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Re: Low Tuba Notes

Adrian Drover (Brass Band List wrote:
> Hi Adrian (A.J.Raven, NZ)
> Many thanks for your follow-up to my thoughts on tubas.
> I thoroughly understand that the non-compensating instrument would produce
> better tone, providing the player is able to make the appropriate slide
> adjustments, though I think it needs a very skilled performer to do these left
> hand gymnastics. He/she would also need just the right amount of lube on the
> 1st & 3rd valve slides to operate them as 'trombone slides'; too much and they
> may drop down under their own weight; a slight dent and "No Way, Jose".
> My main instrument is bass trombone, but I enjoy playing tuba as a double. My
> preferred instrument is the Sovereign EEb, mainly because it is easy to switch
> from bass to treble clef. Starting life as a cornettist, it is easier for me to
> think in treble, even though most of my playing is now in the bass clef.
> I find it requires no super-human effort on this instrument to reach as low as
> pedal G concert (7 lines below the bass clef?), but the F & E (2nd harmonics)
> in the octave above need to be coaxed out gently. This is frustrating as I am
> able to really let these notes rip on my bass trombone. I think the EEb
> instrument could probably benefit from having a 5th valve for correcting the
> tuning on these two notes, ...but then it may add to the stuffiness.
> Cheers, Adrian
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Hi Adrian.
There was just a slight misunderstanding. When I mentioned the use of
non-compensating tubas, it was to advocate the use of the front action
style of tuba, which generally have the slides falling neatly to the
left hand and pointing upwards, thereby enabling the player to lubricate
them to act almost like trombone slides. The "left hand gymnastics" are
normal practice for tuba players who use this style of horn and are no
different to a trumpet/cornet player using triggers to pull a note to
the correct pitch. The only difference is the amount of adjustment
I hope this clarifies my point.

kind regards,
Adrian J. Raven

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