Are We Pricing Potential Bass Players Out Of The Market?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by skiosbod, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. skiosbod

    skiosbod New Member

    I had my Nephew comment to me that he had a go of a Bass in School and liked the sound of it. Like many people I first started playing Brass Instruments in School. What he didn't like were his Friends were all playing shiny brand new Cornets and Trombones whilst the old BBb and EEb Basses were all battered and worn. On commentating this to the Music Teacher he was told for the price of a new Tuba he could get several other instruments for the School Band and spread out the costs. Given that the price of even a good Second Hand Bass is the same price as a small Car, good mouthpieces around the £80 mark and the ever increasing numbers of band vacancies for Bass players (I counted about 35 vacancies in the UK last night) are there any incentives for our future Brass players to learn the Bass at all?
  2. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    A valid point!

    Of course they are bigger and involve more material etc, but the cost is astromonical especially when a school could buy for example 10 decent violins for the price of a cheap second hand bass.

    There are many less expensive new makes and models coming onto the market now which mean you're not looking at the £5000 + mark for a new Soveriegn/Yamaha etc, but perhaps the makers need to be thinking of better incentives or schemes, for schools especially, who are looking to purchase new instruments - especially the 'big ticket' ones, after all it's their future too.
  3. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I'm not bothered about shiny new bass, but I'm a former bass player and maybe I have taken it for granted with my previous band for so long. We had a trailer to transport the basses, percussion and other equipment. The new bands I've been to round Huddersfield, the bass is your responsiblitiy. Firstly you need the space in the house to keep it (i live in a small terrace) and I haven't got the car to transport it, (it takes me ages to put it in a my honda civic!!) I then have to carry it around to all the jobs (its very heavy and bulky!) So I its one of the reasons why I quit. I understand not all bands have funds to do this, but it is off putting and can be a pain in the backside! Especially for weak girls like me, nevermind a child!
  4. JTKBrass

    JTKBrass Member

    Some of the student model basses are fantastic. We bought a set of 4 Besson 1000 series for our junior band. They're 3 valve, three quarter size, perfect for kids to play on, and are just over £1,000 each. We're probably going to buy another 4 for our second junior band sometime soon.

    We also had a look at the JP basses this week as a potential midrange instrument for our junior players to move onto as they grow a bit. They're full size compensating instruments, just over £2,000 each which is a great price I think.
  5. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    We need a tuba made like a PBone.... except probably with a metal valve block.

    OK, the valves are the part with the difficult machining, but by using plastic for the rest of the instrument, it should be possible to keep costs down that way.

    I think they already make sousaphones that way in the states, so why not tubas?
  6. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Thats a Good point.Several SA bands (Rochdale included we had an Eb and Bb) used to have Sousas in their Band. They just played the standard Eb and Bb Parts. For some bands this might well be a cheaper option . But I suspect that contesting rules (which Bar trumpets instead of cornets dont they?) would probably Bar Sousas instead of Tubas too.
  7. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    For my money, Sousaphones should be banned on principle... ;) ....but yes we'd need proper plastic tubas rather than sousas.

    I can't see anyone playing a placky instrument in a contest either way, but a tuba can be sat on a stand beyond the edge of the chair, to fit the stature of the (potentially young) player, whereas a sousaphone can't - so it would seem to be the right approach to me either way.
  8. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    The last contest we did, we used a trumpet and a sousaphone...;)

    I thought as I was reading the first post that it seemed like a convenient excuse to blame the cost of the instrument, and sure enough 2 mins on John Packer's website gets me to a Eb tuba that sells for £660. Andi's idea is interesting too - but I think maybe the reason we haven't seen a Ptuba yet while we have plastic sousaphones is pure costs of tooling up verses expected sales. A sousaphone has a much bigger market thanks to the American marching and school bands while the humble British Tuba only has a very limited market. Maybe someone could make one out of 1/2" pipe and Speedfit fittings...!
  9. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    The numbers issue is good point actually Ian. When you consider how many applications a 3+1 four piston-valve BBb bass has, as compared with (for example) a Bb Trumpet or a Bb/F trombone, the former is almost exclusively the preserve of the british-style brass band - whereas the latter two end up in everything from orchestras to rhythm & blues bands.

    Plus when you consider the vast majority of trombones and trumpets will be Bb, whereas tubas come in F, Eb, CC and BB, and have little standardisation from ensemble to ensemble due to the fact they're largely written in bass clef concert pitch so the actual pitch of the instrument doesn't matter.

    When you add into that that just we're about the only ones who use piston valve tubas these days it becomes even more unlikely.
  10. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    I would say that student instruments have never been better or cheaper.
    Some of the chinese basses around £500 - £600 are so much better than the Corton/Lafleur instruments of 30 years ago.
    I started playing French horn on a beaten up instrument which cost me £20 ( + case for £21) - traded up to a new chinese instrument (this is in the 1970s) and eventually traded up to a top of the range Paxman (bough S/H).
    Start where you can afford and keep trading up....
  11. triton john

    triton john New Member

    Most sousaphones are of the fibreglass bell variety not full plastic. By using grp to make the bell section it is more about how heavy it makes it rather than cost. To make a grp bell for a bass is not a complicated excercise but is it realy worth it for the savings involved ? As Ian has pointed out cheap student basses are available but there needs to be a way to make decent intruments affordable to school bands as these players are the bandsmen of the future.
    Whilst I am here how the hell do you put a picture with your name in front of your posts - I am an engineer not a puter man !
  12. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Right, (its not as easy as it used to be with the old software!!) if you click on the 'My Profile' text in the top menu, your profile should open, if you then click on 'forum actions' in the menu just under the tMP symbol and click 'edit my profile', then on the left hand side you should see another menu with various options. If you are still with me(!), click 'edit avatar' and you should see a couple of options to load a profile pic from a web site or from your hard disc. Click the 'use custom avatar' button and then whichever option you decide, navigate to the image you want to use as your avatar. It will have to comply with our rules for avatar pics which are 100x100 pixels and no bigger than 19.5Kb, so if you have an image on your hard drive to use, you may have to use some photo editing software to get the files size and image size down to suit.

    I hope this helps. If not, PM me. :)
  13. tubadaz

    tubadaz Member

    Having played more than my fair share of grp Sousas in my time, I would also like to point out that they are not that much lighter than all brass ones and do not have as nice a sound/tone as all brass, either.
    An inexpensive brass Tuba will have a better sound than one with a grp bell, will not be *that much* heavier and probably will be cheaper as well.


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