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Thread: York Silver Eb's from circa 1912 +/-

  1. #11
    Classic Eb tubas from the era used quite small mouthpieces. I have a Conn "S" mouthpiece that was probably the standard shipment for their earlier Eb's, possibly their Monster models as well. As far as measurement goes, it is very comparable to mouthpieces made specifically for cimbasso and contrabass trombone. In fact it is only slightly larger than a Denis Wick 00AL.

    It is very possible that York tubas weren't much different than Conn in that era and used a smaller mouthpiece like that.
    Avid horn collector, check my profile to see what I've got (not enough room to reasonably squeeze 14 horns down here!)
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirendude2015 View Post
    Classic Eb tubas from the era used quite small mouthpieces. I have a Conn "S" mouthpiece that was probably the standard shipment for their earlier Eb's, possibly their Monster models as well. As far as measurement goes, it is very comparable to mouthpieces made specifically for cimbasso and contrabass trombone. In fact it is only slightly larger than a Denis Wick 00AL.
    In the tuba world it appears to be a matter of dogma that these instruments were provided with (and hence need to be used with) smaller and shallower mouthpieces than we typically use today. Unfortunately, it's close to impossible to get any details either illustrating such mouthpieces or supporting these claims. I've tried pretty much every modern mouthpiece available on my Buescher (primarily bass and contra-bass trombone mouthpieces) and found them very wanting in terms of tone and/or intonation. So I'm very curious about this Conn S mouthpiece.

    Most often, what's referred to with respect to Conns of the era (and hence by extension to Buescher as well) is the Conn #2. The only S I've seen referenced is the 120S which is a large Helleberg mouthpiece. It also seems to be generally conceded that the legendary #2 (through several incarnations over the years) is very close to the 7B (regarded as a small version of the 120S). So with that as background ...

    Do you have dimensions on this Conn S mouthpiece (diameter, rim width, cup depth and shape?? Is it actually marked 'S'? What's the shank size? And how did you come by it?

    Also, how would you characterize the tone you get from one of these vintage tubas with this mouthpiece? My experience was that when I went in the "bass trombone direction" I could get pretty good intonation, but it didn't sound like a tuba -- it sounded like a tuba being played with a trombone mouthpiece (lost a lot of the "conical bore" sound quality).

    Eventually, I settled on a Wick 4 (NOT the 4L) which was pretty good but not great. Then I sanded down the shank on a Kelly 25, and that worked well too, but not great. Finally, I managed to snag one of the (probably the last) Dillon shank adapters made for these instruments and since then have been using my Miraphone TU17 mouthpiece. Of all the things I tried, this seems to be the best in terms of tone, pitch, and intonation. A TU7 or a TU3 (both shallower) might be better, but Miraphone mouthpieces are expensive, and I got tired of extensive mouthpiece experimentation for a horn I rarely play. Note that they're also not an option for use in the original small receivers of these instruments. I guess that if I had a really good horn of this type/vintage and really wanted to play it a lot, I'd throw money at Doug Elliott to get a "correct" mouthpiece for it.

    So I'm very curious about this S mouthpiece.
    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)

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
    So I'm very curious about this Conn S mouthpiece.
    Do you have dimensions on this Conn S mouthpiece (diameter, rim width, cup depth and shape?? Is it actually marked 'S'? What's the shank size? And how did you come by it?

    Also, how would you characterize the tone you get from one of these vintage tubas with this mouthpiece?
    All measurements made with a digital caliper as I typed this post.

    The cup diameter (inner rim width at the inner edge of the "bite")= 1.14 inches/29mm.
    Rim width (inner edge to outer edge, semi-rounded rim)= 0.298 inches/7.58mm.
    Cup depth from the inner edge of the "bite" to the end of the lathe marks in the cup (middle of the backbore transition) approximately= 1.14 inches/29mm.
    Cup shape is what I'd say a standard bowl-shaped cup looks like. Similar to a 'berg, but deeper before the inward taper and less gradual of a cup-backbore transition.
    Backbore diameter, to my closest estimation (standard wooden pencil fits through with ease, but not much wiggle room)= 0.305 inches/7.75mm.

    Yes, it's literally marked "CONN S". It was stamped by hand. I can tell because the letters line up kinda weird.
    It is a small shank mouthpiece. It sits kinda comfortably in the receiver of my bass trombone and was a perfect fit for my 1912 Buescher Eb helicon (my "vintage" Eb tuba)

    Sound... I only ever used this mouthpiece in the aforementioned helicon, but this piece definitely gave it a solid sound that was fitting of the Eb key... not too thin and bass-bone like, but not too warm and round like it's trying to sound bigger than it is... a lighter sound, but still full and strong, quite responsive. Can get brighter if pushed, and can get kinda dark (but not woofy) if you warm up the airstream. The "bite" is rounded, feels about the same as a 'berg. Literally a perfect fit for that helicon. Intonation with that piece was very good, better than any other piece I had... but only as good as the helicon would allow

    If I still had that horn I'd give you a sound comparison, but alas, I traded it a couple weeks ago.
    Oh yeah... all those playing characteristics were with a quarter-inch split in the shank, lol.
    Last edited by sirendude2015; 04-22-2018 at 11:59 PM.
    Avid horn collector, check my profile to see what I've got (not enough room to reasonably squeeze 14 horns down here!)
    YouTube Channel: TheNEWTrombonium

  4. #14
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    Great. So some pretty rough comparisons that are still interesting:

    It's actually fairly close to the Bach/Kelly 25. And not too far off from the TU-17 except in depth (which isn't surprising). The rim width is narrower than either of these (also not surprising).

    Measuring cup depth is tricky and difficult to interpret, but we probably need to concede that this is shallower than either the 25 or the TU-17. I make the 25 cup depth to be maybe about 33-34 mm. The TU-17 is deeper (Miraphone calls it "deep"). So it's looking a bit like a "shallow Bach 25".

    My guess is that the backbore is significantly narrower. For both the Kelly 25 (and probably the Bach), this is 8 mm. And I suspect the backbore on your S may be a bit less than your estimate. The throat likely makes a difference as well. And the throat/backbore can make a huge difference on a tuba mouthpiece.

    It appears to be VERY close to the TU-03 (Miraphone F tuba/Eb tuba/contrabass trombone mouthpiece), but significantly shallower. And this has a 7 mm backbore. Or perhaps the TU-13 (Winston Morris model oriented to high range playing and F tuba), though the cup on that is 32 mm wide.

    I think/suspect that the problem with modern mouthpieces on these older Eb horns is not so much the sizes (diameters and depths) that we can get today, but the backbore. I'd guess, from what you say, that the backbore on this S mouthpiece is somewhere around 7.5 mm, or certainly 7.5-7.75 mm. It's hard to find a combination of a reasonably wide and fairly shallow bowl with that smaller bore size. The Wick 1AL and 0AL bass trombone mouthpieces have a 7.45 mm bore, but their cup diameters are 27.11 and 27.42 respectively. The 00AL bumps its bore up to 8.2 mm and still has only a 28 mm cup. I tried these on my Buescher, and the results weren't good.

    On the other hand, the Wick 4 tuba mouthpiece has a good cup diameter (30.50), but it's really too deep and the bore is 8.27.

    On the other hand, if you try to replicate the effect of those older mouthpieces, I think you give up having generally decent ghost tones and a usable pedal range.
    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)

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