Issue #1 of Julian’s Weird Instruments – The sub-contrabass sax

Welcome to a what will be a regular feature in this blog. There are many bizzare musical instruments out there which none of us really get to see or hear. The ones I like best are the Mammoths. The quadruple ultra-sub-contrabassy bass instruments. They rock my world.

So this first issue we’ll be looking at the mythical sub-contrabass sax. Some of you may be familiar with the saxophone family but for those who aren’t, here’s a quick rundown. The most common saxes are the alto sax (what Crommo plays) and the tenor (slightly larger, what I play). The accepted order of saxophones from smallest to largest is as follows:

However there are rumours of a behemoth saxaphone, the sub-contrabass sax. To give you some basis for comparison, here is what the contrabass looks like:

As you can see it’s quite a large instrument. The old guy at the top is the late Gerard Bastovski, the greatest contrabass saxophonist who ever lived. The crew below him are some sax orchestra in America somewhere, I dunno. The guy underneath it is feeling the full force of its weight, though.

Here are some pics of the mythical sub-contrabass sax:

What a farce. These saxophones are really just for show, they can play but they are really out of tune and are just a mess. However, all is forgiven when they play their lowest note. If you get too close to the sax when it does this, your heart will explode.

Some fool in Germany invented a new type of sax called a Tubax. What a joke. It’s not a real sax. It’s a disgrace. Here is a picture of a sub-contrabass tubax next to my tenor sax. It can play two octaves lower than my lowest note.

If you want to hear two subcontrabass tubaxes playing together, go to It’s no sax but you can get an idea for what it sounds like.

Well that’s it. I hope you learned something. Stay tuned for issue two.


~ by Hooly on January 4, 2007.

17 Responses to “Issue #1 of Julian’s Weird Instruments – The sub-contrabass sax”

  1. That mp3 is awesome! I’m going to compose my whole next soundtrack using them!

  2. They look like the type of instruments that could perfect the brown noise with relative ease. Maybe you’d get sblounschked if you attempted to play it though.

  3. i can’t be bothered listening to it, because i’m listening to the soundtrack of eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, but i love the contrast between the curved soprano (also what i own… but not really play) and the sub-contrabass sax, third pic down. i also like commenting without any capitals.

  4. strong to quite strong

  5. Crommo in Ed’s computer: Have you reached a desicion in the Monash/WAPA argument.

  6. That’s actually a curved sopranino, Jon.

  7. Goals up you carpetbagger! Oh and welcome…

  8. It can’t be. It’s way to long for starters and secondly, if you actually saw a sopranino you would understand there is no way that they could be curved. It just doesn’t work on an engineering/manufacturers perspective.

  9. That wasn;t meant to be patronizing, I’m just assuming that you haven’t seen a sopranino because there are like 6 in australia.

  10. He may not have seen one ‘live’, Crommo, but when I researched the contrabass it said that in that photo it was next to a sopranino for comparison, so you’re a mug. I don’t think it’s that short either. Look how thin it is as well! And don’t feed me drivvle about different makes.

    I didn’t know you made saxophones Jon! You seem to profess such a profound knowledge of there engineering/manufacturering. You’re obviously full of it, because curved sopraninos do exist. Scared yet? If you can brave it check out a pic of them at

    If you actually want to do your own research (as oppose to listening to the first thing someone else tells you) there’s plenty more info there. Free your mind!

  11. alright, so i was wrong, and i never said that i made saxophones, though i did think i had a little knowledge on how they were made. But i was wrong. Happy? I bet you are you smug son of a bitch.

  12. i want one

  13. okay. 1, the term “accepted saxophones” is hardly the correct term for the list you provided. there are many other different voices of the saxophone that are regularly used . 2, that “old guy” playing the contrabass is Sigurd Rascher, not Gerard Bastovski. 3, the sub-contrabass saxophone is no where near a joke. true, it may not be the most effective solo voice, but it can play a very active role in a saxophone ensemble when all voices are utilized. i don’t know where you got your facts, but they are a skewed, even wrong.

  14. Okay “Chris.”
    1. Who the fuck are you?
    2. Nobody likes a know-all.
    3. Fuck off and fuck off quickly.

    You are even wrong.

  15. Chris, the sub-contrabass saxophone doesn’t exist. You must be thinking of the sub-contrabass tubax, which is a different instrument. i don’t know where you got your facts, but they are a skewed, even wrong.

  16. Don’t be so hostile people – the subcontrabass saxophone was originally planned for by Adolphe Sax himself, however he found it was too impractical to build. Though many attempts were made, nobody could successfully build one. Benedikt Eppelsheim in Germany, who manufactures very odd instruments, are the creators of Tubax (as well as the sole manufacturers of the soprillo saxophone) and no it is not a true saxophone because the tubing is not conical the way a saxophone is meant to be. Also, Jay Easton is a crappy saxophonist so I would not reccomend you listen to him to get a picture of how anything sounds. Listening to highly regarded players like Sigurd Rasher and Ronald Caravan will get you a much better idea of what you should sound like.
    Basically, there is no true Subcontrabass Saxophone in existence today.

  17. Also, Orsi has manufactured a curved sopranino saxophone, although some compromises had to be made to make it work it does exist.

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