Re: Miraphone, yesterday and today

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Posted by Dennis Morris on October 21, 1999 at 11:02:28:

In Reply to: Miraphone, yesterday and today posted by Jeff Chronister on October 20, 1999 at 23:55:29:

Hi, Jeff. If I may add to the Mirafone folklore:

Yes, the number on the front of the bell is the serial number. My Mirafone 186 CC is #9427, which makes it a little newer than yours. I bought it new in the early part of 1975. All of the valves are/were vented and as far as I know they all came with vents at the time.
I say "were" vented because, when I was having some work done on mine a few months ago, the repair guy (Ian Robinson at the Brass Bow) told me that it was losing a lot of air. I guess that will happen after 24 years of wear and tear. Anyway, they plugged the vent holes and the horn feels like it's using my air more efficiently now.
You might also want to examine the leadpipe if you're looking at a used Mirafone. The pipe on mine developed red rot (again, after 24 years), so they put on a new one. I've heard that this is a common problem with Mirafones of a certain age.

My $.02: I think Mirafone makes a solid instrument, that will sound as good or as bad as you are capable of playing it. If you're looking for a good all-around horn, I suggest you include a Mirafone on your list of choices. I've used my 186 in orchestra, band, quintet, and jazz over the past 24 years. While there are times when another horn suits the specific occasion a little better, the 186 works just fine for about 75 - 80% of my playing. It's the horn I practice on every day. And, after the work I had done, I expect mine to be good for another 25 years.
I know you were asking primarily about 188s. Sorry, I have no direct experience with 188s so I can't comment on them. However, I understand Alan Baer (of the Milwaukee Symphony) is a Mirafone rep. He should be able to tell you a lot about 188s and about Mirafones in general.
BTW, I don't sell Mirafones. I'm just a player who has had a good experience with one.

Your mention of Mirafone bashing brings up a point I've been thinking about: the great "Best Horn Debate" that shows up sometimes in the BBS.
When people share their real-world experience -- good and bad -- with a particular instrument in a particular situation, it's very informative and helpful to the tuba-playing community. When people say "this horn sucks", or "this horn is the best", it doesn't help anybody. When I read posts like that, I wonder if we're talking about music or about football. And, I think this fosters the idea that you just have to buy a or you're not a good player.

I tell students that the horn is just an amplifier -- what you do will determine what the horn does. A player can sound great on a Meinl-Weston, a B&S, a Mirafone, a Cerveny, a , if they know what they want to sound like and they're willing to put in the work.
The fact that a player uses such and such a horn means they've found a horn that works for that set of chops, playing that literature, in that situation. It's wonderful and it's what we all want from our horns. It doesn't mean that every other horn sucks.

OK, I'm off the soapbox now. Hope this helps. Good luck with your search!


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