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Author Topic: Euphoniums  (Read 1902 times)
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RBBERN01
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« on: Feb 04, 2018, 07:33PM »

Hi everyone, I’ve recently started to look into buying a euphonium since I double and don’t own one. There  are a few brands that I’ve been looking into and I’m curious what you all think. The ones I’m 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, I’d like to play and try them, I’m just trying to limit my search before I do so.
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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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« 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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« 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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« 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 that’s the one I’d get.
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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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #11 on: Feb 05, 2018, 06:55PM »

I’m looking to spend around $1500 or less, and that’s why I’m mainly looking at Chinese horns. I haven’t 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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« 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 don‘t know how easy they are to find over your way but if a local store has one in it‘d be worth trying. They‘ve 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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« 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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« 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
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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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« 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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« Reply #20 on: Feb 08, 2018, 05:45PM »

But...aren't euphoniums small tubas...?
You know what I mean Pant

I'll clarify! I think many modern Euphs sound more like small Eb tubas then they do Euphoniums. Euphs like the Miraphone and Adams E3 are realllllly big designs!

I think the more traditional style Besson Sovereign 967 (with the small bell) and Yamaha 642-II Neos are much more in line with what a Euph should sound like.
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« Reply #21 on: Feb 08, 2018, 06:10PM »

Maybe a bit off-topic, but I have noticed that there seems to be 2 distinct euphonium sound concept; one that is so mellow like a tuba, and another one that has edge and zing, sometimes bordering bass trombone sound. Is the latter one "British" concept of sound?
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« Reply #22 on: Feb 08, 2018, 08:10PM »

Developing a great euphonium sound takes just as much effort and time as developing a great trombone sound. Euphonium just makes a much more acceptable sound before you get to that point.
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« Reply #23 on: Feb 09, 2018, 12:40PM »

Maybe a bit off-topic, but I have noticed that there seems to be 2 distinct euphonium sound concept; one that is so mellow like a tuba, and another one that has edge and zing, sometimes bordering bass trombone sound. Is the latter one "British" concept of sound?

Basically. The American euphonium sound is dark and sonorous (e.g. Willson) with slower vibrato, while the British euphonium sound is brighter and more colorful (e.g. Besson), with fast vibrato. They can both be gorgeous. I find I prefer the American concept but it seems like my Kanstul fits right in the middle.

Let's also not forget that there is a huge spectrum of tuba sounds as well.
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« Reply #24 on: Feb 09, 2018, 01:27PM »

I played a Wessex Dolce today.  Seemed good.
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« Reply #25 on: Feb 09, 2018, 01:36PM »

There’s nothing wrong with getting a vintage mid 1970’s Besson New Standard and modernizing it. By that, replace the valve guides with nylon ones, along with the Yamaha coated springs. It will be a heavier horn than the Chinese horns.
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« Reply #26 on: Feb 09, 2018, 01:50PM »

Basically. The American euphonium sound is dark and sonorous (e.g. Willson) with slower vibrato, while the British euphonium sound is brighter and more colorful (e.g. Besson), with fast vibrato. They can both be gorgeous. I find I prefer the American concept but it seems like my Kanstul fits right in the middle.

Let's also not forget that there is a huge spectrum of tuba sounds as well.

I prefer the British brass band style of euphonium sound. Whenever I hear an euphonium in a windorchestra here it most often sounds like a small tuba (which it is = but I don't like) with no, or slow vibrato. It is also often both too loud and too dominant. I think it mostly has to do with who is playing.

In symphonic playing it is often a doubler, a trombone player who picks up the instrument. Sometimes the tuba-like-playing do fit the context, but mostly I only find it tiering and dull. Not so with the British brass band style.

There are a few I've played with here who are specialists on euphonium. They sound great and they play in the British style, with a "light" sound and use a faster vibrato. They are not too dominant and they also play the instrument perfectly in tune (not very common). It works very well to double with their soubd without feeling awkward.

I have never liked to double a melody or backing line with an overblowing euphonium player with a tuba sound and a slow vibrato. It gets to domibant and does not blend very well.

