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Thread: Large-shank, small-shank

  1. Large-shank, small-shank

    I am a new euphonium player, having spent decades as a tubist. About the time that the euphonium industry was going through a rather significant transition--implementing the change to large shank leadpipes--I was an oblivious tubist, who did not notice the change.

    So I am curious as to why? Why the large shank? Was it for "bigger" sound? "Lower" sound? In other words, what was the objective? I read posts about the "true" euphonium sound. I know what I like to hear from a euphonium (so far, not really coming out of my horn). But I would really like to know what that means to others, particularly in the context of shank size. When some of the great band literature was written, were composers hearing a different sound than we would today?

    I have a 60s-era Eb tuba mouthpiece with a European shank, that fits my compensating euphonium perfectly. The mouthpiece is almost identical in size to the Roger Bobo "tenor tuba" model. I love the way it feels to play, but it sounds quite different than my much smaller Helleberg 5E.

    Bottom line, my question is, what was the objective with the transition to large-shank, and are the traditional tonal goals still the same?

  2. #2
    My opinion: the large shank can ultimately accept more air. We can get a bigger, darker sound.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of,

  3. Would you define darker as more tuba-like? I guess that is what I'm getting at when I ask about the traditional band repertoire.


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