Jim Self's Fluba
Jim Self is certainly one of my most creative customers and his
unique personality is heard in his many jazz recordings and movie
soundtracks.  He is always searching and never quite content with
conventional modes of expression (he already has three
cimbasso/contrabass trombones and is still looking for the "right"
one).  He asked me if I could make him a contrabass flugelhorn and
I think that I told him that's what a tuba is.  Needless to say, that
wasn't the right answer.  After several discussions, he concluded
that it needed to be in F since he is comfortable in that pitch and
facility of a small tuba.  He wanted to use a four valve compensating
system and was eventually able to get one that had been used for a
prototype Eb by Yamaha.  All the tubing had to be taken off,
shortened and remounted and it seemed somewhat sensible to keep
the fourth valve in the normal position giving a central place for the
left hand to grip the instrument.  The bell size chosen is a typical
small to medium size for F tuba and I had to make the tapered
branches from sheet brass of course.  The results were at first quite
disappointing with intonation and response problems.  Jim was very
understanding of the fact that when building a one of a kind
instrument, the first try may not be ideal and was willing to pay me
for my time to make some major modifications to the large tubing.  
This time it was much better and even though I was skeptical Jim
was very enthusiastic and started using it almost immediately for
performances and recordings.  The size and weight of this
instrument makes in impossible to hold out in front of your body for
any length of time, so Jim came up with the idea to mount a camera
tripod or monopod on it.

The article to the right is from Brass Band World and Jim has a
Fluba page on his
website here.