Sunday, January 24, 2016

The first Sousaphone - a closer look

While I've shared some great images of the first Sousaphone earlier in this blog (from a museum visit in 2012), here are a few more from the week I had this historic horn in my home prior to playing it in concert last Spring:

The shoulder pad is not original, of course, nor are the mouthpiece and neck.
Where the bell and body connect. Note the vertical squiggly lines, which
are to be matched up in order to have the bell in the right position.
The horn as it comes apart.
Top view of the valve cluster. Having only three valves might have been a strike against it,
which may in part explain why Sousa switched to using a Conn horn in 1898.
Bottom view of the valve cluster - the main tuning slide curves in and under in such a way
 that digs into one's ribs. Not the best design!
Bottom view of the valves, showing the unusual vent holes.
Side view of valves, showing serial number of 8800 (which is also on the bell).
Historically accurate neck, made by Matt Walters of Dillon Music
(original neck and mouthpiece were lost).
Showing detail on the tuning slides
Close up of the stamped brass that is found on many parts of the horn
Engravings on the front of the bell (note the words "Sousa" and "Phone" in the twirling ribbon. This may
be the very first use of this term - the name Pepper gave to this horn, in order to honor Sousa.
Engraving of Sousa toward the top of the bell. The uniform he is wearing is from the 1894 season, which
helps to hone in on a date for when the horn was made (now confirmed as 1895).

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