Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Tubazz, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Tubazz

    Tubazz Member

    Hi, has anyone tried out a Wessex tuba Bb or Eb?i have just seen them advertised


    I have also seen the advert and they look too good to be true,I like the Miraphone lookalike BB with forward facing valves....wonder what they sound and play like?
  3. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    give the man a call and find out. remember, that a large part of a "believable price" might just be down to the brand name on the instrument
  4. JDH

    JDH Member

    I am the man selling Wessex Tubas instruments, so will try to answer your questions.

    The price is kept down to such a reasonable level through us getting the tubas made in China where labour costs are much lower than Europe, but nothing is sacrificed in quality and these tubas are as well made and play just as well (if not better) than ones from 'brand' names costing three times, or more the amount. I play with Wantage A Silver Band (Championship section) where both the compensated EEb and BBb were 'road-tested' with the band this autumn including using in contest. They were found to blow well, have excellent intonation with full tone which blended well with the Sovereign's. Feedback from the bass section and conductor has been very positive and we hope to have full section of Wessex tubas in Wantage for the regional contest this coming March.

    Wessex Tubas had trade stand at the National Championship's at the RAH in October and got some players from the premier bands trying with such comments as "wow! - these play better than our...". For an independent review also see the December Brass Herald magazine where they are assessed by London pro tubist Jonathan Rees.

    You are welcome to visit us in Andover, Hampshire and play test for yourself by appointment, or we will have trade stand at the Festival of Brass at the RNCM, Manchester on 28/29 January, at Blackpool regional on 26th February and Torquay regional on 10/11 March. Otherwise we give a two week period to return for refund if not satisfied with purchase, although of over 60 instruments sold to date, not a single one has been returned.

    We currently have the compensated EEb and forward facing valve BBb tuba in stock and will be getting in batch of the compensated BBb middle of January.

    If you are thinking of buying tuba, then it would be worth checking out ours before purchase and possibly save yourself a lot of money!

    Do feel free to phone me on 07787 504987 if you have any questions.



    Thanks for the swift reply to our questions,I am involved with the Steel Industry and have seen and examined products that are coming from factories in China and the Far East and I have to admit that they are putting other countries to shame.I have been asking for information on the Virtuosi BB bass,but have had no luck.I hope to attend the Blackpool area and look forward to seeing the tubas.
  6. Tubazz

    Tubazz Member

    I would still like to hear from someone who has blown a Wessex tuba,i have no dought that the quality will be good ,as if it was not so good brass bandsmen wont buy it ,many years ago i when i started playing the tuba i played on a yamaha
    with 4 valve across the top (pre 1980s) and it was very poor, i never actually knew anyone else who played on one,
  7. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    I played a Yamaha 321 briefly and hated it, the sound was as good as the imperial but the ergonomics of the valves were terrible. Interestingly though, the americans seem to like them. Like many things manufactured in the far east they started out being of poor quality but have improved exponentially in the decades since.
  8. JDH

    JDH Member

    I recorded a study on YouTube today playing the EEb. Not my best playing, but gives you some idea of its warm tone which is so near to a Sovereign 981 that in blind test 40% of tuba players could not identify it from a 1980's Sovereign.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  9. sousaphone68

    sousaphone68 New Member

    Wessex Tubas my experience

    Hello I bought an Eb tuba from Wessex Tubas last june its model number is jb700 my one is not engraved Wessex Tubas but from online reading and from info supplied by Jonathan it was made by Jin Bao in China.

    I had been searching for about 2 years for a used Besson 981 but good ones dont come up at all in Ireland and very rarely in the UK and those that did sold very quicky and for more than I wanted to pay for one.

    So I started looking into a new Asian tuba but was put off by long lead times and the prospect of expensive shipping if I had to send it back plus my previous experience of Stagg instruments had not been good.

    I then stumbled across Jonathan and after researching both him and the brand Jin Bao, I decided to buy one from him. I had only a couple requirements and I made them clear to Jonathan at the out set it had to be in tune and had to be shipped insured as if arrived damaged or not in tune then I was going to return it and look for my money back.

    The good news was the tuba arrived safely and played in tune.

    It was my first ever new tuba and it took me a little time to break the tuba in. I had a small problem with one of the valve guides being a little scratchy and the felts not been all that I expected but Jonathan sent me new pads and new valve guides and I was good to go.

    The tuba itself is easy blowing and has a very good bottom range with the pedal tones in tune. My original tuba is a Besson New Standard 4 valve Eb the bigger bore and larger Denis Wicke mouthpiece that I use with the JB700 have added an extra usable octave to my range which suprised me.

    You can hear the tuba both on its own and with the bands I play with by searching for sousaphone68 on youtube I have a side by side playing with a 981 on youtube as well. I have had no problems with intonation or blending in with the rest of the brass section in either band that I play with.

    There are only 2 drawbacks to the JB700 first is its foam body case is enormous much bigger than a Besson hardcase it does protect it well but it is too big for most saloon cars.
    Second is the lacquer finish, I play about 16 hours a week and I was very carefull not to wear a watch or big belt buckle when playing and wiped it down after each practice and use a tuba stand when not playing but it still has lost its finish wherever my hands rest on it. So if i could go back in time I would have bought it in silver plate. The overall finish of the tuba is good the slides all pull with a nice pop. I look forward to playing it every day when I get im from work. I have found that it needs a big room for the player to really enjoy it and for the tone to be heard by the player it took me quite awhile to get used to the 19" bell.

