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Thread: Advice on a second tuba

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,989
    Well, again, then it really depends on the kind of music and demands it imposes. The Elf could work, but before I dived into it, I'd want one question answered (which I raised on another thread here about the Elf): How are the false tones on it? If it has good false tones, then it IS usable for a broad variety of music in the way that you envision. I've used my 1924 Buescher in community band, and tend to do so on "patriotic occasions" (4th of July, Veteran's Day, etc.). I've also used it in Tuba Christmas. The intonation isn't unproblematic on that horn, but it does work and with some effort plays reasonably well in tune. The false tones are great, and so it plays chromatically down to the pedal Eb (and lower). For Tuba Christmas I can use it to play either the Tuba 1 part (where's it's happier) or the Tuba 2 part (which is a lot more effort).

    If the Elf does likewise, then it could suit your purpose, but I haven't seen a response to my question about it. I note also that for some years Jim Laabs has been selling a horn that appears virtually identical to the Elf (called the "Gentleman's tuba"), but I also have no idea of what its false tones are like.
    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)

  2. Ghmerrill and others, would you expect an older used horn to be better in terms of false tone ability? All the used Eb tubas I’m finding are 3v horns as well. In my price range, I think I’d be looking at a used 3v or the Elf. Unfortunately it will be pretty tough for me to find a used horn that I can actually play before buying.

    Another option would be the “Bubbie 5” travel tuba. It converts from F to Eb—not sure how much slide pulling is necessary to tune it in Eb, but this would be a 5-valve tuba. Upper end of my price range, but certainly easy to transport.
    Last edited by Koukalaka; 04-11-2018 at 06:45 PM.

  3. #13
    Just thinking, wouldn't the Wessex French Tuba in C be an option here?
    Martin Monné
    • Wessex Festivo, 4-valve compensating (2017)
    • Hirsbrunner HBS 378 Standard, 4-valve compensating (1983)
    • Mahillon Bass Saxhorn, 4-valve (1927)
    • Anton Hüller Tenor Horn, 3-valve (Early 20th Century, HP, wallhanger)


  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,989
    Many (most?) Eb tubas have good (or at least usable) false tones. This seems to be a consequence of length of the tubing, the overall dimensions, the degree of conical bore, and where the notes lie in the overtone series of the conical instrument -- at least that's the most popular explanation I've seen. And in the case of particular older American or British tubas, these properties are well known. In the case of newer tubas (like the Elf or the "Gentleman's Tuba") they may not be, because not many people (and not many adults) are using them. If you find one you're interested in, post a query to Tubenet and you'll likely find one or more people who have personal experience with that model.

    My Wessex Champion (Besson 981/982-ish clone) has excellent false tones, though it's almost never worthwhile to use them, of course.

    Likewise, in the case of older Eb tubas there is a lot of "lore" about them that may or may not be true -- such as that you "must" use certain kinds of mouthpieces with them in order for them to play well. And a number of these instruments were never good tubas, even when new and on their best days. But some of them are excellent, and many are at least adequate -- if originally pitched at 440 or easily modified to that. My Buescher is an example of a "not great, but okay" instrument. Also, if you have to cut the instrument in order to bring it into the correct pitch, this can adversely affect the intonation. Finally, the larger Eb tubas ("giants" or "mammoths") seem to have something of a reputation for unreliable intonation. The small to medium size ones seem to enjoy a reputation as good players and generally with good false tones.
    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)

  5. I decided to go for it, and ordered the Elf. I think I have a better understanding of the potential limitations after this discussion and I’ll report back after I get the instrument and have a chance to play it. Although I know it won’t have the same capabilities as my “main” tuba, I think it will be fun to have a small tuba to play even if it’s just on my own...but playing on my own just for the joy of it is 99% of what I do anyway! (And I guess that’s really the point of music, right?).

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,989
    It's why I have a euphonium that I rarely play.
    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)

  7. My Elf arrived, and my first impressions are quite positive. More about this here: http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...635#post145635

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