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Suggestions for improving the article[edit]

  • How does the choice of materials (fiberglass vs. brass) affect the tone of the instrument?

Playing either one, I notice a brighter, "brassier" tone from a brass sousaphone. I can't tell the difference between either one from afar, and particularly from within a full band.

  • Does the "sock" affect the tone of the instrument (i.e., are socks acoustically transparent)?

Socks are acoustically transparent, not unlike a speaker cover.

I disagree. The sock is generally not engineered like the grill on a loudspeaker: it tends to be more closely woven. The sock causes a loss of volume of perhaps 20%. This may be acceptable in a band with 10 Sousaphones, but if there is but one or two, sound will carry better if the sock is avoided altogether. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:07, 20 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • Does one read Sousaphone music the same as the Tuba or are they separate entities?

Sousaphone music is the same as tuba music. Most sousaphones are pitched in BBb, and since bass clef doesn't transpose, there is no concern for different music.

Some tuba music for Eb tuba is written in G-clef, presumably for converted trumpet players. These parts make the Eb tuba, and Eb sousaphone, a transposing instrument in this case. These parts sound a 13th lower than written, hence a trumpet player would use the same fingerings were he or she playing the trumpet. Interestingly enough, because the lables of the lines and spaces of G-clef and drop a minor 3rd when moving to bass clef, almost all these parts can be read as if they are in bass clef without transposing, making them easily playable by a tuba player trained to read the non-transposing parts in bass clef. One has to remember that the "concert" key has three more flats than the written key, and one has to be careful to properly understand the accidentals. One cannot read the G-clef part as if it is bass clef if the concert key is in B, F#, or C#, as these parts will be written in Ab, Eb, and Bb. This would require one to read a whole-step down, then assume bass clef labels, a procedure most would be incapable of doing on the fly, and probably just as difficult as transposing a 13th down while reading in G-clef.

  • The assertion in the article that fibeglass instruments are used only in practice is erroneous.
  • In the section mentioning the bands that use sousaphones, it might be worth mentioning that the Ohio State Marching Band (TBDBITL) famously dots the 'i' in 'Script Ohio' with the sousaphone player with the most senority.


It may seem picky but there are better pictures of sousaphone stances instead of the current sloppy picture, which is not against the female, for i have females in my section. 12:21, 21 May 2006 (UTC)[reply]

The bell isn't straight, her fingers aren't on the valves, and I don't think she's even playing it. Look at her embouchure. Oh well, I didn't post the picture, but search google images for the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band (coolest in the world)

I think this new picture is a lot better

I figured it was time for change. --Luigifan13 00:03, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

There's actually eight million pictures of people with sousaphones in the article right now (well, something short of eight million... but a lot, anyway!). How about if we drop some of the pictures and put in a fingering chart and the range of the instrument. Gingermint (talk) 02:48, 4 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

sousaphone bits[edit]

sousaphone bits...what are they?

  • The "bits" are the small brass tubes that fit into the neck; the mouthpiece fits into them, and they help bridge the gap between the neck and the player.--Frontierbrass 22:18, 12 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]


What long term effects can the sousaphone have on players? So far the sousaphone has given me twisted vertebrae in my lower back. They are twisted to like 25 to 35 degrees from playing it in the marching at my highschool for the past 2 years and right now I'm in excrutiating pain and I have the Savannah St. Patrick's Day parade this Saturday. Are there any other problems associated with the sousaphone and anyways of maybe correctly holding the instrument to alleviate and/or prevent such things from happening? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:33, 12 March 2007 (UTC).[reply]

