Friday, November 9, 2012


I am back from a very productive trip to China. It was fast and grueling trip but worth it. I have a BAT! A Fledermaus? A Big Audacious Tuba. In fact I have two BATs in CC and two BATs in BBb, each available in silver or lacquer for a total of eight. Pictures posted in links. In keeping with the old system, J=tubas, digit one = scale degree, digit two is size and digit three is number of valves. So: J-865LQ is CC 5v, J-865SP is CC 5v, J-864LQ is CC 4v, J-864SP is CC4v, J-765LQ is BBb 5v, J-765SP is BBb 5v, J-764LQ is BBb 4v and J-764SP is BBb 4v. The instruments are not copies of any existing tubas but were certainly inspired by some great American tubas of yesteryear. (Return with us now to those thrilling sounds of yesteryear…) The point of departure was a BBb Holton from the twenties. I used the bell, bow and branches for the BAT dimensions. It is clear to me that Frank Holton and J.W. York had a symbiotic relationship and that is was Frank Holton that first developed the large bell that was later used by York. The valve cluster is that which I currently use in the 4/4 tubas so the bore is .750/.787 with an optional dependent fifth rotor. Because of the dependent rotor I could not tell a blowing difference or sound between the four and five valve models.
Having owned BATs with 20” and 22” bells and having compared the Conn 52J, 54J and 56J, I am keenly aware that too big a bell makes the sound diffuse and fluffy whilst too small a bell offers little depth but gives a quicker response especially in the low register. I chose 19” for these BATs and am confident most everyone will like the choice. I brought back with me one J-865UL and will use it as a trial sample for anyone who wants to test it. In Elkhart by appointment or at a conference near you. I will be traveling with a Gemeinhardt display to several shows, bringing along a variety of BMB tubas. Give me a shout if there’s something in particular you’d like to try. I will be in Ames, Iowa for the state convention Nov 15-17, New York State’s NYSSMA Nov 29-Dec 1, Wright State’s Low Brass day Dec 8, Midwest in Chicago Dec 19-21. Grand Rapids, Michigan Jan 17-19, Capital Tuba Conference in DC Feb 1&2, Ohio MEA in Columbus Feb 7-9, NAMM in Anaheim Jan 24-26 Minneapolis Feb 14-16, TMEA in San Antonio Feb 14-16 will have tubas but I will not be there. I would be pleased to do a complete display of all my tubas and Euphoniums at your college. Email me at It is my intention to keep one each of the BBb’s and take orders as I have no feel for whether 4v or 5v in LQ or SP will be popular. I expect February delivery of 5v CC’s in both lacquer and silver and will secure orders with deposits. Oh, the price, around $7,000 depending on specific model. Includes a free case and a great Helleberg mouthpiece. Gig bag available. I will withhold personal evaluation here, but I am extremely encouraged by what I could tell with my dystonic (is that a word) chops.