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Thread: Buying a tuba tomorrow

  1. Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post

    Mouthpiece: Without knowing anything about your playing or your physical characteristics, I'd recommend that you get a Bach 25 or Kelly 25 mouthpiece and play on that for several months. Do NOT get a Bach 24 or 24AW. Do NOT get a Bach 18. Otherwise, a Schilke 66 might do you very well (it's my all-time go-to mouthpiece except on my Eb compensator) or a TU-17. The Kelly is really a good compromise approach in a "trial" mode. Or try to get a used Bach 25 or Schilke 66 online.
    )
    Thanks for the info. I picked up the Tuba today. It came with a Bach 18. My luck, eh! Since I enjoyed trying different mouthpieces with my Euphonium, I'll be looking for a used Bach 25. The 18 does seem a bit big, but I think that's because I used to the Euphonium.

    KKORO

  2. Quote Originally Posted by dsurkin View Post
    When you were studying theory and composition, did you do much work with alto and tenor clefs? I, too, started on trumpet, and I read only treble clef until fifth or sixth grade. Tenor clef and Bb-transposing treble clef match up spaces and lines, as I'm sure you know (you just have to keep track of accidentals, like B-natural or E-natural). The nifty thing about learning the clefs is that then you can sight-transpose from Bb parts, Eb parts, F parts, and concert parts.

    I wish you luck with this - I learned the clefs over half a century ago, and I've really forgotten how difficult it was.
    Yes, I learned all those, but that was half a century ago and knowing the concepts and composing is a lot different than getting the correct fingerings.

    Anyway, I'm enjoying becoming an instrumentalist in my old age.

    KKORO

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KKORO View Post
    Thanks for the info. I picked up the Tuba today. It came with a Bach 18. My luck, eh! Since I enjoyed trying different mouthpieces with my Euphonium, I'll be looking for a used Bach 25. The 18 does seem a bit big, but I think that's because I used to the Euphonium.

    KKORO
    There's nothing wrong with a Bach 18, but mouthpiece selection is highly idiosyncratic and really depends on your own facial structure. For that reason (and as a first mouthpiece) you may find it a bit large. But try it and see how it works.

    I really don't like Bach mouthpieces -- preferring Schilke (if Helleberg style) or Miraphone (if bowl/German style). But I find the Bach 25 okay and it's on the "smaller" side for tuba mouthpieces -- so a good starting point. Often, tuba players go to larger and larger mouthpieces because (a) they believe that they should "use as large a mouthpiece as you can", (b) they want more "power" (volume), or (c) they are chasing a certain "organ-like tone" in the lower registers. Each of these goals has a certain fundamental problem.

    Last year, my section mate went to a HUGE Perantucci mouthpiece on her Miraphone 186 in order to make her contra bass range easier and fuller. It does that -- as a quick fix -- but she totally lost the high range and now avoids playing anything above the F on the bass staff. With a larger mouthpiece, it's also easier to overblow and "blat" out notes -- particularly on medium to small size tubas. You lose control. And it's often difficult for players to control their pitch and intonation. And a mouthpiece that's too large is just fatiguing to use in long sessions.

    Only experience (and some feedback from others who hear you play, and recording yourself) will tell you what's best for you. And you can expect it to take at least a number of months (if not a couple of years) before you feel comfortable enough to know what you really want in terms of a mouthpiece. It also depends on both you and the horn. I love the Schilke 66 for BBb tubas. But now on my Eb horn I'm using a Wick 3XL. I was using a 2XL for a couple of years, but I backed off to the 3XL because I was finding the 2XL too fatiguing to control and not giving me the easy and accurate intonation I want. However, I doubt that I would ever use that mouthpiece on a BBb tuba.
    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)

  4. If the actual size of the cup of the 18 that came with the tuba is not difficult for the OP to control, but takes more air than the OP feels comfortable with due to its larger throat, the Kanstul version of the 18 is not like the Bach version. It has the real 1.26 diameter cup, as opposed to all the copies and the notorious inconsistency of Bach that have a cup approaching a 1.28 (yes, that .02 does make a difference, depending on facial structure), and has the smaller .328 throat for better breath control for us mere mortals than the Bach 18, and a little deeper cup than the Bach 18 for a little bit more fundamental in the tone. In short, the Kanstul version is more like what ghmerrill is recommending.

    But he's right: there are so many more mouthpieces out there. Many folks start with the Conn Helleberg, either the deep 120S or the moderate 7 cup, which also have roughly a 1.26 diameter; good middle-of-the-road mouthpieces to start that aren't too expensive, and of which there are even lesser expensive copies that are generally well received for their price.

    All that said, I have a friend who is primarily a trombone player, who doubles on tuba, and as ghmerrill suggests, uses a Bach 25 as his tuba mouthpiece. I have listened to him in concert, and he gets a really good tone and response from it.

    And now for something completely different: Kelly makes a lexan 25. I have one of their 18's for my outdoor tuba and souzy playing, and they are great for the price. I believe every brass player, unless the player uses a lexan rim on a 2- or 3-piece modular mouthpiece, should have one of the Kelly mouthpieces for inclement weather, or at least as a spare or a buzzing mouthpiece to keep in the car.
    Last edited by iiipopes; 12-21-2016 at 03:20 PM.

