Page 9 of 18 FirstFirst ... 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 ... LastLast
Results 121 to 135 of 256

Thread: Where have all the Bb bass players gone?

  1. #121
    tMP Master Friend
    Join Date
    25.09.2006
    Location
    BARNSLEY SOUTH YORKS
    Posts
    618

    Bb basses

    Quote Originally Posted by Laserbeam bass View Post
    Wuss!
    Quote Originally Posted by Hove Edge View Post
    You tried any new tuba`s Stuart?
    Yes Ihave tried a few,but I don t want to risk being banned from this forum for publishing my findings Simon ! Ill stick to the peashooter for now !

  2. #122
    tMP Senior Friend toby hobson's Avatar
    Join Date
    31.05.2004
    Posts
    470
    I think it isnít a lack of Bb bass players that is the issue; itís a lack of players generally. Remember the reason Brass Bands write their Bb bass parts in treble clef is so traditionally cornets/euphs and bari's who were not making the grade or who had sudden embouchure growth or simply fancied a change could move onto the bigger instrument and only have to concentrate on the mechanics of playing as opposed to a whole new clef and a new set of fingerings. I doubt Bb bass players were ever produced in great numbers from scratch, I guess most of them came via smaller instruments simply because of the practicalities of young kids holding/playing/transporting and generally manipulating a big beast of an instrument and not being put off by the physical effort needed to make said instrument sound any good at a tender age.
    As a teacher, I unashamedly play the numbers game. When I started out, a wise old teacher said to me something along these lines, if you want to produce 5 good players, start a hundred off. Out of that hundred 50 will have some potential, of that 50, twenty will have the ability/graft to do their grade 3,4,5 of that 20, TEN will have the necessary talent and range potential to become good and of that ten 5 will have the work ethic to become a top player.
    The trouble banding has is a lack of kids seeing things through to their individual cut off point, wanting to be the best at something is seen as a bad attitude these days so a lack of drive from kids is filtering through the system which means the most awkward instrument to play is suffering first. But I fear it wonít stop at the Kaiser bass, eventually if we donít start replacing ourselves by each player starting 10 kids off, all the instruments will suffer in the long run. So of that original 100 kids, the few who fall by the wayside due to the numbers game should maybe be offered the chance to try the Bb Bombardon in larger numbers and maybe of those 30 or so kids, 10 who get that chance will have potential and 3 may end up in top banding.....

  3. #123
    tMP Newbie
    Join Date
    27.02.2012
    Posts
    3
    This forum is full of valid points and opinions, here are some of my own.
    In my opinion, there are many reasons for lack of b flat bass players.
    As pointed out in previous posts, there is a lack of grass roots encouragement with the instrument. This is similar for other instruments: where are the euphoniums, bass trombones, tenor horns or percussionists (as opposed to kit players) nowadays?
    I think kids who do learn tuba are started out on 3 valve e flats 90 percent of the time. From a logical point of view, this is sensible, because the instrument is small enough for a young player to use. With a 3 valve b flat and 4 valve e flat similar in size, when the student grows a bit bigger, it makes more sense to put them onto the instrument that they are used to, and which is capable of playing more low notes, i.e. the e flat(because the equivalent sized b flat has no 4th valve).

