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Thread: Thoughts on Alexander 151 Baritone (Tenor) Tuba

  1. Thoughts on Alexander 151 Baritone (Tenor) Tuba

    Has anyone ever played one of these? Am I mistaken, or are the dimensions (Bb, bore, bell size) basically a euphonium?

    I've read about someone using this for Euphonium parts, I'm curious what people here think about it, or if they've tried it.

    https://gebr-alexander.de/en/portfol...%b7-model-151/
    Last edited by 1Cor13:4; 05-11-2021 at 01:38 PM.

  2. I've played on this model for a bit, as the university I went to owned one. It is in Bb, same range as a euphonium, takes a large shank mouthpiece, but has a *very* different sound than your typical euphonium or baritone.

    In the truest sense this is a tenor tuba in design and sound concept. There is an optional longer slide for the 5th valve so you can modify the tuning on that valve depending on your preferences. Can project and cut through an ensemble much more easily than a euphonium can, especially when pushed dynamically. It's a well built, fun to play instrument, though there are some tuning quirks to get used to that require some alternate fingerings compared to what you might be accustomed to on euphonium.

    TheHornGuys has a listing with some good information on the Alex 151 (and also the similar Miraphone 56B)

    https://www.hornguys.com/collections...-bb-tenor-tuba
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Giddings Kadja-M
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Hammond 12ML
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941)
    VMI 3301 Tuba

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

  3. Thanks, that's very interesting. I'll have to try to find videos to hear what *very* different sounds like.

  4. I'll try to dig up some recordings/videos where you can hear the horn a little clearer, but for now here's a multitrack recording of a similar instrument in the context of a tuba ensemble:

    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Giddings Kadja-M
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Hammond 12ML
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941)
    VMI 3301 Tuba

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

  5. #5
    These used to be made just for traditional band music in Europe. Then Roger Bobo hit upon the idea of using one with a larger mouthpiece for "tenor tuba" repertoire because it resembled the type of tubas he played and the instrument makers saw the deutchmarks rolling in and went with it. Traditionally, these instruments would have smaller mouthpieces than british euphoniums and more resistance in the leadpipe and then be larger in the bell throat and bore through the valves, so the sound comes out pretty much the same but it's a different blow. The resistance plus the lighter metal they use in the bell usually means they are easier to color while playing and not so uniform sounding across the dynamic range as the british euphonium is.
    --
    Barry

  6. Thanks, that's very interesting.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I'm not sure if it's the same one, but I played an Alexander a few years ago at Horn Guys. It was a beautifully sounding instrument, it just seemed a little awkward to hold and play for me. I didn't spend enough time on it to give a full assessment like Barry.

    Either way, it was an extremely well made horn.
    Miraphone 5050 Ambassador
    Mp: Wick SM4 Ultra X
    The San Diego Concert Band
    Big Brass Quartet- tuba ensemble (EETT)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by tonewheeler View Post
    I'm not sure if it's the same one, but I played an Alexander a few years ago at Horn Guys. It was a beautifully sounding instrument, it just seemed a little awkward to hold and play for me. I didn't spend enough time on it to give a full assessment like Barry.

    Either way, it was an extremely well made horn.
    Could you elaborate a little about your comment “a little awkward to hold and play” please?

    My HS and college band training was in the era of parallel to the body, front valve Conns and Kings. By the end of my college years, (late ‘60s) top valve euphoniums were becoming more prevalent.

    The Conn 24 that I play now is the best compromise I’ve found so far but some limitations with the size of the mouthpiece and of course it’s non compensating.

    A couple of years ago when I became very interested in seeing how far I could get playing euphonium, I was almost immediately confronted by the fact that the horns I’d known casually in the past were harder to find, and the ones I could find didn’t work at all for my age damaged fingers/wrists/arms/shoulders.

    With some fairly limited experience with rotary valve horns I find that they really are relatively comfortable for me to hold and play. I also find the sound of these horns very appealing in the few recordings I’ve been able to find.

    Since there are almost no modest to moderate price level euphoniums that I can hold and finger comfortably could this type of horn be worth a try? I’m not sure I could find one locally but I haven’t looked either.

    I do value comments about ergonomics and overall reviews.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    879
    That Alex is never a cheap horn, new or used...

    DG
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original
    2019 Wessex Tornister

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    420
    Quote Originally Posted by ann reid View Post
    Could you elaborate a little about your comment “a little awkward to hold and play” please?

    My HS and college band training was in the era of parallel to the body, front valve Conns and Kings. By the end of my college years, (late ‘60s) top valve euphoniums were becoming more prevalent.

    The Conn 24 that I play now is the best compromise I’ve found so far but some limitations with the size of the mouthpiece and of course it’s non compensating.

    A couple of years ago when I became very interested in seeing how far I could get playing euphonium, I was almost immediately confronted by the fact that the horns I’d known casually in the past were harder to find, and the ones I could find didn’t work at all for my age damaged fingers/wrists/arms/shoulders.

    With some fairly limited experience with rotary valve horns I find that they really are relatively comfortable for me to hold and play. I also find the sound of these horns very appealing in the few recordings I’ve been able to find.

    Since there are almost no modest to moderate price level euphoniums that I can hold and finger comfortably could this type of horn be worth a try? I’m not sure I could find one locally but I haven’t looked either.

    I do value comments about ergonomics and overall reviews.
    YMMV.

    I just found holding on to the horn with my left hand awkward- there just isn't a natural place to put the left hand. My Miraphone 5050 and every other horn I have tried fit like a glove, but ergonomics vary from person to person. To spend that kind of money on a horn, it would have to be perfect for me. Still a beautifully constructed and sounding instrument!
    Last edited by tonewheeler; 07-17-2021 at 09:15 AM.
    Miraphone 5050 Ambassador
    Mp: Wick SM4 Ultra X
    The San Diego Concert Band
    Big Brass Quartet- tuba ensemble (EETT)

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