Posted by Jay Bertolet on December 11, 1998 at 09:43:09:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Mirafone Eb vs Besson Eb posted by Larry Lilley on December 10, 1998 at 18:32:34:
Sure! While I'm not familiar with the Elliot mouthpiece you are using, I'll assume because it is called a "Helleberg" mouthpiece that it is a funnel shaped cup. I have found that these mouthpieces can have, especially on Mirafones, a funny "buzz" in the sound. It is almost like a really high overtone in the sound that doesn't really belong there. All the tubists I ever heard who played Mirafones and used funnel shaped mouthpieces had this. If I were you, I would try a good cup shaped mouthpiece. I have used a Bach 24AW and Bach 18 with great success. I find the cup shaped mouthpiece can have a darker sound but might take more work for projection power. If you want to go with a heavyweight style mouthpiece, I wouldn't waste any money on the Bach Megatone series. I tried the Megatone 18, side by side with a standard 18 and couldn't hear any difference. I'm hoping that R & S will come out with an 18 clone with their extra metal design (hint for Roger Lewis!!!!). In any event, I would try a cup style mouthpiece on the Besson and see if it darkens the sound. Just be careful that you are sure what you are hearing. It has been my experience that horns that project like crazy often sound very harsh (some would call this bright) when listened to up close. I like the idea of another pair of ears to help, this might help to identify whether the tuba sounds the same up close as out in the audience.
I would also suggest an exercise. I know that when I first started to play Eb, I naturally played like I was playing a smaller tuba. It took me some time, but I finally managed to get out of this habit. One of the ways I did this was to play etudes and such that I worked on with my CC playing. That way, I had the sound in my head already from a CC point of view, and I could emulate that on the smaller tuba. I think you've taken the first step in that, I think playing on the same mouthpiece on both instruments is the way to go.
I guess this is really a discussion centered around the idea that when a tubist picks up a different tuba, does he want to sound very different. Many players play F tuba and sound completely different than playing on CC. If that is what you're going for, then no problem. I would suggest that being able to pick up a different tuba and sound relatively the same is also a valuable skill. That way, you can use the individual tuba's strengths to the greatest advantage. I would think that if you take the same approach to playing when switching instruments, you should be able to sound relatively consistent unless the equipment is wildly different.
I hope this helps you some.