The tubax is a single-reed woodwind instrument created in 1999 by Benedikt Eppelsheim. Its design is based on the saxophone though its tubing is more compact with a narrower bore and smaller mouthpiece. The tubax replicates the sound and range of a subcontrabass saxophone. The tubax has been referred to as “human size” standing at a length of 114cm with almost 5m of condensed tubing.
History of the Tubax
The story of the tubax begins with Belgian inventor Adolphe Sax who patented the original saxophone family of instruments in the 1840s. Sax envisaged a subcontrabass saxophone that would be the lowest in the family but it was the only saxophone that he never built himself. Contrabass and subcontrabass saxophones were much later developed but they were cumbersome and the tubing required a high amount of breath control to handle. In 1999, German instrument maker Benedikt Eppelsheim invented the tubax, a saxophone based on Sax’s invention but with greater condensed tubing. Eppelsheim also created the saxophone with the highest range in the saxophone family - the soprillo. This instrument tuned to Eb or Bb, allowed for a smaller mouthpiece and was much easier to play than the earlier contrabass designs. The tubax can reach a half tone lower than the lowest notes on a piano, making it easily one of the lowest instruments in the woodwind family. The tubax also has similar fingering to traditional saxophones which makes it possible for first-time players that already play saxophone to take on the tubax. While the tubax does not require as much breath control as a subcontrabass saxophone, there is still a high amount required. The tubax is not easily mass produced but has still found popularity among woodwind and saxophone players.
Inventor: Benedikt Eppelsheim

Where to Buy

Approximately £20,000

Hear the Tubax

Audio of the Tubax is Coming Soon

How to Play

A type of saxophone that produces very low, powerful sounds. It's played like a regular saxophone, but requires more breath support and a stronger embouchure due to its size.

In Popular Music

The deep tones of the Tubax are hard to pick out but they have likely been used in composer Jerry Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: Nemesis and also composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's Unsichtbare Chöre (1979), translate to Invisible Chorus

Famous Players

Andreas von Wangenheim, Peter Brötzmann

Close Relations

Contrabass Saxophone, Bass Saxophone
Video Credit: Saxophone Resources
Understanding the Tubax




21st century






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