Posted by Steve Inman on December 28, 2000 at 23:14:04:
In Reply to: F or CC for *only* horn posted by Torn! on December 28, 2000 at 22:12:20:
I presently own a Besson 983 Eb and a Yamaha YEB-381. I used to play a Miraphone 186 BBb, but switched to Eb when I found the mid/upper register was much more secure on that horn. when playing quintet literature. I chose Eb after hearing reasonable argument that it was the best key for an all-around horn if you could only have one. I missed the boat when I bought a modest Eb, as for a single, general purpose horn, I've found something a little larger would have been better.
The Besson 983 is probably closer in character to an F than it is to a CC. And because of the extra resistance in the low compensating register, I'm having difficulty getting the volume I want when I try to use this horn as a contrabass tuba (something that's also hard to do with most F tubas, I've read). Its benefit is in covering the 2nd 'bone part in the quartet I play in, and the 983 is certainly adequate for a quintet (I also play in a 5-tet). So, in general, an Eb or F (ala the YFB-621, so I've been told) will be a good choice for quintet/quartet/solo.
BUT don't count on it to work well for any low register work, unless you spend a lot of time practicing that range. Eb/F tubas are NOT contrabass tubas. [The only possible exceptions where you might have some success is the Willson Eb, Willson F?, Yamaha YFB-822, others???? The Willson Eb and YFB-822 have a timbre similar to a modest CC.]
If I didn't have the quartet gig (i.e. 2nd 'bone wannabe), only quintet and occasional larger ensemble setting, I think I would have been better off with a good 4/4 CC, with about 5 years of Eb hindsight under my belt. I'm in the midst of pondering a switch from Eb to a CC/F combination myself. But if I can find a good 4/4 CC (read: easy upper register), then I'll use the CC for quintet and larger groups, and the F (probably a 621) for quartet or smaller groups.
YMMV -- good luck.