Posted by Matt Walters on November 21, 1999 at 10:56:47:
In Reply to: Meinl-Weston tubas posted by Dave on November 20, 1999 at 19:37:21:
Okay, I have the answer for you. In the words of Gerhardt Meinl himself. "Bell size was the determining factor in describing fractional sizes." 5/4 meant a tuba with a 50cm bell (aprox 20"). 45 cm (17 3/4") was a 4/4 tuba and so on. Once upon a time most European tubas were all of similar proportions and that system instantly told your bell size and girth.
Enter the American manufactures. Want a 22" bell flair on your full (4/4) size tuba? No problem, but is it now a 6/4 tuba when there is just extra flair out at the rim?
The huge York CC with it's large proportions and little bell flair (aprox 20") had branch thicknesses larger than the typical European 5/4 tubas that had 20" bells.
So yes, Meinl Weston offers a little 1/4 sized tuba. It is still of enough length to be a BBb tuba, but they are tiny in bell flair and girth through the branches.
Like judging wooden battle ships, you have to now consider the entire package to determine if it is a 3/4 or a 4/4 tuba. i.e. a 60 gun 'Ship of the Line' may actually have 52 guns, but a little extra sail available, etc.
To make matters more difficult, you have to also consider the key the tuba is in. A CC is about 1/16 shorter than a BBb, and so on. Hope that helps.