New or Second hand

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Tubby, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Tubby

    Tubby Member

    The tuba's in our band our 20+ years old Soverigns, which are a bit battered and tired. The question is do we get them refurbbed or by new possibly York's or Wilsons.
  2. sooze booze

    sooze booze Member

    Only 1 era of basses better than the 20 year old bessons and thats the B&H Imperials of 30 years ago, however we have just got a set of York's and there as near to the old imperials as I have played guess it comes down to finance.
  3. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I agree completely, and I've played them all.

    The 20 year old Besson New Standards and 1970's B&H Imperials are sheer quality to play.
    Not like the 1990's Lottery Sovs with plastic valve guides, thinner metal (Whatever the company says) and no guard plates on the bows.

    The lacquer ones dinted if you looked at them !!
    (Whilst no doubt examining the "Black Spot discolouration that affected most lacquered instruments.)

    I gave up committed banding last year having played various Sovs for the past 10 years, and all the rest over the previous 40.
    Having handed in my Band Sov I bought myself a wide bell Besson New Standard and the difference is amazing.
    It makes the Sov feel and sound like a Toy Town Tin Whistle !!
    (Almost as bad as the Curtois EEbs which were not even in tune with themselves.)

    I would deffo have your band tubas refurbed.
    Better than buying new sub standard gear.
    Only my opinion of course.
    - Wilkie


    I agree.After playing sovereigns for the past 30 years,I have finally found a bass with near perfect tuning over the whole range....its an IMPERIAL and its had a sovereign lead pipe fitted to it to take the Allience H2 mouthpiece,I agree Wilky they don t make em as good now do they ?
  5. tojo

    tojo Member

    totally agree dont even consider the new ones
  6. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    I, too, have gone back to an Imperial BBb, and anything after a 992 seemed to go backwards.

    Re condition the one's you have!!
  7. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    I can't comment on Yorks or Wilsons, not played on them. But can re-inforce previous comments that the 20year plus sovereigns and imperials are quality instruments built to last. My oldish Sovereign looks like new and plays sweetly for me.
    Get em re-furbed!
  8. BIG Paul

    BIG Paul Member

    If you do decide to replace, our band may be interested in purchasing the old ones, as we can't afford new and one of oue EEb is to returned after a period of loan so we are definately looking for at least one replacement.
  9. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I have my old sovereign which I keep at home to practice and for marching jobs. Our band have recently bought some york instruments, including 3 new basses. I have a brand new york bass, which I've had for about 6 months.

    I do prefer the York, lot easier to play. Problem is you can't take it out for marching jobs, hence the reason we have kept the old soveriegn as they do dent very easily. I have a minor nick and how its happened, I don't know.

    They take a few months to "break them in". On the whole I prefer Yorks.

    (Just to be different!!)
  10. tojo

    tojo Member

    will never match up to my 25 year old soverign
  11. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I'd get them restored, Mine is 17 years old and I recently had it restored and it came up great.
    better than new as it had some problem with the main tuning slide not fitting properly ( i needed to fill the gap with slide grease ) and now it fits as it should.
  12. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member


    Whilst the tuning on the Courtois tuba is not exactly the same as the Besson they are bang in tune (even with themselves). I have both, a 1988 Besson and a 1996 Courtois and play them both regularly although I'm thinking of selling the Besson because, as lovely an instrument as it is, the Courtois is much more open and freer blowing (we all know about the stuffy 4th valve on Bessons of this era). It took time to get used to not having to unconsciously lip notes up or down when I moved from the Sovereign (my third and they all played the same) and for some years I've really enjoyed playing the Courtois. It's played in some decent performances too! :)
    Perhaps you had a bad one; perhaps you played a few bad ones - I believe there was a change to manufacturing at some point in the early years of development.
    If you're ever in the Midlands on a Monday or Wednesday and fancy a toot on mine you're more than welcome to pop to a rehearsal.



    That s good news Andy,I thought that I was the only one complaining about the newish BB basses that have been thrust upon us in recent years !For years the first valve tuning has been suspect,but on the Imperial its perfect.When I told Grezzy about the Imperial,he wanted it too !Simon tells me he is working with Yamaha on a new bass....Guess what..its got the same specs and bore size of the Imperial.I think instruments have gone backwards,basses have been the worst of the lot.I m happy with the bands Imperial,when I see another for sale I m having it !:clap:

    ROBTHEDOG Member

    The utilmate was the 19" bell Imperial with a larger Sovereign leader-pipe to replace the restricyive bent one.. I had one years ago.. In fact I know a guy who has John Fletcher's old one !!!
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Isn't the new Sovereign based around that design (with the Fletcher lead pipe)??
  16. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I've got to come clean here Phil and admit that I've never played a Curtois, but a mate of mine had one at Wakey Met and told me all about the tuning probs.
    It went back several times to have slides altered and even had to have the mouthpiece pipe adjusted.
    It must have been a "Bad 'un"
    So I must admit that my Curtois comments were heresay which wasn't really fair.

    I appreciate your kind invite to pop in for a blow if I'm in the area.
    I do get to the Midlands a couple of times or so in the Summer, and if there's a possibility I'll email you for details.

    - Ian W.
  17. Tubby

    Tubby Member

    I heard on the grapevine that Sovereigns are now being made in Germany? Do you think this will make a difference? I love my Sovereign it has the usual problem of a bunged up sound on the 4th valve etc but still has a lovely mellow tone, I just hope that my band will get us a few different brands to try before thrusting one particular instrument at us!


    Does anyone else remember the bad old days in the eighties when Besson made hundreds of BB basses that had to be sent back! when the bass was placed on a chair or a bass stand it was impossible to play as the mouthpiece was level with the players forehead ! the only way to play it was to rest the bass on a beer crate in front of your chair, the instrument was perfect for someone 7 foot tall but useless for anyone else.Mine was sent back to have the leadpipe lowered, but the finish and build quality was rubbish and it was still out of tune.
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    All true. I was speaking to Tim Barrett about the new Sovereign and although I didn't try it, he assured me that the most recent design has the qualities of the classic Imperial/Sovereign but with German workmanship. Jimmy Gourlay is chuffed to bits with it & took one on his recent visit to the U.S.A. But saying that, it is always better to test the field thoroughly to make up your mind.
  20. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Stuart, there's been a post on here today with someone from Donny selling a BBb Imperial, here's the link.