Posted by Art on January 28, 2001 at 12:42:29:
In Reply to: Is it the tuba or the player? posted by Jay Bertolet on January 28, 2001 at 11:42:32:
My father (when he was studying with Mr. Bell) used to tell stories of other tuba players plotting and scheming to get their hands on one of the King rotary-valve tubas, so they could play the same horn as Bell. While it is not a replica, the "Bill Bell Model" Meinl-Weston was certainly inspired by that horn. I remember a masterclass given by Abe Torchinsky once in which he described some of the intonation difficulties on his King, (which was the same as Mr.Bell's) and how he worked around them. He pulled his first slide about seven inches for one note (instead of using 1&2) to get the best possible response.
Mr. Bell could grab any tuba in any key, ask someone to hand him any mouthpiece from a drawer full of them, and play flawlessly. When he came out to be featured soloist with the no-doubt-world famous Monday Night Band (way out on Long Island)he didn't bother to bring a tuba with him because he knew that one of my father's students had a 3-valve York BBb that he was familiar with; he used that.
I attended a brass workshop at Yale in 1960, where Harold Brasch spent an hour extolling the virtues of his Besson euphonium and berating all other makes, especially Conns. Mr. Bell then played on his rotary King CC and also on a big fat Conn owned by the Yale Band. "Any name brand tuba is good", he said. "This is a fine instrument."