Posted by Joe S. on October 21, 1999 at 23:44:29:
In Reply to: 1/2 size sousaphones posted by Rick on October 21, 1999 at 23:21:20:
I responded to a similar inquiry several months ago, not only to inform, but for selfish reasons: I have a VERY pretty King-made one that I need to sell. Since that earlier date, some dolt that came in to look at it put a minor dent in the bottom of it (It WAS nearly perfect.), so I guess I will have to ask less that I was asking before. It has a beautiful 100% intact gold-plated bell interior.
NOW! Away from commerce and on to information: Prior to fibreglass sousaphones, the only way to make sousaphones lighter weight was to reduce the amount of metal in them. The only way to really do this was to make the expansion of the bore throughout the branches much less. These instruments generally looked "skinny" and had smaller bells, too. However, the valve sections were nearly always the same bore (for economical reasons, if no other) as their full-sized siblings. About the only "weight reduction" that I have observed on "jr." sousas' valve sections is manufacturers having made the valve casings shorter, which required chopping the skirts off of the bottoms of the pistons, and utilizing shorter valve springs with fewer spirals in them...
and that is ALL that I know about jr. sousas. I guess that's why I ain't no Dr.-O-Music, and why it didn't ever occur to me to write a dissertation (until the one above) on "Jr. Sousology in North America in the First Half of the Twentieth Century".