Posted by Leland on July 27, 1999 at 14:03:10:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Homemade contrabass marching tuba posted by Patrick on July 26, 1999 at 19:54:17:
Tim, Patrick, I agree with you 100%, believe it or not!
Just because a tuba is convertible doesn't guarantee that it's crap, but even these days, the odds are very good that it IS crap. A sousaphone isn't automatically great, either -- the two bottom-ranked horns in that test I mentioned in another post were both sousaphones, and they were truly awful. We didn't have any 3/4 tubas to test, but I'm sure they too would have been down there.
The Yamaha 201M tuba isn't as much of a brick as you'd think, though. Even though it's heavier, it's better balanced when it's on the shoulder than any 3/4 convertible in existence. I once tried a small convertible and it killed me, even though I had been marching contra in corps for several years before that. The 201 definitely wouldn't fit under your arm, though. :-)
The only 4/4 or bigger BBb convertibles I know of are the 201 and Kanstul's 4/4 and 5/4 tubas. Kanstul also has non-convertibles in those sizes. I was a part-time tech for a tuba section at a local school marching band, and their 201's worked just fine.
The best shoulder tubas in any key are still the GG contras from DEG (5/4 "Super Magnum", in 3 or 4 valves), Kanstul (5/4 "Contra Grande"), and if you can find one, the King K-90. DEG's Willson-built "Super" balances perfectly on the shoulder even though it's one of the heaviest marching tubas in existence. Kanstul's BBb 5/4 tuba looks very similar to their GG contra, but I haven't heard a section of them yet. If DCI's "Bb rule" takes hold, and corps new & old start using BBb marching tubas, we'll see a demand for better BBb designs.
My point is that not all convertibles are designed the same -- thank god! That would be like saying that all Norwegians love lutefisk (pickled fish?), and I know that I don't....I hate being in the same house as a lutefisk dinner!
PS -- check out the link --
PPS -- "hush hush" about the perfectly balanced contras -- we like to say they're really heavy! :-)