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Guide to the Best Sousaphones of 2019

Kayla Carstens

The sousaphone was created in 1893 by J.W. Pepper, as an effort to create an instrument that was similar to the tuba but would project the sound above the heads of the band and therefore project more efficiently. The sousaphone was not initially created for marching bands but for concerts. They were tried in the early 1900s and were eventually incorporated into military bands. The sousaphone is not only used in military bands and marching bands, but it is also used to play jazz, Banda Sinaloense, and many other genres. The sousaphone is a large and unique instrument for a largely talented and unique musician with love and determination to be a great musician.


We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a sousaphone. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of sousaphone,

  • See useful tips about that type of sousaphone,

  • Select the right brand of sousaphone,

  • Find accessories you may need for your sousaphone.

Types of Sousaphones

Types of Sousaphone:

  • Fiberglass Sousaphone:

    • Fiberglass sousaphones are the most common type of sousaphone.

    • Fiberglass sousaphones are lighter than brass sousaphones and more affordable.

    • These horns have a thinner sound than brass sousaphones.

  • Hybrid Sousaphone:

    • Hybrid sousaphones have a fiberglass body and a brass bell.

    • Hybrid sousaphones are for people who want a more affordable option but don’t want to sacrifice sound.

  • Brass Sousaphone:

    • Brass sousaphones are recommended for professionals and players above high school level.

    • This horn is the more expensive sound but provides the highest quality sound.

What reviewers say

Items that Can be Used with Your Sousaphone:

  • Polish Cloth:

    • This is a cloth that you use to polish your brass instrument and ensure that it has no smudges or fingerprint marks.

  • Mouthpiece Brush:

    • This is a specially designed brush that is used to clean your instruments and ensure that it is clean and won't sustain any damage from dirt or fluids.

  • Valve Oil:

    • This is an oil that you use on your mellophones valves in order to ensure that continues to be in working order and don't stick.

  • Sousaphone Strap:

    • The sousaphone is a heave instrument, so a strap is a logical purchase to help you maintain a good grip and hold up its weight whilst playing.

  • Sousaphone Case:

    • This is a specially designed case for you to store your sousaphone in so that it is easily transportable and does not sustain any damage whilst it is being transported.

  • Lyre:

    • This is music stand that many marching band or brass band instrumentalists use to hold up their sheet music whilst they are playing.

Important Features

Tips for Consumers:

  • Sousaphone parts:

    • Tuning Slide:

      • This is a slide on the sousaphone that allows the instruments to adjust the pitch and ensure that they are playing the correct melody.

    • Valves:

      • These are the buttons that the instrumentalist presses to play certain melodies or notes.

      • Most student horns use nickel plated valves as they are cheaper, durable and require little maintenance.

      • Professional models of sousaphones have monel valves which look better and have a better sound but is more expensive and requires more maintenance than nickel plated valves.

    • Waterkey:

      • This is a key the instrumentalist can press to drain fluids out of the sousaphone and avoid rust or damage.

    • Mouthpiece:

      • The mouthpieces on many horns can be changed and thus can change the sound of the horn, therefore it is important to see which you like best.

    • Bell:

      • As with any horn, the bigger the bell on the sousaphone, the better and louder the sound but also, the more effort you would have to put in to create a sound.

  • Finishes:

    • Lacquer Finish

      • This is the most common type of finish for any horn and although it has no effect on the sound does not rust or damage easily.

    • Silver Plated Finish:

      • This is finish has abetter sound due to its ability to increase the horns vibrations, but it is expensive and requires more maintenance than a lacquer finish.

Top-Rated Brands

Different Brands of Sousaphones:

  • Jupiter:

    • Jupiters mission is to share the beliefs of reliability and involvement to every musician. Jupiter began in 1979 and today creates a large array of band instruments from brass instruments, like mellophones, to wind instruments, like flutes. They are currently located in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.

  • Yamaha:

    • Founded in 1887 Yamaha produces a wide array of instruments for consumers globally. With the humble beginnings of designing an organ, they now manufacture and produce drums, pianos, horns, guitars and so on. Their headquarters are located in Hamamatsu Shizuoka, Japan.

  • Schiller:

    • Schiller was founded in 1884 Frankfurt, Germany by Gustav Johann Schiller. From the beginning as a manufacturer of pianos, they now produce a wide variety of instruments. Schiller aims to provide high-quality instruments to musicians all over the world at reasonable prices.

  • Ravel:

    • Named after the French composer Maurice Ravel, Ravel aims to provide High-quality instruments at low prices. They began over 63 years ago and are currently located in the United States of America.

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