    Another reason, sadly, is the instruments. Since joining Music College, I have had the chance to play many keys and styles of tubas. In my honest opinion, and the opinion of most of the other tuba players I know, the British style b flat bass is one of the worst tuba designs ever to become popular.
    This is taking nothing away from people who play them, I for one am in awe of how many players play such a badly designed instrument so well.
    Before you even blow down the instrument, you have problems. There is no way to hold the instrument comfortably. If you rest it on the chair, you have to lean your head awkwardly to the mouthpiece. If it’s on your lap, the lead pipe is too high and the weight of the instrument makes it slip forward. The fourth valve is hard to reach also. The case is enormous, and rarely fits in a car boot. The instrument is also very heavy, mainly due to the compensating piping, which itself is a waste of time because the instrument still is incredibly hard to play in tune. The instrument itself is extremely difficult to play. My observations are:
    1.the instruments tonal quality disperses above a middle b flat (middle c treble clef)
    2. Whilst long notes sound full at the lower end, any moving parts are fluffy and unfocused.
    3. Certain notes on the instrument seem to 'blurt'.
    4. Notes on the 4th valve are hard to produce unless you are playing at a comfortable volume.
    Because of these reasons, i know several players who have given up playing in a band because they were moved onto b flat
    This said, many players seem to get round these problems and play the instrument well.
    On an interesting note, apparently when besson produced the prototype sovereign b flat bass, they invited several professional players, including their lead consultant at the time, John Fletcher, and several brass band players, to try it out. The professionals said that it was awful, and John Fletcher told Besson that they should scrap the prototype and go back to the drawing board. On the other hand, the brass band players liked the instrument, as it could take dents and avoid serious damage, and liked the similar appearance to the e flat. They also liked that the weight allowed louder playing as it stopped the sound breaking up. Besson realised that most of their business would be selling to brass bands, so pushed ahead with the design regardless.
    The BBb bass is very hard to pick up and play. E flat players don’t like moving across, because of the reasons above. Teachers with experience of playing them are unlikely to encourage students to play them.
    I think bands and players should seriously consider using different types of B flat tuba. Rotary instruments are much easier to pick up and play. Whilst not compensated, the free left hand can move tuning pipes, and the instruments are better made and play more in tune anyway. Front action large pistons are also a large inmprovement.

  4. #124
    tMP Friend
    Join Date
    08.01.2010
    Location
    Holme on Spalding Moor
    Posts
    126
    I'm going to start a thread somewhere else because I think this is related to a different problem with music in schools

  5. #125
    tMP Friend for Life Thirteen Ball's Avatar
    Join Date
    28.04.2004
    Location
    Brighouse, Yorkshire
    Posts
    4,342
    Quote Originally Posted by jp tuba View Post
    Another reason, sadly, is the instruments. Since joining Music College, I have had the chance to play many keys and styles of tubas. In my honest opinion, and the opinion of most of the other tuba players I know, the British style b flat bass is one of the worst tuba designs ever to become popular.
    This is taking nothing away from people who play them, I for one am in awe of how many players play such a badly designed instrument so well.
    Before you even blow down the instrument, you have problems. There is no way to hold the instrument comfortably. If you rest it on the chair, you have to lean your head awkwardly to the mouthpiece. If it’s on your lap, the lead pipe is too high and the weight of the instrument makes it slip forward. The fourth valve is hard to reach also. The case is enormous, and rarely fits in a car boot. The instrument is also very heavy, mainly due to the compensating piping, which itself is a waste of time because the instrument still is incredibly hard to play in tune. The instrument itself is extremely difficult to play. My observations are:
    1.the instruments tonal quality disperses above a middle b flat (middle c treble clef)
    2. Whilst long notes sound full at the lower end, any moving parts are fluffy and unfocused.
    3. Certain notes on the instrument seem to 'blurt'.
    4. Notes on the 4th valve are hard to produce unless you are playing at a comfortable volume.
    Because of these reasons, i know several players who have given up playing in a band because they were moved onto b flat
    This said, many players seem to get round these problems and play the instrument well.
    On an interesting note, apparently when besson produced the prototype sovereign b flat bass, they invited several professional players, including their lead consultant at the time, John Fletcher, and several brass band players, to try it out. The professionals said that it was awful, and John Fletcher told Besson that they should scrap the prototype and go back to the drawing board. On the other hand, the brass band players liked the instrument, as it could take dents and avoid serious damage, and liked the similar appearance to the e flat. They also liked that the weight allowed louder playing as it stopped the sound breaking up. Besson realised that most of their business would be selling to brass bands, so pushed ahead with the design regardless.
    The BBb bass is very hard to pick up and play. E flat players don’t like moving across, because of the reasons above. Teachers with experience of playing them are unlikely to encourage students to play them.
    You make some valid point - others I could disagree with but I've already had the debate about top- action 3+1 tubas vs front-action tubas in other threads - however if you'll forgive me your post reads rather like an attack on the sovereign (the mainstay of band bass sections for many years) just because it's a bit awkward to play - rather than looking at the reasons why this is the case.

