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Thread: A tone between the first and second natural tone

  1. #1

    A tone between the first and second natural tone

    Hi everybody,

    happily I got myself yesterday an E flat bass, a used instrument with three valves (D. Ansingh "Solist"), not compensated, around 3/4 size in good condition (for 380). This is my start into playing tuba, so far I play trombone and Euphonium.
    I was trying whether I can play chromatically down to the lowest Eb (around 39Hz) although the tuba only has three valves and I found that there is a "natural tone" at Ab, a quint below the Eb. I did know there might be tones in between the first and second natural tone depending on the particular shape of the instrument, but I was positively surprised it is a rather in tune quint below the second natural tone which means a quart about the lowest tone.
    And since I use no fourth valve to get this tone, the three valves are still in tune, I play now Ab on 0, G on 2, F on 12 and Eb again on 0.
    So I don't need more than three valves to go all way down to as low as I managed to make waves.

    Does somebody have an explanation for this irregular quart above the pedal tone?
    Is this something particular in Eb basses? Do some of you use these tones as well?

    Thanks and happy playing,
    Claus

  2. #2
    You are exploring false tones. Basically, these are tones that allow you to reach these low notes without there really being proper fingerings. Some players and horns are very adept at getting accurate tones consistently. I have 3 antique Eb horns. Only one does this really well and consistently. You develop this skill by working with your horn and a tuner and interval etudes. Good luck, but because it is hard work with spotty results, 4 valve horns are preferred when you are playing in this range. Even a 4 valve horn has it's limitations. The low, E next to the low Eb, is a false or lipped tone on a 4 valve horn. That is why a 5th valve is desirable.

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