Saxophone Forum


by Jack Cici
(87 posts)
10 years ago

subcontrabass saxophone?

i heard about how adolphe sax had plans to build a bourdon saxophone which would be a subcontrabass, but he never made one. has anyone ever heard of someone making one,besides benedict eppelheims Bb subcontrabass tubax, which doesn't really count as a saxophone.if you know of one being manufactured, than please tell me. thanks david

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  1. by Bass sax man
    (31 posts)

    10 years ago

    Subcontrabass saxophone?

    Hello, Perhaps you should do some more research... The Tubax is the same design as the "Saxophon Bourdon" designed by Adolph Sax only with more wraps than Adolph's original design. I own a Tubax pitched in Eb and have played the Tubax pitched in Bb. They are both very playable, and definitely saxophones, though their designs are not standard. They are somewhat reminiscent of the saxophones made before Adolph Sax changed the design to the standard which we know today. As you may or may not know, the saxophone was originally an Ophicleide with a Bass clarinet mouthpiece attached. (For pictures of the Ophicleide visit www.contrabass.com). However, in the later 1800s he changed the design to the one which we know today. I believe there are only four saxophones in this "original" design know to exist, one of which is the Baritone saxophone pitched in the key of F. (For a direct link to a picture visit

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    1. by Jack Cici
      (87 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

      i've already been to jayeaston.com like a million times and i love the site but i don't consider a tubax an actual saxophone.

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      1. by golferguy675
        (600 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

        Ok, I have to say something. Blaise, who is an extremely accomplished and renown sax player just told you a tubax is a bourdon sax. Right David? Ok, now, you're 13. If this guy says it's a saxophone don't tell him he is wrong.

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      2. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

        there was one subcontrabass that I know of made - made in the 60's by some repari tech, but the thing wasnt playable - there was no mechanism - it took 3 people to play it and close each individual pad. It was not tuneable to any key or pitch. It was used a couple times for exhibitions, but otherwise is completely useless - not that I wouldnt mind having a standard style subcontrabass - about 9 feet tall, but that one is usless.

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        1. by Jack Cici
          (87 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          yeah i heard about that on contrabass.com and i also heard of conn making a giant sax as an advertising gimmick in the 20s, but it didn't play and it wasn't a subcontra because it was just an alto enlarged many times.

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        2. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          THAT, was not a subcontrabass. That was an octobass - 6 octaves lower than the bass - most of the notes on it would not be detedtable to the human ear. its too bad they scrapped it though, I would have liked to a see a forked Eb key thats aobut 2 feet wide

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        3. by Jack Cici
          (87 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          i know, i said IT WASN'T A SUBCONTRABASS!yOUR RIGHT,THAT DOES SUCK THAT THEY SCRAP IT DURING THE gREAT dEPRESSION ,BECAUSE With todays technology they could probably make it play.

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        4. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          probably, but I mean, no human could ever play it - it would take some kind of wind generator to provide enough air, and pneumatic rams to close and open the keys that would need to be PERFECTLY calibrated, otherwise the pads would be killed after one time (Imagine shutting 15 pound key cups.) - and then the pads would have to be made of some special material - it would be unreasonable to keep the leather tight - its heavy, and would be hard to find big enough pieces. possible, but no one would ever do it.

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        5. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          hahaha I can see it now... robots, and a huge air compressor playing a sax that's 20 feet tall. who cares if the ear can't hear it, the damn thing would shake buildings more than a high school parking lot full of half-assed pimped out rides. =)

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        6. by Jack Cici
          (87 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          I KNOW it would take some kinda machine but i bet it'd sound pretty cool

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        7. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Subcontrabass saxophone?

          "I KNOW it would take some kinda machine but i bet it'd sound pretty cool" it wouldn't "sound" at all cause we couldn't hear it... its' like a tree falling on a mime in the forest - I DON'T CARE! =)

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