Craig Knox is a Buffet Artist and performs on Melton/Meinl Weston tubas exclusively

From my first tuba - a Yamaha YBB-201 three-valve BBb tuba which was purchased used - until the present, I have used many different instruments. Brass instruments (and particularly the tuba) are the youngest orchestral instrument family, and, unlike the strings and woodwinds, they continue to evolve in substantial ways. Since I began studying, there have been countless new makes and models which have come to the market. Although one has to guard against relying on equipment to solve fundemental playing problems, I do believe it is a good idea to stay abreast of the newest instruments available. I am often asked about the instruments I play; below is a listing with some explanation.

  • For more of my thoughts on the role of equipment, click HERE.
  • To see a photo-journal of my visit to the Melton/Meinl Weston factory in Geretsried, Germany, click HERE.
  • View a video interview/discussion on the Melton/Meinl Weston instruments I play, on the Video Page, HERE
  • Melton/Meinl Weston website


      Meinl Weston 6450/2 (Baer model) CC tuba

      This is my primary orchestral instrument. Designed by Alan Baer of the New York Philharmonic, it is a super-efficient 6/4 instrument, with excellent intonation, very fast response and an even tone throughout the registers. It has a slightly more streamlined sound than many other large piston tubas.

      Other orchestral tubas I have used in the past are the Nirschl York-copy 6/4 CC, the PT-6 rotory-valve 5/4 CC and the Alexander 163 four rotary-valve CC.

       Meinl Weston 195/5P (Fafner Model) BBb tuba

      In the U.S., the CC tuba is the primary instrument used by orchestral players. In many parts of Europe, most notably Germany and Russia, the BBb tuba is the standard large instrument. While a large CC tuba is very versatile, and produces a clear, clean and round tone, a similar-sized BBb tuba is even richer and more massive (although generally less agile). In 2013, I purchased a Meinl Weston Fafner BBb tuba for use on certain repertoire (Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Wagner) which will benefit from the massive, dense tone of this instrument.

      This is a relatively special version of the traditional German-style BBb tuba (such as the standard Meinl Weston Fafner model), which would normally have 4 rotary valves. The 195/5P is customized with 4 piston valves and a 5th rotor. The Melton/Meinl Weston Fafner model is the most playable large BBb tuba I have come across.

      Meinl Weston 2250 F tuba 

      This is one of the newer instruments from Meinl Weston, designed in consultation with Norman Pearson of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It is a large, open-wrap piston-valve F tuba, with a full, round sound, and fluid response, especially in the low register. I would describe it as an F tuba built with many of the characteristics of an Eb. This is my primary F tuba, which I use for both solo and orchestral playing.

      I used the Melton/Meinl Weston 2250 F tuba on most tracks of my solo album A Road Less Traveled. You can hear me play a movement of Anthony Plog's Three Miniatures in live recital on this instrument, HERE.




      Meinl Weston 3225 "Ursus" model CC tuba

      One of the newest Melton/Meinl Weston tubas, this CC tuba feels fuller, more free-blowing, and more powerful than most 4/4 CCs, and more nimble and focused than many 5/4 CCs. Designed by Alan Baer, it is a perfect smaller companion to the larger 6450. This could be an excellent "all-purpose" option for someone who wants a tuba that can be played for solos, chamber music, and large ensembles. 

      Although Alan Baer is using this instrument frequently in the New York Philharmonic, I use it primarily for smaller ensembles and brass quintet. I have always preferred the CC tuba in brass quintet (perhaps going back to my days studying with Sam Pilafian, and hearing him play CC tuba in the Empire Brass), and have always played CC tuba in the Center City Brass Quintet. This tuba has the agility as well as the richness of tone that I look for in a quintet tuba.