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

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Posted by Matt Walters on September 30, 2001 at 18:46:05:

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

I have some personal opinions on that subject.
1) If you think you settled because you can't afford a more expensive ($8,000) tuba, you will never be happy. Some people are always in the search for a more 'perfect' partner and miss out on life by thinking there is a better, more perfect mactch than what they already have. Happy pople enjoy what and who they have. Heck, we may have too many choices these days. Today's new student tubas play better in-tune than the tubas of even 30 years ago.

2) Typically CC tubas are designed so that they CAN be played as perfectly in-tune as possible. That typically means that if you leave all the slides in, it will play very out of tune. Conversely, most BBb tubas are designed to play MOSTLY in-tune. Therefore, if you don't touch a slide while playing, a BBb will typically play more in-tune. But unless you cut a few slides, it can never be played as perfectly in-tune, except if you lip some notes. Just as a jet fighter has negative stability to let it freely manuver in all 3 axis, a commercial aircraft is designed with positve stability that makes it resist leaving straight and level flight. This can be an entire discussion without a conclussive end.

3)"Maybe if you had a different tuba" can be a polite way of telling the tubist "you are not playing very well". I'm not implying anything in your case. But since the music has to be created in the mind first, the belief that one has an excellent axe to play, may inspire a person to play better. So a change in equipment is never an isolated factor for most of us. As an example. Pat Sheridan's personal BE 983 Eb tuba was no pick of the litter. He had a Besson employee walk over and pick up one of five tubas and that is the one he plays. I've sold a few creampuffs that I know played better than his. Still, who wouldn't want to own that very same horn that makes all that great music?

4) A typical conductor can not tell the difference between a Miraphone 186 in BBb or CC. When he heard some great playing, he may have taken the time and asked, "That horn sounds great. What is it?" (A gentler way of saying you sound great.) So when he was told it was a CC tuba, he now wants to hear "CC tuba"! What he heard was a profesional who toke the time to master his horn regardless of the pitch it was in. But now, CC tuba means well played tuba.

5) Snob appeal of a CC versus BBb. Ignorantly, there is prejudice. Maybe it is rightly so. Think about this. If you have a deep gash in your arm, who do you want to see? A person in green scrubs or a person in a janitor's uniform? Most people who care enough about their playing that they buy the best playing tuba they can find (Sometimes costs more than we want to spend.), will become better players. If you like your horn, you will practice more, etc. But if the very best tuba for you was a BBb, so be it.

6) Handle yourself and play like a pro regarless of the pitch of your horn. Show up early, be prepared, don't cause trouble, play well, play with proper stratigies (Someone please bring up that subject again.) Nobody will care what key your tuba is in if you get the results. Remember that team players keep more gigs than "stars".

I reserve the right to learn something new and change my opinions on any subject. Matt

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