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For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby Dave Detwiler » Fri May 31, 2019 6:46 pm

Hi all,

I finally sorted through the research I've been collecting for about a year on giant tubas, and offer for your consideration an historical catalog of these wonderful beasts.

It's a long post, but has lots of great pictures, and clears up a lot of the history behind many of these horns.

Here's the link: https://tubapastor.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-wonderful-world-of-giant-tubas.html

If you know of a giant tuba that I am missing, post about it either here, or on my blog.

Enjoy!
Dave
Played an F. E. Olds 4-valve BBb in high school (late '70s)
Led the USC Trojan Marching Band tuba section (early '80s)
Now playing an F. Schmidt (=VMI) 3301 and goofing around
on a 1927 Pan American 64K Sousaphone Grand
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby bisontuba » Fri May 31, 2019 11:03 pm

Nice!
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby jperry1466 » Fri May 31, 2019 11:41 pm

Enjoyed that article. Thanks for the hard work and research.
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby lost » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:35 am

Thanks for your contributions to the history of tubas. Keep 'em coming!
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby windshieldbug » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:17 am

Thank you for your efforts! :tuba:
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby ppalan » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:41 pm

As always Dave, great detective work. Hope all's well with you and your family and hope to see you back at rehearsal as soon as you're able. :tuba:
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby Heliconer » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:35 pm

Great Article! However, the Original King 'Girrafe', also known as a Tartophone, is owned by Brian Nalepka in New York, and was given to him by Joe Tarto upon his passing. Brian is happy to share details and photos, and is easily reachable on Facebook.
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby Dave Detwiler » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:58 pm

Thanks so much, Heliconer! I've reached out to Brian via Facebook to see if I can get more info on that horn.
Played an F. E. Olds 4-valve BBb in high school (late '70s)
Led the USC Trojan Marching Band tuba section (early '80s)
Now playing an F. Schmidt (=VMI) 3301 and goofing around
on a 1927 Pan American 64K Sousaphone Grand
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby edsel585960 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:23 pm

Cool!!!
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby tubapix » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:28 am

Very impressive! It would be nice to see and hear one of these giants in a concert band setting. Not just a carnival sideshow piece but as an actual musical instrument playing real music. :tuba:
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby TheBerlinerTuba » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:02 am

Thank you Dave!
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby Dave Detwiler » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:17 pm

Hi all - in the original post, I had not yet seen an image of the giant tuba built by the Diston company in 1901. But I'm now pretty sure it is this oversized helicon, seen in a photo of the Repasz Band of Williamsport, PA, from 1903. I updated the post with this photo, as well as the entire photo of the band: http://tubapastor.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-wonderful-world-of-giant-tubas.html

1903 Repasz Band helicon.png
1903 Repasz Band helicon.png (59.6 KiB) Viewed 1557 times
Played an F. E. Olds 4-valve BBb in high school (late '70s)
Led the USC Trojan Marching Band tuba section (early '80s)
Now playing an F. Schmidt (=VMI) 3301 and goofing around
on a 1927 Pan American 64K Sousaphone Grand
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby humBell » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:24 am

For reference, in the full Repasz band picture, is the far left helicon likely the size of the Simonete Keefer and the Distin pictured on horn-u-copia? And the one on the ground in front is your most um, generic helicon size they made?

Other than the tuning slide remaining on the same side of the wrap as the valves, it is proportionately large with itself, i don't think i'd tell it apart without measuring it.
Thanks for playing!
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Re: For the love of Giant Tubas!

Postby 2ba4t » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:10 am

Thank you for your wonderful research. When did the very wide bore '6/4' BBb and CC tubas start being made? Those I saw 50 years ago in the Bayreuth and Frankfurt opera house basements (used from the 1890s etc) seemed very narrow. They all had narrow stove chimney bells but I do not remember their sizes being as wide as our instruments - below the bell - first bow round to the valves? Also, BBb and CC museum pieces seem narrow bore throughout - or am I mistaken?

Those extravaganza huge BBBb and EEEb instruments can play Fight of the Bumbletuba or whatever but the valves simply do not really make any difference. You just buzz into the mouthpiece and any note will come out. After all, you are playing the 16th to 40th harmonics of a very long pipe, which means you can lip every semitone!!!???? Just watch Wachtsmuth's fingers. (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=giant+tuba+bu ... Mq_tKtRZ5s" target="_blank" target="_blank)

And if they are built properly I am sure any reasonable player can blow them. There is no such thing as 'air flow'. A sound wave travels through still air in the tube. The air moves through because we have to breath out to blow and vibrate the lips. See https://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/brassa ... s.html#pff" target="_blank" target="_blank Volume is that which takes the 'huge lungs' stuff.

Sorry to be cynical.
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