Posted by Lee Stofer on July 30, 2002 at 08:22:48:
In Reply to: What's the best? posted by Tim on July 29, 2002 at 20:51:37:
There is no one "best tuba", and I think most people realize that. No one tuba "sets the standard" for all tubas, for tubas are by no means standardized, many different size and style instruments fall under the umbrella of "tubas", in at least 4 different keys.
What sets the standard in each category is open to debate, but I'd suggest that the instruments that set the standard are, most of the time, ones that have met with enough universal approval that they have been copied by someone else.
In the sousaphone category, the 20K Conn and the King 2350 have been around for a lng time, and have both been copied by others. York tubas have been copied, therefore have set a certain standard. Alexander tubas, as well as Meinl Weston and Rudolf Meinl tubas have been copied by others. Besson designs have been copied, as well as some old Conn tubas. For American school band instruments, Conn and King tubas set the standard for over 75 years.
Asking what is the best tuba is like asking what is the best food. That can vary greatly, according to your personal tastes and needs. Some people are very picky about what they eat or play. Those who know me, know I'll eat just about anything in sight, and am willing to play just about any horn I find, too. I think life is more fun that way. My personal favorites;
Large sousaphone - Conn Jumbo
Medium sousaphone - Conn 20K or Olds fiberglass
Small sousaphone - Conn 26K Eb
Large BBb tuba - Conn 25J or Rudolf Meinl Bayreuth
Medium BBb tuba - Alexander 163 or Yamaha 321-II or Besson standard 3+1
Small BBb tuba - Olds O-99 or Conn 10J
Large CC tuba - Rudolf Meinl 5/4 or VMI Neptune
Medium CC tuba - Rudolf Meinl 4345 or Alexander 163
Small CC tuba - Getzen G-50
Eb Tuba - old York, Conn or Besson F tuba - Rudolf Meinl or Meinl Weston Hilgers model
There are many fine instruments that I didn't list, but these would be, are, or have been my favorites to play. I wish that Olds was still in business, for the workmanship I see in the Olds that come through my shop is quite impressive. When I find the right candidate, I intend to cut an Olds BBb to CC.