Small bore tuba advice needed!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Colin D, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Colin D

    Colin D Member


    I have a old small bore "Lafleur Alliance" E flat tuba for a pupil to learn on, at first I thought it had been mistakenly handed over to me with a trombone mouthpiece, but it turns out my large bore tenor trom mouthpiece (5G) is actually too big to fit in the leadpipe! The mouthpiece supplied is a Boosey & Hawkes "Kosikup 1 1/2".

    So, any tuba players out there who learnt to play / still play on a similar small bore tuba? If so, do you have any mouthpiece recommendations - the "Kosikup" seems a little small on cup size, but to be honest I've been born and raised on modern large bore instruments. It has the feel of a standard medium bore tenor trom mouthpiece, perhaps a little deeper? My pupil has had a few weeks playing a John Packer 177 mini-E flat, which has a much bigger sound to it - the low C on the Lafleur feels quite difficult to control at anything more than a moderate dynamic. Probably just needs a bit of getting used to, but any advice gratefully received!


  2. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I played one for a while when I was a lad. They are poor instruments and do not give a prospective young tuba player a fair chance. I would bin it !

    - Mr Wilx
  3. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    if you need a small Eb, i would recommend the York Prescience, there may not be too many of them around and it is a bit pricey, but it has a standard size receiver so takes a normal mouthpiece. It blows easily and looks and sound great.
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    If you are looking for mouthpieces, won't the standard range Wicks fit? They regularly get auctioned on eBay.
  5. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    no they don't, the standard wick fit the imperial range, these instruments were smaller than that
  6. Colin D

    Colin D Member

    It is a bit of a strange instrument to be honest - having had a quick blow myself I can tootle around the top G register with ease, but heading into "normal" bass range, the playing gets a bit unsteady.
  7. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Make a good plant pot.
  8. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Seconded. Played one with a wind band once. Horrible old thing. Impossible to centre a note, nothing at all below a middle G in it and useless for modern (that is to say 20th century) repertoire.

    A secondhand new standard, imperial or 700 series is a much better student model, and available relatively cheaply.
  9. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

  10. Matthew

    Matthew Active Member

    I learnt to play on one of these at the tender age of 14 - can't remember mouthpiece size but sounds similar to what you've posted this one has.

    It was a rubbish instrument - dented, knackered, etc. I got to about grade 5 on it before I had a decent instrument. It really makes you appreciate what a compensating model can then do for your playing. I think sometimes kids can learn on too good instruments at first - they won't realise the difference a better instrument can then make - all round.

    I'm with the others - if it's really rubbish, get an old Imperial EEb, 3 valve model to learn on; much better than the overpriced student stuff about.
  11. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Sound advice. (No pun intended!)

    - Mr Wilx
  12. Colin D

    Colin D Member

    Thanks for the replies.

    The lad in question is only 9, although quite tall for his age. He seems pretty keen, and he can get a very nice sound out of a standard instrument so I don't want him to lose his enthusiasm. I can appreciate that £500 is not much for a tuba, but understandably his parents are not quite so willing to part with cash when he's only just started playing!

    Hopefully after a few months he will have "proved" that he is willing to give it a good go in the band and isn't going to use the instrument as a goalpost, so maybe a different instrument will become available then. The lure of Whit Friday / march competitions / Butlins and the fact that his big sister plays as well should solve that!

    Besides, learning to play on a crummy instrument is all part of the initiation process isn't it?!

    Thanks again,

  13. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Somewhere I have a turned down Wick which should fit OK.
    If I can find it I'll let you have it free.
  14. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I learnt to play on a lafleur and was glad to get off it onto something decent. It's hard to teach kids on somthing that an experienced player can't get a good sound out of.
    If an experienced player can't play a scale on it in tune. H-O-W do you expect a learner to ever learn tuning and intonation. this would be more of a hinderance than a help in a teaching situation.
    An instument like this to learn on is why we are getting less and less people playing Bass.
  15. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    we used to send small boys up chimneys too, just because we learned on poor instruments is no real excuse for continuing to do so.
  16. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    i'l second that. as per my post above. If experienced player can't produce a good sound in tune how can a learner make a good job on a Naff instrument.
  17. Colin D

    Colin D Member

    Used to? We still do that in Derbyshire...

    All fair points, I will try my best to get something else, I promise, but sometimes you can only work with the tools you are given!

  18. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Try and get a Boosey & Hawkes Regent 3 valve. a much better learning tool.
  19. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    Agreed - I use a 3-valve Regent for quintet, carolling and (in an emergency) orchestral work - it's good for me as it doesn't seem to demand much more air than the bass trombone to get a good bark out of it. It's a 30-year-old instrument that was rescued from a skip, and at that point probably hadn't had either a case or bath for most of that time... cleaned up beautifully though.
  20. pbirch

    pbirch Active Member

    The regent is a nice little tuba, but it will have the same problem posed in the original question, the lead pipe receiver is too small for modern mouthpieces

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