See and hear the monster on YouTube

I just uploaded two videos, and I hope to upload some more. The videos are on YouTube. Of course, the rest of the group deserves some credit, but I can't remember the names of the trumpet players or the trombone player. This picture was in the local newspaper, The Bradford Era, the next day.

In some of the videos I am playing the trombone part on a euphonium. In all the quintet videos my mother is playing the (french) horn part on a horn and my father is playing the tuba part on his monster BBb/EEE tuba. It has been nearly 20 years since the day this video was made. The link takes you to a tuba solo written by Georges Barboteu and performed by Dr. Frederick J. Young in Smethport, PA, USA.

Monster Mash Ten Years Later

Here are some new verses written by me partly to get Tom Eshelman into the song, and partly to let you know what the good Doctor is up to these days. I found a more recent YouTube video (Monster Mash) since the previous video was pulled due to copyright violations.

Ten years later Tom wondered where I was
Eshelman had not heard from me, it gave him pause
All my web pages had vanished from sight
I was playing my Monster E nearly every night

(It's now an E) It's now a Monster E
(a triple E) hooked to a double B
(a double B) in tune in any key
('tweighs 83) It's now a Monster E

Some years back, the trumpet was out of tune
Brass Quintet replaced me with a double bassoon
No groups would have me, I was all alone
and then it hit me, I could build my own.

(Up in the shop) I burned the midnight 'erl
(I didn't chop) I gave Excel a whirl
(a new crop) in tune with no squirrel
(I didn't stop) it's a real pearl

I had to go build something old yet new
And my monster E was getting lonely too
I stayed up all night to design another one
A smaller Gronitz that won't weigh a ton

(It was an E) An itty bitty E
(a high high E) hooked to a single B
(a single B) in tune in every key
('weighs 23) a double belled Euphie

We play duets, in perfect well tempered harmony
Three bells shine in any mode of any key
We play duets by Bach, Henning, Self and Sear
Sometimes we make things up and play by ear

(It was an heir) only takes half the air
(I have to share) a duet takes a pair
(some people stare) others do not care
(it's unfair) I have two bells there

Bride of Frankenstein

Some of you go absolutely nuts over baritone horns that have two bells. Dr. Young has noticed this. Of course, he has also noticed that most of these horns have intonation problems. If you consider his tuba to be a "Frankenstein" monster, then you might call his soon to be completed double belled euphonium to be the "Bride of Frankenstein".

Some euphonium players seem to be more concerned with playing up very high. This new euphonium will be in Bb and E. The Bb has the conventional open notes for a Bb euphonium, and the E side will be about half the length (and almost an octave higher) than the conventional F side of a euphonium. It will have the same sort of fingering as his monster tuba does.

Monster Mash (thanks to Tom Eshelman)

I don't think a blog about Dr. Young's Monster Tuba would be complete without the following lyrics. Here is the only link I could find when I tried to Google it. The following is what you would find there.

Song for Joe S., Carl K., Kelley O, + ..

Posted by Tom Eshelman on December 14, 1999 at 13:12:37:


I was working in my shop late one night
When I grafted a Gronitz on a King Upright
I took some valves from old Rudy's, three for each hand
then I blew a few notes to see what I had

(It was an E) It was a Monster E
(a triple E) hooked to a double B
(a double B) in tune in any key
('tweighed 83) It was a Monster E

To my small workshop in the lower northeast
People came from afar to have a look at the beast
They brought me their old Conns, Yorks, and Keefers
So I could combine them into double triple eefers

(They're now all E's) They're now all Monster E's
(they're triple E's) hooked up with double B's
(yes double Bs) with 14 water keys
(they weigh 83) they're all now Monster E's

Sellmansburger was having fun, the party had just begun
The guests included Kleinstuber, Sam Gnagey, and Dr. Young

The scene was rocking, all were digging the sound
of Kelly O backed by his Fifth Bass clowns :-)
Howard Johnson and Gravity were about to arrive
With their vocal group The Holton Chopping Five

(They all brought E's) They all brought Monster E's
(yes triple E's) hooked up with double B's
(yes double B's) in tune in any key
(weighing 83) they all had Monster E's

Out from Arizona, Pat Sheridan's voice did ring
Seems he was troubled by just one thing
He put down his Bon-bons and cried angrily
"Whatever happened to my 983?"

(It's now an E) It's now a Monster E
(a triple E) hooked to a double B
(a double B) in tune in any key
('tweighs 83) It's now a Monster E

Now everything's cool Pat's a part of the band
And my monster double tuba is the hit of the land
For you, the amateur, this fun was meant too
Just get yourself some junkers, a torch, and some glue,

(And build an E) yes build a Monster E
(a triple E) hooked to a double B
(a double B) in tune in any key
('twill weigh 83) your very own Monster E

Tom Eshelman made up and posted these lyrics on the tubenet BBS, and he managed to work in the names of guys in the BBS who are bigtime tuba builders/modifiers. I have also embedded a Monster Mash video just in case you are wondering what it sounds like.

Mickey Mouse Fingering

Playing Dr. Young's Monster Tuba is not as difficult as it looks. You only need three fingers on each hand, so Mickey Mouse (and most other cartoon characters) should be able to play this tuba. It is easiest to think of the fingers on your right hand as operating valves 1 (index finger), 2, and 3, while the fingers on the left hand operate valves 6 (index finger), 4, and 5. In a pinch you could play this instrument like a regular tuba (3 or 4 valve), sousaphone, euphonium or baritone, using the same fingering and the first 3 or 4 valves, but the intonation would suffer.

To get the tuba to play in tune, you should avoid valve combinations (even though some of them work) unless it is valve 6 and one other valve. Valve 3 is like the 1-2 combination, valve 4 is like the 1-3 combination and valve 5 is like the 2-3 combination. So you would play BBb with no valves, A is 2, Ab is 1, G is 3, Gb is 5, and F is 4 (when you are playing a low F).

Valve 6 is the switch valve, so if you can't play the E on the BBb side using valve 2 (because you are playing a low E), you can play it with just valve 6 (which is like the 1-2-3 or 4-2 combination). If you want to go lower, a half step at a time, you would play 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, 6-5, and 6-4. That would be Eb, D, Db, C, and B.

If you want to play real notes (down where the normal tuba's pedal tones would be) you would use the following fingering: Bb 1-5-6, A 1-4-6, Ab 4-5-6, G 1-4-5-6, Gb 3-4-5-6, F 1-3-4-5-6, E 1-2-3-4-5-6. After that, you would be using pedal tones on the EEE tuba, perhaps Eb 3-6, D 5-6, and Db 4-6.

Outdoor Concert on July 29, 2007

Here is a picture of Dr. Young playing his tuba at an outdoor concert in north west Pennsylvania. He is using his bell front bell. Click on the picture if you want to see more details.

Hi Trish

I noticed that when I published my first post, the date was kind of awful. Instead of getting 10 March 2008 or something like that in the little box for the date (on the blog), I got the letters of Monday all over the place in there. Same thing happens when you look at the post itself. This is the second post, and I am wondering if it will also show the letters of Monday, or if it will be blank like your version was.