Posted by previous 983 owner on September 29, 2001 at 20:11:51:
In Reply to: about to buy a solo horn posted by buyer on September 29, 2001 at 10:23:03:
As Joe suggests, any tuba can be used for solo playing.
If you're looking for a tuba with a more focused sound, less broad, etc. (pick your description: sweeter, singing, lyrical, more like a euph than a 6/4 contrabass), the Besson 983 has some aspects of this characteristic in the upper register. In it's lower range, it's similar in sound to a modest 4/4 CC. With it's 17 inch bell and the rapid flare at the end, it's not quite as tight or focused as many of the rotary F tubas, which I personally prefer to listen to when solos are being played. It sounds a little "fluffier" or broader to my ears.
The Willson Eb has a darker/heavier sound than the Besson, but it's also used by some soloists, I think. But it's more expensive.
The Besson 983 Eb is a reasonably good choice as a compromise tuba. It's weaknesses are that it doesn't have as much core/focus as the rotary F tubas (a sound many prefer), and the compensating low register (BBb on down) response has more airflow resistance than some prefer. So it may not be the ideal "solo" instrument, and it's more work than I wanted to do when the part really seemed to call for a contrabass (due to lots-o-ledger-lines). For improved low register response, I had amazingly good luck with the PT-72 mpc.