Which Brand and model for tubas?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Okiedokie of Oz, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    As mentioned in my other topic, I need to replace Bessie, my baby E Flat. Peter suggested starting a new topic, which should be a good idea as I have searched this place and it's never been discussed principally. This way, it's always here should someone need to know later.


    Bessie was a Besson, recommended to me by my eupho playing teacher. Should I keep looking for Bessons? Which one??

    Should I look elsewhere? I don't mind the Hirschbrunners, although they appear a tad hard to find in Australia!!

    Thoughts people?? I'll help...insurance is paying, so let's not hold back!!
  2. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    I've only ever played extensively on Besson Sovereigns and Yamaha Maestros. They are both good instruments. I prefer the Maestro as it stands (been playing on it for a good 3 years now), but both are good instruments. I find the Yamaha more comfortable to hold, and has a much larger bore than the sov, making it easier to project and gives it a good lower register. I find the way the leadpipe bends on most sovs offers a bit too much resistance for me, but it depends what you prefer. Depends what you use it most for... if it's brass band stuff then what are the rest of your section playing on? Best to keep both Ebs on the same make for the purposes of blend/intonation I find.
  3. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I heard on the grapevine that Courtois was quite a good make.
  4. ted

    ted Member

    I think it would be wise to have a chat to Steve Rosse.

    Disclaimer: this is not an ad, i don't even know him personally. He is the Principal Tuba of Sydney Symphony Orchestra who is also selling tuba and euphoniums on the side.

  5. ben.gernon

    ben.gernon Member

    I think the sovereign has a much richer tone to it! I've just bought a soveriegn and the overall sound and tone production is really good-Maestros are easier to play but sound hard and not as rich as sovs! I have also been recommended to try a courtois bass by a top eb bass player-but never have. Try all three and see what you like-at the end of the day it's your choice-it's whatever floats your boat! :D
  6. Tuba Miriam

    Tuba Miriam Member

    Miraphone are releasing a new range of piston valve tubas in Europe, which had a good review in Essential Brass magazine- I don't know when and if these will be available in Oz. Has anyone had a blow on one?

    Also, does anyone know how Wilson tubas play?
  7. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    I had a Courtois on trial for quite some time three or four years ago when I needed to replace my old Sovereign, and to be perfectly honest it never really happened for me. I'm a smallish guy and the valves were too far apart from each other! sounds crazy but my little fingers just couldn't cope.

    I've played a Maestro for the past three years. My first one was brilliant but it got irreparably damaged on a flight from the US so I had to get another one. I totally loved the first one but the second one gives me slight problems - however I will say that you get one hell of a noise from the Maestro but I find that you really need to work hard to get a consistent sound throughout the range, or is it that I just don't practise hard enough :!: :!: :?

    Paul Drury
    Edinburgh Gorgie Band
    Unison Kinneil
    Fuoco Brass
  8. bassinthebathroom

    bassinthebathroom Active Member

    I play a Yamaha Maestro and I can completely agree with what Chris mentioned. It has a really big sound generally, and is also very flexible, but I would definately agree that you should try, if possible, to match with the other Eb player, and, generally, Brass Band tubas tend to be Sovereigns. I play on the bands Sov when I go to EYMS rehearsals for logisitcal purposes. The other Basses at Uni are Sovs, so there are a few intonation problems with my Maestro (as any of the band will no doubt tell you!!).
    I've had my Maestro for almost 3 years now, and I chose that because, at the time, I was doing/planning to do quite a lot of Orchestral and Wind Band work, for which I found it very suitable.
    Hope this helps! :D
  9. bassinthebathroom

    bassinthebathroom Active Member

    We had a demo from Marcus Theinart of Miraphone at Salford before Xmas. Though I didn't get a chance to have a go on one, the feeback from the other guys is good. Robust and sturdy by all accounts, aswell as having a full sound.
  10. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

  11. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I finally heard back from Steve Rosse at Tubamania. AS I am brass banding, he said stick with the Besson, but go 982. Freeer blowing and more compact (supposedly?????).

    A brand I'd like to know more about is Hirsbrunner. They appear to mmake gorgoues instruments (to look at). Anyone played one??
  12. Robin Norman

    Robin Norman Member

    I have just replaced my Tuba having been playing on a Yamaha Maestro for the last 3 1/2 years.

    Apologies to contradict everyone else but my reason for changing was that I found the Maestro too 'lightweight'. To physically hold it is substantially lighter than a Sovereign etc. but I found that the sound just broke up in the band at anything substantially loud.

    However, having said that,it was fantastic for smaller ensemble work and solos and I wish I could have afforded to keep it purely for that; it just struggled at real 'symphonic' volumes for me.

    After trying several tubas out (including the 'New' Maestro, Sovereign, Miraphones and Courtois) I have gone for the Courtois Symphonic 181. A real heavyweight monster of an instrument I have found it very easy-blowing throughout the entire range and in a very short space of time have managed to really improve my depth of sound. A little-known fact here, the Courtois and B&S tubas are almost identical and are both actually made by Meinl in Germany before being shipped to France and Germany respectively to be lacquered and badged. It is widely regarded that Meinl make the best tubas in the world so this may explain the quality of build.

