Sidey SSH Tuba Mouthpieces
(the Stainless Steel Helleberg design)

  Shank Sizes - a Primer

An excellent "primer" article written by Matt Walters of Dillon Music and posted for tuba players on September 27, 2005 in the TubeNet Interntational Tuba Forum

The vast majority of SSH customers have found better intonation with their horns by selecting the Euro shank version. if you are not sure.. ask us.


In the world of tuba mouthpieces, it seems there are five (5) general shank sizes and that, can lead to confusion. The Standard American and European Shank sizes, followed by the Large Shank, are the most common sizes that fit modern production tubas. From smallest to largest, we offer the following information to shed a little light on the subject.

EUROPEAN SHANK: This is an increasingly popular shank size of about .530" diameter at the small end of the shank. It is found in mouthpieces like the JK Exclusive, Perantucci, Laskey "E" shank, and of course our wonderful Sheridan Series of mouthpieces. Most every European and American tuba built these days, will accept this shank size.

STANDARD AMERICAN: The reference point for this size of about .520" at the small end of the shank. A good example would be the Bach, and Conn Helleberg tuba mouthpieces. This is the most common size here in the United States. In the Dennis Wick line, you need to make sure it has the "L" in the model number to get this standard size. Our regular size shank Dillon Mouthpieces are also of this size. Besides American built horns, many European horns like Miraphone can use this size.

LARGE SHANK: This is a larger size that measures about .550" diameter at the small end of the shank. It works well on the larger European tubas. Especially horns with large diameter leadpipes like the "York" copies and most Alexander model 163 CC tubas. This is the size of our Dillon Music "L" shank mouthpiece and the new Wick 2XL.

SMALL EUROPEAN: Having a diameter of .490" at small end of shank, this size is offered by Dennis Wick in the sizes 1 through 5. Just make sure you order the one without the "L" in the model number. This size is most commonly used on old Besson tubas and old American Eb tubas. I hear this referred to as the Eb tuba size. Some old German, etc. 3/4 size BBb tubas have also shown up with that receiver size. If you are having trouble figuring out what small size shank your old tuba needs, it is about the same size as a large shank trombone mouthpiece. Borrow one from a trombonist and see for yourself. You can order a Denis Wick mouthpiece, or to have a wider variety of mouthpieces to choose from, consider replacing the receiver for about the price of a mouthpiece.

KAISER SHANK: With a measurement of about .585" in diameter at the small end of the shank, this truly is a "Kaiser" size. It fits the largest Alexander model 164, a few ‘one off’ model 163's, and some original York receivers we've come across. Anyone needing this size shank will need to get a custom built mouthpiece, or have an adapter made.

I hope this explanation will be of help to you.
Matt Walters

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