    Your example of the pro tuba players arguing the sov was a poor design while the band players liked it is a case in point. Different ensembles want different things from a tuba. The sov may well be largely useless in an orchestral contest - but that's not what it was designed for. A ferrari F40 might be a brilliant car, but it's no use at all on a rally track is it? Horses for courses.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp tuba View Post
    I think bands and players should seriously consider using different types of B flat tuba. Rotary instruments are much easier to pick up and play. Whilst not compensated, the free left hand can move tuning pipes, and the instruments are better made and play more in tune anyway. Front action large pistons are also a large inmprovement.
    The long and the short of it is that the BBb tuba a brass band typically uses is adapted for the role it plays in the ensemble. Yes, it sounds different to other tubas because of the wrap, the valve configuation and the slightly narrower bore than an equivalent front-action BB or CC. That's deliberate. The whole point of a brass band BB is to generate a certain sound. If you move too far away from that, the bottom end of the ensemble doesn't sound like a brass band any more.

    I frankly utterly disagree with your assessment of a compensating system. It's a necessity on a band bass. For the amount of time a band BB player spends in their low register, a non-compensator simply isn't an option as the tuning down there is so horribly poor. As regards the size, that's due to the open wrap of the instrument, which is again, key to the sound. And I know whereof I speak on that, as the band I currently play for has two courtois compact BBs which are wrapped to the size of an Eb in the same way dome front-action BBs are.... and they are worse than useless. I'd have a slightly tatty Sov or Imperial over a new courtois compact anyday. The reponse in all ranges is far superior. OK, a large part of that is probably because courtois have compromised the wrap to incorporate a 3+1 top action valve setup, but it goes to show that if you're going to build a band tuba, then build a band tuba, not a half-breed.

    As regards your point about ergonomics, that can undoubtedly be an issue for a player of a smaller stature - particularly with a Sov or York - however steps are being taken to reduce those problems as well. Have you tried the new yamaha Neo? That's a traditional-wrap top-action 3+1 BB with a full compensating system, but has none of the problems you traditionally associate with a band BB. The 4th valve has been repositioned to allow an easier reach, the leadpipe is lower and more sensibly placed and the valves are shorter-action to allow the technical passages to be played more easily. If you've not played one I'd reccomend giving one a go as it may well change your perspective on them. For me this is very much the way to go. Work on perfecting an instrument that still gives the brass band sound, but doesn't have the difficulties of previous intruments. The reason for this? It was developed in conjunction with a brass band tuba player of exceptional standard - one Simon Greswell.

    Yes, band BBs can be tricky to play because of their design. That's just their nature and a biproduct of the sound they produce. However just because something's hard to play doesn't necessarily make it inferior. By that token we should be advising orchestras to bin their french horns - which are notoriously difficult to play well - and bring in tenor saxhorns in stead. But what would be the point in that? You'd completely destroy the sound created by a bank of frog-horns in the ensemble.

    I've heard bands play with front-action tubas - both piston and rotary. And yes, they can sound good depending on the relative standard of the players - but they don't sound like a brass band bass section, and for me, that's an end of the matter.
    Andi Cook: BBb Bass - Hebden Bridge
    Composer in Residence - Skelmanthorpe

    Find me at www.penninemusic.com and www.kirkleesmusic.co.uk
    Got a piece you want arranging? Email thirteen_ball_music@yahoo.co.uk or tweet @13BallMusic to discuss...

  6. #126
    tMP Senior Friend toby hobson's Avatar
    Join Date
    31.05.2004
    Posts
    470
    I belive Desford, Fodens and others flirted with Euro style Bb basses in the 80s. Appart from the mither of getting them in tune I belive the main issue was when deps came in and couldnt play the things....

  7. #127
    tMP Senior Friend JDH's Avatar
    Join Date
    06.04.2005
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    237
    Quote Originally Posted by toby hobson View Post
    I belive Desford, Fodens and others flirted with Euro style Bb basses in the 80s. Appart from the mither of getting them in tune I belive the main issue was when deps came in and couldnt play the things....
    They did! I was talking to one of the players of those Miraphone 190 BBb at Blackpool on Sunday and he very much liked, although having tried one of those actual tubas myself, they are not up to modern rotary valve BBb standard, such as the Meinl-Weston Fafner which some European brass bands use.

