Fiberglass Sousaphone

The Contempora fiberglass sousaphone was introduced in 1961 by RMC-Reynolds, targeting the student marching bands. The fiberglass horn was about half the weight of the traditional brass model and came with standard white, silver and gold finishes, as well as in custom school colors.

1961-1964
Model Size Description Example
SU-14 Bore: .687″
Bell: 24″ removable
Contempora BB♭ Sousaphone | Materials: fiberglass-reinforced plastic body; high-impact flexible plastic bell flare with moulded reinforcements; brass valve section, receiver and mouthpipe | Finish: highly polished brass (valve section) with baked epoxy finish Model SU-14 (SN 69177). Photos used with permission by eBay Member: ppb3000.
1964-1979
Model Size Description Example
SU-14 Bore: .686″
Bell: 24″ removable
Contempora BB♭ Sousaphone | Materials: fiberglass-reinforced plastic body; high-impact flexible plastic bell flare with moulded reinforcements; brass valve section, receiver and mouthpipe | Finish: highly polished brass (valve section) with baked epoxy finish Photo source: eBay
Notes and Quotes

1961 RMC ad for fiberglass sousaphones1961 Print Ad: “This is the world’s only Sousaphone built to artist specifications with bows AND bell all strongly made of genuine Fiberglas by Owens-Corning. Finish of this Contempora artist model is just as smooth and deluxe as its twin all-brass model … a favorite of fine Sousaphone players for many years. Significant differences of the Fiberglas model are elimination of extra weight (10 lbs. lighter) and complete freedom from dents in the most vulnerable areas. Special acoustical properties of the Fiberglas model provide cleaner tone definition, mighty power without distortion or ‘cracking’, and faster response. This new Contempora is NOT a student model copy but is artist built throughout. Compare this beautiful instrument’s appearance with any other Sousaphone … play it in comparison and be doubly sure!”

1966 Catalog:

Body branches, body and bell bows are damage-resistant fiberglass-reinforced plastic; bell flare in high-impact flexible plastic with moulded reinforcement. Structural braces have wide flanges imbedded in fiberglass. Weighs only 18 lbs! Sprayed, hard-baked epoxy finish in gleaming white or simulated satin-finish brass or silver-plate resists mars and scratches. Brass or silver valve section. Valve section easily removed for repair if needed. School colors available on special orders at extra cost.

1970 Catalog:

Tough — scratch and damage-resistant — lightweight — yet, a superb musical instrument with a beautiful tone, accurate intonation, and dependable valve action. This describes the features of the Reynolds fibreglass [sic] sousaphone. Available in school colors, this attractive instrument will dress up your band. The SU-14 provides a rich, full ‘bottom’ to your arrangements.

1977 Catalog:

Here’s a lightweight sousaphone with excellent weight distribution. Highly responsive, with an evenly balanced tone in all registers. The body is constructed of a damage-resistant fiberglass which prevents scratching. The detachable bell is made of durable ABS with molded reinforcements.