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Tuba mouthpiece shank sizes, a description.

Postby Matt Walters » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:24 pm

A year or two ago, I made this simplified explaination of the different mouthpiece shank sizes and have sent it to my Dillon Music Customers when I needed to clear up confusion on the shank size issue. I hope this will be a valuable tool to everyone on the TubeNet BBS.


In the world of tuba mouthpieces, it seems there are five (5) general shank sizes and that, can lead to confusion. The Standard American and European Shank sizes, followed by the Large Shank, are the most common sizes that fit modern production tubas. From smallest to largest, we offer the following information to shed a little light on the subject.

SMALL EUROPEAN: Having a diameter of .490" at small end of shank, this size is offered by Dennis Wick in the sizes 1 through 5. Just make sure you order the one without the "L" in the model number. This size is most commonly used on old Besson tubas and old American Eb tubas. I hear this referred to as the Eb tuba size. Some old German, etc. 3/4 size BBb tubas have also shown up with that receiver size. If you are having trouble figuring out what small size shank your old tuba needs, it is about the same size as a large shank trombone mouthpiece. Borrow one from a trombonist and see for yourself. You can order a Denis Wick mouthpiece, or to have a wider variety of mouthpieces to choose from, consider replacing the receiver for about the price of a mouthpiece.

STANDARD AMERICAN: The reference point for this size of about .520" at the small end of the shank. A good example would be the Bach, and Conn Helleberg tuba mouthpieces. This is the most common size here in the United States. In the Dennis Wick line, you need to make sure it has the "L" in the model number to get this standard size. Our regular size shank Dillon Mouthpieces are also of this size. Besides American built horns, many European horns like Miraphone can use this size.

EUROPEAN SHANK: This is an increasingly popular shank size of about .530" diameter at the small end of the shank. It is found in mouthpieces like the JK Exclusive, Perantucci, Laskey "E" shank, and of course our wonderful Sheridan Series of mouthpieces. Most every European and American tuba built these days, will accept this shank size.

LARGE SHANK: This is a larger size that measures about .550" diameter at the small end of the shank. It works well on the larger European tubas. Especially horns with large diameter leadpipes like the "York" copies and most Alexander model 163 CC tubas. This is the size of our Dillon Music "L" shank mouthpiece and the new Wick 2XL.

KAISER SHANK: With a measurement of about .585" in diameter at the small end of the shank, this truly is a "Kaiser" size. It fits the largest Alexander model 164, a few ‘one off’ model 163's, and some original York receivers we've come across. Anyone needing this size shank will need to get a custom built mouthpiece, or have an adapter made.

I hope this explanation will be of help to you.
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Shank sizes

Postby TubaRay » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:34 pm

Wow! What a clear and definitive reference on mouthpiece shank sizes. I have already made a hard copy for my files. Thanks, Matt. This is quite helpful.
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Postby Kevin Hendrick » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:12 pm

Very helpful indeed -- it's nice to have numbers to go with the sizes. Much appreciated. 8)
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Postby sc_curtis » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:17 pm

I have to agree with Kevin, it is good to have those specific numbers to match up with. I really appreciate this post!

Thanks Matt!
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Postby Scooby Tuba » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:15 pm

Someone referenced this on fleabay. Thought it was worth a bump...
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Postby Bob1062 » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:36 pm

There also seems to be a super-small shank. I once tried to play a little Eb (I've forgotten the brand) that wouldn't even take my bass trombone mouthpiece. I stared at it cross eyed, put it down and moved on.

Postby iiipopes » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:17 pm

Hey, Sean -- this has "sticky" written all over it! Or at least add it to your tips section link at the top of the forum.
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Postby SplatterTone » Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:57 pm

And then ...
There is the size officially known as Chinese Oddball. End of the shank about 0.512". Larger than small shank, smaller than American shank. Came with no-name Chinese horn from Bandfolio about 3-4 years ago. It makes a great paper weight. The horn does very well with American shank MPs even if they do stick out a bit.
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shank size

Postby davemcrobs » Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:24 pm

Are all 5 shank sizes morse #1 taper? I measured a laskey 30HE at the small end .530", .590" at 1" up. I cut those same measurements on a piece of steel at the shop and it came out to be 1.5 %.
Also you can fit a "european" shank on a standard american becase the taper is same. There will be more of a gap between the end of the mouthpiece and the start of the mouthpipe.


Postby Richard Brown » Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:37 pm

Groovy cool, Matt! This has historically been a very problematic issue, you've really clarified things. One question: how would you categorize Monette shanks?
Richard Brown

Postby cjk » Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:54 am

Miraphone shanks (at least my C4, TU21, and Rose Solo) have a shank that's a tiny bit larger than American and smaller than European.

http://www.dougelliottmouthpieces.com/cbtuba.html has some additional interesting information about shank sizes too.

[quote="Doug Elliott's web site "]

Shank sizes and tapers: (Shank should fit into the receiver 1â€
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Re: Tuba mouthpiece shank sizes, a description.

Postby KevinMadden » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:01 pm

Don't mind me resurrecting an 8 year old thread but...

One of my fellow students and I find ourselves repairing some OLLLLLLLLLD York Ebs for the local Salvation Army and they have the SMALL (slightly smaller than large shank Euph) old American shank.

1) Does anyone other than Denis Wick and Doug Elliot make mouthpieces for this shank?

2) how involved is changing out the receiver and how likely are we to completely screw up the taper of the leadpipe if we tried to put a modern American receiver on it?

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Re: Tuba mouthpiece shank sizes, a description.

Postby bloke » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:54 pm

I offer than shank size for my shallow and medium depth cups (Solo & Imperial), but you might want to change out the receiver, so that the instrument will accept a vastly larger number of mouthpieces.
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Re: Tuba mouthpiece shank sizes, a description.

Postby cjk » Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:40 am

Kelly offers several models in the smaller Eb shank size:
http://www.kellymouthpieces.com/kmstain ... /index.asp
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