Taming the Tuba

Fingering Patterns



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photo courtesy of Velo Photographyhttp://she-she-says.blogspot.com/2011/12/another-monday.html

You’re in luck! 

    Tuba fingerings are very similar to the trumpet

fingerings that you have already learned.  In fact, you could take any of your trumpet music and play it on tuba.  The fingering patterns are exactly the same.  The difference is that tuba players actually read different music than trumpet players.  They read music in concert pitch.  Try to think about tuba fingerings like this:

          Concert F  =  Concert F

    (Trumpet G)  =  (Tuba F)

Open (no valves)  =  Open (no valves)

When you play a “Concert F” on trumpet or tuba, it is fingered with an open valve combination (no valves).

The difference is that trumpets call this note “G” and tubas call it “F”. 

When playing tuba, you are always playing concert pitch.

          Concert D  =  Concert D

        (Trumpet E)  =  (Tuba D)

1st & 2nd  =  1st & 2nd

Adding 4th Valve

Why do we need four valves?

    When you were playing trumpet, you probably remember your band director asking you to push out your 3rd-valve slide every time you played a “D”.   Brass instruments often play out of tune when using this 1st- and 3rd-valve combination.  The same issues exist when playing tuba, but it is harder to quickly pull out and push in the 3rd-valve slide.  So, the tuba has been created with a built-in alternate fingering.  You can use 4th-valve in place of the 1st- and 3rd-valve combination.  Think about it this way:

Using 4th valve is simple math!

1 + 3 = 4

1 + 2 + 3 = 6

2 + 4 = 6

When using 1st- and 3rd-valve, you can use 4th-valve instead.

Using 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd- valve?

Try 2nd- and 4th- instead!

image found at thisoldhorn.com

Fingering Chart

1   2 3

2   4

1  3


1   2 3

2   4

1  3


Is This Like Trumpet?

Now that you’ve got a good start with fingerings,
click here to practice playing your tuba!