Are Tubas Heavy? (All you need to know)

are tubas heavy
Written by Corey Morgan

Many beginners avoid playing the tuba because it’s big and heavy, in spite of their imposing appearance, tubas play a vital role in any ensemble. If you’re thinking about getting a tuba, you’ll want to know how much it weighs!

How heavy are tubas:

The typical weight of a tuba ranges from 20 to 30 pounds. Concert tubas, in contrast to other brass instruments, rest on the player’s lap rather than being held upright. Marching tubas are placed on the shoulder to prevent them from being excessively heavy for the player.

What Is the Weight of the different types of tuba?

You’ll be asked to join the marching band at your school if you first pick the tuba as your instrument of choice. Fear not, concert tuba will not be required. You can choose from a few different types of marching tubas.

Tubas come in two types:
  • Contrabassoons and Sousaphones
  • Sousaphones have a circular shape and are worn around the waist.

They have the most distinctive form of all the tuba kinds. Sousaphones aren’t as weighty as concert tubas because they’re specifically made for marching.

In comparison to tubas, sousaphones are often lighter. Sousaphones made of fiberglass can weigh as little as 15 pounds, while older brass sousaphones can weigh up to 50 pounds.

More experienced marching band and drum corps players frequently employ the contrabass bugle, sometimes known as the contra. In comparison to sousaphones, contras seem more like an actual concert tuba, except that they are strapped to your shoulder.

Contras are between the weight of 25 and 35 kilograms.

The construction of a concert tuba and a contra tuba is very similar. Even though a contra is designed to be carried on the shoulder, it is as heavy as a concert tuba.

What Is the Heaviest Tuba??

A typical tuba is around three and a half feet tall and weighs about twenty pounds on average. The heaviest tuba ever made is significantly larger than it.

Frankfurt, Germany, is home to the world’s heaviest tuba. It stands seven feet tall and weighs approximately 110 pounds.

This instrument is unique in that it must be played while standing. Although it is two times longer than a standard tuba, this extra-large tuba is functions perfectly well as other tubas. Needless to say, transporting this tuba to a rehearsal is really difficult!

What Is the Average Weight of a Tuba Case?

The weight of a tuba case might reach fifty pounds, carrying a tuba in a case can be cumbersome enough without adding the extra weight of the bell. Tuba cases are heavy because they have to support and cushion the tuba inside of them adequately.

It’s easy to transport because the case has wheels even if it’s heavy, you can push or pull the case, you can avoid having to raise the entire weight of the case.

Although, tuba cases, even those on wheels, can be cumbersome to move about.

If you want to practice your tuba at home, you’ll have to consider how you’ll transport it. It’s not uncommon for tuba players to struggle to fit their instrument into their cars or school buses.

How Do You Have to Be to Play the Tuba? 

Tubas are crucial members of any ensemble since they have the lowest voice.

Their intonation is listened to by the rest of the band. Band directors are frequently on the lookout for new tuba players, but is this the best option for you?

Before committing to learning to play the tuba, keep these factors in mind:

  • Take a few deep breaths:

Tuba playing necessitates the use of a significant amount of air, in particular, swimmers, who are used to deep breathing, are excellent tubists.

Any brass instrument demands some stamina when playing for extended periods of time and relying on your breath to achieve the desired sound.

  • In terms of height and weight:

It’s easier to play the tuba if you’re taller than average. The mouthpiece is at a fixed level on concert tubas, which are held in your lap. Before you make a decision, make sure you’ve held a tuba.

The mouthpiece should be able to fit comfortably in your mouth. It is not uncommon for young people to have to start on a smaller tuba because most tuba players begin their careers quite early.

3/4 tubas are made for children under the age of ten who are unable to wield a full tuba comfortably. Players as young as eight can begin learning to play an instrument using a smaller instrument.

You may have to wait till you’re older if all that’s accessible to you is whole tubas.

What Is the Lightest Tuba?

It is not uncommon for a talented musician to begin playing an instrument at an early age. Students under the age of 18 are unable to play tuba since the instrument is so hefty.

Smaller instruments like the trumpet or flute can be easily picked up by many students, but tubas are more difficult to lift. As a result, the tuba is the only instrument that comes in a lesser size for beginners.

A 3/4 tuba is an excellent choice for beginning students on the tuba compared to full tubas, these are more compact and lighter.

The average weight of a 3/4 tuba is around 13 pounds. Compared to full-size tubas, which can weigh between 25 and 35 pounds, this is a nice relief for younger players.

Because of their smaller size, lighter weight, and simple construction, band directors commonly recommend 3/4 tubas for beginners.

3/4 tubas typically have only three valves and are not compensated instruments. An inexperienced musician won’t have to worry about any advanced features on this instrument.

A lightweight tuba allows a beginner to learn the fundamentals of the instrument without having to struggle to hold it. It also makes it easier for students to take the tuba home and practice at their own convenience!

How heavy is a Sousaphone?

Sousaphones are more commonly used in high school marching bands than contras.

Due to its construction, sousaphones are the most unique tuba type. The tuba rests its weight on the left shoulder, unlike other tubas.

It’s designed for marching band, so it’s lighter and easier to carry. Sousaphones are easy for students to hold while playing, allowing them to concentrate on marching.

As compared to other tubas, the majority of sousaphones weigh less than 15 pounds. Students can more easily lift and carry these because they are typically made of fiberglass rather than brass.

When built of brass, they can weigh as much as a concert tuba. The weight of a high school sousaphone can range from 18 to 50 pounds, but most are in the lower range.

Older sousaphones are often rather hefty. However, they weren’t always designed to be lightweight. Older sousaphones models might be as much as 50 pounds in total weight.

Most sousaphones are lightweight tuba instruments, but none of them is a breeze to carry about. For the first time marchers, exhaustion might set in quickly.

When putting on or removing sousaphones, it might be an unpleasant experience, they are the only musical instrument that requires the player to wear it around his or her waist.

To play the sousaphone, a beginner must first master the art of placing it over their head or stepping into it. Because of its unique form, it may take some time to get used to.

There’s a lot of picking up and setting down that goes on with other marching instruments. Players can leave their sousaphones on for long periods of time because the instrument rests on their shoulders.

Is it possible to play all tubas while standing and marching?

Only the contrabass and sousaphones are utilized in marching bands today.

In order to play a concert tuba, you must sit down, they are designed to rest on a player’s shoulder so that they may march and play with ease. Concert tubas are designed to be held in the player’s lap.

Even while concert tubas aren’t as heavy as sousaphones and contrabasses, marching with one would put a lot of strain on your arms. A concert tuba player who attempts to march will quickly become fatigued.

While marching, you won’t see someone playing concert tuba. It’s not practicable, and there are a number of excellent options for marching tubas that are more appropriate.

Final Thoughts on Are Tubas Heavy

Determine if you are physically capable of handling a larger instrument before you begin playing the tuba. If you plan on marching with your tuba, you’ll need to be prepared to carry it, hoist it, and possibly march with it.

Although tubas are frequently quite heavy, they come in a variety of weights. For novices, 3/4 tubas are a good choice because they are light and easy to play. A student can march comfortably with a sousaphone because the instrument is light and easy to carry.

There are instruments like sousaphones and contras that make it easier for marchers to keep their instruments in the air. Tubas are simpler to march with because they rest on your shoulder, rather than being held in your hands.

Tuba playing can be a pleasant experience for everyone, no matter their size. Tuba players are continuously in demand in all kinds of musical ensembles.