smaller faces. Like its professional Bombino sibling, it has exceptional good intonation (for 3-valve, non-compensated), is free blowing and has good tone. I am personally very pleased with this new Junior model which will be available December (the picture shows unfinished prototype).

    Obviously aimed mainly at the British market (where most start on Eb), it joins the equally good playing TB330 Junior BBb tuba which is proving very popular with US and Canadian schools as a student tuba - http://www.wessex-tubas.com/product/tb330/

    Pricing for the new TE333 Elf will be the same as the TB330 BBb.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Jonathantuba; 10-16-2015 at 02:39 AM.
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  2. #2
    That's a great idea, Jonathan! I think it's important to offer younger players instruments that are 1) suitable for their physical size and 2) good-playing horns. Often they have had to choose between those two options.

    As far as the finish goes... these days you could probably charge a little extra to have horns that look like the photos you shared
    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. Hello! I'm resurrecting this thread to ask a few questions. I play a Mack Brass compensating euphonium and CC tuba, and I'm looking for something in between in terms of size. I had been thinking of the "Stumpy" BBb tuba, and I was hoping there would be a CC version. But I'm becoming more open to the idea of an Eb tuba. I can't currently afford the compensating "Bombino" right now, but I'm concerned that the "Elf" might be awkward for me if it's designed for children. It looks like you supply this horn with a smaller-than-usual mouthpiece and that the lead pipe position is designed for kids. How would this work for an adult?

  4. There are many adults with the Elf. It works just fine and the supplied smaller mouthpiece may work particularly well for a euphonium doubler. If not, any standard tuba mouthpiece will fit.

    Although this is sold as student tuba, I am particularly pleased with how well it plays. It plays like a professional tuba, just with the limitations of only 3-valves non-compensating.
    www.Wessex-Tubas.com
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    This is the problem with 3-valved Eb tubas: to some degree, intonation may be a bit wonky in places, and lack of the fourth valve may significantly limit range. It's fine for beginning students and for certain kinds of music, but for real tuba parts such as those encountered in community bands, it can be quite limiting. Similarly, for quintet work it may not work out well at all.

    But I say "MAY significantly limit range" because especially in the case of 3-valve Eb instruments, this depends very much on the particular horn or model of the horn. The critical question is: "So how are the false ('ghost') tones on it?" Does it in fact have a reliable chromatic scale down to it's fundamental? My 1924 Buescher does (though its intonation in some places above the staff is a bit of an issue). What about this horn? Is that extra lower octave truly accessible? Or is this really a beginner's instrument suitable for middle school level tuba music and some other small group activities?
    Last edited by ghmerrill; 04-08-2018 at 03:53 PM.
    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)

  6. Okay--first impressions of the Wessex "Elf": I love it! I purchased this as an inexpensive second tuba that would be easier to transport, and I like it a lot. Smooth valve action right out of the box, nicely finished, lightweight but solid-feeling, and I found it to be easy to produce a nice full tone. The included mouthpiece is small (reminds me of my euphonium mouthpieces), and for me the instrument sounds better when I swap in my Conn Helleberg.

    With respect to false tones, as Gary mentioned--I am probably not a good person to give an opinion on this. I've never attempted to produce these before, as my other instruments are a compensating euph and a 5v CC tuba where it hasn't been necessary. I played around a bit with bending pitches in the low register and I was able to fill in most of the scale, but I have no means to judge how easy this was relative to other instruments. At my skill level I certainly wouldn't be able to accurately hit false tones jumping from note to note. But again, I've never attempted this before. I will say that very little if any of the music I've been playing reaches below the normal fingered range of this instrument. I'm sure that those of you who are advanced players do this more often.

    Incidentally, I'm used to playing CC tuba (and euphonium in treble clef), but I am finding transposition with the Eb instrument to be MUCH easier than my attempts to transpose euph BC in my head. Picture in TC rather than BC, add three sharps/delete three flats, move C/F/G accidentals all up a half-step, and voila, it seems pretty easy except in the more technical passages.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,984
    Quote Originally Posted by Koukalaka View Post
    I played around a bit with bending pitches in the low register and I was able to fill in most of the scale, but I have no means to judge how easy this was relative to other instruments. At my skill level I certainly wouldn't be able to accurately hit false tones jumping from note to note. But again, I've never attempted this before.
    You may not be taking quite the right approach -- from how you describe it. You don't get false tones by "bending" other tones. These are genuine resonances (not flattened versions of "normal" pitches) that aren't really supposed to be there strictly in terms of the physics based on the length of the tube, but owing to the complexity of the acoustics in a conical bore instrument of that size, they "appear". On some instruments they are VERY "pure" sounding and stable. Some tubists, on some tubas, prefer some of them to corresponding "normal" pitches achieved through the usual fingerings. On others, they're just not there.

    It takes some time and effort to get them -- and to do so reliably. You have to hear the pitch you want, and then play it. Look on the web for suggested fingerings, and experiment. Playing to a drone may help considerably.

    The fingerings I have marked for my Buescher Eb tuba are:

    Below the bass clef staff and going down ...
    (A, usual fingering: 1 + 2 + 3 -- typically quite sharp )

    Ghost tones:
    Ab: open
    G: 2
    Gb: 1
    F: 1 + 2
    E: 2+ 3

    (Fundamental) Eb: open

    You may need to experiment with these (particularly the F and E) since where that false tone lies is a bit instrument-dependent. But it's NOT a matter of "lipping" or "bending". If the false tone is there, then it's THERE. You may need to work on "centering" the pitch and on tone quality. And you can't expect it to speak with quite the same volume or "gravitas" as the normal pitches.
    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)

  8. Aha, I see. InterestingóI will give this a try!

  9. i bought an Elf too, coz cant get a decent new Eb in Australia new for under $2K. Unfortunately valves werenít great so I dismantled to clean. could not undo bottom cap on first valve, needed to use a tool. Discovered itís the thread on the valve case, as the cap works on the other ones. Top cap threading on first still not great after cleaning which is annoying at rehearsal to oil quickly, but valves getting there with use and cleaning. I have read other reports that these threadings are a problem as a student horn. Anyway that aside, itís been great in my community band, sounds better inside than the Sousa (donít tell him!)
    Apart from the valve cap threading issue, iím very happy with it. Originally, I was going to get the Bb Stubby, as fingering same as euph, but it was sold out, but Iím glad I first borrowed a crappy lafluer Eb to learn blowing and fingering, the Elf blows it out of the water.

  10. Sorry you have had trouble with the valve caps. They are getting better all the time, but not as consistently good as Wessex would like. Getting these perfect is still I am afraid work in progress.

    But otherwise I am pleased you agree how well the Elf plays and are enjoying.
    www.Wessex-Tubas.com
    Customer Services & Chicago Showroom visits: Opus@Wessex-Tubas.com
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