Posted by dp on October 19, 2002 at 16:53:23:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Holton 6/4 BBb - Update posted by Tony E on October 19, 2002 at 13:21:50:
a) How many times have you read that “the math on those old tubas doesn’t add up”?
b) Here’s what I do know: 1. The old 6/4 BBb Holtons have a reputation for having fundamental (design based) intonation problems. 2. The old Holton’s people find around have these problems. 3. The 6/4 BBb Holton that I just got back from Dan Oberloh’s shop has excellent intonation from top to bottom.
I believe that the people with the most experience with these horns were getting familiar with them when most of the vocal critics were still in high school. One of the most vocal of the grand-orchestral Holton nay-sayers had produced a crafted-custom CC horn based upon a big old Holton BBflat and finished to look like the CSO Yorks. When THAT tuba came through the bay area, it was reported so out of tune it was shipped back to the seller the same day! Combine this with the fact that there are very few of the big horns around, cut or not, and you have a rep that may or may not be well-founded. AND you have a rep based upon heresay rather than experience. If your horn had problems (and it sounds like it did) you've already had obviously necessary repairs done, unfortunately having pulled the bottom bow and bell and top arch, you've confounded the ability to safely assume that a leaky and damaged leadpipe or valves that were not aligned were the causes for your horn's intonation-ness.
As to intonation properly understood, if a play-tester relies upon a "standard" like an electronic tuner or properly-tuned piano, there is no more guarantee you will (or will not) be able to use the horn in ensemble and to play in tune.
Other variables, many people attempt to use too large of a mouthpiece, or on the other side of the spectrum use a shallow cup-bowl-shaped MP. These horns respond best with funnel-shaped mouthpieces.
Finally, Holton produced three different-sized and tapered leadpipes for what I call "the Jacobs-model Holtons" from the late 50's to early-mid 70's. A LOT of variables, for a very very small population of horns.
b.t.w. feel free to e-mail off-line of you'd like to discuss more