What's your tuba of choice?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Tubafreak, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Tubafreak

    Tubafreak New Member

    Here's one for my brother bassists in the UK.What brand of horns do you use?Is Besson/Boosey & Hawkes the prominent tuba in a brass band? Those shure are good horns.I haven't seen any of the newer models,though.Do they still build them as stout as tanks or have they gone to thinner brass and shoddy workmanship like so many other manufacturers? Over here in my neck of the woods,it seems that the younger tubists all go for the latest trend horn.Us older fellas stick with our tried and true favorites. I think it's kind of odd that so few Eb basses are being used in the US.They don't even teach Eb tuba in school.I thinkit's neat that you Brittish folks score parts specifficaly for Eb and BBb respectively.
    Personaly, I play both Eb and BBb horns,but I regretibly ad to sell my 1921 Holton Eb.
    I have a Mirafone bell front and an older Besson compensator, both BBb.Both horns are great,in my oppinion.It's hard to compare them as each has it's own characteristics.The main advantage of both tubas is that I was able to afford them. Well, I'm done typing.Now it's your turn.Feel free to pm me if youd like to exchange words.
  2. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Choice of Eb would be
    1. Miraphone ( British Style ) comp - build quality is very good
    2.982 Besson Sov - Lower Mouthpipe ( same model as old 981 sov )
    3.980 Besson Sov - 17 inch bell ( as used by Tubalate ) brilliant sounding instrument , fantastic build quality really rich and powerful in lower register.

    1.992 Sov ( 1988 ) played one at Point of Ayr for years
    2.994 Sov ( 1994 ) current istrument at Beaumaris
    3.994 Sov ( 2000) new model Bb , played on at Point of Ayr and Wire and on depping jobs , plays like an Eb , rich dark and pretty nimble bit tricky to reach 4th Valve with a plaster cast or short arm but a tidy instrument.

    Personal Preference in instrument is Laq .
  3. Tubafreak

    Tubafreak New Member

    What brands are popular over on your side of the pond?
  4. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Can't speak for all bass players, but I have played on Besson's for a while now, and find them practical for what I need to do. I did play on a Courtois BBb 182 but had to give that back to my brother. The one benefit of the Courtois is that it is compacted to approx the size of a Sovereign EEb. Easier to play for the vertically challenge. I own a sovereign EEb, and haven't had any major problems, once I tuned up the damn thing, which took about one week of 20 minutes a day :sup I play on a sov BBb (non compensating, but luckily haven't had a pedal Db / C# yet) at present but am looking for a donation to buy a brand spanking new one. All cheques to Laserbeam Bass appeal for a new tuba, registered charity ( I Wish ) 123456789
  5. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    I didn't know Besson made a non compensation BBb Sovereign , I thought all Sovs (4valves)had the compensating loop I don't think Besson made a 3 valve sov instrument) , that was the difference between the international and 700 series.

    If I had the cash to buy an instrument It would be a miraphone Eb ,I have tried a yamaha Eb and Bb ( 4 valve block )just seemed a bit flimsy and too edgy when you give it a bit of abuse.
    Besson Sovs are a good alrounder as I have posted try the 980 model , very tidy instrument to play on.
  6. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Unless the instrument is just so badly out of tune, that from Bottom F downwards you have to knock it down a semitone, with the exception of Db / C# which cannot be played, I believe it is non compensating. It is a 794, but is quite old, exact age unknown. Doesn't matter though as I and my fellow BB in the band are getting really good at reading it down a semitone when required.
  7. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    It sounds like a besson 700 Series I have seen a band with Besson silverplate Bb tubas which are called the International ( no compensating loop on the 3rd valve) , different beast to a sov , it's like playing a Yamaha.really easy to rip notes and it a bit easy to blow , they are generally good instruments.
  8. Tubafreak

    Tubafreak New Member

    What model is my Besson? It's a silverplated BBb 3 valve comper.The serial number dates it to the early 1950's. 40 inches long wit a 17 1/2 inch bell. Sweet heavy duty tuba, the only problem is that it tarnishes to black fairly quickly. On the valve casing, beneath the serial number it says Brevette.I'd like to find out where I can get the propper sized felts and corks so I can allign the valves correctly.
  9. tubadaz

    tubadaz Member

    My favourite Tuba is also the best one I've ever played. :) It's my 1987 Sovereign Eb.
    My other "Tuba" is my 1950 Holton BBb Sousaphone. It comes a close second in the playability stakes!! :)
    That said, I don't play either of them very much at the moment as I'm mainly playing Bass Trombone! :p

  10. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I like to think that it's not just because I shelled out a significant part of my inheritence on it, but for all around playing, the Courtois is the best Bass I've played on.

    The Imperial Bb I used to play at Harlow was unique in that it could play Gregson's Partita without any help from me, but the Courtois is still my choice of Tuba.
  11. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    It's certainly the best F tuba I have ever played on :wink:
  12. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    *coughs* Chaucer *coughs*
  13. JR

    JR Member

    hopefully anything other than the 4 employed by Central Florida last Saturday (sorry)

    john r
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Talking to some of them on Sunday, they were saying that one of their priorities is to change the tubas ;)
  15. tubaloopy

    tubaloopy Member


    Never had a choice, always just played the one given to me by the band.

    I dont think it really matters, as long as it blows.
  16. tubaloopy

    tubaloopy Member

    If I had the money to buy a new tuba though, I would probably buy..........

    ................a new car.
  17. Tubafreak

    Tubafreak New Member

    There are alot of dream horns out there that I will never own. The biggest selling point for me is the price. If I can't afford it, I can't buy it. I started on a cheap e-bay fixer-upper, and played it for a while, sold it for a profit and repeated the cycle, throwing in a couple of hundred dollars to step up. Now I have two of my favorite horns, with cash out of pocket at a minimum.
  18. bbbluey

    bbbluey Member

    For all round performance I would agree Will. The Courtois tubas are excellent machines. All it needs is the player to master the instrument:clap:
  19. Toxophile

    Toxophile Member

    I think you have missed one off your list Darryl, I know for a fact that you are a real fan of a certain Eb you play from time to time. I've heard you say how nicely it plays :)
  20. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    Not sure that I undertstand what you mean. I thought that the Sovereign with the larger leadpipe (albeit not straight like the original 981 but not as curved as the 982) was still called a 981.