From left to right: Bb tenor saxophone, Bb subcontrabass saxophone (Tubax,) and Bb contrabass clarinet.
It has finally happened.
Over 150 years after Adolphe Sax patented the "Saxophone Bourdon," someone has finally built a real working Bb subcontrabass saxophone.
There have been attempts to make a real and playable saxophone deeper than the contrabass, but none have ever come to fruition until now. This time it's for real, and it has resulted in an incredibly rich and completely new tone color at the extreme low end of the musical spectrum!
superb craftsman Benedikt Eppelsheim of Munich designed and built
this beautiful instrument as a larger and deeper version of his Eb
"Tubax" contrabass saxophone, which can be seen and heard
at his website:
Jay with Bb subcontrabass Tubax and Arthur Grossman with Wolf/Eppelsheim Kontraforte, a radically redesigned and improved new contrabassoon (much like a wooden Tubax with double-reed and bassoon-type fingerings)
It may not be as big as the Eb contrabass sax on the right, but it has twice as many wraps in the body tube, so it goes even lower! The big Eb contrabass would measure about 17 feet if straightened out; the Bb subcontrabass is about 23 feet in length.
What does it sound like?
Here's a sample:
And two tunes from the "Tubax Mirabilis Trio"
McColl - piccolo clarinet in G
Jay with his B-flat subcontrabass Tubax and Blaise Garza with his E-flat contrabass Tubax.
Fred Bayer has put together a very nice page featuring photos and sound samples of his Eb Tubax at www.bayerf.de.
material © Jay Easton unless otherwise noted