Posted by Sean Chisham on April 15, 1999 at 09:38:43:
In Reply to: No decent New F tubas on the market (me out-of-step? too picky?) posted by Joe Sellmansberger on April 14, 1999 at 23:48:11:
The big, bigger, biggest thing does seem to get out of hand sometimes. Anyone played the new super sized Kalison? But, in some horns it works well. The Yorkbrunner and PT-6 are two examples of larger instruments which have purpose and direction regardless of their size. This is also somewhat true of the Getzen G-50, but in the opposite direction. It plays very well despite it's smaller size.
I don't know if I agree with the "pulled one over" comment about Yamaha. There are a few players out there who sound pretty good on their 3/4 Yamahas. Roger Bobo and John Griffiths are two people I have heard use the 621 with great effectiveness. On the otherhand, I have also heard a good number of others who could probably sound much better on different equipment. I am not a fan of the "Yamaha sound" either. I agree with your comment on "lack of character" in their sound. The Yamahas do have a distinctive sound, but to my ears it is very dull and flat.
I also played on the prototype F by Hirsbrunner at the 1992 ITEC and thought the same thing you did. It was the BEST F tuba I had ever played, period. It seemed to have a beautiful sound and was easy to play on. If you have heard anyone performing on the newer Hirsbrunner F's then I would think you would agree that they are FANTASTIC instruments, if not overpriced.
I prefer the sound of the German rotary F's such as B&S and Meinl Weston. Some of the newer F's by these two manufacturers are very good. They have a sound and presence in a hall which I have not heard from other instruments. I first learned to play F on a medium bored pre-Perantucci B&S F, most likely similiar to the one you own. I loved that instrument and always thought it to have a very sweet response and timbre. The instrument just felt great. I have had the opportunity to hear a few people perform on both the older Cold War era B&S's and the Perantucci'ed versions and would say that the newer models are much more enjoyable to LISTEN to.
I have not had a chance to play on the Apollo F, but have heard it played by Mel Culbertson and also think that it sounds like a CC. Not only does it sound like a CC, but it sounds like a fairly large CC. That is not really what I am after in an F, but some people are and I respect them for that.
If you base your opinions of a horn's usefulness by the way it "feels" and use your current instrument as a yardstick, then it will be difficult to please you with today's offerings. Today's instruments "feel" different than the ones designed 20 years ago. They are, sometimes, more free blowing and, in general, have gotten a bit larger. The trend seems to bounce around a bit. Some of the horns from the 30's are absolutelly GIANTS compared to todays instruments. I am speaking of Holtons, Conns, Yorks, etc. They got massive. In the 50's-60's the instruments were a bit smaller again with Miraphone, Alexander, and King.
Around the early 80's the Yorkbrunner came along and people went WOW. No one really came out with a NEW design to emulate the Yorkbrunner for almost 10 years. Many of today's BIG horns are designed to simply be BIG horns. The Yorkbrunner does not play like a BIG horn, in my opinion. In fact, I believe my HB-21 is more physically taxing to play then most Yorkbrunner's I have had the opportunity to play. The Yorkbruuner is very efficient and just happens to be large in dimension. On the otherhand, I have played on many Meinl Weston 2165's where I felt as if I were trying to parallel park a tank. Of course, perception is based mostly on past experiences, so to someone else the exact opposite could be true.
You will have a tough time finding a horn which "feels" like the instrument you have grown accustomed to over the years. New equipment will almost always "feel" strange for a few days, weeks, or possibly months. This is why I try to base 80% of my selection criteria on the sound I am able to produce on the instrument and 20% on other factors such as ease of playing, and construction quality. You can always adapt to the way an instrument "feels", but it is much more difficult to change the fundemental sound qualities of an instrument.