/Tom
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« Reply #27 on: Feb 09, 2018, 02:41PM »

The Wessex van was at Limestone College yesterday and I had a chance to try out several horns. The new Festivo front valve euph has a nice sound, but I didn't like the ergonomics of it. The lead pipe is angled in such a way that you have to support almost the whole weight of the horn with your left hand. The guy said that they were changing that with the newer models. The Dolce seemed like a very nice well-built euph. I have a Willson non-compensator that I haven't played in going on 2 years. I used to play it in my community band, but that group has gotten overrun with euphonium players (6 at the moment) and I was forced back into playing bone, which sucks when the band is playing Holst suites. Which brings up an interesting point - most bone players can double on euph with very little training, but if you ask a euph player to double on trombone, they look at you like you are speaking Chinese.
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« Reply #28 on: Feb 09, 2018, 02:53PM »

I asked a Euph player (who plays treble and bass clef) to read a part in tenor clef and he looked at me like I had asked him to expound in classic Greek. Don't know
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« Reply #29 on: Feb 09, 2018, 04:27PM »

I find it amazing that many euph players are stuck in either bass or treble and never bother to learn the other.
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« Reply #30 on: Feb 09, 2018, 07:44PM »

I guess my next question would be if I wanted to go the old B&H or besson route, would it be possible for me to find an older one that’s worn down and needs some repairs that I could fix up? Also, if I were to do this would it be cost effective at all, or would it be easier and sharper to just buy something new?
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« Reply #31 on: Feb 09, 2018, 07:55PM »

I guess my next question would be if I wanted to go the old B&H or besson route, would it be possible for me to find an older one that’s worn down and needs some repairs that I could fix up? Also, if I were to do this would it be cost effective at all, or would it be easier and sharper to just buy something new?

Depends. If by "fix up" you mean "have a brass tech make necessary repairs," you'll probably lose money over buying one that doesn't need repairs. If by "fix-up" you mean that you'd do the repairs yourself, I'm wondering what your skill level is, and what tools you have.
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« Reply #32 on: Feb 09, 2018, 08:06PM »

Depends. If by "fix up" you mean "have a brass tech make necessary repairs," you'll probably lose money over buying one that doesn't need repairs. If by "fix-up" you mean that you'd do the repairs yourself, I'm wondering what your skill level is, and what tools you have.
Oh trust me, I meant have a brass tech do it. My skill level does not exceed knowing how to restring a trombone rotor and tighten a screw here and there.
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« Reply #33 on: Feb 09, 2018, 08:33PM »

I guess my next question would be if I wanted to go the old B&H or besson route, would it be possible for me to find an older one that’s worn down and needs some repairs that I could fix up? Also, if I were to do this would it be cost effective at all, or would it be easier and sharper to just buy something new?
The older Boosey Imperials, New Standard or Globe stamp Bessons can be had for relatively cheap. Remember from the 50's-80's Besson was the only manufacture making British style compensating Euphs. It wasn't until the 80's when Wilson started making the 2900S and later Yamaha and their 642 model, that Besson started to have any competition in the market. There were a ton of Besson Euphs made during this time period which is why they can be had for relatively cheap.

Just check that the valves aren't shot (aka plating missing) and the horn doesn't have too many dents.
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« Reply #34 on: Feb 10, 2018, 12:44AM »

I guess my next question would be if I wanted to go the old B&H or besson route, would it be possible for me to find an older one that’s worn down and needs some repairs that I could fix up? Also, if I were to do this would it be cost effective at all, or would it be easier and sharper to just buy something new?

I use a 1920s Boosey euphonium. Yes, I have used it professionally.... even on recordings. No tuning aids because it does not need them. Smaller than even the 1960s B&H it simply works. Tuning aids were only needed when the basic design became compromised by size increases. The compensating system on a 4 valve instrument only works when valves are used in combination with the 4th valve.... it is not an intonation cure, but simply helps very low register notes to be better in tune than they would otherwise be.
The Wessex Dolce is very nice and if I played more euph I would probably get one. I play euph very rarely, so the old Boosey does the job fine.

