BBB ♭ giant tuba, ‘gilded monster bass’, Besson, London, early 20th century. Brass body gilded with gold epoxy. Pitch: BBB ♭. Lowest playable note is the B ♭ that is the second to last note on a full size piano keyboard.
This giant tuba was a London music business landmark for much of the 20th century. It was originally fitted to the wall of the Besson & Co. factory in 198 Euston Road as a shop sign. Boosey & Hawkes purchased Besson and moved production of Besson instruments to the Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware in 1948. The tuba was installed on the roof of the porch at Sonorous Works and presided over the factory until its removal in the late 1990s. Its design and layout follows the design of standard basses of the early 20th century and is an enlarged version of these. The three piston valves are dummies and do not function. The tuba was restored by Norman’s Music, sales agents for Boosey & Hawkes, circa 2000.