Which Tuba is Better?!?!?!?!???!

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Which Tuba is Better?!?!?!?!???!

Post by tubabrassman » Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:07 pm

Recently, our band has had an addition of a new director. He has so far made the band leaps and bounds better in ways that were needed for our band. However, he made the tuba players (thats me and 3 other people) start to play King tubas. Prior to this, we played the Yamaha Brass sousaphone (model # YSH-411) and he says the King tuba is a better tuba opposed to the Yamaha. After 2 months of playing on the King then play on the Yamaha, the Yamaha has a better range, more significant, superoir tone, and it takes less air to play. In my opinion, the Yamaha is better. Who can give me a ligitiment reasoning on which is better and put this to an end?

Fight on!!

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Post by mightyhorn » Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:36 pm

8-)
The Yamaha Sousaphones play well enough but... they can tend to fall apart and/or have major problems. Every repairman & director I've talked to about them has said so. The King 2350 is a staple among marching bands and has been for over 40 years. Many of the service band use them also. The big question is... what is the bore of the Yamaha vs the King. This could have something to do with the "range." I'm sure your director wants a certain sound so take his/her lead & go with the King.

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Post by BttrDrummerThanU » Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:57 pm

Yup....those Yamaha's have a small bore and are much smaller horn. The Kings have much larger tubing. I almost want to say "Conical" but not sure. Thats why your "range" is limited. they are much darker horns. It's like switching from a tenor trombone to a bass trombone. Gonna take more air to get it going, but the sound is much more pleasant.

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Post by Bandmaster » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:50 pm

Being that you are from Riverside I am going to make a couple guesses. You are from MLK, which means the first director purchased those Yamaha horns. Well, he was from USC, who gets their horns from Yamaha under a special price (cheap) arrangement and they only keep the horns for a few years before they trade them in a on a new set. So, he bought what he was familiar with, that makes sense. But I know of very few high school band directors that would buy Yamaha sousaphones when they could purchase Conn or King horns instead. The Conn K-20 and the King horns have been the standard for excellence for more than 70 years. I have seen and played on many 50+ year old Conn and King horns that are still in use, but I have never even seen a 10 year old Yamaha. The real test of a sousaphone's sound is on the field or street. Go to the top of the stands and listen to each horn while being played on the field and see which one has the best sound, or stand 200 yards in front of a band on the parade route and see which horn projects the best sound down the street. You also don't want a horn that is too easy to "over play". In my experience, King horns can take a lot of air before they "crap out" and they have a nice dark ensemble type tone quality.
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Post by Teever » Fri Nov 21, 2003 9:58 pm

Ditto on all the comments about the King being a superior horn and taking more chops to fill up. Another thing to consider is that the guy who's going to now be repairing your horns (probably one of the best repairmen on the west coast) knows that Kings will far outlast the Yamahas, and will be in for repair a whole lot less (and you'll spend less time and gas schlepping horns out to Anaheim). Thank God you've got a director who isn't afraid to listen to a guy who knows which horns can really stand the test of time and abuse that a high school program is.

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tubas

Post by RiversideLegacyBand! » Fri Nov 21, 2003 10:53 pm

I'm not going off straight facts here, but from my experience of playing both the instruments, I find the Yamaha to have much better tone quality, a better range and just an all around better horn. Yamahas seem to be much more durable also. So, in my opinion, Yamahas are better!

-Co-Director of Riverside Legacy Band
Riverside Legacy Band...can you feel it?

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Post by LosAl_tuba » Sat Nov 22, 2003 11:49 pm

Yamaha makes superior horns and drums, but in my opnion, I think that the king sousas are much better, since our sousas are king. We play on dynasty contras on the field, and king sousas on the street, and those kings can get an excellent dark sound that many people would rather hear from a tuba. Plus, I dont like the way yamaha makes the valve alignments, very annoying at times.

Addition:

I have a very nice yamaha concert tuba, that sounds great, and looks great too, but has been to the shop more times than I can remember. One other thing that ive found in some yamaha horns, the springs buzz, which may be because they arent seating right in the valve, but, ive seen that in at least 5 horns.
Pecking is Satan.

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Post by seanrj » Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:04 am

Having played the Conn, King, Yamaha, and even the Olds sousaphones, I would have to say that I prefer the Yamahas. As far as durability is concerned, I would stick with the Conns. A Conn can survive a nuclear blast and still play well. I can play in a full range, pedal b-flat to the double B-flat above the staff on each. The Conn has a slight edge in tone in the induced and pedal range, but how many students play there normally anyway?

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Post by ODannyBoi » Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:04 am

I've only come upon one horn that I think is superior to the King. My first year directing I came upon a diamond in the rough in my "Deep Storage" room: a Martin sousaphone that dated from the 40's. It broke my heart to see its state of disrepair. The Laqueur was almost completly gone, it had more dents and divots than a golf ball. I hauled it out , dusted it off and gave it a blow. It had a fuller, clearer tone than any horn my band was using at the time. 3 weeks, $1,050 (cheap compared to what I would've paid for a new King or Yamaha)and a trip to Randall Anglin later and I had a sousaphone that rivals concert tubas for its clarity and fullness. That horn became that badge of honor that all tuba section leaders in my band have fought for.

