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Author Topic: Euphoniums  (Read 2063 times)
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mr.deacon
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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.

Chris Stearn
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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
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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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