Posted by Lee A. Stofer, Jr. on October 01, 1999 at 17:32:35:
In Reply to: Vintage Hirsbrunner horns? posted by Tim on September 28, 1999 at 00:51:13:
All tubas are hand-made, to a certain degree. It takes about 400 man-hours to make a 4/4 rotary BBb tuba, according to Rudolf Meinl, Jr. The Meinls, along with Alexander, probably use the most traditional hand labor of any tuba makes. As labor costs go up, all manufacturers look for ways to make more consistent horns and keep them affordable. When visiting the Hirsbrunners in 1994, Peter Jr. demonstrated his hydraulic mouthpipe-drawing machine.
He was rather proud of it, remarking that, "Every mouthpipe is identical, perfectly consistent." These
techniques, in my opinion, don't hurt the final product. However, I wonder if the CAD/CAM design processes that have sought to fix intonation and improve response have not adversely affected the sound of our horns. That's why I have play-tested a lot of horns, but still count on my Conn 34J BBb when I have to put it on the line.