tuba conversions

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by bobbyp, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. bobbyp

    bobbyp Member

    Has anybody ever tried to convert a tuba to a different key? and eb to f? or a bb to a c?

    how much did it cost to do so and what your opinions on the resulting instrument?
  2. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    I converted a a King Eb to a C by adding tubing to the tunoing slide. The instrument is a front action, three valve. The valve slides had to be adjusted for intonation of course. My reason for converting was the original intonation was so low that bring it up to pitch would be more expensive than the conversion. The conversion was relatively inexpensive as I did the work myself, and I have lots of old instruments to cannibalise. The resulting instrument plays fairly well, but not as well as a good quality C would. I use it with "Tom Baker's Mardi Gras Brass". The instrument is pictured on our website in the "Instruments" page. Hope this helps.


    I once converted a new BB bass into a single b flat bass....it was in the boot of my mates car going to a band job and a taxi ran into the back of us....a month later my mate (also a bass player)slung his bass over his shoulder and the strap came off...it finished up looking like a pocket tuba !:oops:
  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Back in the '60's when they had proper buses, I dropped an EEb Bass in a cloth cover off the back platform whilst waiting for it to stop so I could get off.

    The bell end looked like a beer can flattened by a size 9 boot !

    Being a "Young'un" I was terrified when I walked into band practise and was amazed when the Bandmaster, Jack Parish, bless him, just rolled out most of the wrinkles with a drum stick.
    They don't make 'em like that any more - basses or Bandmasters !!

    - Mr Wilx
  5. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Or bass abusers :wink:
  6. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    It used to be possible to purchase instruments that could be converted to different keys, usually by replacing the slides with ones of a different length. I have a Conn long-model cornet made around 1925 that came with a full set of "A" slides which convert it from a Bb cornet to an A cornet.

    Personally, I've never seen a tuba that was sold this way, but it seems to me that there's no real reason that it would not work. Of course, because of the rather complex mathematics that relate the length of the main tube to the length of each valve tube and the bore of the instrument, a converted instrument is most likely not going to be quite as good in terms of intonation as one built for the specific key.

    That being said, the original post asked about conversions going UP in pitch (Eb to F, BBb to C). It's easy to lower the pitch (go from F to Eb, for example), because that involves lengthening the tubes. But to raise the pitch you would have to shorten the tubes, which is going to involve some sort of cutting. Not what I would do to an instrument that costs as much as a tuba.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  7. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I remember Phil McCann playing a difficult cadenza at the British Open on a Bb/A cornet. The fingering was easier in "A".
    You just had to twist a circular knurled knob on the side to alter the pitch.
    So he just twisted it into "A" for the cadenza and back to "Bb" after it.
    (1965 "Saga of the North")

    - Mr Wilx
  8. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    In my collection of instruments, I do have cornets with extra tuning slides, and a couple that have rotary valve to change from Bb to C. I have instruments from cornets down to tubas that have slides, changing from high to low pitch. Usually ther will be marks on the valve slides to bring the pitch in tune.
  9. bobbyp

    bobbyp Member

    Or has anybody tried to turn a euphonium into an f? of an eb into a bb?

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