Convertible Bass (Euphonium)

This is another "one of a kind" instrument that I built in1996.  It is a Bb bass or euphonium that can be played with the bell directed upwards or over the shoulder.  I was approached by Roque Haines, who plays in both symphonic bands and Civil War re-enactment bands.   Roque is quite a craftsman himself, working in both leather and steel to make reproductions of ancient body armor, so he was aware of the kind of work involved in designing and building this.  It would be very expensive, but he wanted one good instrument that he could use anywhere.  If I recall correctly, he originally asked for it to be made in nickel silver, like most early US made instruments were, but there was no way possible for me to get all the materials needed, so I talked him into having it silver plated.  It could have had top action valves as used by Graves and Co. and other US makers in their convertible basses, but I find the action of the longer side action levers to be superior.  The other advantage of this layout is that the main tubing of the valves is in the center of the instrument, so that each mouthpipe is of relatively simple design.  He also required that it play in both modern pitch and the high pitch of mid-19th century bands.  It is 36" tall, which is much taller than modern euphoniums, but a bit shorter than most basses with bells over the shoulder.   The bell diameter is 10" and the bore size is .594".  Roque claims that this instrument plays better than more commonly available professional euphoniums, which was very gratifying.