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Thread: Potentially playing Sousaphone... Advice?

  1. Quote Originally Posted by LargoBone View Post
    I don't know if there's much else to add. Just go for it. The only thing you should know for pep band is learn how to play loud, fast, and big (read "air").

    I do disagree with your statement about questionable tone and intonation on sousaphones, I've actually found that some of the best sounding horns I've played are sousaphones. It's all about finding the right one, I use an Olds O95 (full brass).
    Indeed. A good sousaphone is as in-tune as any tuba. Yes, since it has 3-valves, as with any 3-valve tuba, you do have to pull and set the 3rd valve slide between 2+3 being a little flat and 1+3 being a hair sharp to lip down.

    What I have done with the souzys I have owned over the years, and with permission of the owner, those I have borrowed, and especially on Conn 14K's, 20K's 22K's and real 36K's (modern 36K's are rebranded Kings), as they are most amenable: I convert the upper loop of the 1st valve circuit to a movable side that I ride with my left hand, just like the moveable 1st valve slide for intonation on a concert tuba. The first time I played a low C and low F 1+3 with the 1st slide pulled to tune in the shop, everybody in the shop commented on the tone and better intonation.
    Last edited by iiipopes; 12-14-2016 at 10:37 AM.

  2. The Olds I use actually played very well in tune naturally, even the low F (the E...not so much), I pulled the 2nd slide about half an inch, and the third slide maybe a cm or two sometimes. The main slide was out a ways though because I only liked to use one bit. If it's well enough in tune for the big band I play in, it's definitely good enough for marching/pep band.

    The Olds has a lot of pullable slides: 1st, 2nd, and two for 3rd so no conversion needed (or would have been used for that matter; it's marching band). I never had to pull slides but I imagine I could have if I didn't have to hold the neck up.
    1905 Boosey Class A Euphonium-Wick SM4M
    Yamaha 301M Marching Baritone-Schilke 52
    1960 Conn 11J-Conn Helleberg
    1961 Conn 14J-Vincent DFL
    2015 King 2341-Bach Corp. 24AW
    Olds O95 Sousaphone-King 26

  3. #13
    I've been practicing the past couple days and it's going very smoothly. Except for my left shoulder, which is killing me right now, because I didn't think of bringing a towel as a cushion. I can get almost the full range out, with the exception of low Gb, F, and E. That's only because I haven't figured out yet what embouchure adjustment to make to get them to speak properly. Otherwise I'm pretty flexible on the instrument and I can play through all of the pep band music without a problem!

    The King 2250 I've been using (an older one that doesn't come apart for easy cleaning) plays pretty well, has a good sound, and very good intonation. I really enjoy playing it, actually. It kind of makes me want to buy a tuba of my own, if only the farm fields surrounding my house yielded money plants.
    Avid horn collector, check my profile to see what I've got (not enough room to reasonably squeeze 14 horns down here!)
    YouTube Channel: TheNEWTrombonium

  4. #14
    Two phrases for you:
    Protect your shoulder
    Technology is your friend

    https://www.amazon.com/Neotech-51012.../dp/B007CXB3FE

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. Ah, the shoulder pain. It was a rough couple of weeks at first when I was asked to march sousa in marching band this summer, but we had a pretty rough and tumble group so pads were a no no, especially when you're section leader and have to set a good example. My two cents: play through the pain, it builds character. Besides, that thing will kill your overtones faster than you'll kill the flute player in front of you for playing too loud.
    1905 Boosey Class A Euphonium-Wick SM4M
    Yamaha 301M Marching Baritone-Schilke 52
    1960 Conn 11J-Conn Helleberg
    1961 Conn 14J-Vincent DFL
    2015 King 2341-Bach Corp. 24AW
    Olds O95 Sousaphone-King 26

  6. I borrowed a sousaphone once. I'm awful at tuba honestly, but I didn't find the shoulder pain too overbearing. I personally find holding a marching baritone or marching euph much more painful than having a sousa rest on my shoulder. I'm not sure why that would be, but it was.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Two phrases for you:
    Protect your shoulder
    Technology is your friend

    https://www.amazon.com/Neotech-51012.../dp/B007CXB3FE

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	318Vwev8aOL.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	10.4 KB 
ID:	4633
    Oh, how I wish I had that 40 years ago! Yes, getting the shoulders and back muscles into shape is a demanding chore, but well worth it to a player's overall health and stamina. I remember being sore as well for awhile until I built up strength and stamina. Maybe the coach or physical education teacher at school can give the OP some exercises to strengthen and balance the muscles involved.

    There are also programs you can purchase, like The Breathing Gym by Sam Pilafian and Patrick Sheridan, that are essentially a tuba player's version of a workout video and course booklet.
    Last edited by iiipopes; 12-16-2016 at 03:01 PM.

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