Re: Worth of Besson Stratford Bb Tuba

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Posted by Klaus on May 31, 2003 at 11:41:44:

In Reply to: Worth of Besson Stratford Bb Tuba posted by Greg Smith on May 31, 2003 at 10:57:33:

Stratford was Besson's 3rd line in the decades around 1960. Formally the fingerings are the same as on acceptable instruments, but the Stratfords take any opportunity to exaggerate the faulty intonation tendencies found in all low conical brasses.

A self-alleged expert on the British brand band as a musical vehicle criticised my arrangement of the circa 1875 US tuba sole "The Helicon Schottische" because I let the full section of 2 Eb tubas and 2 BBb tubas play unisono on the 4th line F (BC concert). He expected the 1st finger 5th partial on the Eb's being way flatter than the open 6th partial on the BBb's.

If bands played with 4 Stratford tubas, this expert would have been right. But my imagination does not encompass the obvious horrors of such a section.

My comments build on real experiences. Among them, that a technically talented, but not too rich, young player was asked to stay away from a prestigious concert, because he ruined the sectional intonation. He played a Stratford BBb.(The player was not me, as I was old and playing 4th horn at the given time).

If you are attracted to the Stratford sound in non-ensemble testing of it, then take a tuner and try out these octaves:

F (4 ledger lines below the staff) to F just below the staff. This octave will be very diminished.

C (2 ledger lines below the staff) to C in the second space. This octave will be extremely diminished.

F (just below the staff) to 4th line F. This octave will be very augmented.

The 1st and 1st+2nd finger series will be erratic beyond belief.

JoeS has spoken in favour of the bells of these older Bessons, so I am convinced, that they will find usage in project scavenging.

But asking $1350 for an old and non-beautiful Stratford BBb does not reveal any sense of the musical realities of this world.

Maybe this instrument will be worth $200 or 300 for an experienced player wanting an instrument for street strolling jobs.


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