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One bit or two?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:36 pm
by Hank74
I wanna ask here is there is any difference between using only one sousaphone bit or two when playing. Does it affect the pitch or sound? Usually, a player would use two. But I've seen instances where only one is used.

Chime in with your thoughts. :tuba:

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:35 pm
by lost
Depends on ergonomics and how you hold the sousaphone and what feels/sounds better? The main tuning slide likes two on my sousaphones...

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:25 pm
by toobagrowl
For me, I usually use one bit when playing sousaphone. More comfortable and better response. Remember, sousaphone bits are reverse-taper, so it affects sound and response a little. But because I use just one bit, I have to pull the main tuning slide out a bit more.
Each time you add a bit, the more length you add to the main open bugle, thus making it lower/flatter in pitch. So if you use two bits, you don't need your main tuning slide out as far. The mouthpiece you use also has an affect --(how far it goes in, cup depth, etc). :idea:

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:10 pm
by KiltieTuba
toobagrowl wrote:For me, I usually use one bit when playing sousaphone. More comfortable and better response. Remember, sousaphone bits are reverse-taper, so it affects sound and response a little. But because I use just one bit, I have to pull the main tuning slide out a bit more.
Each time you add a bit, the more length you add to the main open bugle, thus making it lower/flatter in pitch. So if you use two bits, you don't need your main tuning slide out as far. The mouthpiece you use also has an affect --(how far it goes in, cup depth, etc). :idea:


Depends on the manufacturer. Some bits are essentially an adjustable leadpipe.

I once played on a sousaphone were I could use one bit or two and have no discernible difference in pitch or tone, even using the same mouthpiece and not changing the main slide.

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:22 pm
by paulver
2 bits to be proper....... that's why they're sold in pairs...... according to my brass professors in college and grad school. Each of the bits is different and should be used in a particular order. One fits the mouthpiece perfectly, and the other fits on the opposite end of said bit, and into the sousaphone neck...... perfectly. Used in combination, they give you a better mouth to mouthpiece angle adjustment, a better mouthpiece shank fit for intonation, and resulting better horn position. Taught that for 30 plus years.

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:16 pm
by lost
paulver wrote:2 bits to be proper....... that's why they're sold in pairs...... according to my brass professors in college and grad school. Each of the bits is different and should be used in a particular order. One fits the mouthpiece perfectly, and the other fits on the opposite end of said bit, and into the sousaphone neck...... perfectly. Used in combination, they give you a better mouth to mouthpiece angle adjustment, a better mouthpiece shank fit for intonation, and resulting better horn position. Taught that for 30 plus years.


To further the discussion, my 20k from 1943 requires some acrobatics if i want to use two bits and hold the sousaphone the "proper" way. Forcing me into an "improper" mouth to mouthpiece position.

I suppose an adjustable bell means i could put the sousaphone in the "improper" position but still throw my sound forward with the 2 bits, but then the position of the sousa would be all wrong. Not to mention the horn plays a little low with two bits..

My york sousaphone requires just one or the pitch is way too low.

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:24 pm
by bloke
It's difficult to change the sound of a sousaphone.
The "feel" of a sousaphone can be changed.
The only way to really change the sound of a sousaphone is to put another player inside it...or remove paper wads from inside it.

re: your post...?? two

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:10 am
by Samcai8
As long as the posture is correct.
edit- I'm using 2 bits on a Jupiter sousa. It works well for the front-back way of holding it.

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:44 am
by paulver
Using the two bits in combo with the neck, you should have enough points of axis that you can manipulate things into just about any comfortable and usable position and maintain a decent intonation range. Throughout my teaching career, I've had numerous players of different body size and "dimension". Never had one that wasn't able to find their comfort zone using the two bits while maintaining the proper position of the sousaphone. The mouthpiece, bits, and and neck piece may look somewhat serpentine, but things always worked just fine. The only situation that posed any type of problem was when the instrument was mounted in a chair that couldn't be adjusted up or down enough to accommodate the height of the student from the waist up. Once they stood up and held it on their own, that problem disappeared.

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:00 am
by paulver
To elaborate on the business end of the sousaphone, most of the receivers for the neck get either bent out of alignment, or just "opened up" too far over time to make a tight connection with the neck. When you put the mouthpiece and bits on, the weight of all that metal is simply too much for the screw clamp to hold in the proper position...... mainly because the player was too lazy to loosen the screw when necessary. At that point, a trip to the repair shop is in order. That screw clamp should be able to hold the assembly firmly in any position. If it doesn't, that's where and when the problems begin.

Having been a band director for many years, I have seen countless bands use their sousaphone sections as dance and aerobic units. They've thrown those instruments all over the place and suddenly started playing again......... and never lost any parts. On the other hand, I've seen parts thrown all over like a flail mower on poorly maintained instruments.

Re: One bit or two?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:35 am
by Bill Troiano
On my custom, Jupiter CC, Lee Stofer sousaphone, I'm comfortable using 2 bits which has me keeping my main slide out around 3/4 in. Plus, Lee designed it so that my bits have screws too, which keeps everything firmly in place.