19 inch Bell B&H Imperials ( Tuning )

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Aussie Tuba, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I have read in several post's that the 19 inch Imperial EEb Tuba was built to play Flatter that the earlier models and that an adjustment was needed to improve tuning. The Band I play in has one of these and it plays very Flat. I am just trying to find out all i can about improving this instrument so it can get the use it deserves. It does have a terrific sound albeit Flat.
     
  2. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    The general opinion was that they were made in tune when played with the Kosi-Kup type mouthpiece which was supplied with the instrument. As soon as a more modern mouthpiece was used then the pitch plummeted! This was rectified with something which has been called the 'Fletcher cut' after tuba legend John Fletcher who, unsuccessfully tried to convince B&H that they should make their instruments slightly sharp so tuning adjustment could be made either way. The cut amounts to the 'back' bow, the one up from the bottom bow, being shortened by 76mm. I had to have mine done as soon as I bought it new in 1981 which was disappointing as I'd saved for ages to buy it and the cut meant the lacquer was damaged.

    I think 19" bell Imperial EEbs are really good instruments, although, even with the cut as described, it was still likely to be flat above the stave. I played one a few years ago (serial number was 2 different to my own) which had had the Mr Tuba treatment, including fitting a 'straight' Sovereign 981 type leadpipe to it. This improved the instrument no end and left me wishing that I'd known about Mr Tuba before I sold my own instrument!
     
  3. Carl this makes perfect sense. The deeper the mouthpiece cup size, the flatter you send the instrument. I have a sarrod adjustable cup mouthpiece (just as a toy) and have made this observation. Too big a cup may explain the intonation difficulties that some players have.

    The great Professor David King said once (amongst the many things that he says) - Why tear a two when you can fill a three.


    Carl .... just getting around to loading my ISB CD collection onto iTunes and am enjoying revisiting the music. I didn't realise I had so much ISB just on CD (then there are stacks of LP's back from Bernard Adams days and 78's that are up in the garden shed)
     
  4. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I was using a machined down PT-84. bigger than DW 3 so that makes sence.
    could never play on a Kosicup. my normal mpc for my 982 is a Loud LM-7 ( Bigger Still )
    might suggest the Fletcher Cut to the Band Exec. Tuba is not in tune with DW 3 in it. I know a good instrument tech here in Aus who can do the job.
     
  5. jennyt125

    jennyt125 Member

    Aussie Tuba just out of interest is your Denis Wick 3 a newish one?
    We had the same problem with our Imperials being flat with the new DW tuba mouthpieces however we found an old DW3 believed to be from the early 1980's and the shank was over half an inch shorter than the newer one! The tuning still isn't perfect and sometimes is down to player error but is certainly better than it was!
     
  6. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    DW 3 is the old Shape but only bought in the Last 2 years. it has the shank without the indent ring near the Cup. so would be a lot newer than the 80's
     
  7. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    Imperials had a small mouthpiece receiver, they accept Denis Wick mouthpieces without a letter at the end (2, 3, 4, 5).
    When Imperials morphed into Sovereigns, they inherited a larger mouthpiece receiver to bring the instruments in line with the rest of the world. Any Denis Wick tuba mouthpiece with an L in it will fit Sovereigns (1L, 1XL etc).

    Denis Wick mouthpieces with an L are not suitable for Imperials although they might just go in the receiver. This alone would not account for the drop in pitch, half an inch doesn't have much bearing on the pitch of an instrument that is as long as an Eb Tuba.

    I would suggest that an Imperial Eb, even when used with a Denis Wick 2 or 3, still needs to have the Fletcher cut (approx. 3 inches).
     
  8. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Thanks Carl.
    I have played on both in my time Imperial and I own a Sov. I try to avoid Denis Wick these Days because the rim is to rounded for me. I prefer a flater rim, Makes for better controle in Articulation. My PT 84 was playing to sharp in my Sov so I had it machined to use when I needed to play the Band Imperial. IE when My own tuba is in for a service or when playing carols on the Back of a truck. ( I don't fancy taking my near perfect Sov on the back of a Truck ). But I need to get the imperial sorted because who ever plays it can't get it in tune.
     
  9. jennyt125

    jennyt125 Member

    I am aware (owning an Imperial, a 981 and a 983) that the DW 'L' models are for the larger bore Sovereign models and wasn't comparing a DW3 against a DW3L, I was comparing DW3's like for like. We have older ones from the 1980's that have shorter shanks than the newer ones. Exactly the same when comparing the the older 3L's against the newer ones they seem to be longer. Although totally appreciate half an inch isn't enough to alter the tuba by a great deal. It was just interesting how the DW mouthpiece has evolved and the question was asked for personal interest in what others were using.
     
  10. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I had an early model from the late 70's which I used on a 1918 boosey and co. had no problems re tuning with that combo. and the old EEb had a nice sound too.I played on that instrument until I left the UK in 1986. I bought my own Sov 982 in 1994. it was 2 years old then so instrument is now comming of age. (18 years) The Tuba is almost in pristine condition. But as mentioned before I sometimes need to use the Bands Imperial. It's ok but it is hard work liping it in all the time. Makes sence to do the Fletcher cut. Not every one who plays this tuba can lip in as well as I can.
     
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