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Thread: Trombonist buying tuba: where do I start?

  1. Trombonist buying tuba: where do I start?

    Alright, so I'm mainly a trombonist by trade, but my school's music program has me playing the tuba part on bass trombone. The thought of loaning me a tuba doesn't exactly appeal to them either, given the coronavirus.

    I've always wanted to get a tuba, and I figure this is as good a time as any. I have a good excuse, and the price on used instruments is relatively low right now.

    Where would you guys start, and what would you recommend? I've thought about a beat, school system Holton or something along that line. Does any model come to mind in the "extremely cheap but rather serviceable" category?

  2. #2
    Hello Hobart and welcome to the forum!!

    I play euphonium and trombone (both tenor and bass), and I also play a little tuba. Since trombone is your main instrument, going with an Eb tuba may be the easiest transition, at least for the mouthpiece size. Wessex offers quite a few tubas that are relatively inexpensive. I have a Wessex Bombino Eb tuba (4 valve compensating) that I bought new for quite a bit less than $3K a couple or so years ago. I think they are now just under $3K for the lacquered version.

    If you are a seasoned trombone player, then you probably can play tenor clef fluently. If so, you should be able to read tuba music and play it on the Eb without too much trouble. And if you read treble clef, even easier, because you can read tuba music (which is written in concert pitch and bass clef) by reading it as if it were treble clef with 3 additional sharps. If you read tenor clef, almost as easy.

    Wessex builds some nice horns and for the money, you really get a lot. Plus they stand behind them and do a rather extensive quality control on each horn before it leaves the factory (in China).

    If it is the school that wants you to cover the tuba part, have them loan you one so you can try it out before buying. Phooey on them if they won't. COVID or not, you can clean a mouthpiece (and a horn if you had to) so that you can play it. Unless you have to share the tuba, then I can understand their reluctance to loan it.

    Good luck, and happy hunting.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. It's a sousa is the thing, my schools band program is not the best funded. I don't know the director too well, but I'm not sure if there's a bunch of liability stuff my school's doing because it's an engineering school.
    I could tell him I wouldn't mind waiving any form of liability, I might consider that.

  4. #4
    I played bass trombone and went to tuba. My first tuba was a Conn 20J Bell front. Three valve Bb, built like a tank, and heavy . They make the Conn 21J with has four valves. You can find then relatively inexpensive. You can also find a Miraphone 186 BBb used that would work well and have a great resale value.

    Here are a couple of Kings for sale:

    https://www.tubaforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1392

    https://www.tubaforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=989

    Here is a Yamaha:

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...3073242661195/

    I am not sure of your budge. Figure on about $250 for shipping.

    You might also contact this website as he is a tuba player:

    http://thevillagetinker.com/horns_for_sale.htm

    Good luck!
    John Packer JP274L Euphonium
    __________________________
    “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    Hello Hobart and welcome to the forum!!



    If you are a seasoned trombone player, then you probably can play tenor clef fluently. If so, you should be able to read tuba music and play it on the Eb without too much trouble. And if you read treble clef, even easier, because you can read tuba music (which is written in concert pitch and bass clef) by reading it as if it were treble clef with 3 additional sharps. If you read tenor clef, almost as easy.

    Wessex builds some nice horns and for the money, you really get a lot. Plus they stand behind them and do a rather extensive quality control on each horn before it leaves the factory (in China).

    .
    I never thought about this, but I guess it’s like reading a Bari Sax part?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by hwlentz View Post
    I never thought about this, but I guess it’s like reading a Bari Sax part?
    Yes indeed.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

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