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« Reply #35 on: Feb 10, 2018, 04:13AM »

I use a 1920s Boosey euphonium. Yes, I have used it professionally.... even on recordings. No tuning aids because it does not need them. Smaller than even the 1960s B&H it simply works. Tuning aids were only needed when the basic design became compromised by size increases. The compensating system on a 4 valve instrument only works when valves are used in combination with the 4th valve.... it is not an intonation cure, but simply helps very low register notes to be better in tune than they would otherwise be.
The Wessex Dolce is very nice and if I played more euph I would probably get one. I play euph very rarely, so the old Boosey does the job fine.

Chris Stearn

Ok, that was interesting information. The proportions of the older instrument is what makes it better in tune. The old one is different to hold, feels more compact, is a lot smaller, has a smaller bell at least the bell is not so wide.

I guess that's why I can use different fingerings compared to my 3 v 700-series Besson from 1989 in the upper register too. Combinations that is out of the question on the Besson if I don't pull a slide while playing. And the old one is more in tune in this register    This is where the Besson is difficult to play in tune besides the low register.

The Boosey & Hawkes Imperial 4 valved compensation Euphonium I've got is from 1921. The valves are good but needs thicker oil to not leak. It plays better with thicker oil. Still the valves are fast enough. Springs are little hard and I suppose it is because of the need of thick oil or else the pistons would drag. 

/Tom
« Last Edit: Feb 10, 2018, 12:25PM by watermailonman » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: Feb 10, 2018, 06:38AM »

Those old Boosey euphs from 1920s and 30s were the best for tuning. They do feel old and the valves are not subtle but they do work.. especially for doublers.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #37 on: Feb 10, 2018, 07:38AM »

I'm going to disagree, to an extent, with the recommendation to buy an older B&H/Besson: "to an extent," because it really depends on your usage. It might make sense for an occasional doubler, but if euph is your primariy instrument—and intonation issues aside—a vintage B&H/Besson that's in anything less than great mechanical condition (and even then, at some point you'll likely need to have a tech convert the valves to accept plastic valve guides) is more likely to be a pig in a poke than not.

[Disclosure: I'm primarily a eupher (as in > 90% of the time when I'm playing a brass instrument, it's a euph), and, up until 2007, owned a 1974 Besson New Standard, when the cost of replacement parts began to approach the cost of buying a complete replacement New Standard., soI get the preference for the classic Besson/B&H sound: I still sometimes miss the sweet, compact sound of my New Standard (although I have to say that, for me, a Sterling Virtuoso with a 295mm heavy red brass bell gets me 99.44% of the way there, with far better native intonation: YMMV).]

At least on this side of the Atlantic, stock of non-consumable spare/repair/replacement parts (anything other than valve springs, waterkey springs and corks, and felts) is virtually non-existent (and neither of the former go-to UK sources for spare parts—windcraft.co.uk and Mark Carter, aka Mr. Tuba)—which used to list a partial inventory (and prices) of Besson/B&H parts on their websites no longer list them), and design (and ownership) changes over the past 30-40 years mean that the mechanicals (valves, valve blocks, tuning slides, leadpipes, ferrules)—not to mention bells, bows, etc.—from current model Besson and Besson clones won't fit vintage horns without significant modification. These days, your options for obtaining parts are to buy another euph of similar make/model and vintage to cannibalize, find a tech who can make the needed part(s) from scratch, or—if you're lucky—find a tech who has the needed part(s) in his "misc parts" bin.

My zwei Pfennige.

As with all things musical instrument hardware related, YMMV.
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« Reply #38 on: Feb 11, 2018, 04:21AM »

A bit of off-topic information that indirectly pertains to the classic euphonium debate here:

Last summer I purchased a 1950 Besson BARITONE from fellow forum member Rockymountaintrombone. He said he had originally purchased it to remind him of a family member with Salvation Army ties. Best horn ever. Best buy ever, again, thanks, Jim, I still love you. Now, here is where it gets interesting-

In less than two hours you can find and read every internet word relating to the Besson baritone, prior to 1954 when it was taken over by Boosey. Not a lot to find, not a lot to know, but I wanted to know it all because the 1950 Besson baritone was almost perfect. ( I had to cut a few slides to get it up to 440, bit again, I digress.)

