Hibike Euphonium 3.1 – Musical Instruments of Kitauji High School

As we all know, Yamaha is supporting this anime so it make sense to find their instrument in the show. And me being me, decided that I might as well check it out. If they are sufficiently cheap enough I might as well buy it instead of a figure.

And while KyoAni usually give their cast, high tier equipment. I even thought the same before I am corrected. Its surprising but they seemed to have stuck to student tier version that is commonly found in High school bands.

Yamaha YBB641 BBb 

Cost: 9,470 U.S. dollars

Yep. Seriously. Tubacabura is almost ten thousand bucks on amazon making the most expensive instrument on the band probably.

…. Then, you suddenly remember that Goto and Riko probably uses the same tuba model as well.  And there are also 2 more unused Tubas on the storeroom.

…. Making the the final tuba count  5.

Overall Tuba Cost: 47, 350 U.S. dollars

[su_spacer size=”30″][/su_spacer]


Cost: Bargain Bin (Approximately 3000 dollars)

Kumiko’s  (and Asuka’s) euphonium is actually cheaper than the tuba. I found it for “only” three thousand dollars. Though this model appeared to have been fazed out so its going to be a bit hard to find.

Compensating Euphonium cost:  6000 U.S. Dollars


Yamaha YEP-321 Series 4-Valve Euphonium

Cost: 3,408   2,318.99 U.S. dollars

Natsuki, on the other hand,  appears to be using a different model from Kumiko and Asuka.  Alex has pointed out that schools buy musical instruments as needed, so that maybe the reason why Natsuki has a different euphonium model from the other two.

Total Euphonium Cost: 10,637.98  US dollars

P.S. You can thank Sean for pointing out the difference in the euphoniums. I really recommend reading his comment below if you guys are interested in this instrument. Its very educational. ^^


[su_spacer size=”30″][/su_spacer]

Poor George-kun.  Beside, not having a decent close range shot beside the OP. I can’t find a Yamaha double bass that fits him. In fact, I can’t find a Yamaha double bass AT ALL. I don’t think they make them.

Still, double basses are relatively cheap. You could get a really good one at two thousand dollars or even just a thousand bucks.

Double bass Cost: 2,000 U.S. Dollars Approximately

[su_spacer size=”30″][/su_spacer]


So what have we learned today?

Kitauji has a sunk something like 59, 987.98 dollars on their bass section alone. (Technically the cost is more on the Tuba’s. I’m actually wondering if I’ve made a mistake identifying that model).

And while the sum seem big, I’m assured that this is a one time cost and bigger school will probably have more instrument and thus more expensive. Not to mention, some students might bring their own instruments.


For more information go see the comments. A lot of people who are actually in the band have kindly shared their experiences.

Thanks guys! ^^


Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Hibike Euphonium 3.1 – Musical Instruments of Kitauji High School

  1. Moxxmix says:

    Ehh.. I wouldn't be able to guess at the exact model numbers of the other stuff, but it looks like, assuming more towards intermediate models rather than student models, roundabouts:

    Trumpets: $1200
    Trombones: $1800
    Saxaphones: $2000
    Flutes: $500 or $1000
    Oboes: $5000 (varies between $3000 and $6000)
    Clarinets: $750
    Xylophone: $500

    Maybe another $80,000 total? Add to the $70,000 base section, and another $30,000 miscellaneous, and it's about $180,000 total. It's a fair bit of cash, but it's also a mostly one-time investment; brass band instruments aren't going to change every few years. And, in terms of school budget, is not especially notable.

    For a Japanese school, it seems a rather unremarkable amount, particularly if it's the result of some sort of alumni donation. Now, in an American school it would be a bit more crazy due to the ludicrous budget restraints, music programs being one of the first things cut, and the high likelihood of theft.

    Still, it's interesting to note. Also interesting to see that, for all that they're in the background and largely unnoticed, the bass section is also the most expensive section.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      I think its kinda shocking for me because my school has opted for the bargain bin hunting in choosing their instruments lol. A friend of mine who is in the band complains about it all the time.