So go check out your back rooms, you might find something.
Daniel J. Magallanes
Director of Bands,
Monrovia H.S. - Monrovia, CA
www.MonroviaMusic.org

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Post by Bandmaster » Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:40 am

ODannyBoi wrote:So go check out your back rooms, you might find something.
You've got that right... there are some great old horns out there hiding in the deep dark corners of many a band instrument storage room. I remember finding an old sousaphone buried in the back of one of our youth band's storage garages. It must have been there for many many years because it was solid brown and the finish felt like a fine grained sandpaper. Well, being the nosey tuba player that I am, I took the horn home and started to clean it up. Under the ugly finish was a silver plated 1920's model H.S. White (King) sousaphone. It was all there and everything worked, amazingly. I took it to a parade marching rehearsal one night and the tuba section experimented with it a little. We discovered that even though it was a smaller bore than our 1960's model King sousaphones, the sound from this old beast projected further down the street than the newer horns. The farther away from the band you would get, the louder this old horn sounded compared to the rest of the band... amazing!

Over the last 35 years I've played on many an old horn and some newer ones too, including H.S. White, Cleveland, Pan American, Buescher, Boosey & Hawkes, Holton, Martin, Olds, Reynolds, Rajah, York, various years and models of Conn and King, Besson, Blessing, Jupiter, Miraphone, and Yamaha. It helps if you can go to the NAMM Show a few years and try out all the display models. My sentimental favorites are the older Kings and the Olds sousaphones. My favorite of the new horns is the Conn K20. Horns I didn't care for at all since they played stuffy and out-of-tune... the Pan American, Rajah, York, Besson, and Jupiter.
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Yamaha's do the job

Post by DAR Director » Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:08 pm

I have played on all the main sousa models and I would definately choose the Yamaha 411. (By the way Dave, I didn't order the tubas at ML King Hs...my principal had his former BD at Esperanza HS AND Gary Locke from RCC assist him with the purchasce of ALL of the original instruments for ML King...no wonder I ended up with three different makers of marching battery equipment too!) But regardless, I would have ordered the Yamaha's, not because I was used to playing them, but because they are great horns. The major problem w/the yamaha 411 is the open "F"...WAY too sharp! Gotta use a 1-3 valve combo to bring it down. As far as the perceived lack of darkness to the sound...try using a different mouthpiece. I use the Park Ofenlock mouthpiece w/the USC Band and it has changed the sound of the tubas completely. If the park is too intimading (the thing weighs about 5 pound!)...try the Marcinz W-2 or W-4.

I will agree that the yamaha's do ding up pretty easy (take heart, yamaha is making a better and sturdier version to be tested very soon). Personally, my solution the this problem is this: I ordered a fiberglass practice set of sousaphones and ordered a performance set of sousas...ahhhh, the perks of a brand new school and district that is commited to the band program. :lol:

Sean Hamberlin, Director
Knight H.S. "Destiny Alliance Regiment"
Palmdale, CA

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Post by Hostrauser » Mon Nov 24, 2003 6:46 pm

Bandmaster wrote:Horns I didn't care for at all since they played stuffy and out-of-tune... the Pan American, Rajah, York, Besson, and Jupiter.
My personal experience is that Jupiter makes some of the crummiest horns out there. Every Jupiter brass intrument I've played or heard others play has not impressed me. Although, on the other side of the fence, Jupiter seems to have better luck with woodwinds. I knew a couple of flute players in H.S. and college that played Jupiter flutes, and they sounded pretty good.

Then again, a great player can make a bad horn sound pretty good, and a bad player can make a great horn sound pretty bad. ;)

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Post by someguywhodoesthings » Mon Nov 24, 2003 6:52 pm

I prefer King. My school has King Souzaz and i love it. Even though you've gotta use a lot more air, their projection and tone are superior to the Yamaha in my opinion

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Post by BttrDrummerThanU » Mon Nov 24, 2003 8:17 pm

To Phantom:

While I do agree that Jupiter are the best horns. I would not go to the extent to say that they are the crummiest of instruments. There are many many manufactures that are far worse. To be completely honest. It depends on your budget. Jupiter brass are not as good as a BACH or YAMAHA, but they will do. One of my favorite things about Jupiter Brass is they make a concert baritone that is pretty cheap. It's a small bore, 3 valve....but it makes the previously "Expensive, big" instrument available to younger (and not as affluent) students.

As a junior high and elementary band director, I would not mind my students having jupiter in the classroom. They are good quality, a little more affordable, and repair parts are readily available. If I was a HIGH SCHOOL director, that would be a completely different story.

As far as woodwinds. The latest thing Jupiter is doing that is nice is that they are supplying two barrels with their clarinets. Nice little bonus.

***MY 2 CENTS***

Justin

P.S. YOU GO HAMBERLIN!! Mouthpiece it is. The TONE STARTS THERE!

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Post by Mark Stone » Mon Nov 24, 2003 11:09 pm

For a big warm sound-Conn 20K....harder to fill up, but worth the work.
Mark Stone, Ayala High School

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