What did I learn about the history of British baritones and euphs? Well, there was only one baritone and it was a bore of .500 and had a bell of 8". Only Yamaha still makes horns to those specs and mostly only student models, or modern horns described as 3/4 sized student baritones.
    So, since 1950, where there was only the trunk of the family tree standing in the Brit baritone world, and no branches as yet, the horn had gone from .500 like a Conn 6H to the size of a .547 Conn 88H with a bass trombone bell. That much difference since 1950.

The euphonium world is worse. It takes two hours to read everything about the baritone. To read everything about the euph would take two lifetimes, not two hours. My military experience on euph was on B&H Imperial 1970s models. And they stunk. I realized by the tine I quit playing euph for military pay in '89 that I'd never go down that black hole again. No, no thank you. I'm thrilled to have the best of the 1950 baritone world at my disposal--- to enter the world of 2018 euphonium would drive a sane person insane just with the mouthpiece choices........
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« Reply #39 on: Feb 11, 2018, 07:35AM »

I was checking out the Festivo on Wessex's website and read:

"Wessex are thrilled to introduce the EP104 'Festivo', an original design compensated euphonium fitted with front action valves for greater comfort in playing through the ergonomic positioning."

The site says Wessex is based in the USA, and I had some crazy idea that it was a UK company,  but that sentence made me wonder if Wessex is not actually a China based company. "Wessex are" = UK speak
"Through the ergonomic positioning." = Chinese operator's manual English.

Just got me wondering who actually runs Wessex and who is doing their product descriptions and web design. I'm interested in these businessey kind of things.

The Festivo is the design I'd probably want to try most. Valves on top is uncomfortable and the front valve design seems so logical.
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« Reply #40 on: Feb 11, 2018, 08:04AM »

I was checking out the Festivo on Wessex's website and read:

"Wessex are thrilled to introduce the EP104 'Festivo', an original design compensated euphonium fitted with front action valves for greater comfort in playing through the ergonomic positioning."

The site says Wessex is based in the USA, and I had some crazy idea that it was a UK company,  but that sentence made me wonder if Wessex is not actually a China based company. "Wessex are" = UK speak
"Through the ergonomic positioning." = Chinese operator's manual English.

Just got me wondering who actually runs Wessex and who is doing their product descriptions and web design. I'm interested in these businessey kind of things.

The Festivo is the design I'd probably want to try most. Valves on top is uncomfortable and the front valve design seems so logical.

Wessex imports chinese-built instruments to both the UK and the USA. They do extensive QC to ensure every horn is a great one. They also have some special contracts with their supplier to build horns such as the Festivo that only Wessex can sell. Their product design and prototyping is done in the UK, I believe. Forum user Jonathan could probably chip in some info here, he *IS* Wessex. (thanks blast for the correction)

Their horns are great- one of my buddies has a Dolce and it's a fantastic player... I was tempted to buy a Festivo! I decided not to splurge, and came to the conclusion that while I loved the valve-front ergonomics of the Festivo, I didn't need a compensating horn. So I got a used King 2266... same ergonomics, non-compensating, granted it's an American-style bell-front euphonium which doesn't sound quite as nice. Funny enough, the Wessex BR115 baritone is a modified clone of the 2266, but I found a used one a little cheaper.
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« Reply #41 on: Feb 11, 2018, 09:24AM »

Jonathan IS Wessex.... it is his company.  The US side is big and has it's own US friendly website to make purchase easier.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #42 on: Feb 11, 2018, 12:11PM »

My favorite is the Willson 2900.  Tried a MW Phoenix.  Nice sound but valves wear crummy and the distance between the valve buttons and the upper bow was too tight for my hands.
Tried an Eastman. For $2800 it was awesome. Not a Willson but amazingly easy to play.  Valves were nice. Sound was beautiful. I was very impressed.
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« Reply #43 on: Feb 11, 2018, 01:31PM »

