Wikipedia says using terms like “CC” and “BBb” is “based on a traditional distortion of a now-obsolete octave naming convention”. So I play a C from Besson, in the category of contra-bass tuba, along with a Bb. Here it is:
It’s a pretty sweet machine. It’s my second tuba as well — my first being my Besson Eb. I use a PT-72 mouthpiece with it – though I’m looking to get something bigger. I got the C in early 2006. Wow — 5 years ago. I’ve come a long way playing it. I remember trying out some tubas with Scott Irvine at Long&McQuade in Toronto. He chuckled that I sounded like an Eb player on a C. I can only hope that this is different now. There is a much bigger and broader sound of this C vs. my Eb.
Thanks to a few pieces in Orchestra Toronto, my low end is sounding pretty good to. First, it was Vaughan-William’s 2nd symphony with a low D and low E. Then… um… perhaps it was The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The latest was low stuff in Prokofiev’s Cinderella (the suite). A lesson with Sasha Johnson from the National Ballet helped a lot too (they were performing the full ballet in Nov 2010). Plus my audition to the GGS had some specific low contrabass tuba – the Dragon solo from Wagner’s Das Rheingold. I would love to revisit that now. It used to take me an hour of warming up to get a nice low D. That time has been dramatically reduced! It feels great.
One thing I need to work on though, is the higher range. Being able to pick notes out of the air, 100% reliably. This is much easier for me on my Eb. On the C, I find myself going too high. I think I’ll go back to using the C in swing band. The endless arpeggios are great exercises.
I’ve had on my mind recently to make a roap trip to Detroit — visit Custom Music for the first time, get a new mouthpiece and get a lesson from the tubist from the Detroit Symphony. Collin and I could go together and make a little overnight trip about it. And get some good mexican food in Detroit’s Mexicantown.