Concert tuba vs. sousaphone - what’s the difference? 

The tuba and sousaphone are 2 of the biggest brass instruments available in the brass family; with many similarities and some striking differences. So, how is a concert tuba different from a sousaphone? 

How is a concert tuba different from a sousaphone? 

Although the sousaphone is considered a type of tuba, there are many elements to this unique instrument that make it stand out from the concert tuba.   

The sousaphone is a very visually distinctive brass instrument, characterised by circular tubing that is placed over the player’s shoulder and a large bell that faces forward, designed to go over the player's head. 

Not only does this design aid the projection of sound from the instrument, but also enables the player to comfortably hold the instrument while performing; its large size and consequent weight mean the player will need to stand with the instrument in order to play.

This means that the sousaphone is most appropriate for use in marching bands - whereas concert tubas, typically oval in shape with a conical tube and a cup-shaped mouthpiece - can be played sitting and are therefore used in a wider variety of settings and musical contexts such as orchestras, concert bands, jazz and brass ensembles.

The differing shape of the bells also sees the concert tuba and sousaphone have slightly different sound qualities - with the concert tuba typically described as having a sound that is more focused and melodic than that of the sousaphone. 

However, it’s important to note that the tuba and sousaphone do have the same musical range and tube length. 

To view our range of tubas, please click here or browse our sousaphones, here.
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