Re: Willson F tuba comparison question

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Posted by Rick Denney on October 11, 2002 at 14:05:10:

In Reply to: Willson F tuba comparison question posted by An. on October 11, 2002 at 13:12:59:

Warning: My opinion is free and worth every penny.

I've played the Willson, B&S, and an old Alex F, in addition to my 621 (you did mean 621, right?). The Alex produces the sound that many think defines "F tuba," but it requires a specific approach and you have to learn how to work with the instrument. If you are Michael Lind (or if you are like him), nothing else may do. But then you'd probably not be asking the opinion of this forum, heh, heh.

Not so either the Yamaha or the Willson, which you can play using the same technique you developed for contrabass. Beyond that, the Yamaha and the Willson are profoundly different. The Yamaha is small--a true F tuba. The Willson is big, and makes a good symphonic F, though I've heard it played beautifully on solo material.

The B&S is a compromise between the Alexander-type design and sound and the Yamaha playability. I think they sound wonderful, but the low registers still require a particular approach. I've heard them played beautifully in a variety of settings, but I've also heard some key mistakes on the infamous lower notes of the instruments, indicating to me that even top professionals can have problems with them.

To take one (possibly unimportant to some) parameter, playability in the low register, I'd rate them as Willson and Yamaha tied for easiest, followed at some distance by B&S and Alexander.

Trying to compare the sound of these tubas, though, is a little like trying to compare a Mercedes Gull-wing sports car, a hopped-up Volkswagen Beetle, a Volvo sedan, and a Rolls Royce. They all have wheels and tires, and none require pedaling. But there the similarity ends, and your preferences have to take over.

Rick "as intrigued by the Miraphone 181 as the Willson" Denney

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