Left to right: medium euphonium., euphonium forwrard, and tuba


MODERN HORNS (ORCHESTRAL) : In this article I would like to address what I see as the greatest lack of understanding in modern marching bands for the toy soldier novice collector as well as many manufacturers — WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TUBA'S AND EUPHONIUMS?

A) TUBAS : The tuba is a valved brass instrument with a wide conical bore, flared bell and cup shaped mouth piece. It is characterized by its large size or scale compared to euphoniums in both reality and miniature or deep sound. The first tubas where German made in the 1830s and has since appeared in various shapes:

1) Recording Tuba— with bell forward; 2) The Orchestral Tuba— with bell upward held on the players lap which comes in three bass tones i) E, ii) F and iii) Contra bass (very large) and; 3) Marching Tuba— this instrument has a light weight fiberglass bell and rests on the players shoulder with its bell pointing forward. This last style is used in bugle bands and university bands in the USA.; where as the concert tuba is held in an upright position with a harness and is used in British and Canadian Brass military bands. The major difference in appearance between the tuba and euphoniums is size and positioning of the valves and mouth piece which are not easily discernible in small scale toy soldier bands.

B) EUPHONIUMS : After the successful application of the valve principle in trumpets in the early 19th. Century, makers in Europe and the USA. began to experiment with brass instruments in different shapes and sizes. In 1843 Sommer of the Weimar Republic, invented a large bugle with three to five valves and a mouth piece bent around the enlarged bell, this is used to replace the bassoon in the military bands of Russia and Germany, and is now most commonly played in the USA. Three common euphoniums are: 1) baritone - with upright bell; 2) contralto - small outer bent tubing bell forward and; 3) tuben - large outer tubing bell forward

Bill the Bandman's Guidelines: TOY SOLDIER VARIATIONS are where most toy soldier collectors and makers go wrong, so I will try and clear this up right now with some guidelines. First you can not distinguish in miniature between valve positioning of tubas verses euphoniums; its almost impossible, due to the small scale. Second, the way most makers distinguish these items is by size and the position they are held in as follows:

1. The larger the instrument the more likely its a tuba - .i.e.) Britains - distinguish between the tuba and the euphonium by size in set 37 after WW11 Britain's made three sizes of euphoniums small medium and large all baritone styles, plus one very large upright tuba replacing the pre-war bombadrone which was an earlier version of a European style sousaphone.
2. French Horns are common in military bands but not college or trumpet bands. Most British and Canadian manufacturers‚ of Military brass bands include French horns.
3. Very few military bands outside the USA have sousaphones - some exceptions are 1) The Royal Canadian Regiment 2) The Brazilian Guards Bands and 3) The Colombian Military Brass band circa WW1. and 4)The King's own 15th/19th Royal Hussars circa 1960s Britain.
4. Euphoniums forward do not usually appear in military bands. Actually I don't know anyone (mass manufacturing) other than my makers, molding this instrument today, which we make for me in Big ten American University bands in my own lines.
5. When a large brass instrument is played forward on the left shoulder it is a contra bass. I only know two manufacturers of this instrument played in this position
6. Arm positions for forward held tubas and euphoniums at the march or attention (USING OLD BRITAINS‚ AS THE STANDARD);  6.1 Euphoniums - arms bent forward like trumpets;  6.2 Tubas - left arms bent sideways, right arm bent forward

Finally be aware that many makers especially outside Britain, Canada and the USA. make mistakes when dealing with TUBAS VS. EUPHONIUMS but rarely SOUSAPHONES VS. FRENCH HORNS. Therefore, its the buyers responsibility to spot the error and point it out to the maker otherwise these flaws in toy soldier band sets will continue.

Until next time — Remember the fun is in the search!

French horn - common in military bands not college bands.

CONTRA BASS - very large hard to manufacture common in BUGLE CORP bands.