NMM 13,796 Prototype Contrabass Bugle in GG

The piston valve is a nickel-plated, bottom-sprung Périnet valve. The valve is aligned with a metal notch that is screwed into the valve that fits into a sleeve in the valve casing. There is a felt pad underneath the top valve cap on the stem. During the playing test, it was determined that the piston valve lowered the tone a whole step, thus allowing for notes on the F harmonic series.


Model: Prototype

Serial number: none found

Sounding length: 6155 mm (243-2/16 in)

Bell diameter: 492 mm (19-6/16 in)

Piston branch inner diameter: 17.3 mm (.683 in)

Piston valve inner diameter: 23.9 mm (.943 in)

Weight: 26 lbs. 

According to Dr. Banks, Larry Ramirez said this instrument is a one-of-a-kind prototype Contrabass Bugle, designed for a Drum Corps [DCI] somewhere in the south, but they were not interested in a [bell-front] sousaphone shaped instrument. Larry Ramirez was the Holton factory foreman when the plant was closed in 2008.

The fundamental pitch is GG, or a minor third below a BBb tuba. 

The “K 371” Model number on the signature suggests that this instrument is post-LeBlanc as Holton model numbers were changed to the LeBlanc lettering system during the transition.  Prior to 1964, Holton tubas were listed with only a model number, with the exception of the Fiberglass (Duralite) Sousaphone, which carried the model number FG-122.  Two numbering systems were proposed in 1964, and the system that appears in the first Holton/Leblanc Catalog is outlined in a December 30, 1964, letter to Vito Pascutti. 

One German rotary valve. The valve is located on the underside of the main area of tubing and designed to be played with the left hand.  During a playing test, it was determined that the rotary valve branch lowered the pitch one-half step from the fundamental. The spring for the rotary valve is on the lever that would be rotated forward with the left hand.  The rotary valve has two cork bumper pads.

In Museum at Holton Factory, ca. 2008.

Picture by Dr. Margaret Banks.

Detachable bell

There will be many references to NMM on this website, which refers to the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota. If you have any interest in the history of musical instruments, I encourage you to click on the link to their webpage below and learn about one of the finest institutions of its kind, anywhere. 
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