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ginnboonmiller

Tuba porn.

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Sort of. Actually, my biography in tubas.

 

I started at the age of 8 on a Besson E-flat sousaphone. Couldn't find a picture. I was too small to hold a tuba, so I sat in a chair to which the sousaphone was strapped. Here's a sousaphone -- this one in B-flat by Yamaha, which most folks play in high school:

 

28351.jpg

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In middle school and high school, I played what everyone plays in middle and high school. The Yamaha YBB321, a four-valve, upright student model. You recognize this horn, because you used to stuff papers in the bell to fuck with the tuba player in your high school band:

YBB321.jpg

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I got a private teacher junior year in high school, and he was very encouraging. The fucker. He had me convinced that it would be a viable career choice to become a professional tuba player. And I bought my first "real" tuba. Made in the Czech Republic by a company called Cerveny, this model is commonly called the "Piggy" because of the odd body shape and the low height of the bell. It was in C, which made me officially way too fucking serious about the tuba:

ccb6034mrx.jpg

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That horn was good enough to get me into my choice of music schools, and I went to study with Ron Bishop of the Cleveland Orchestra. He remains my hero. Under his influence, I kept the Piggy in the case and started playing the schools Alexander CC tuba regularly. These are very special horns made in Germany. Very thin brass. A beautiful, velvety sound, but the worst intonation on any professional horn. Many of us decided it was worth it to adapt our technique to facilitate the intonation because the sound was so nice and effortless to make:

 

alex163.jpg

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Alex makes an F, too, and it's the same situation -- nice sound, but horrible intonation. And the classic F tuba problem of a very weak low range:

alex_f_thumb.jpg

 

(I'll answer questions in a second, soon as I can take the first exit off of Memory Lane)

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So for solo work in college, I opted for the school's other F -- the Yamaha YFB621. Four piston valves and a rotary fifth valve. This is a real player's horn. Think of a note and it comes out the bell. Solid intonation, rock solid low range, terrific response. But it doesn't sound much like a tuba -- at least not like the Alexander does:

YFB621S.jpg

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I realized by sophomore year that the Piggy wasn't the right horn for me -- it's a first-rate horn for amateurs, and most pros use them for at least a few years, but they don't really cut it in an orchestra.

 

I bought a Rudolf Meinl 3/4 CC. Tubas are sized in quarters -- you can get 3/4, 4/4, 5/4 and there are even some 6/4 horns. Rudis are unusually big tubas, so their 3/4 works great in the back of an orchestra, and is flexible enough to use with chamber music and solo work. I love mine very much:

 

247.jpg

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My Rudi is getting old. I'm gonna need to put it out to pasture, eventually. When I do, which will be when I hit the lottery, I plan on getting a Conn 54j. This is a newish line that was developed by my tuba tech in NJ, who is an internationally known tuba genius.

 

52J.jpg

 

I want it in silver lacquer finish, but I can't find a photo of that.

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And since I will have hit the lottery anyway, I want to pick up this one. It's a Meinl Weston 2182. Unusually small for most people, but most people are trying to get into orchestras. I think it's a sweet sounding, easy playing horn that would be perfect for jazz.

 

2182.jpg

 

BTW, this is the only horn in this thread that I haven't played. I only knew about the 182, the rotary valve model, until I found this picture just now. It must have just come out, and I am filled with tuba GAS.

 

Finis.

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Okay. So when I was in high school, as a trumpet player, what key were the tubas in who sat behind me? (Our band was very, very good, but not known for its tubists...we were more known for our trombone players for some reason, as well as the french horns; at least those were the ones who always won the competition things and went to college for it...)

 

Also, how much do the later ones you posted cost? Quite a bit, I'm assuming. It's absurd the amount my afore-mentioned pro string cousins have spent on violins and violas, and those are itsy-bitsy and common when compared to tubas.

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In high school I was first chair tuba in the marching and concert bands. But I was not allowed to perform in my senior year because I played alot of gigs.

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The tubas in your high school were almost definitely Bb, but there is a distinction, because a Bb tuba still reads and plays in concert key, unlike a Bb trumpet, which is a transposed instrument. Low brass instruments are pitched by the note they're centered around. In other words, a Bb tuba will play the note Bb with no valves depressed. Likewise, a C tuba will play the note C with no valves depressed. For a trumpet, however, a C is always played with no valves depressed, regardless of how the instrument is pitched. Thus, we think in transpositions. Tubaists think in fingerings.

