Posted by Mike Sanders on August 15, 1999 at 21:37:18:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 6/4 Holton mandrels posted by skeptic on August 14, 1999 at 08:14:31:
The fact of the matter is this: The MW 2165 is essentially the "Holton of the '90s". At the very outset of the project that would eventially lead to the manufacture of the 2165 tubas my good friend Don Little sent a Holton CC 6/4 size tuba to Meinl Weston in Germany for an overhaul with the understanding that it would be used for measurements, and as the basis for a new piston valve tuba being considered for production. Subsequently Warren Deck got involved and the instrument's design was further influenced by his participation. After Don's Holton was overhauled it was returned to him with a re-worked 5th valve branch that included a slide for adjusting intonation, something the original Holtons did not have on their 5th valve branch. That Holton was eventially sold to Alex Cauthen, the original owner, as Don had owned another Holton for many years before purchasing that Holton from Alex. Don still owns and plays that Holton tuba.
In 1979 I bought one of these "Jacobs Model" Holtons myself and used it for one season in the San Antonio Symphony. It was a 4 valve instrument and had a satin silver finish. Arnold Jacobs had known it was for sale and told me about it. It had the typical great sound and fairly good intonation. It also had terrible valves and the valve branches all looked as though they had been shaped using conduit benders. The braces that attached the valve tubing to the body of the horn were very spindly and looked like an accident waiting to happen. I ended up selling that tuba to Floyd Cooley and eventually he sold it. It was a great sounding tuba but not very dependable mechanically. So when our collegues speak and write of the "great old American tubas" I assume they are refering to the pre-war Holtons, Yorks, Conns, Kings, etc. As for myself, I will take the currently available 6/4 size tubas (Meinl Weston, Yorkbrunner, Nirschl) over most of the old stuff.