This is a large piston valve BBb tuba made by Miraphone in Waldkraiberg, Germany. Compared to the original standard models of tubas from Miraphone like the 186 and 188, this 1291 is a much larger instrument, and it's very satisfying to play.
The compact size of the traditional size 186 and 188 tubas are due to their 4-loop wrap. That means the main bugle of the tuba is looped 4 times. This 1291 is a 3-loop tuba, and you can see how the body extends higher towards the bell flare, and how there are fewer bends. In addition, the valve bore is larger, and the bugle expands much more throughout the instrument, meaning the bottom bow and bell throat are very large. That's why Miraphone calls this size tuba a 5/4 (five quarter) size, even though its design is intended to be fairly compact for a large instrument.
This was Miraphone's first offering in an American style tuba. Piston valves, a popular American adaptation, give that away, as does the large bell throat, reminiscent of a vintage Conn, Holton, or York tuba. What you'll find is that a 1291 has a more velvety, broad, engulfing sound, and is less strident than the traditional taller and narrower German style rotary valve tubas. The 1291's pistons themselves are very light compared to rotors, giving some added resonance that fills in an ensemble without overpowering it.
This tuba is sold without case, but Miraphone offers both the Winter hard case and their own soft case for it. We also stock the SKB 385W case, which fits well if we modify the interior slightly. An MTS 1207V case is a perfect fit. Most clients choose a soft case by Glenn Cronkhite, which is made to fit this tuba exactly. Please contact us directly if you seek something specific.
We usually stock the Miraphone 1291 in lacquer with 4 valves. Silver plated instruments or 5-valve versions are built to order in about 60 days. We also stock the rotary valve version called the model 191, and the CC version, also known as the model 1291, and its slight variations, the 1292 CC and 1293 CC.