Re: BBb vs. CC (C) - not the usual debate

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Posted by Steve Inman on September 30, 2001 at 15:46:34:

In Reply to: BBb vs. CC (C) - not the usual debate posted by Dan Mordhorst on September 30, 2001 at 15:21:24:


Yes, you really need a CC, and you need to sell me your MW20! 8^D

I think the issue in the post below was with the Marzan (sp?) specifically. I don't believe ALL CC tubas have intonation problems. I think with ANY key of tuba, some models are more prone to "quirks" than others. For example, I've been told by multiple people that an Alex BBb has an amazing sound, but that the notes don't "slot" very precisely. But people put up with the extra wiggle room for the amazing sound. Other models of horn (Marzan) may have known intonation issues, but are still desired for the sound. (MW BBb horns have a funny thing about the C in the staff being flat, as another example.)

I'm not a professional tubist, and I don't play one on TV (or in the orchestra). But after reading multiple threads on BBb vs CC over multiple years on the BBS and Tubaeuph, and after playing a few of each from time to time, I have personally concluded the following:

1) Well known pros play both BBb and CC tubas
2) many more play CC
3) It may be August Helleberg's and Bill Bell's fault, primarily. Others may also have originally championed the CC.
4) The fingerings in the sharp keys really ARE easier on a CC.
5) BUT, this isn't why most pros like CC, however. Allegedly due to the shorter overall tube length, they "feel" like they respond to your buzzing input a little more easily. While this may be true, I'm not good enough to tell if this is true or not. But I did find out yesterday that I could pick up and play two CCs (G-50 and MW2145, .689 and .748 bore) more easily immediately than any of the BBbs I tried (although these did have larger bores, by a little). This after a 5-6 year layoff from contrabass tubas altogether. Also, the CC horns aren't quite as broad in their sound as equivalent BBb tubas. This characteristic is also cited as a reason pros like them.
6) regardless of whether or not you could successfully take a BBb into music school, there will be a lot of peer pressure to play CC in the USA.
7) this is allegedly not the case in Germany, where BBb is the favored contrabass tuba
8) finally, the BBb vs. CC thing is mostly cultural, based on the history and preferences in your particular country.


Steve Inman
Kokomo, IN

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