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Author Topic: Euphoniums  (Read 2061 times)
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RBBERN01
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« on: Feb 04, 2018, 07:33PM »

Hi everyone, Iíve recently started to look into buying a euphonium since I double and donít own one. There  are a few brands that Iíve been looking into and Iím curious what you all think. The ones Iím looking into are Wessex, Mack Brass, or a John Packer. If you have any experience with these or anything else I should look into let me know! Thanks!
Also, Iíd like to play and try them, Iím just trying to limit my search before I do so.
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Tbonedude

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 04, 2018, 08:01PM »

I used to be a doubler, though my main euph for a while was a 1922 Conn New Wonder. I sold that horn and now I'm also in the euph market. I've done extensive research into the Chinese-origin brands trying to figure out a solution.

I have heard very good things about Wessex, Mack Brass, and John Packer. Wessex stands out to me because some of their horns are unique, such as the Festivo. Their build quality is well worth the extra money. The Mack Brass euph is nearly identical to the Wessex Dolce, though the Dolce has cooler valve buttons and better quality threads in the valve caps. I'm not sure if you've heard of Schiller, but the base-model Schiller Elite is nearly identical to the Dolce and can be had for a little bit less. Schiller also has a variety of higher trim levels for the Elite, up through to the Custom Elite V. Do keep in mind though that the fit/finish on a Schiller may not be as good as a Wessex or whatever... but if your in a tighter spot financially, I wouldn't rule them out. I have a Schiller F-attachment trombone, and while it does have one iffy joint and a single flaw in the nickel plating, it plays extremely well.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 04, 2018, 08:34PM »

I've bought stuff from all three dealers you mentioned and Wessex is the only one of them that I still own. The Dolce is a nice instrument. Not like a nice Willson, but about $1200.
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Sliphorn
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 04, 2018, 08:43PM »

Damn...I'm in the market now, too!  I shouldn't have sold my Willson 2900S.  Great horn.
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trombonemetal

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 04, 2018, 08:53PM »

The Wessex is a great horn. Plays like a much more expensive instrument. If I was shopping for a euphonium right now thatís the one Iíd get.
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Ken Kugler
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 04, 2018, 11:37PM »

I've owned Mack Brass, John Packer 374L, and Now a Wessex Festivo. My favorite of the 3 is the Festivo. I've owned this a little over a month and am very happy with it. All three of these Instruments use a large shank mouthpiece.

My guess is that my requirements are similar to yours. Since I'm a trombone player I need a euphonium with a good sound that I don't feel like I'm fighting the pitch. The other issue would be cost. These three are on the lower end of what you can spend on a euphonium but you can certainly make quality music on any of these instruments and have a reliable instrument that should last a long time.

The Mack Brass has a lighter sound then the John Packer or the Wessex. Pitch is very good. I've never played a Wessex Dolce so I can't make a comparison but Wessex claims to have made several improvements over the basic Jinbao. Never had any issues with the valves.

The John Packer 374 is a very good instrument. Some people prefer the JP274 over the 374. The JP374 has a larger bell then the 274 and it feels larger then a Yamaha style instrument. The pitch is very good and on par with the Mack Brass. Very rich sound and the best low register of the 3. I would describe the sound as more akin to a baritone singer then a tenor. Never had any issues with the valves. The John Packer seems to be a little heavier built then the Mack brass or the Wessex, similar to the difference between a Bach 42B and a Conn 88H.

Festivo is my favorite. Best pitch of any euphonium I've owned. Over the years I've owned 5 different brands. The valves in front are easier for me to play but you may or may find that to be the case.

The sound is clear and resonant. I've played duets with another trombone player and surprisingly the best combination is with Festivo on the top part. The upper register sings.

The valves are very good and fast. Wessex has payed attention to the threads on the valve caps which seem to be trouble free. There was a discussion on Dave Werden's forum regarding earlier versions that had some trouble with the threads but this latest version, whatever the issue was appears to be solved.

Build quality I would give a slight edge to the Wessex for fit and finish, but I never had problems with either the Mack brass or the Packer. The Packer had one valve cap that could occasionally be fussy when trying to line up the threads which is perhaps why I'm aware of the improvement with the Wessex.
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Carolus
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 05, 2018, 12:08AM »

I own a Wessex Dolce since a few years now.  Have been very happy with the instrument, good sound and intonation. No problems with the valves.
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jej
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 05, 2018, 06:50AM »

Another vote here for the Wessex Dolce. I've had mine for two years, and it's been great: nice, round tone, good intonation. I did replace the stock valve springs with Yamaha springs, but otherwise I've simply played it.
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walldaja
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 05, 2018, 01:56PM »

I got a Sam Ash stencil compensating euph a couple years ago.  Good sound and intonation.  Very satisfied, especially as it is compensating and 3 + 1.  $1,200.  Only complaint is valves are noisy but work well.  Noise isn't a problem when played, just when exercising them.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 05, 2018, 03:03PM »

I have a Cerveny euphonium 0.590 inch  15mm  bore 4 rotary valve. I had a bass shank receiver put on and had a movable main tuning slide lever installed.
For me tuning the upper register is more challenging then the low end.
I also like the rotary valves. Less pop then pistons.
And I like the bell on the left like a trombone bell.
Well make horn and great design with a pretty good price point.
Per my tech it is also made of good brass materials. 
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Radar

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« Reply #10 on: Feb 05, 2018, 06:29PM »

What is your budget?  I've heard good things about the Wessex horns, but don't have any personal experience.  There are quite a few used prolevel horns on the Market, I personally would look for a used Yamaha 641, or 642, or a Besson, or Sterling, etc.
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RBBERN01
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 05, 2018, 06:55PM »

Iím looking to spend around $1500 or less, and thatís why Iím mainly looking at Chinese horns. I havenít seen a used besson or Yamaha for sale in that price range.
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Ken Kugler
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 05, 2018, 08:39PM »

What is your budget?  I've heard good things about the Wessex horns, but don't have any personal experience.  There are quite a few used prolevel horns on the Market, I personally would look for a used Yamaha 641, or 642, or a Besson, or Sterling, etc.