      Your comment does put things in perspective. ^^

      And wow. If those numbers are right. The bass section almost cost half of the full band. And yeah, I agree. Beside that, I would like to add that for the section that is almost unnoticed, it seems that they are also the more talented section. Taki-sensei is notably nicer to the bass section in the later episodes. And half of its members appear to be a notable player. one way or another.

      1. Asuka is being touted (as of the latest episode) as the MOST SKILLED PLAYER in the band.
      2. Sapphire appears to be really good too. There is a lot of commotion over her in episode 2.
      3. Kumiko is being implied to be really good as well.

      That's almost half of the section itself. Heh.

  2. Sean says:

    Instruments aren't cheap… but keep in mind that schools often get used ones, and many students (usually in the smaller trumpets, trombones, flutes, etc own their own horns).

    And I hate to burst your bubble, but those euphs aren't the 642s you mentioned above. Natsuki has what appears to me a 321 (very common horn in any school), and Kumiko and Asuka have a rarer 621 where the fourth valve is placed in the left hand. These are non-compensating student/intermediate models that go for no more than $2500ish new.

    I'm only being so picky cause I'm a eupher myself and played on the yamaha 321 all through high school! So I've picked up a good eye for euphs and euph models!

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Thanks for the comment. ^^
      I'm not a euph player. And I'm more into the piano than anything else so I really appreciate it. I think your right about the yamaha 321. I didn't actually check Natsuki's instrument and just assumed it would be the same with Asuka and Kumiko.

      But, are you sure that Asuka and Kumiko uses the 621? According to the official site, those are already discontinued (I don't think Yamaha would be keen to put fazed out instrument on their anime advertisement.) and the 642II has the valve on the left side as well.

      Anyway, eagerly waiting for your correction.

      And now to edit!

      EDIT: Advance Thanks. Put the corrections in place for the euphonium.

      I also went and eyeballed the picture of 621 and the 642ii and the only difference appear to be the placement of the tubing on the bottom. The 621 has an outer tubing jutting out while the 642ii has it at the same height. Judging from the picture on episode 4, the tubing appear to be of the same height instead of jutting out so I still think that Asuka and Kumiko are using the 642ii.

      • Sean says:

        Yea, I'm sure it's the 621. Cause I've been playing for so long I've learned where to look when identifying certain horns. Three things tell me that it isn't a compensating horn, and from there I simply guess that it's a yamaha because the show is sponsored by them. These three details are what I use to determine whether a euph is compensating or not.

        1) The 4th valve on the 621 in the show is between the 3rd valve slide and the main tubing, where on the 642 the 4th valve is behind both sets of tubing. I think this was designed for younger players who wouldn't be able to reach to where the 4th normally is.

        2) Leadpipe(tube that the mouthpiece fits into and wraps around the bell). On the 621 it is smoothed out, with only one bend. On the 642 it begins higher up and has two bends creating what some call a "swan" shaped leadpipe that is designed for a bigger more powerful sound.

        3) Valve block. Notice that on the 642 there is what appears to be a second set of tubes running above where the regular tubes are. This is part of the "compensating" system which redirects the airflow back through a second set of tubes when you use the 4th valve and is designed to correct tuning in the low range. On the 621 there is no extra tubing because it is a student euphonium for developing players.

        These are the pictures I used to verify and double check the details.
        621- http://www.yamahamusiclondon.com/sites/ymlv5.19/p
        642- http://www.netinstruments.com/pics/43956.jpg
        642/641- http://s6.photobucket.com/user/rnfloyd/media/642-… (642 on the left)
        backside of a 321- http://www.drtoot.co.nz/image/cache/data/pre-love

        The last pic is of a 642 on the left next to a 641 on the right. This shows the backside of the compensating system that pro models have. I couldn't find a pic of the backside of the 621, but the 321 should be similar. I was a little confused by the lower tubing that was "jutting out". But I'm going off the 3 main details I mentioned above. Another distinction is the bell size, 621 has the smaller 11'', while the 642 has a larger 12'' bell.

        All pro euphs follow the sameish template set by the old Besson New Standard and Boosey and Hawkes Imperial (horn I just recently acquired). And the pro yamahas are no exception. So it can be a pain to tell these horns apart; I still have problems myself on occasion!

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Looks at pictures. Seriously, can't tell the difference. lol
          Anyway, after some staring I think you're right. Going to edit the article after I managed to get over the awesomeness that is episode 8.

