The Eastman Music Company has become one of the top players in the music industry. In particular they've been making a name for themselves in the world of tubas and low brass.
Combining old world craftmanship with modern technology, Eastman tubas have become a top choice among professional players while being affordable for schools and students.
In this comprehensive guide we'll answer some common questions about Eastman, their tubas, and go over every model that's currently available.
Let's dive in!
What is the Eastman Music Company?
The company was founded as Eastman Strings in 1992 by Qian Ni. He was an exchange student from Beijing, an accomplished flutist, and graduate of the Boston University School of Music.
Eastman first started as a distributor, then later began building their own instruments. Over the course of their 30-year history they've grown to become one of the largest manufacturers of string, brass, and woodwind instruments in the world.
Today, Eastman is headquartered in Pomona, CA. It owns and operates 7 factories throughout the world - four in North America and three in China.
Where are Eastman tubas made?
Eastman tubas are made in-house in their factory in China. Since Eastman owns the factory they are involved with the construction every step of the way - they don't outsource to independent factories. This ensures that quality control is kept to a very high standard.
Before going to market, their tubas go through an extensive design and testing process. Several prototypes get made before the final design makes it to music stores and into the hands of players.
All this ensures that you get the best tubas possible!
What professionals are saying about Eastman tubas.
Here's what some pro tuba players are saying about Eastman:
"When I think of Eastman, I think about a product that serves the needs of the player, the people, and the community. I love my Eastman tuba!"
-Deana Swoboda, professor of tuba - Arizona State University
"World-class people producing world-class products. Eastman helped me find my musical voice. Let them help you!"
-Chris Olka, principal tuba - Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra
"The Eastman sousaphone is a game-changer. It’s simply the best sousaphone I’ve ever played—and I’ve played a lot! It has a beautiful, full-bodied sound across the entire range of the horn, responds well with multiple modes of attack, projects like crazy, and plays well in tune. And on top of it all, it’s comfortable! I’ll never play another sousa."
-Marc Bolin, recording and performing artist
"Eastman tubas help me create a tone as big as Texas. Well, almost!"
-Tim Buzbee, principal tuba - Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
3/4-size BBb Student Tubas
Eastman produces three different models of student tubas. They're smaller and comfortable to play, making them ideal for beginners and middle school students. These tubas are also great alternatives for professionals looking for something easier to travel with.
This is a great student instrument, and one you can often find in many middle schools around the country. It features 3 front-action pistons, a rose brass leadpipe, and a .661" bore.
The bore size makes it easy for younger players to blow through and fill with sound. The front-facing pistons and shorter leadpipe also make these preferred by certain players.
Another popular instrument found in middle schools - this tuba also features 3 piston valves, a rose brass leadpipe and a .661" bore.
But unlike the EBB234, this model has top-action piston valves rather than front-facing ones. This gives it a more "euphonium"-style aesthetic and protects the valves within the framework of the instrument.
This is another student model tuba with four front-action valves (instead of three), and a slightly larger .687” bore. The EBB226 has a warm, centered tone, precise intonation and good flexibility.
The added fourth valve also gives players different options for fingerings, and expands the playing range of the tuba.
Intermediate BBb Tubas
As of this writing Eastman makes only one model in their intermediate line of tubas.
The EBB431 is a full-size tuba with four valves. The fourth valve helps with intonation, tone production, and gives players a number of alternate fingerings. This tuba can meet the needs of more advanced music played in a junior high or high school setting. It's also a great option for community bands and orchestras in need of an affordable full-size tuba.
Professional BBb Tubas
There are three different tubas to choose from in the professional line of BBb tubas.
The EBB534 is an American-style tuba with a warm, centered tone that punches through in any setting thanks to its powerful projection capabilities. This versatile instrument is the perfect choice for advanced wind symphonies, while being flexible enough to play solo work and chamber music.
With it's warm tone, the EBB562 is a fantastic, German-style tuba with good projection. It features a big, open sound that envelops every instrument around it, making it a perfect tuba for orchestral and European-style music.
Another German-style tuba, the EBB623 is a bigger in just about every way. As a result, some players may prefer the larger bore and sound compared to the EBB562. But despite the extra size this tuba is very tightly wrapped, making it more manageable than other instruments in its class.
Whether in a concert band, orchestra, or chamber group, these CC tubas have become best-sellers and the top choice among professionals.
This is a great entry point into the world of CC tubas. The EBC632 plays very well in tune, and is comfortable to play.
Inspired by the legendary York orchestral CC tubas, the EBC836 has been making waves with symphony musicians and college students all over. This tuba produces a powerful, symphonic sound, but well-suited enough for chamber music.
The EBC 832 incorporates design elements from York-style tubas, but in a smaller package. It has the agility and response of a smaller 4/4 tuba, but can compete with larger tubas with their depth of sound.
Eastman produces three tubas pitched in E-flat - a smaller, 3/4-size student tuba, and some larger bass tubas. Typically you find Eb tubas in British-style brass bands and some military bands.
Originally these smaller Eb tubas were made to fill in the gap between euphoniums and standard "bass" tubas. The EBE251 is light and easy to play, and features a compensating 4th valve for improved intonation and ease of playability.
EBE853 & EBE851
These are both EEb bass tubas with the same specs and dimensions. The only difference is the EBB851 has a slightly smaller bell, which gives it a little more focus and clarity, but slightly less power and volume.
Either way, both tubas will have a rich, warm sound great for any setting.
The final category of concert tuba: F tubas are often considered the "solo tuba". They can be usually found performing chamber works and solo pieces. Some orchestral works even call for F tuba thanks to its higher range. Most of them will have five or six valves.
This full-size F tuba combines the sound of a Germanic rotary F tuba with a fluid low register and great intonation throughout the horn. It's a great performer capable of projecting above an orchestra and great for quintets.
Equally as stunning as Eastman's other F tuba, this one features 4 left-hand and 2 right-hand rotor valves give the player extra control over their instrument.
Both the EBF864 and EBF866 are available with either yellow or gold brass bell, adding further options for players searching for the perfect instrument.
Marching Tubas & Sousaphones
Last, but certainly not least, are the the line-up of marching tubas. This includes two convertible marching tubas (or contras), and a new sousaphone.
The Eastman marching tuba features 3 top-action valves and a convertible, rose brass leadpipe. Swap it out and the tuba can be used in any concert band.
A 3/4-size counterpart to the EBB331M. The smaller size makes it more manageable to march with, while still packing a bright, powerful sound.
Introduced in 2020, this new sousaphone is comfortable to use and can deliver a complex range of sound. Great for any marching band, and equally great for any professional who plays outdoors.