Lehmann, F/BBb double tuba, 6 rotary, c.1930


We acquired this instrument from K. Vinyl Smith, tubist of the Boston symphony orchestra.  Mr. Smith began his career with the Boston symphony as assistant principal trombonist from 1936-1943.  After a stint in the Navy bands during WWII, he returned to the orchestra as the principal tubist from 1946-1966.  While his main instrument was a large Kruspe F tuba, he also used this interesting instrument in the orchestra.  Like Eugene Adam, another trombonist turned tubist that preceded him in the Boston Symphony, Mr. Smith was partial to F tubas.  This is probably because he found their smaller size more comfortable, owing to his trombone playing origins.

This interesting instrument is an example of what is known as a “compensating” double instrument.  This means that the airstream travels through the F-side tubing when the tuba is in normal use.  Upon activating the change valve, the airstream must pass through any activated playing valves a second time, to add compensating loops.  These loops, when added to the F-side tubing, create the correct length slides for the playing valves of the tuba, which is now in the key of BBb.

This is the system currently in wide use to enable euphoniums to play in tune in their lowest register.  It is interesting to contrast this “compensating” instrument with what is known as a “full” double tuba, represented by the York double tuba #0687 that is also displayed and described in the feature collection.  The “full” double system is currently in wide use by french horn players in the Bb/F double horns in common usage by professionals today.

Tag #: 200312
Serial #:

Bell Diameter Bore Size Height
14.0″ .710″,1-3 F.780″, 4 F, 1-4 BBb  38.0″


“25 / Carl Lehmann & Co. / Patent Doppel Tuba / D.R.P. / Auslandspatente angem” on bell. One of only 2 double tubas in the collection. Formerly owned by K. Vinyl Smith, tuba player in Boston Symphony. No serial number could be located on the body of instrument.

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