Now what to do? (WW&BW trip results)

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Posted by Steve Inman on September 29, 2001 at 20:00:54:

I've sold my two Eb tubas, with the intent to buy a small F and a BBb, for better "coverage" of my playing needs. The little Amati F I bought from Lee Stofer is a lot of fun, and works well in my quartet. It's marginally big enough for my quintet (the PT-72 mpc helps). Today began the BBb hunt . . . .

I just got back from Brasswind, where I tried: Miraphone 186-5U BBb, Meinl Weston 25 BBb, Miraphone 182 BBb, VMI 3301 BBB, Miraphone 191-4U BBb, Miraphone 186-5U CC, Meinl Weston 2145, Getzen CB-50 CC(or whatever it's called today), and a couple Eb's and F's just for good measure.

My hope: find an easy playing, rotary BBb.
(I know BBb fingerings and I like rotary valves -- personal preference.)

My results: The Getzen played the easiest -- very good results. Next was the 2145, smoother sound, more awkward valve layout ("big valves"?). Next was the 191 (awesome sound). The MW25 was darker, the 186 BBb was a little brighter and cleaner sounding to my ear. The 182 was nice, but probably smaller in sound than what I'm looking for.

Problematic (for me, who hasn't owned or played a contrabass for 5-6 years) was anything in BBb -- the notes were not clean and strong -- rather fuzzy in attack (a very slight hint of a sound resembling a flutter tongue attack -- that's the best way I can describe it.) No problem at all with the Getzen CC, or the 2145. Amusing that the contrabass tuba with the same bore as my previous Besson 983 Eb is the easiest for me to play! Hmmmm.

I'm now wondering if the only BBb that I'll be able to quickly adapt to is the new King 2341 -- that's the closest thing in BBb to the Getzen, AFAIK. If not, then based on my experience today, I might have to (gasp) buy a CC!!! (as soon as I save up some more money!)

Lesson to be learned: If you're playing a bass tuba (only) in quintet/quartet, don't be surprised if you've got some work to do to get back into playing contrabass!

Ideas / suggestions welcome!

Steve ". . . how embarassing . . ." Inman
Kokomo, IN

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