  5. #15
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    I also have a Kelly (lexan) 25, and sanded down the shank on it for to fit my Buescher 1925 Eb horn. I don't use it any longer since I got the Dillon shank adapter and now use my TU-17 (which in some sense is just a really expensive version of a really good 25). I need to get another so I can use it in cold weather on my primary tuba. For my euphonium and bass trombone, I have DE mouthpieces with lexan rims.
    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. KKoro, I may be missing it in the discussion above, but what kind of tuba did you buy?

    This thread is perfectly timed for me, as I just ordered a tuba last week myself. I'm primarily a pianist, but played trumpet as a kid, and when my daughter started middle school band a couple of years ago, I realized that the fingerings I still had in my head for the trumpet would work for the euphonium in treble clef. I bought a used Jupiter 3-valve and played it for a while, then bought a Mack Brass compensating 4-valve euphonium. I have been absolutely thrilled with this beautiful instrument and have worked my way up to playing a few solos at church. I have always been fascinated by the tuba as well, and decided to take the plunge.

    I have been so impressed with my Mack euph (and with Tom McGrady) that I decided to stick with a Mack, and I ordered his 5-valve CC tuba. I'm hoping this will work well for me, as the fingerings for a CC should be basically the same as the TC 4-valve euph fingerings that I already know, with a few 5th-valve tricks in the lower range. I have a Kelly 25 mouthpiece that I bought several months ago to mess around with, and just bought the Arban text to learn on.

    Any advice from you experienced players about how to approach learning the tuba while still developing skills on the euphonium? Will I lose ground with respect to euphonium skills for a while? I hope not; I'm hoping that both instruments will complement one another and that I'll eventually be able to switch back and forth without too much trouble. I plan to play the tuba a lot this winter, but I don't want my euphonium to feel neglected.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by Koukalaka View Post
    KKoro, I may be missing it in the discussion above, but what kind of tuba did you buy?
    Hi Koukalaka, I bought a King 1135.

    When I decided to play Euphoium last year, I bought an old beater to see if I like playing the Euphonium. I liked the sound, the feel, the vibrations, the whole experience. Then I bought a King 2280 Euphonium and love it.

    I've had the King 1135 Tuba for a week now -- an old beater, like my first Euphonium. I've played it every day. It seems to play fine. Sorry to say, it just doesn't move me the same as a Euphonium. Like you, I've done a few solos at church with my Euphonium. I'm starting a brass ensemble and we don't have a tuba for the group and I was hoping to get the same enjoyment from the Tuba as I did from the Euphonium. The ensemble sure sounds a lot better with that low register. I may keep the Tuba to lend it to folks who don't have one but would like to play with our ensemble. Or, I may sell it. It just doesn't give me the same enjoyment as the Euphonium.

    I hesitate to write this as I don't want to discourage folks who want to play both. There are many on this site that play both and seem to enjoy it. Maybe it's my advanced age that makes me not want to start down a long learning process. I'll be sticking to, and enjoying immensely, my Euphonium playing.

    KKORO
    Last edited by KKORO; 12-26-2016 at 05:37 AM.

  8. #18
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    You can (or I should rather say "one can") get enjoyment out of both the tuba and euphonium -- but you really have to enjoy two different things in order to do that. The euphonium I think of as a kind of "singing" instrument, often playing the melody line, often in a very comfortable register, and often with great solo (or soli) opportunities. It's a great deal of fun to play.

    You can almost never get those same things out of tuba playing. Sure, there are tuba solos, and sure sometimes in a band or quintet piece the tuba has a "solo" line -- but it isn't the same. The role of the tuba is quite different. It provides the "foundation" to the piece, and you have to enjoy doing that -- playing precisely and in tune in order for the overall piece to sound good. I find the tuba more difficult to play. This isn't to say that the euphonium isn't difficult to play in virtuoso kind of work, but in just the regular mundane band parts, for me the tuba takes more effort and concentration to play well. This is mostly because of the larger mouthpiece (and consequent greater latitude for sloppiness), and because the response of the instrument is so much less immediate than the euphonium. You can't play the tuba as a "low euphonium", and you can't (in genuine euphonium parts) play the euphonium as a "high tuba" -- even though physically the euphonium is a small tuba and the tuba is a large euphonium.

    So no -- you won't get the "same enjoyment" from tuba and euphonium. But you might get the same "degree" of enjoyment from each. Just depends on what it is you enjoy in playing music, or what you can come to enjoy.

    I have a friend (previously a boss some years ago) who plays both piano and trumpet. He's absolutely excellent at both. But he doesn't get the "same enjoyment" from them. I suppose that's one reason he plays them both. I suppose that's one reason I play tuba and euphonium and trombone (bass, and now tenor). I do get more enjoyment out of each of these than I did form saxophone (which I was playing for 15 years), though I did genuinely enjoy playing flute, and would again if time permitted.
    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. #19
    I don't see any reason not to play both tuba and euphonium. They are compatible in general concept (valve technique, type of air use) and I have not found any harm to my euphonium playing during my periods where I've played tuba regularly. Tuba playing seemed to strengthen my chops on euphonium and it was absolutely good for my air.

    I've had enough back trouble lately that it limits my tuba playing - carrying it and even moving it between floor and my lap is rough on my back. I may sell my Sovereign Eb and buy something lighter. We'll see. But I would like to have a tuba that I can use. It really is fun to play tuba!
    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

  10. Maybe I just need to buy a better tuba. Or maybe one of those cute little tournisters?

    KKORO

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