I own a Mack Brass Euphonium.  While I have been happy with it overall I would recommend Wessex.  I have bought two trombones from Wessex and am very happy with the quality and feel that they are bringing in better instruments than Mack Brass.  They both are Jinbao instruments but Wessex play tests every one prior to shipment and this makes a big difference IMHO.  Best wishes in your search.
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« Reply #44 on: Feb 12, 2018, 08:49AM »

So I got a used King 2266... same ergonomics, non-compensating, granted it's an American-style bell-front euphonium which doesn't sound quite as nice

I don't know anything about euphoniums at all, but my bell front tuba sounds remarkably different (to me) when I pull the bell over so it's pointing straight up, and hence closer to my left ear.  I can do that because it's a removable bell, of course, so that's no good for you, but my point is really just that it's just about impossible to compare with a bell up.  I bet it sounds every bit as nice as other euphoniums from the position of a normal listener.

I personally go for the bass saxhorn.  E.g., look for Opus 333 videos.
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« Reply #45 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:04AM »

...

I personally go for the bass saxhorn.  E.g., look for Opus 333 videos.

Over the shoulder or bell up?
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« Reply #46 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:05AM »

I'm a doubler and purchased a new Mack Brass euphonium  3 years ago and I've been very happy with it.

I can't comment on the Wessex, but it looks like the big plus is their claim for better ergonomics with the floating lead pipe.  I've never noticed any ergonomic issues with my Mack, so I think it's an individual thing.

I previously owned a well-used Yamaha 321 and the Mack was not only a clear upgrade, but I got so much out of the sale of the 321 to a very happy customer that my financial upgrade to the Mack was very small.

BTW, on the euphonium sites, used Wessexes and Macks seem to be holding their value quite well.  Both have good warranties- not identical, but similar, so they don't seem like much of a risk to me.  Both companies seem to have very pleased customers; I was pleased with the service at Mack Brass.
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« Reply #47 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:21AM »

free-floating leadpipe doesn't do anything for ergonomics. It tends to make the slots tighter on the instrument and makes it respond quicker.
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« Reply #48 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:34AM »

free-floating leadpipe doesn't do anything for ergonomics. It tends to make the slots tighter on the instrument and makes it respond quicker.

I know that Wesse used to tout something about ergonomics.  If it wasn't the leadpipe, what was it in their design?
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« Reply #49 on: Feb 12, 2018, 10:46AM »

Over the shoulder or bell up?

Whatever Opus 333 plays.  I believe these are bass saxhorns.  I think they may currently play Willsons.  (E.g., C. Debussy: Chansons de Charles d'Orléans.  If looking for a quick snip, maybe listen to the beginning of the 2nd song ca 2:10.  Try not to be put off by the bobbing up and down.)
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« Reply #50 on: Feb 12, 2018, 11:04AM »

free-floating leadpipe doesn't do anything for ergonomics. It tends to make the slots tighter on the instrument and makes it respond quicker.
Tighter? It's the other way around. Slots are looser and the horn plays more "open".

It's like the difference between playing a Bach 42B with a million braces and a bell with no bracing like a Shires. Neither are bad but the slotting is very different in both designs.
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« Reply #51 on: Yesterday at 10:50 AM »

I used to be a doubler, though my main euph for a while was a 1922 Conn New Wonder. ...

The first euph I bought, when I started doubling back in high school, was a Conn New Wonder made in 1917.  Trying to play it with a 6-1/2AL was an exercise in frustration because the second partial went nearly 50 cents flat with that mouthpiece.  With a smaller mouthpiece (a 6-1/2AM or preferably a 7) it plays well in tune and has a pleasant sound that's on the light side by modern standards.


I sold that horn and now I'm also in the euph market. ...

The euph that took me out of the market was a 1952 Reynolds Contempora that I bought at a trunk sale.  It's a 3-valve bell-front horn, which is all I need for the community groups that I play it in.  (I did buy a non-compensating VMI 4-valve horn after I picked up the Reynolds, but that's another story with a much less favorable ending.  The thing has so many annoying tuning issues that it spends most of its life in its case.) 
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