A Simple Eb Bass.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by 2nd tenor, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Would members please suggest good traditional Tubas that are both available second hand (my budget is relatively limited) and match my simple specification: three axial valves - non-compensating – Eb - built in low pitch (A 440).

    I’d be glad to hear suggestions of both models to look out for and those best avoided too.

    For my use the downsides of both just three and non-compensating valves are of relatively little importance. Compensating and fourth valves add (unwanted) weight and cost, a fourth valve will also be little needed for the pieces that I play. For my use a cheaper used instrument makes more economic sense than buying something young and blemish free.

    The features I value most are: dynamic range, tone and accurate slotting of the harmonics (after tuning the instrument’s middle C to Eb standard/concert pitch the other ‘open’ notes should be neither sharp nor flat).
  2. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Being on the look out for any second hand brass instruments to add to my collection I will say from knowledge that you are going to spend a lot of time looking with little chance of finding anything in the bass brass, Eb or Bb.
    Just my feeling or opinion though, I think a reason for it is that because of the prices for those instruments, they nearly always tend to be band owned instruments rather than privately owned. That tends to mean they are kept till the only value is as scrap and are usually dealt with as such. So it is very seldom that they find their way on to the second hand market. The smaller instruments, yes, and in plenty, but I have yet to see a baritone or even a euphonium for sale as second hand, never mind any bass.
  3. Feel My Rath

    Feel My Rath Member

    If you don't mind taking a slightly risky punt, Ebay is your friend. There you will find several Eb and Bb basses (as well as Euphs and Baritones, Nev). Duchy Brass seem to have plenty of used good quality stock, but I'm guessing something like a used Sov (the only Eb basses they currently have in) is going to be a little too rich given your limited budget.
  4. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Woops, my bad, I forgot about E Bay, and was thinking more along the lines of second hand shops or the normal adverts in publications which is the usual method I use. Though I did get a rather strange Chinese Lark cornet from a car boot sale!! Strange because the lead tube is slightly too big in diameter for a normal cornet mouthpiece shank, and too small for a trumpet one. Also it sounds awful when played with a mouthpiece that will fit.
  5. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the posts so far, some interesting points.

    I wonder about the development of the Eb Bass. At one time they were all small (diameter) bell instruments with just three non-compensating valves but that's just not the norm now. The simple designs still available seem to be along the lines of Besson's 1077 and Amati's AEB211, to have survived over many decades I guess that they must be reasonably good but am I mistaken?
  6. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Interesting question. I am no expert on the Eb Bass (Bb are more my thing), however a quick look on google brings up some information regarding these instruments. I have helpfully included links below:

    BE1077 | Besson
    DS2014 likes this.
  7. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Very difficult to make a suggestion without knowing your budget. Are we talking £500-£1000? I don't think there's anything worthwhile for less. You will get a few beat-up Boosey's on eBay for less than £500 and some really old ones from the 20's and 30's that have been converted to lower pitch, but they'll likely have taken a hell of a pasting and/or had significant jobs done on them of questionable quality.

    For £750-£1250, you can occasionally pick up a serviceable Imperial, some with 3 valves and some with 4.

    You could buy a 'project' for a couple of hundred and have a professional technician overhaul it for about £500-£1000, leaving you with an ace bass for a little over a grand. Check out the timeline of McQueens of Manchester on FaceBook: they're in the process of overhauling a bass that had been squashed, and it looks to be coming on a treat.
  8. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Simple specification amended to: three piston valves - non-compensating – Eb - built in low pitch (A 440).

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