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Originally posted by riffdaddy

The tubas in your high school were almost definitely Bb, but there is a distinction, because a Bb tuba still reads and plays in concert key, unlike a Bb trumpet, which is a transposed instrument. Low brass instruments are pitched by the note they're centered around. In other words, a Bb tuba will play the note Bb with no valves depressed. Likewise, a C tuba will play the note C with no valves depressed. For a trumpet, however, a C is always played with no valves depressed, regardless of how the instrument is pitched. Thus, we think in transpositions. Tubaists think in fingerings.

 

I see. As a trumpet player, I thought the world revolved around me. So I figured it was the same as with trumpets. Thanks!

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Originally posted by Thelonius

Has it occurred to you that you might be the coolest motherfucker on the planet?

 

Dude, I'm posting pictures of tubas on an internet forum. What the hell are you thinking?

 

:)

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Originally posted by ginnboonmiller



Dude, I'm posting pictures of tubas on an internet forum. What the hell are you thinking?


:)

 

He obviously has the same awe of the lower brass that I had. Like I've said before, even though the guys in that section were smaller and wimpier than I was, I held them in high regard. While my buddy who played flute and was ripped, I always picked on him for playing the damned flute.

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Originally posted by riffdaddy

I have a friend with a 6/4 Meinl. Oh, and my boss is a part owner of Alexander. Their trumpets suck, but their horns are great.

 

Very cool indeed -- I've never played a horn as good as the Alex at college.

 

Oh -- and I guess you mean a Meinl Weston 6/4? They're all the rage. The Rudi 5/4, which is as big as most 6/4 horns, is really lovely. But they are different companies with no relation, so tubists say either "Rudi" or "Meinl Weston."

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Originally posted by Roy Brooks

In high school I was first chair tuba in the marching and concert bands. But I was not allowed to perform in my senior year because I played alot of gigs.

 

No shit?

 

Man, I'm serious. Next time we're both in the same city, whiskey's on me.

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Originally posted by riffdaddy

The tubas in your high school were almost definitely Bb, but there is a distinction, because a Bb tuba still reads and plays in concert key, unlike a Bb trumpet, which is a transposed instrument. Low brass instruments are pitched by the note they're centered around. In other words, a Bb tuba will play the note Bb with no valves depressed. Likewise, a C tuba will play the note C with no valves depressed. For a trumpet, however, a C is always played with no valves depressed, regardless of how the instrument is pitched. Thus, we think in transpositions. Tubaists think in fingerings.

 

Yeah, that's the deal. Same notes, different fingerings. I played an E-flat in elementary school, so I had a head start on dealing with that by the time I got my first C. For the record, the common keys are B-flat, C, E-flat and F. Most American pros play C for the big stuff and F for the high stuff. In England they tend to play everything on an E-flat, and Germany uses big B-flats in the opera, Cs in orchestras and F for everything else.

 

And technically, it's tubist, not tubaist. But I just say tuba player because I refuse to take myself seriously.

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Originally posted by ginnboonmiller



Very cool indeed -- I've never played a horn as good as the Alex at college.


Oh -- and I guess you mean a Meinl Weston 6/4? They're all the rage. The Rudi 5/4, which is as big as most 6/4 horns, is really lovely. But they are different companies with no relation, so tubists say either "Rudi" or "Meinl Weston."

 

No, it's a Rudi. He hates the Westons.

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Originally posted by BillyGrahamCracker



I see. As a trumpet player, I thought the world revolved around me. So I figured it was the same as with trumpets. Thanks!

 

I'm a trumpet player too. The world does revolve around us. Just ask IFC.

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Originally posted by BillyGrahamCracker


Also, how much do the later ones you posted cost? Quite a bit, I'm assuming. It's absurd the amount my afore-mentioned pro string cousins have spent on violins and violas, and those are itsy-bitsy and common when compared to tubas.

 

$7500 for the Conn, $6300 for the Meinl Weston. The Meinl Weston is an F, by the way.

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Originally posted by riffdaddy



I'm a trumpet player too. The world does revolve around us. Just ask IFC.

 

But he's a real trumpet player. And I'm sure you're still much more of one than I am. I'm just the trumpet player that Tom Waits talks about in "Better Off Without a Wife".....

 

*was wanted for assault*

*said "it weren't my fault"*

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