Bass of Choice?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ABERDEEN LOON, Nov 27, 2009.



    Kind of linked to another thread that I started last week, but a little close to my own heart...
    As I live in the middle of knowhere up here just inside the arctic circle, I have only ever played besson tubas. As I stated in another thread we are looking to buy new instruments for my band Deveron River Brass and I was wandering if there was any real difference between them in terms of playing, consistancey in manufacturing and quality. Obviously I would play and compare myself before buying and that would affect our decision, but I would like others opinions. So f you were looking for a Bass, what would your choice be, York, Besson LMI, Yamaha, Courtois...

    What are your thoughts?
  2. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    Get a good early Sov or late Imperial and have it done up.


    If i was looking for one bass for the band, or one for myself, that is exactly what I would do. Unfortunately, we would be looking to get a full set of Basses. I just don't want instruments like the lottery quality ones! Is the quality as patchy now?
  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    That is really good advice.

    - Mr Wilx
  5. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    I've got an LMI BBb that was better than the Besson or York available at the time, as was the EEb.

    BUT I don't know what LMI are like now, if they're even still going? I've recently had a York to try (didn't like it at all) and I played the Besson last year (not impressed either).

    I currently generally play a 1970's Imperial in preference to the LMI though!
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Their website is still active ... don't hear much about them these days though!
  7. 3rdcornetsolo

    3rdcornetsolo Member

  8. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

  9. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I've got a Besson "New Standard" EEb circa 1980 (?) which I believe was between the demise of excellent "Imperial" and the birth of the "Sov"
    It's as good as anything I've played over the past 40 years.

    - Mr Wilx
  10. SMead

    SMead Member

    Besson tubas/basses

    Before you spend a lot of money you should really test the new Besson tubas. They are a class apart in terms of quality of build, finish and performance. Try to erase from your mind the rather hit and miss quality of years gone by. The new German made Besson instruments are just superb.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Is Tim going to be in Perth with a Besson stand this year?
  12. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I had my 1992 Besson EEb refurbished and some of the manufacturing defects were corrected during refurbishment. it plays just great. My biggest problem was the main tuning slide never quite fitted and slipped out when pulled to tune with Piano for solo work. and most of the time I had to fill the gap with slide grease.
  13. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I've always played band horns.

    First time was a Yamaha 4-valve (all on top)...not impressed. Felt like a pee shooter and don't like playing 4th valve with my pinky.

    Second band horn was a Besson 3+1. Really comfortable to play. Felt a bit bigger sound (even though I think the bore was technically smaller). Probably a typical horn for most brass bands.

    For the past 4-years I've been on a Willson 4+1. A real big sound. The thumb thing takes a while to get used to, once again don't like using the pinky, but gets a real nice sound. Probably the best of the three...just over the Besson.

    Personally, I've tried out the Yamaha Maestro and would like to get a few month trial on it as I think it would be my favourite...but tubas are quite expensive and difficult to try out for a long time like that.
  14. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Funny you should say that. The band I was with in 1999 got a new set of lacquered instruments, and the tuning slides on both EEb Basses were so slack they tended to fall out if pulled out more than an inch.
    The instruments were returned because of the dreaded "Black spot" lacquer problem, but the replacements were just the same - slack slides. We had to selotape them in position.

    - Mr Wilx
  15. Al

    Al Member

    What would be late, in terms of serial number or year?

    I have a 4 valve Eb Imperial, made about 1969. A great instrument but it is quite flat throughout, although I am hoping that is due to a large dent at the end of the large bottom tube (boot?).

    It is certainly a solid instrument and I have often wondered about having it repaired and whether it would be worth it. Any advice. (sorry to hi-jack the thread a bit!)

    ps Aberdeen Loon:
    I used to play for Aberdeen City Band and also Lerwick Band in Shetland.
  16. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I bought this instrument at 2 years old and the instrument I have now I consider better than when it was new.
    I have also had the rubber valve dampers installed. The springs were quite loud before.
    Overall The Instument I have now has a good Sound with no Leaks from the tuning slide. and no loud spring noise.
    think the tuning slide thing was something Besson should have picked up. A EEb Tuba I played in another Band had the same problem but wasn't repaired as well (tuning slide became to tight ) You could Physically see the gap before the repair.
  17. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    A friend owned one from new in that era, (well a little later, probably would be about '73 or '74 as it was an early 19" bell model) which was very flat throughout, especially when played with a proper tuba mouthpiece (24AW with turned down shank) as opposed to the things they used to come with!
    He had a chunk removed from each end of the pipework which runs between the two joints at the back of the instrument (nearest the player), the one about 1.25 to 1.5" diameter that passes across horizontally, behind the valve block. That solved the problem and as it was done at the existing joints, it was with very little visible damage.

    I always liked to play it
  18. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I currently play on a Courtois and find it far more comfortable than the Bessons I have played in the past. It is about the same size as my Besson EEb, due to the 4th valve slide being tucked up the side of the 3rd Valve slide. I am sure there are plenty of players out there who have tried and don't like the Courtois, but I ilke it becasue I have played it for 7 years, and didn't have to pay for it :wink:
    It was actually picked up for just over £3.5K newish

    I would imagine that you can pick them up pretty cheaply second hand as no b***** wants one :eek:


    I am willing to try anything!:rolleyes:
  20. Andrew Wood

    Andrew Wood New Member

    The Yamaha Maestro plays nicely with a massive sound! Much lighter than the Besson Sov, so better on the march.

    The leadpipe is set slightly lower on on the Yamaha too.

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