Holton, American-style Mammoth, BB flat tuba, 3 piston, 1927


The Holton mammoth BBb tuba, like the Conn grand orchestral, was designed to be the foundation of a large orchestra.  The breadth of sound possible on one of these instruments places any sized ensemble on a solid foundation.

This awesome instrument has the distinction of having the largest fixed upright bell in the whole collection.  The 23“ bell of this tuba must have been special ordered, as the standard model was supplied with a 22” bell.  The front action valves were also unusual, as this model was commonly supplied with top action valves, although front action valves were available to order.  Holton’s trade name for this largest size of BBb tuba was Mammoth, and they referred to front-action valves as “American-style”.

This model gives a vision of what was to come, as the great Holton 99 and 345 models were built in the same plant as this tuba.  This tuba could be considered the grandfather of those tubas.

This typical large American BBb tuba is interesting to contrast with the Alexander 163, or the Sander German BBb’s.  These tubas, which are the German equivalent to this Holton, have a larger bore size, and a smaller bell and body.  This lends a warmth to the American style, as compared to the more direct German sound.  This is similar to the differences between a cornet and a trumpet in high brass.

Tag #: 200605
Serial #: 95958

Bell Diameter Bore Size Height
23.0″ .750″ 37.0″


“MADE BY / FRANK HOLTON & CO. / ELKHORN, WIS” on bell. Some floral engraving around identification marks.

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