    I would recommend that anybody thinking of buying a tuba should contact Jonathan as he seems to always have some tubas in stock to try before you buy.

    I found the experience of buying from Wessex Tubas to easy and straight forward and have bought a travel tuba and a sousaphone case from him as well and have no hesitation in recommending him to other tuba players.

    Noel Carrick
    St James Brass and Reed Dublin,
    Mullingar Town Band
  10. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Never mind the tuba; dig that amazing music stand!
  11. bobbyp

    bobbyp Member

    I had a fantastic day at Jonathans just before christmas!

    I didnt try the compensating Bb but the Eb to me felt like the older bessons. It wasnt quite as good as the old besson i used to play, but apart from that particular instrument (which used to be played in the cbso for however many years) it was better than most other sovereigns i have played (in fact ive only played two better, and ive tried alot!), and when you consider the cost of a second hand besson (whatever age), it is exceptionally priced, and probably a better instrument. The only problem i had with it was that i was too tall for the 'fletcher' type leadpipe.

    I went home with a cc tuba though on trial, very in tune and free blowing, (more in tune than some pt's i have tried and much supported by a tuner), great tone, the valves are brilliant and i havent noticed any problems yet - very happy and cant stop playing it!

    I tried the Rotary euphonium in silver plate, which apart from the lack of a fifth valve was gorgeous! The low register needed some alternative fingering as is to be expected for a non-compensating instrument, but it was generally in tune for the little time i played it. In the future id like to buy one of these because it is beautiful! But the next purchase on my list is the bubbie tuba.

    Because of the small bore and the compactness if the bubbie there is a lot of resistance, which if you were to use it as a practice tuba is perfect! It makes you work hard so that when you go back to your usual instrument its very free blowing. To use it for things like bydlo etc however i would have to experiment with mouthpieces though, my own is a bucket (a bayamo for those who know) and isnt too compatible with the smallness of the bubbie. People who play on smaller pieces anyway probably wont find this to be a problem. For practice purposes though i would use my larger one - if i can do it on the bubbie i can do it on my york! Tuning on this instrument is exceptional! Although only having four valves i didnt need any alternative fingerings for the lower registers - i could get concert E below the staff and octave lower perfectly, and everything with a fourth valve combination is brilliant. The mute is also brilliant, and a must have when you buy one.

    Of the two front action Bb's i tried i liked the rotary better than the piston. The rotary version seemed like a Bb version of the cc i took home, but with only four valves. If you dont mind alternative fingerings in the lower register this is a brilliant Bb. The piston version has a fifth valve, but doesnt have as much colour as the rotary version. I dont know how these compare to Jonathans compensating models, but compared to every besson sovereign/boosey imperial compensating Bb ive tried, both of these models are infinitely better in tone, sound and ease of blowing. Im not a fan of Bb instruments, but i liked both of these very much.

    All very good tubas, and very good prices!

    Hope this helps!

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  12. JDH

    JDH Member

    Some of the recent EEb I have received from the factory have come with smaller size case with 2 inches of padding around the tuba, instead of 4 inches. Obviously the larger case provides greater protection (for example flying), but the smaller is easier to transport. At present I have both in stock, so if any buyer has preference, just state and while I have both will be happy to supply in the size case preferred.

    For the lacquer finish coming off I have been playing one since August and have not had that problem myself. I understand that some people have more acidic sweet which takes off lacquer. A friend had that problem with a Courtois euphonium with lacquer wear after only one week. For those people silver-plating is definitely better.

    That music stand was birthday present from my late mother. Too big to take out it permanently resides in my music showroom.

    So pleased you are so enjoying the CC Bob! :D Wessex Tubas is coming to the Birmingham Conservatoire Thursday 5th January with trade stand and Ian Foster is performing solo on the Wessex EEb. Hope to see you.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  13. Tubazz

    Tubazz Member

    am i right in my research that the EEb tuba is 0.7kg lighter than the Besson ?
  14. JDH

    JDH Member

    I think that depends on vintage of Besson as they do seem to have changed weight over the years. My perception doing side by side comparisons (and it is perception because I have not weighed) is that the Wessex EEb is lighter than a 1980's Besson, but heavier than a 1990's
  15. bobbyp

    bobbyp Member

    Ill see you there! :D im playing in the day on my CC :D
  16. Tubazz

    Tubazz Member

    looking at the photo's ,the rings for the marching strap look like they may be in a bit of an uncomfortable position,one on the bottom bow the other on the main bell,will have to imagine it when i get my tuba out this afternoon
  17. JDH

    JDH Member

    The EEb has the rings in the German positions with intention of the strap (provided with tuba) going over the left shoulder. It does work. Here is picture showing me marching with tuba (I am on left)


    The BBb has the rings in the normal British position
  18. Tubazz

    Tubazz Member

    but they don't get in the way in the sitting position? is the music liar any more stable when marching? as it is attached to the lead pipe i think
  19. JDH

    JDH Member

    I have never had any problem with the hooks in sitting position and no customer has reported any problems. The hooks do not stick out as much as on a Besson.

    The lyre block position means that not so long lyre stick is required which does aid stability marching.
  20. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    The last time I spent any time playing A Sovereign EEb the hook lost the battle with my stomach and fell off.

    I am currently doing battle with another hook

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