fredag 23 oktober 2009

Starting up!

Allright, ladies and gentlemen!
Welcome to my Tubon blog.

Now, what the heck is a Tubon? If you do a search on the Internet, you do not come up with much useful information. The first time I ever saw a tubon was in the mid-80's in a swedish music dictionary on "elektrofoner" - electrophones, electronic instruments. There was an illustration of a man playing a tube-shaped instrument with a small keyboard.
Later on I became aware of the classic swedish humourus song "Vad i helvete har de för sig på banken efter tre?" ("What the hell are they doing at the bank after three o' clock?") where Hasse Alfredsson play the Tubon bass.

Youtube: Vad i helvete har de för sig på banken efter tre?

The Tubon is a tube-shaped electronic monophonic instrument with a guitar-strap. It is primary a bass instrument with preset sounds like tuba, contrabass, electric bass etc, and is played staccato. It was made in the late '60s in Gothenburg, Sweden by a company called Joh Mustad AB. The same company also made the tube organs Bergman Klavitron and Klavinette. The Mustad Tubons also seem to have been sold in the UK under the "Livingston" brand. Numerous swedish pop and rock acts used this instrument in the late 60s and early 70s, but there are also images showing Paul mcCartney playing one. However, I find no evidence that the Tubon actually found its way onto a Beatles record. Ralf Hütter in Kraftwerk also used one of these in their early years as a bizarre kraut band.

I have been looking for a Tubon for like 25 years, and recently I got my hands on one via an online auction. I paid way too much, but i was so fed up on looking for one so I just had to have it.
It is an interesting part of electrophonic instrument history as well as swedish industrial history, and is the only strap-on keyboard that I could imagine myself to be seen playing in public. (Jumping around with one of those red or white Roland keytars - forget it! I would have to commit suicide afterwards to get rid of the humiliation!)

The tubon was in quite good shape except for the fact that the keyboard had taken a blow, and the keybed had cracked. It turned out to be not too hard to fix.
As I mentioned, there is very little information on the Tubon on the web, so I decided to do an extensive documentation on the instrument as I would take it apart to fix it. Schematics are nowhere to be found, so I intend to do a serious reverse-engineering. All I have found are a few patents on the instrument, but those doesn't cover the electronics.

Stay tuned for some serious tubonism!

6 kommentarer:

  1. Hallo, here is another TUBON fresh owner from Czech republic. Thank You for this blog, I expect similar work on my Tubon and is nice to see the knowhow. My Tubon came without power supply, I found some information abou 3 or 4 Batteries (9V) inside, but in the battery comparment I have only 2 "naked" wires. Do You have some pictures of battery connections? Thank You ofr help in advance. Zdenek (

  2. I also have a Tubon including it's original case and a sales leaflet. I will scan the leaflet and make it available if you want a copy.

  3. Here is a link to Kraftwerk in 1970 with Ralf Hutter performing on the tubon

  4. I have Tubon, very good condition, I´ll sell it but what is ok price?

  5. Hi, Thank you for your quality info. I have a TUBON,and I have a question: If a note is held down, is has a decline (a volume decay0 that last 7 seconds ( the same for all notes) . Is your the same ?

  6. I have a TUBON,and I have a question: If a note is held down, it has a decline (a volume decay) that last 7 seconds ( the same for all notes) . Is your the same ?