          • Sean says:

            Cool! Ep 8 was awesome! I've been waiting since ep1 to really hear Kumiko play her euph, and it was amazing! Although I'm almost certain the the recording artist isn't playing a Yamaha euph!

            I was surprised how I was sucked into this show since I don't normally watch anything to do with drama. I figured that I saw plenty in high school! I only started watching this show for the music and euphoniums of course, but I think it's becoming a gateway drug into anime!

          • nightsentinel09 says:

            I know right.
            Whoever did the recording of the Euph part of the duet is good. Because, I went to a store to see some of the instrument and the Euph there doesn't sound half as good. And those are the professional version worth thousands of dollars. (Also realized that I'm not meant for any instrument that involves my lungs. )

            Its really a wonderful blend…. I was expecting to not hear the Euph solo over the Trumpet at some points because that's how it usually was but they blend so well… *weeps in delight*.

            Also speaking of future plot points – like the audition. I think that Reina and Kumiko is quite safe from it if that is how they can play a song without even some sheet music.

  3. Sean says:

    Whoops… didn't mean to down-vote you, sorry. Well maybe time would tell if you could handle a brass instrument… or you could be like me and my coordination; never let me near any percussion instrument!

    Yea, as I'm sure you know (being a pianist I think you said?) that to be good it takes more than just a good instrument! But having the proper instrument does play a HUGE role in how one plays… After a year of struggling to tune this last year I bought a perfect horn for myself! Most new modern euphs go for 6 to 10 thousand, and I just recently bought one for $2500!!! A beautiful 35 year old horn, but I just fell in love with the "old" sound (smaller, more focused, and mellow). Old instruments can be great! Like the legendary old Steinway pianos!

    You gotta hunt for music where the euph shines, but it makes it such a more wonderful treat! A lot of solo music for euph is transposed from other pieces, often famous operas… Cause the euph is actually the closest brass instrument to the human voice!

    Here's a great solo concerto for UFO by one of my favorite composers who I had the honor of preforming under when he visited my college this last year! Is also preformed by my favorite euph soloist!

    Great guy too! Belgians really drink A LOT!

    Here's a pic of the same model I just bought, plus same mouthpiece manufacturer(I've yet to pick it up from the music store, but I couldn't resist the gold plating!) http://secohan-euph.up.n.seesaa.net/secohan-euph/

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Don't worry about it. I don't even think about the up-vote and down vote button anyway. ^^

      As for the brass instrument. I tried some at the store and its a bit uneasy/unwieldy for me. I can hardly make a sound on the tuba and euphonium and I found trumpets to be too loud for my taste. I'm more comfortable with the woodwind than the brass to be honest. But, if given a choice, I would probably pick the xylophone. I could at least play something on it without additional training.

      …. Yeah. I'll stick to piano. Its easier. lol

      As for the music. This maybe just me but I found the tuba and euphonium that was in the bargain bin to sound better than the brand new shiny ones. I'm glad that I'm not the only ones who think that judging from your acquisition. It seems to give a more deeper and reverbrant sound? Am I making sense?

      The newer ones feel stiff when I'm blowing into them than the older ones. As if there is a lot of friction on the newer ones. (Not that I made a good sound either way T_T) When the salesman demonstrated though the older one sound better? I didn't tell the salesman that though. ^^

      This makes me wonder if its better to purchase old musical instrument in some cases. Even my favorite piano is a Mason and Hamlin antique that has been in our house for ages. I think it was my grandfather who bought it mostly for decoration.

      As for the Euph solo. That is pretty nice piece. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know that this instrument even existed until the anime featured it lol. While it feels more bright than a tuba; its also smoother and mellower than the the trombones that I'm accustomed to hearing.

      It sounds soulful? But, not too deep like the tuba that I can hardly distinguish the melodies.

      • Alex says:

        Well new instruments often take a little while to break in but afterwards they do usually sound better than the older ones assuming both were originally of the same quality and are properly tuned of course
        also does the tile of how the hell is the school affording this actually fit anymore

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          So it takes time? Hmmmm…..

