The equipment — my C (and not CC, as it were)

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.


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