The JP378 Sterling is the perfect instrument for a professional player looking for a great quality tuba for a fraction of the price of its competitors. With a large bore, and clear intonation, this tuba would sit perfectly at the back of a top section brass band. It produces a fantastic sound with a good solid core and it is in tune all the way up the scale. It is very clear to see that the John Packer makers, along with Paul Riggett of Sterling musical instruments, have spent a great deal of time dealing with the traditional problems of these instruments and have come up with fantastic solutions.
The JP378 Sterling is constructed from high grade brass (80:20) ensuring the instrument is both durable whilst improving sound quality. The large 19" bell and .730" bore also contribute towards an improved sound quality and increased acoustic projection. The instrument features a carefully configured fully compensating system ensuring that accurate tuning and and alternate fingering is possible.
It was a rare pleasure to meet up with a new BBb on the market. Especially one that blew so well straight away. The new JP378 Sterling in lacquer came straight out of the wrapper and felt right, the fourth valve was sensibly placed and the playing position didn't tug at my dodgy back either. I was curious to see it had a tapered lead pipe that fed into a valve block that was very well laid out and used straight through piping where possible. It looked well made with a decent finish. So far, so good then. It got better when I gave it a decent blow in all registers and on full volume it didn't break up and produced one of the nicest tones I have heard for quite a while. Played quietly, it was a really nice blow. It was in tune also – without messing with the first valve slide “a la Sovereign”. I was pleased that the stays and construction were beefed up, apparently taking account of having a hard life in front of it. It came in a robust, wheeled hard case, which had decent sized wheels and had good fittings inside (including a music compartment). Only criticism were the rather strong valve springs fitted to this one. The valves didn't look as though they needed them this strong, sure they will wear in but I would try weaker ones. Would I like one? Yes. Would I swap a Sovereign for one? Probably yes, especially considering this would cost me nearly a new euphonium short of the Sovereign. It seems another collaboration with quality instrument makers Sterling has produced the goods. I would happily take one anywhere and would expect it to match well with any other bass out there.
“Rolls-Royce valves” was the immediate comment. “This will take one hell of a player to find its limits.”
Packer’s most recent addition to their range is the JP378 BBb bass. I was astonished by how good this instrument is! The British brass band style BBb bass has always been an unwieldy beast: every instrument seems to have different characteristics, it is usually very hard work to achieve a good round sound, and, personally, I feel very tired after playing one even for a short time. This instrument is totally different. All the handholds are in just the right place, the fourth valve is within easy reach, as is as the leadpipe, and there are no worries about it falling off the chair. I felt that I could play this instrument all day. It produces a fantastic sound with a good solid core and it is in tune all the way up the scale. It is very clear to see that the John Packer makers, along with Paul Riggett of Sterling musical instruments, have spent a great deal of time dealing with the traditional problems of these instruments and have come up with fantastic solutions. Anyone looking to buy a bass should take a serious look at this range as the quality and price are very hard to beat.
The JP378 Sterling comes supplied with a mouthpiece and The JP378 Sterling comes supplied with a mouthpiece and the John Packer JP861 Pro Lightweight BBb Tuba Case.