          You're right. Going to edit that before I go into the second part of episode 8. *Thinks of a better title*

  4. Sean says:

    I've heard 6 months is a good rule, although specifically for brass players- with either a new horn or mouthpiece. I'm sure there are sweet spots of age for any instrument /player before one breaks down!

    But there is certainly good call for old instruments. The "they don't make em' like they used to" is very valid in some cases… Like the old steinways, or my B&H Imperial euph. But it really depends on what the player feels the most comfortable with and what sound they want. Try anything and everything before committing to a new instrument!!! The old designs can be as good or better than the current models. Unless you're merely talking about age of a specific instrument…

    Soulful! I love it! I always thought of us as an alternative voice to french horns or cellos…

    • Alex says:

      Part of the reason for that is that the way instruments are tuned changes over time currently I think they are tuning to A 440 but older instruments may have been made before that standard and thus have a different sound

      • nightsentinel09 says:

        Hmmm…. Interesting. .

        Anyway, edited it. I'm wondering if I made the wrong call with the tubas though. It seems that they are currently the odd one out costing 47,000 out of the approximate 60,000 cost of the bass section.

        • Alex says:

          no i just looked through the tubas from Yamaha and the only close lookalikes are discontinued custom series with gold plating so know their is not a less expensive Yamaha model tuba. You did not make a mistake with the pricing of the thing. Unless they made a deal when buying the things to get a better price but that's only a guess

  5. Alex says:

    Oh right, one last reality check
    schools add to their instrument selection over time once a school gets enough instruments to start the music program they will add a few instruments a year where they are needed
    actually this may be why Natsuki had a different model the other two being bought at the start when they had an endowment or maybe sale and the last one bout on school funds so it was ended up being a cheaper model.

  6. Sean says:

    Yup, that's how my old high school got 5 marching baritones. Our band director was alum for the Madison Scouts, so he pulled a deal on 5 used baris! Probably got them at least half cost, of course in fantastic condition! The only brass products I like from yamaha are their marching series, solid and light.Even last year he got the Scout's previous year colorgaurd uniforms for our hornline in a military themed show, FOR FREE! Besides of course giving them more publicity! Short sleeves and no hat! Plus names of deceased US navy seals on the front of the uniforms.

    So, yeah if ya know people you can get really great stuff really cheaply, which is what school music programs are looking for.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Heh. I've taken my sight into an euphonium for less than a hundred dollars. (Granted its already unusable and rusting in some places) but I'm mainly going to use it for decorations so its a steal.
      My bargain hunting is quite useful in that regard. ^^

      • Alex says:

        Unbelievable you actually bought the real thing to use as a model.

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Its only priced as a decent figure to be honest so I'm not really feeling the ache.
          And well, I kinda like collecting real life stuff of the anime I'm really interested in. Its how I got started into mahjong due to Saki. So maybe down the line, I will learn to play or someone from my family?

          If nothing else, its going to be a good dinner conversation where everyone assumes its a baritone. lol

  7. Sean says:

    Oh, yea… The "It's NOT a baritone!!!" Or small tuba, etc… Apparently this is only really a problem here in the U.S.. I hear that most of Europe, Japan, and most especially England knows the difference… even in some of the public populace! Apparently back in the early 1900's when euph player used to play double bell euphs were as popular (in the U.S.) as some modern day pop stars! I am in a bit of disbelief, but I've read about this in several trusted sources like dissertations and whatnot.

    WHY couldn't I live then??? Then again… no jazz… erg.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      You could go to Britain. I've noticed that they have the best euph solo while searching in the net. ^^

  8. Sean says:

    Yup! Steven Mead! David Childs, Robert Childs… plus Glenn Van Looy in Belgium. Unfortunately I don't have the financial capability to live on my own yet, just a poor college student living with his parents… But it is a great way to keep the costs down!

  9. akasenpai says:

    Could anyone identify their mouthpiece or is it impossible?
    Reina's trumpet is YTR 6310 – if I heard correctly, this was announced by the anime producers themselves.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      I would like to answer the question, but I'm not really familiar with most of the band instruments. The only instrument that I can say I have any familiarity is the piano and perhaps other percussion.

      i do know someone who might be able to answer that.

      I'll try to ask my friend about it once he stopped fuming about season 2. ^^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.