The question becomes what do you consider a pro-level horn? I think the answer to that is changing based on what is being manufactured in China currently. Nothing wrong with the brands you cite but I might consider Wessex, John Packer and Mack Brass to fall into your catagory of etc.

Can you play music on a Chinese manufactured euphonium? My answer would be, sure why not.

Would a Chinese instrument be an impediment to your performance? The obvious issues would be if the valves didn't work correctly, you disliked the sound, the intonation was unworkable, or the parts and assembly was sub-par. The makers in question all fall within acceptable parameters in those criteria.

If your criteria is a euphonium that plays well, that also allows you to afford other necessities then the Chinese manufactured instruments fill a need. It depends on what you have to spend. A used Yamaha can still cost more then a new Wessex.

A Chinese manufactured euphonium on the hands of a skilled player can be just as musical as a euphonium made anywhere else. Would that make a Chinese made instrument a pro-level horn?

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MrHCinDE
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 05, 2018, 11:36PM »

The newer top of the range Yamaha and Besson euphs might be out of range but did you consider a Boosey & Hawkes Imperial? I donĎt know how easy they are to find over your way but if a local store has one in itĎd be worth trying. TheyĎve got medium shank mouthpiece receiver, apart from some later models (from mid 70s) or retrofits. For older ones, check for A440 pitch.

Stick a Wick 4AM in and for me the sound just sings. There are heavier sounding instruments but for intonation and sweetness, a good Imperial is hard to beat.
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mr.deacon
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 05, 2018, 11:56PM »

I agree. I would buy a vintage Besson or Boosey and Hawkes New Standard/Imperial horn any day over a Chinese horn.

The later Besson globe stamp Sovereigns from the 70s and 80s are also ridiculously good and can be had for relatively cheap.
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watermailonman

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« Reply #15 on: Feb 06, 2018, 03:49AM »

What euphonium to buy? As one who do not play much euphonium I thought I did not need an expensive one. Well that is partly true. I first bought a Besson 700-series and that one worked as long as I had no gigs. It was extremely difficult to play in tune. I found myself pulling the slides constantly on different trouble notes because it needs a lot of adjustment and as a trombone player you are used to do it with the slide and not so much with the lips.

I thought I needed something better so I found an old Boosey & Hawkes compensation 4 valved euphonium. It was also real cheap. This was a great improvement, but still there are notes I have to bend.

I recently played in a very good brass band in Stockholm with euphonium players who really CAN play the instrument and I talked to them about the quirks with the instrument. I soon found they had payed 10-15 times as much for their instruments, and they had triggers which solved the intonation problems.

So I guess to play in tune on an euphonium is what makes the differenice in cost, and to be able to play in tune is expensive.

/Tom
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2018, 10:52AM by watermailonman » Logged

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Radar

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« Reply #16 on: Feb 06, 2018, 07:09AM »

Well prolevel horn can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.  I assume there are some Chinese made instruments that fall into the category (I have no experience with them to comment, one way or the other), there are a couple of reasons that I would go used: 1)  Unfortunately as a pro perception is still an issue, you can hand select the finest playing and sounding Chinese made instrument and some people will still look down their noses at it.  Since I retired from the Army Band and I don't have their horn to play on I've actually been playing on a Yamaha 321 (modified with a Medium bore Shank from a b&H) and I get grief because it isn't compensating, even though by using alternate fingerings I have no problem playing any band literature I've been given in tune (including the Holst Sweets for Military Band, which someone tried to tell me couldn't be played on a non-compensating horn. 2) If you ever get in a bind and have to sell your horn or you decide Euphonium just isn't for you you can usually get what you paid back for a used Besson, Boosey and Hawkes, Sovereign, Yamaha, etc.  With a new Chinese horn resale is going to be much lower than you paid for it.  I've bought all of my horns used, and when I decide to upgrade I have no problem recouping my investment on a well maintained well playing name brand horn. If you can afford it and can find one you like I would go the used route, which is why I asked about price range the OP was looking in.  If you can find one in your price range used in my mind is a better investment.  I'm not dissing the Chinese brands like Wessex, and Mack Brass, and the more expensive John Packer line that are starting to get a very good reputation, I just have a preference for a good used instrument myself.   
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bbocaner

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« Reply #17 on: Feb 08, 2018, 12:25PM »

I agree. I would buy a vintage Besson or Boosey and Hawkes New Standard/Imperial horn any day over a Chinese horn.

The later Besson globe stamp Sovereigns from the 70s and 80s are also ridiculously good and can be had for relatively cheap.

I wouldn't. The tuning is going to be much better on the Wessex, valves will work better, and it's a more modern sound.
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 08, 2018, 12:42PM »

I wouldn't. The tuning is going to be much better on the Wessex, valves will work better, and it's a more modern sound.
Different strokes for different folks.

You're never going to find a Euphonium with "good" intonation unless it has a main tuning slide trigger. Alt fingerings and lipping can make even the worst Euphonium in tune.

I'll give you that the valves on the wessex  are better but then again valve action in all compensating Euphs is pretty bad... The valves are like a foot long!! Haha

I prefer the British sound. Most modern Euphs sound like small tubas instead of Euphoniums to me. Then again most of my Euph playing is either British band playing or solo playing!
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 08, 2018, 05:16PM »

Most modern Euphs sound like small tubas instead of Euphoniums to me.

But...aren't euphoniums small tubas...?
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