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Double Tuba?

Postby Frank Ortega » Tue May 14, 2019 11:54 am

Hey Tubenetters,

Is this a Double Tuba? F and BBb? Has anyone played this?
Thoughts? ... Sw0npc16iB" target="_blank
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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby bort » Tue May 14, 2019 12:01 pm

Here's another one (same one?) with a description. Also in Japanese, so the translation to English isn't so great: ... html?tr=en

Double tubas seem to typically be best in F, and the BBb side is "okay". Frankly, I'm not sure I've heard about any spectacular F/BBb tubas, they seem to be "okay" in both sides, at best. Could be wrong!!
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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby Tubajug » Tue May 14, 2019 12:27 pm

I have not played it or know anything about it, but that big loop at the top sure looks like it's asking for damage! I'm interested in how the piston idea of a double tuba would work though. I've only seen the few rotary ones floating around the discussions here.
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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby Ace » Tue May 14, 2019 1:22 pm

I'm too lazy to research this, but didn't Tommy Johnson and/or Jim Self have a double F/CC tuba?

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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby YORK-aholic » Tue May 14, 2019 2:16 pm

Ace wrote:I'm too lazy to research this, but didn't Tommy Johnson and/or Jim Self have a double F/CC tuba?


Tommy Johnson had two made:
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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby bloke » Tue May 14, 2019 4:00 pm

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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby cjk » Tue May 14, 2019 4:20 pm

I believe this tuba might have been sold by Dillon music a few years ago. I think that's where I remember seeing it. IIRC, it was a demo horn which MW carried around to shows or something like that. I think it was a 45SLP bodied, compensated double F/BBb. Looking at the Japanese link above and the auction, I'd wager those are both pictures of the same horn. Not just the same model, the same horn. The Ebay pictures look more recent with more wear, but some of the lacquer wear spots look the same.

I'd bet the valves are quite heavy given that they are MW valves made taller (and heavier) for the extra set of compensating loops.

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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby hup_d_dup » Tue May 14, 2019 11:11 pm

The photo at the Japanese website shows that the leadpipe goes directly to the valve cluster. This is not the typical design of a double instrument, where the leadpipe goes first to a switching valve that routes the sound to one of two independent circuits. After traveling through the tubes of the selected circuit, the sound returns to the switching valve to get to the bell (otherwise you would need two bells).

This horn in the photo has some resemblance to a compensating horn, where the valve for the compensating loop comes after the valve cluster, and the valve determines whether or not the compensating loop will be used. When activated, the compensating loop is added to the main circuit; it is not used independently. Possibly, the additional tubing on this tuba is added not to correct intonation – the normal purpose of a compensating loop – but to change the key. In this case the tuba could play in two keys, but is not a true double instrument because it doesn't have two independent circuits.

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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby Tom » Wed May 15, 2019 9:06 am

I have tried one of these, quite possibly this exact tuba, quite a few years ago when it was on the show circuit with Meinl Weston. I cannot be absolutely sure it was this exact tuba, but how many of these can realistically be out there? Probably not more than a couple of them, I'd imagine. It could very well be a one-of-one.

It predates the 45SLP and is much more like an older, small valved 2145 that has been modified. When it was on the show circuit it still had the felts in the top caps like older HB and the earlier small valve MW piston tubas did.

It is a compensated F/BBb with a switch valve (rotor), not entirely unlike those found on double (French) horns. Although it has been a long time since I tried this instrument, I recall it being "better" in F, which seemed to be more of its 'home key' and "not so good" in BBb. That said, +/- 20 years ago when this was being shown by MW there were far superior "real" F tubas and "real" BBb tubas and it didn't seem to me that anyone would seriously consider buying that double tuba. It was presented more as a curiosity than as an available model. Everyone I ever saw with it approached it as such and just wanted to see what it was all about but with no plans to take such a beast home. I do not know the story of why or for whom it was originally built. It was a beautifully manufactured and assembled instrument, but the valves were heavy and the horn definitely had some questionable pitch issues here and there on top of being what a lot of players would call "stuffy."

I believe the MW show tuba ended up at Dillon Music years ago and languished on their website for well over a year before someone took the plunge on it in the $5,000 range. I didn't know what happened to it after that, but assumed that perhaps it had been picked up by a ("the?") collector due to its unusual design. Seems that it actually ended up in Japan instead, assuming this is the exact same one.
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Re: Double Tuba?

Postby Ted Cox » Wed May 15, 2019 9:24 am

In 2011 I visited the Alexander factory and played a F - CC tuba they had sitting around. My contact at Alexander, Reimund, insisted it was a double tuba and not a compensating tuba. He was correct - a true double tuba. Surprisingly, it was quite good. My trip was documented in the Winter ITEA Journal entitled, Sound Legacy if anyone cares to read what I wrote back then. My front view of this tuba wouldn't load.
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