    On the subject of the Miraphone tubas I have tried these out twice now and the first one I had (a request to try from a European dealer friend) was fantastic. However the one I got on appro recently was awful,'stuffy' and out of tune with itself. Upon closer investigation with other tuba friends it appears that the Miraphone is 'hit or miss' situation; you could get the best tuba you've ever played or you could get an absolute dog of an instrument. Apparently the valves take a lot of working in as well.

    Anyway, enough of my witterings. I hope that it has helped.
  13. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Is that Meinl, as in Meinl Westen?
  14. Robin Norman

    Robin Norman Member

    Yes, that's right
  15. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    Sorry to hear that, the valve block was spaced to fit my hands as they are quite average I thought, also the distance of the valves from the bow. The leadpipe was was postioned between that of the Besson 981 and 982 where I felt it was most comfortable.

    The Courtois is still the tuba I choose to play in band, after playing one for 6 years or so now I find that any other model breaks up soundwise when played at full pelt. They are also the most open tuba's in the low register I've ever played.
    No science from me on how they do that - it just works. Give one a go.

  16. If I could have any Tuba in the world, I would have to pick a Meinl 6/4 size CC Bass. I had a go on one at the tuba weekend at the RNCM.

    Wow! :eek:

    There was no resistance, the valves (rotary) just glided without any effort and the sound was so round and full

    Ok, you don't get CC tubas in brass bands, but we're not all banders here. Are we ... ? :?

    Not to upset any previous recommendations but i can't stand yahama Tubas :roll: , Courtois E-flats are fairly decent, don't think much of the B-flats, you can't go wrong with a Besson Sovereign, don't mention the word 'imperial' :evil: to me and that's about my knowledge of different makes of tuba.

    P.S. Oh yeah, Miraphone are pretty good also
  17. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I've played that CC I think. It is a darn nice tuba, if it's the one I'm thinking of. It's what gave me my love of CC's.

    Besson is releasing a CC, btw. If it's a compromise of the EEb and BBb, it could have some potential, I think.

    I'm pricing a courtois for my research. It sounds cheaper than a Sov, but I may have to wait until June/July :cry:
  18. Roger13

    Roger13 New Member

    I've been through the old 'Imperial' and several Sovereigns. Some time ago my band bought an entire set of Yamaha instruments. I hated the Yamaha EEb (681) and persisted with my old Imperial. However, guilt got the better of me and I sent my trusty old Imp off for an overhaul, which forced me to persevere with the Yamaha. I'm really glad I did as I wouldn't swap it for the world. It's easy blowing, beautifully and intelligently made (none of those infuriating fine threads on the valve casings which get 'crossed' when you're in a hurry) and best of all it's relative intonation is excellent. Every Sovereign I've played tries very hard to go as flat as yesterday's dishwater above the stave, which I find hard work. I've heard good things about the Maestro and Cortuois basses but have not had the opportunity to road test them. Still, I live in hope...
  19. JDH

    JDH Member

    Until recently I had a B&S EEb tuba. It played beautiful with good full register and nice sound. However I found the valves had to be cleaned and oiled almost daily if I was not to have sticking problems. I may have just been unlucky, but found this a real pain so with regret let it go.

    If you want an EEb tuba with a real difference, then I would suggest trying the Meinl-Weston 2040/5 with 5 rotary valves sold by Mr.Tuba in South Wales. I am currently trialling one and really love it. Very lyrical, plenty of power, great flexibility of tone, excellent in high and low register and to my supprise I can articulate better than I ever have on a traditional piston valve tuba. I am finding it amazingly easy to get used to the rotary valves which have so far been trouble free. I am proposing to get it for orchestral playing for which I think it will be ideal (good as a substitute for F and CC tuba). On trial, I have also played it in band and comments on its sound have been universally favourible. A truly remarkable tuba!

    I have also got a trusty old Besson Sovereign 981 EEb with the low mouthpiece which I am retaining for band playing. I love the rich Sovereign sound and would not part with it for anything!
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I have a Maestro YEB-632S from new and preferred it to a sovereign for many of the reasons mentioned above and also because it is well made and didn't want to 'run the guantlet' trying to find a sovereign that didn't have a fault in it's construction (... post lottery blues syndrome! :frown: ).

    People may comment that the sound is hard simply because they are used to the resistance found with the sovereigns, but it might be a case of finding a suitable mouthpiece to help project the sound a little more in the brass band environment. One thing to be wary about (especially in the newer 632 model) is the thinner construction of the bell! It doesn't like music stands and can pick up dents a little more easily. Tuning in the instrument is much superior to the Sov. and valve action is lighter and faster. Only other problem I have found is trying to get replacement parts, e.g., springs and felts! Brass instrument suppliers in the UK just don't seem to stock any spares! :(