    There is a lot of talk about the sound characteristics of the compensated BBb, but I would think the players and mouthpiece used at least as much, or more influence that sound. It would be interesting in a blind test to see how much changing the type of BBb bass used really affected the band sound.
    Wessex Tubas - Nice playing brass at reasonable prices!

  8. #128
    tMP Friend
    Join Date
    08.01.2010
    Location
    Holme on Spalding Moor
    Posts
    126
    As contests are blind judgings for the most part I wonder how bands that have flirted with different styles of bass have done
    Andrew Sapcote

    "Where there's Muck there's Brass" It's okay to play a cornet and live in a pig sty

  9. #129
    tMP Friend for Life Thirteen Ball's Avatar
    Join Date
    28.04.2004
    Location
    Brighouse, Yorkshire
    Posts
    4,342
    Quote Originally Posted by JDH View Post
    There is a lot of talk about the sound characteristics of the compensated BBb, but I would think the players and mouthpiece used at least as much, or more influence that sound.
    I'd respectfully submit that the schooling the player themself has undergone more effect on the sound than the mouthpiece - hence why american brass bands often sound like they have a trumpet section even when playing on cornets, and why James Morrison produces a very different tone on a euphonium to a brass band player - more akin to a trombone. However this only goes so far, and for me the main defining charcteristics of any instrument are primarily the wrap and the bore. As such, a non-compensated 3v Imperial sounds and plays very much like a compensated 4v - though obviously with more/different tuning issues. However a 4v imperial with the same bore as a modern Sov plays very differently, primarily because the sov has a much more open wrap.

    Like anything else, I think you should play - and to get back to the point encourage students to play - the instrument that sits with the ensemble they play in. If you turn up to a youth orchestra with a conventional bore 3+1 Sov BB and ask for a part in treble clef, you're unlikely to win many friends - or get much to play that suits the instrument. Likewise if you show up to a youth brass band with a non-compensated 4-in-a-row front-action rotary that points the opposite way to the rest of the section, then you're unlikely to help the sound or overall balance - not will you find tuning with the rest of the section easy. If that means you have to play a different instrument in different ensembles then so much the better, because the one will teach you about the other, and vice versa.

    As for blind tests - I've certainly not done any blind tests but on a few occasions have been able to compare bass sections on front-action tubas back to back with sections on top-action brass band basses. I am, of course, not an unbiased observer but for me the traditional shape of tuba blends better with the ensemble - particularly when one considers the design of the euphonium and how often the 6 work together. I've nothing particularly against the sound of a section of players on more orchestral-style front action basses, other than a certain uncertainty of tuning/intonation in the low/pedal register, but even when well-played it just doesn't sound like a brass band to me. There's a certain darkness and warmth that's missing - which oddly I don't think comes from the basses at all, but from the interaction of their sound with the middle of the band.
    Andi Cook: BBb Bass - Hebden Bridge
    Composer in Residence - Skelmanthorpe

    Find me at www.penninemusic.com and www.kirkleesmusic.co.uk
    Got a piece you want arranging? Email thirteen_ball_music@yahoo.co.uk or tweet @13BallMusic to discuss...

  10. #130
    tMP Posting Freak!!! MoominDave's Avatar
    Join Date
    29.03.2003
    Location
    Oxford
    Posts
    5,770
    Quote Originally Posted by JDH View Post
    There is a lot of talk about the sound characteristics of the compensated BBb, but I would think the players and mouthpiece used at least as much, or more influence that sound. It would be interesting in a blind test to see how much changing the type of BBb bass used really affected the band sound.
    You can offset the difference between models with notably different bore profiles by mouthpiece choice to some extent, but one would never hear (to pick the example I'm most familiar with) somebody claim that you can make a bass trombone sound indistinguishably like a jazz tenor trombone just by judicious mouthpiece choice (after all, the big difference there is the bore size too). It just doesn't work like that - the question needs a more sophisticated answer than "the xxxxx makes all the difference".
    Dave Taylor
    Bass Trombone
    Kidlington

  11. #131
    tMP Senior Friend JDH's Avatar
    Join Date
    06.04.2005
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    237
    I would not claim that changing the type of BBb tuba is not going to change the sound, but that the mouthpiece choice and style/technique/standard of playing will also have as much, or more effect.

