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What tuba?

Date: 17/08/2009

What tuba should I buy? Usually tubas are divided into two groups: small tubas (F and E-flat) and big tubas (C and B-flat). Usually you can pick freely between the small tubas. Some orchestras require certain big tubas. In Switzerland, Germany and Austria many orchestras want you to play the B-flat, also called Bb tuba. In most other countries you would have to play the C tuba.

If you are like me, not playing in an orchestra, you can pick whatever you want!

Here are some issues to look out for:

  1. Sound
    Do you like the sound of the tuba? If you have no idea, have a pro test it for you.
  2. Intonation
    No tubas are perfectly in tune. Playing a brass instrument is always a compromise. However, some horns are closer than others. And when they are good enough, you can use lips and pull slides to make it sound more in tune than a piano!
  3. Blend
    The sound of the instrument should blend well with other instruments. This is impossible to find out without actually playing together with others. It should be easy to intonate and to blend with the other musicians sound.
  4. Mechanical quality
    The instrument should last a long time, and the action of the valves should not wear out quickly. Stick to a well known manufacturer.
  5. Second hand value
    The same as with cars. A well kept tuba from a well known manufacturer has a better second hand value.

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