Thursday, July 3, 2014

Carl Fischer EEb Subcontrabass/Contrabass Tuba

Recently, I drove down to Cleveland at Academy Music to swap tubas - my 36K Monster for an EEb subcontrabass/contrabass tuba.

The Conn is a nice playing sousaphone (very similar in size to the 40K), but I definitely prefer King (HN White) instruments... but HN White never made a 'Giant' raincatcher (.750" bore)... Anyway, I couldn't pass up the chance to own a very unique and interesting tuba (though I try to find mostly sousaphones). Plus, I can take it to TubaChristmas and have the only 'subcontrabass' in the crowd!

It's a little difficult to play, but then I'm so used to playing BBb... that and I don't have a proper Euro-shank mouthpiece for it (the LM-12 doesn't cut it). Man, what a sound though!

Bell: 18"
Bore: .800"
Height: 38"
Weight: 26.2 lbs

The EEb was likely made by Bohland & Fuchs in the early 1900s-1920s and imported by Carl Fischer in New York. It bears the engraving of "U of I", likely from the University of Illinois. It's one of two known EEb basses, the other being the EEb "Majestic Monster" helicon imported by Louis B. Malecki in Chicago, IL and made in Austria.

It's rather odd that both EEb instruments are in the Great Lakes area - as one of the previous owners wondered: Who would need a EEb tuba or helicon? I would be very interested in knowing who these were built for and where they were played.

In any case, here is a picture next to my Holton 345 BBb and a medium-length video (please excuse my questionable playing):