    I wonder how the new Yamaha Neo compares in sound to the Sovereign and the overall sound of the bass section? My perception trying one alone was that the Yamaha is more lyrical and orchestral sounding.
    Wessex Tubas - Nice playing brass at reasonable prices!

  12. #132
    tMP Prime Friend Laserbeam bass's Avatar
    Join Date
    18.09.2003
    Location
    The engine room
    Posts
    2,190
    If someone wants to buy me a Neo, I will let you know how it plays
    Nothing to see

  13. #133
    tMP Friend for Life Thirteen Ball's Avatar
    Join Date
    28.04.2004
    Location
    Brighouse, Yorkshire
    Posts
    4,342
    Quote Originally Posted by JDH View Post
    I wonder how the new Yamaha Neo compares in sound to the Sovereign and the overall sound of the bass section? My perception trying one alone was that the Yamaha is more lyrical and orchestral sounding.
    It still sounds like a band 'bass' rather than an orchestral 'tuba' as I think the bore - though wider than a sov - is still narrower than the equivalent front-action CC or BB. The wrap is also very open meaning the instrument itself is actually slightly larger than the equivalent sov - but the attention to design means that it feels smaller when you have it in front of you to play and is much more manageable from an ergonomic point of view.

    It's certainly a small pace nearer the sound of an orchestral CC or BB - but not so much that it causes the unhappy non-blend with the middle I alluded to in #129. In fact it blends very well. But make no mistake, it's clearly been designed with brass bands in mind.
    Last edited by Thirteen Ball; 29.02.2012 at 11:40.
    Andi Cook: BBb Bass - Hebden Bridge
    Composer in Residence - Skelmanthorpe

    Find me at www.penninemusic.com and www.kirkleesmusic.co.uk
    Got a piece you want arranging? Email thirteen_ball_music@yahoo.co.uk or tweet @13BallMusic to discuss...

  14. #134
    tMP Friend in Training
    Join Date
    30.01.2009
    Posts
    62

    Just afew observations. When I was helping the design team at Yamaha, I was keen and demanding that they were to produce the best Brass Band BBb Tuba on the market. IMHO

    Things you need to know.

    1, I have only ever previously played a Besson or Boosey & Hawkes tuba.

    2, I would not know what all the other tuba`s play like as I have no outlet in whichto play one. I am only good enough to play in a brass band so that is all that interests me.

    3, I have no understanding about wraps and such things.

    All I wanted to achieve was to create a tuba that fits the bill for Brass Bands. Ihated the cumbersome besson. With all its tuning problems.

    The one thing I wanted over everything else was that the sound should be good. I spen tmany, many, hours with DK working on this. The relationship with the Ebs, Euphs,Baritones and Horns had for me and David to be perfect.

    It is much easier to play Lyrical on a Neo because that has a lot to do with the air distribution and valve action.

    I have had some fantastic feedback from players, so hope in my small little way, Ihave helped create a Tuba worth buying/playing


    Last edited by Hove Edge; 29.02.2012 at 12:22.

  15. #135
    tMP Prime Friend AndyCat's Avatar
    Join Date
    01.12.2002
    Location
    Preston, UK
    Posts
    1,062
    Quote Originally Posted by Hove Edge View Post

    I have had some fantastic feedback from players, so hope in my small little way, Ihave helped create a Tuba worth buying/playing


    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    You got me to put my hand in my pocket, so it must be good.
    Andy Cattanach, BBb Tuba + Bass Trombone.

    Intrada Brass Ensemble. Brighouse and Rastrick Band.

    Beer: So much more than just a breakfast drink.

Page 9 of 18 FirstFirst ... 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •