Posted by dp on October 20, 2002 at 21:41:14:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Holton 6/4 BBb - Update posted by Rick Denney on October 20, 2002 at 20:27:56:
"many of the complaints about intonation seem to have concerned the C versions of this instrument"
I suspect much of the talk about big tuba intonation is hearsay. I'd also guess that a fair amount of the discussion comes from folks who have "play tested" horns without allowing second impressions (or thirds) to influence their opinions. i.e. seldom do people who have chosen to use such a horn regularly in performance situations with large ensembles seem to be quite so vociferous in defending their critiques of the instrument, and certainly these do not generalize their limited experiences to all "brand x" horns.
One other thing, while it has become de rigeur for Tubenetters to refer to all large horns as BATs, there are profound playing and intonation characteristics between the oldest of large American tubas (big Holtons and Yorks of the early 20th century), recording basses of the Conn 2x style, Martin & Conn tubas (sometimes bell-up, sometimes bell-front but with the bell on the players left side) and the CSO York-styled tubas, of which the Holton our friend Tony has is one.
What I am concerned with are the more CSO York-styled horns, my impression is that complaints about this type of tuba (which I usually try to refer to as "Grand Orchestral") stem from frustration with tubas that are crafted from (generally Holton or York) parts, generally a big CC tuba that is a "cut-job" using the bell, bow, and arches from big old American BBflat tubas. There are inherent personality traits in the way CC "from the factory" Grand Orchestral tubas play. These traits have been ironed out somewhat in the past 10-15 years by design enhancements and more consistent manufacturing techniques by Peter Hirsbrunner and Gerhard Meinl in particular. In other words, big CC tubas like the HB50 or the MW2165 are as a group more consistent than the relatively small group of horns that inspired them (there were way fewer than 50 CC Holtons modeled after the CSO Yorks.) These Grand orchestral CC traits, even in the new horns, are different from the quirks associated with the "big old American" BBflat tubas which used to be quite popular to cut into a CC orchestral horn. Not better or worse necessarily, but they ARE different. Now these traits, the ones associated with the big CC's, usually seem to turn out an order of magnitude worse with cut horns, when the cut horn has been made using BBflat parts, whether or not the donor BBflat horn was a clam. And the larger the tuba, the more those traits can be problematic.