A sousaphone is a type of tuba often used in marching bands. It got its name from the known march conductor and composer John Philip Sousa. Made of solid brass, typical sousaphones have three valves, a large bore, and a wide bell positioned above its head.
Types of Sousaphones
Kinds of Sousaphones include the following:
Made of lightweight fiberglass, these types of sousaphones are usually white and finished with clear epoxy lacquer. A typical model has a large, 0.687-inch diameter bore, three bottom spring valves, and a wide 26-inch bell. Fiberglass sousaphones are ideal for practice.
A metal sousaphone is usually made of solid brass, giving it a distinct yellow-gold shade. A typical model has a 0.687-inch diameter bore, three bottom spring valves, and a wide 26-inch bell. Some metal sousaphones have oversized brass guards, caps, and extra large braces for extra durability and protection.
Choosing Sousaphones (Buying tips)
Removable valves: Choose a sousaphone with removable valves for easier maintenance. If you are not confident that you can correctly take out them out yourself, have a professional do it for you.
Finish: Choose a sousaphone with a lacquered epoxy finish (regardless of material). This finish protects the instrument from corrosion and keeps it shiny for years.
Weight: Choose a fiberglass sousaphone if you want an extra-light instrument that is easy to carry and play for extended periods. You can also look for a metal sousaphone with a bell made of ABS plastic.
Care kit: When buying a sousaphone, make sure you purchase a quality care kit along with it. The kit includes tuning instructions, brushes, and valve oil. Be sure to read the instruction manual that comes with the instrument to know the proper oiling and cleaning techniques.