The bulk of the musical talk
My name is Mike Lopp. I am a music teacher in North Carolina. After a hiatus of many years I decided to rejoin the Tuba Community. I recently bought a horn. I would like to share it with you and ask a few questions.
http://s345.photobucket.com/user/Timpan ... v.jpg.html
My new/old horn is a "Frankentuba", built by James Thomas Newell in Eugene Oregon. Jim was a aircraft repairman during World War II and the Korean War. He later began a music store in Eugene Oregon in the 1970's. His tuba playing career began in High School (An E-flat) which he continued to play during his stint in the military.
He chronicled this in his memoir "The Valley of The Stinkin Horse." (available on Amazon)
In addition, he was a founding member of the Oregon Tuba Association in Eugene Oregon. The group has been together since 1979. In 2013, their 37th year, they had 200 Tubas and 1500 people in the audience. The group was originally led by David Grosvenor and has many special guests such as, Dr. John Bascom Rodger Vaughan, The TubaDours,
Jim built 6 tubas himself. The last he considered his masterpiece. (see book) It began life as a three valve BB -flat Wurlitzer which he converted into a 5 valve CC with a 24" Conn bell.
The proceeds from the sell of Jim's horns went to a scholarship program for tuba players and Tuba related activities in the Eugene Oregon area. One may purchase David Grovenor's Christmas Tuba Carols by looking on Craigslist in the Eugene Oregon area. Proceeds go to the same group.
Personally, I feel honored to have a small place in the history of this instrument. I am interested in knowing more of the history of this horn. On the second valve the serial number reads L61402. I am most interested in knowing its size and who manufactured it originally. (I don't think Wurlitzer did their own manufacturing)
As for me, I begin my second stint with the Greensboro Concert Band in about two weeks.
I played with them as a undergraduate in the 1980's. I am very excited. If you can help me out with the history, let me know.
Interesting post. The resolution is really small on the pictures so it makes it difficult to figure out what I am looking it. The tubenet archives suggest Wurlitzer tubas may be Martin built horns.
Congrats on the horn and welcome to the forum.
Back in early 2014 (I think) there was a Craig's List Ad, which I responded to. The story was very similar, I was interested in the custom CC with a large bell which happened to be in Oregon, custom built, 24" bell, etc. The person was looking to sell locally and I told him if he was not able to sell to please get back with me. Never heard back. It's cool to have something unique with history that is a player. Congratulations!
2014 Wisemann 900 / 2013 Mack 410 / 1970? Conn 2j / 1909 King H.N. White Helicon
Every Wurlitzer tuba that I've seen has been 100% Martin-built. Wurlitzer was actually Martin's prime distributor back in the '20s.
Addendum: Someone I respect greatly has told me that some instruments marked Wurlitzer were made by Conn and even some European manufacturers. Apparently these tend to be early examples.
Last edited by Paul Scott on Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I too remember seeing that instrument on craigslist. I was always interested to know how it played being a "frankentuba" and all. I'm afraid I don't have any information for you, but I'm certainly interested to hear your thoughts on how it plays!
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Lyon & Healy Eb
H.N. White King Eb
If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
This is the horn from Oregon. I like Martins a great deal.
The horn appears to me to be a 4/4 or a 5/4 horn. I haven't played in a while so I am unsure as to
the intonation at this time. I used to play an Old Alex so I am comfortable pushing and pulling slides.
I am going to have to work on the 5th valve and the thumb ring placement. The 5th valve engages with
touch at about a quarter of an inch but will continue on down another two inches and become miss aligned. The 24 inch bell will require at special gig bag, which will be my next purchase. Having played a 3/4 Rudy in undergrad and a 164 in grad school, I can say this horn is definitely different from both those horns. It is definitely where I am as a player today and so far I am pleased with the sound. Thanks again for answering!
Try These. If you know of a better way to photograph and send let me know.
Just ran across your posting. I might have said the valves were King, but looking at the valve caps, they look more like Conn. The L prefix on the serial number would match up with the Conn serial numbers from 1968 according to the Conn Loyalist website. Knowing Jim, I'm guessing that he might have used a valve set from a sousaphone. I will contact his son to see if he has any info on the horn.
Jim Newell is a name from my past. Before online existed, to sell a tuba, you had to go through newspaper ads, for the most part. Around the mid 80's, I advertised my Miraphone, 188 Anniversary model for sale in the International Musician. Then, you had to wait a month or more before anyone saw the ad, as the AFM newspaper was (is) a monthly paper. Well, Jim answered my ad and I shipped my tuba off to him. He was very appreciative in his letters (that's how we corresponded.) He even sent me several t-shirts with his store logo on them. Some, or all of them had Tuba Czar logos on them. I can't recall if that was his store logo or not, but I wore these shirts for many years.
Well, Mike. I don't have the shirts anymore. This is going back to the late 80's. I do have a picture of me wearing one at a 20 year HS reunion barbecue, when I was still young and pretty thin. I'm standing at a 45 deg. angle, so it's difficult to see the actual shirt, but it's definitely a Tuba Czar shirt.
I will have to go to Jim's old shop (the Buy and Sell) because I think they did a run of Tuba Czar shirts last Christmas. My King sousaphone is one that Jim swapped me sweat equity for ("I found a sousaphone in my barn; if you'll strip the valve set and rouge the bell, it's yours"). I will let folks know if there are any more shirts.
Our Tuba Carol Concert in 2015 was dedicated to Jim; he passed away shortly after our ensemble concert in August of 2015, and his absence is keenly felt locally. I have attached a couple photos; one of Jim in 2013, and one of Jim and his son Bruce in 2012. Jim is playing the CC in both photos, and Bruce is playing the frankenhelicon.
Mirafone 186 BBb
VMI 201 3/4 BBb
Conn 19I 4-valve non-comp Euph
Yamaha FZ1 and FJR
What Would Xena Do?
This horn is BIG! I met Mike and the Frankentuba last night. I had no idea he and I lived that close together or would end up in the same concert band. Can't wait to hear him really crank it up!
p.s. Mike, one of our section told me he wondered what kind of satellite reception you had with that big bell!
Meinl Weston model 30 CC #147
Selmer Paris K-modified trombone,
Conn Director cornet
Shenandoah Conservatory '79
Jim it was great to meet you too! I don't get good television reception with it but every time I point it south I get messages from the aliens to my left. (lol) See you Monday.
Member Greensboro Concert Band
BM and MM Music Education UNC-Greensboro
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