Posted by Jay Bertolet on August 20, 1999 at 13:28:03:
In Reply to: Tuba for my son... posted by Cim on August 19, 1999 at 22:18:57:
All the major points have been talked about so just to kick in my 2 cents:
The overwhelming majority of tubists that go on to become professionals play primarily on CC tubas, usually starting at or before the first year of college. The biggest headache in playing CC tuba in high school is if the player also has to march and play sousaphone as almost no CC sousaphones exist. In the hands of a capable player, it is virtually impossible to hear the difference between CC and BBb tubas. Also, in the hands of a capable player, both tubas will play equally well in tune. The only plausible reason why BBb would play in tune easier than CC would be in comparison to a section (either tubas or euph's & T-bones) of BBb instruments, the thinking being that all the instruments would have roughly the same intonation tendencies. The only way this would make a difference would be if all the players were incapable of making adjustments so that they would all play out of tune the same way. I hope, for your sake, your son never plays in such a group!
Your son has been playing for two years. Does he know what he wants to do with the tuba in the future? If so, and he wants to pursue tuba actively or even as a career, you could save yourself alot of time, money, and headaches by getting him a CC tuba. It will be more expensive now but the benefits are tremendous. He'll have lots of time to make the switch to CC and get proficient at how the instrument plays. A CC tuba will be the most versatile choice for solos and ensembles, large or small. I know well known tubists/teachers who require their students to learn everything on CC first before branching out to other instruments. Finally, CC tubas tend to retain more resale value and the really good ones actually increase in value. This helps financially if your son ever decides the tuba is not for him. If he's playing just for the fun of it, save yourself a bunch of money and buy one of the many inexpensive BBb tubas out there. I would repeat my recommendation of the VMI 103. It seems to play very well, is well made, and it may even retain a significant resale value as it becomes more popular. I would stay away from any BBb tuba that is made with thin metal such as the Cervany and Mirafone models. It is hard to enjoy playing when you're worried about your horn getting damaged.