Im not sure if this is a temporary thing, but Ive recently been drafted into the marching band as a sousa player (yes drafted, my friend who plays mello forced me to join so i could play mello, but then was forced by the director into playing sousa). 40 pounds doesnt seem heavy, but having it rest on your collarbone for 3-8 hours HURTS!!!! It doesnt help that I have absolutely NO muscle or fat cover above them, so it is skin then bone, as well as having weird collar bones that stick up too high (I have big bumps halfway down each shoulder). Also, my school does not have pads. And as the person above has noted, I have had problems with my back as well. Is it around the lower part of your back, perhaps 3 inches above the waist line? It hurts to sit or stand straight now!!!PhorkPhace 02:54, 18 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Yeah. You'll develop muscle in your and it will be a breeze to hold it, don't worry. My back problem happened after 2 years and it was caused by lots of fancy spins and stuff with it on. My back is getting better, but probably won't ever be in perfect condition again. I marched with it in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah and I was fine when I took some Aleve. I didn't do anything too hard there, and my back hurt afterwards just because it'll never go back just right again. Just avoid spinning it, and if you do don't use your back. Just pivot the horn on your shoulder.-- 01:53, 18 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Good stretching before and after a performance also helps. I had a gf in college who played in sousaphone, she spent a huge amount of time stretching both prior to rehearsals and game days. --Rocksanddirt 19:54, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]


The range of the instrument is needed. A fingering chart would be nice but is not really entirely necessary. Still, no kidding, it would be nice. Fewer pictures of people with the instrument. All those pictures look a bit ridiculous. Oh, and some good research. It seems like a lot of this information is not properly researched. I fixed a sentence that read tubas and sousaphones can play the same music. Generally true, except the sousaphone has a more restricted range. Gingermint (talk) 02:57, 4 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Oh, and what about theJ.W. Pepper story. Didn't he invent the thing? I don't remember. Gingermint (talk) 03:01, 4 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

They both can play the same music, there are two key things though, it's much more difficult to play high on a Sousaphone, I don't quite understand the physics of it. A tri-piston Sousaphone (standard) and a Tri-piston or tri-rotary valve Tuba have the exact same range. A quad-pistoned Sousaphone (not standard) and a quad-piston or quad-rotary valve Tuba (standard) have the same range. And John Sousa had it commissioned, I don't recall by who. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oakpack4 (talkcontribs) 23:22, 21 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]

What do automobiles have to do with Non-American Sousaphones????[edit]

You've stated and linked to Moore's Law, but you don't have to give an example of the law in the article. If someone isn't sure of the Law, (s)he can just follow the link and look it up. Anybody else have an opinion? Bob305 (talk) 01:21, 17 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I don't think the reference to Moore's Law has any relevance to the cost of instruments, and is just confusing, especially with the comparison to automobiles. Why not just say costs are holding steady, but may see an increase? And what cost has to do with non-American instruments in particular, is beyond me.Flight Risk (talk) 20:57, 22 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Sousaphone in Indonesian culture[edit]

In Indonesian culture, especially Jakarta culture, Sousaphone is the one musical instrument of Tanjidor. If you go to Jakarta, you can see the Tanjidor music. -- (talk) 13:44, 23 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]


Personally I think a range of E instead of E♭ on the low end and A♭ instead of B♭ on the high end would be more appropriate for the instrument. Thoughts on this? Human-potato hybrid (talk) 05:09, 15 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]


I've added the 'Globalize' tag, as the article is almost entirely from a US perspective and it's unclear how much of it applies to other countries. I only really know from a British perspective that the blanket assertion in the article lead that the sousaphone is widely used in marching bands is not true here; Why? I Ask asserts that it is true in most countries and Britain is an outlier, but evidence for that in the article is currently lacking. TSP (talk) 10:44, 24 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I have been searching for some sources, but this is not really a topic that has been researched. All I know is that the assertion that the sousaphone is only primarily used in North America is false. Here is a semi-comprehensive list of international premier military bands that use the sousaphone:
I do not know why Germany and certain Commonwealth countries (such as Canada) still prefer tuba, but it probably is due to their heavily important brass band traditions. However, I hope the above shows that many significant countries use sousaphone. Why? I Ask (talk) 01:16, 25 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]