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Anyone here double on the "brass bass"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by WillBuckingham, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005

    I played french horn for about a year as a kid before switching to bass (so I know a little about brass instruments), and am thinking about trying to pick up the sousaphone. My university has one that I can practice on. There are a few guys in New Orleans who double on both, and I'm wondering if anyone here does and if you have any advice for someone interested in starting.


  2. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    TB to Mark Rubin, TB to Mark Rubin...
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I used to play a bit of sousaphone, though I prefer tuba. I was a trumpet player at the time. Kinda cool, but.... jeez, the frickin' mouthpiece feels like it's swallowing your face. My hat's off to folks like Howard Johnson and Rich Matteson, who can tear it up on the big horn.
  4. bpclark


    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    I love the tuba, but in college we used to refer to the sousaphone as a "farthorn." For obvious reasons, if you have played both.
  5. bpclark


    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Get a teacher!!! :D Sorry, that just popped out, it's just the standard reply, I figured it applied to all types of basses.

    First make sure the school horn is in good condition and then get yourself a good mouthpiece. I'm partial to Schilke myself. A Conn Helleberg isn't a bad place to start though. And be prepared to push a lot of air. The only thing sousaphone or tuba have in common with french horn is that they're brass instruments. The horn gives you a lot of back pressure because of the size of the bore so your air supply can last quite a long time even on a smaller breath. On the tuba, especially the big, fat, low, fun tones, the air is used up quite rapidly. I would suggest when you start that you incorporate a lot of long low tones in your practice routine to develop a good sound and breath control.

  6. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Thanks for the replies!

    bpclark: I was just gonna find a fingering chart and start noodling around. Do you really think this is a bad idea, or is the teacher comment just a joke?

  7. bpclark


    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Well, mostly it's a joke, which why I put the Big Grin in the text. Get a teacher just seems to be the standard reply to many questions. If you're just picking it up for fun and not too serious about it then there's no big need to get a teacher (It's not like DB where bad technique is likely to cause you an injury). On the other hand, if you're intent is reach a high level of proficiency, then just like DB or any other instrument the fastest, most efficient path is through a good teacher.


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