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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, Greg Waits) Good Euphoniums For Young Players
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Mahler_Bone

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« on: May 23, 2010, 07:57PM »

Hi All-

I have a student who plays baritone and is looking to get a new horn. I play trombone and euphonium, but I have never actually bought a euphonium, since trombone is my primary instrument and I play a hand-me-down euph when needed.

What brands and specific models would you recommend?

He is an excellent, excellent player and will be going into 8th grade, currently playing a Yammaha student model. He is 100% serious and very responsible..probably not becoming a pro (talk about a tough gig...), but is in desperate need of a good horn that can last him at least into adulthood.

I guess budget is always an issue, but the family is upper middle class and can definitely afford most any horn that would be appropriate for him.

Please let me know if there is any info I have left out.

All suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2010, 08:05PM »

just  any  horn  can  get  into  3-5000
 the classic is of course  besson  sov    in sil
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tmsbandman

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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2010, 08:13PM »

I've had really good luck with the Yamaha YEP-321.  The fourth valve is next to the third.  I've had these in my school inventory for many years.  One year, the county bid list got me a Besson (don't remember the model, sure it wasn't a Sovereign) that took a large shank mpc and the fourth valve was operated by the left index finger.  I found the intonation to be very inconsistent on it. Also-I find it easier to use a fourth valve with the RH little finger than the LH.  The real kicker though, is that the 4th valve has to be "locked down" when putting the euph in the case.  If he forgets to depress the valve and flip the lock on, he will bend (or break!) the valve stem.

Our school euphs are lacquered, but the silver plate (321S) would be an excellent choice IMO.
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Mahler_Bone

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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2010, 08:43PM »

I should mention. It obviously needs to be a large bore. Also, I really prefer the design that has the 4th valve off to the side. Is one much more common than the other? I have always found using my left index finger much, much easier.
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trombonehawaii
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2010, 08:47PM »

I second tmsbandman. I personally enjoy the YEP-321 especially the silver plated (YEP-321S). Though I do prefer the fourth valve on the left hand.

Not sure how strong of a player your student is but perhaps a YEP-642 might be another option as well. Its a compensating euphonium with the fourth valve on the left hand. This will definitely last and fit almost all applications for the euphonium.

I would also recommend (depending if you student likes the fourth valve on the left hand) the Cello&Coo EP-3 (Non-compensating) or the Cello&Coo EP-4 (Compensating system). Both euphoniums have the fourth valve on the left hand. The EP-3 can go for about $2,000 with a case and mouthpiece and the EP-4 goes for about $2,500 with a case and mouthpiece. The design was aimed at the Yamaha YEP-642 and YEP-842. Here is a link to my site and some info (scroll down to find the EP-3 and EP-4): http://gotosmusiccenter.org/Cello_Coo_Brass.aspx

If your student decides to go with the YEP-642 or the EP-4, there is pretty much no other step to go and from there its all preference on what manufacture. But maybe its a little too early for the compensating systems...just throwing the idea out there.  :D

The Bessons are pretty good from what I hear though I have not been able to try one...yet  Evil

To answer your question about which is more common, it is really a preference thing and shouldn't really matter on which is more common. Typically, the compensating systems have the fourth valve on the left hand but lately some of the non-compensating are coming out with the fourth valve on the side.
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2010, 08:55PM »

yamaha 321 or one of it's clones certainly would not last a serious euphonium player into adulthood. Fine for a double... I'll probably get flamed for that, but it just won't.

I'm partial to besson 968 or 2051 (small bell) or 967 or 2052 (large bell, which is more of the trend these days). The new ones are just amazing. Really excellent. The older ones are a mixed bag, some are really good, some are awful. You have to try it and see.

Willson 2900 has been kind of the standard in the US for a long time, it's a bit of a different sound than pretty much everything else, lighter but also very rich at the same time. It's not as popular now as it was ten years ago, but it's still a very good choice. There's also the 2900BT model which has a bass trombone size receiver and the 2950 which has a larger bell and a bigger sound.

Yamaha 642 is really good and very affordable. Yamaha 842 is the new bling version of the 642 and has a really light bell and plays really nicely.

On the other end of the price spectrum, I played the jupiter and the eastman top-of-the-line compensating instruments recently and I thought both of them were excellent. Both owe a lot of their design to the yamaha 642 and they have a great sound and feel.
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2010, 08:58PM »

I have to put in another plug for the Yamaha 321S or Yamaha 642S. I think what you'll need to find out is whether they can afford the $$$ for a compensating euphonium; a compensating Yamaha is more than TWICE the cost. Having owned both, I can say both are superb instruments; excellent tone AND intonation. I have owned several Bessons (used to have a 967 and a New Standard) and although I really liked the sound, I have never been a fan of the intonation (Yamaha was a less work in my opinion). Though I have heard that the new models (post bankruptcy) have been much improved in that area.

Yamaha 321 - small shank, BUT I have heard of people converting it to large shank with great success. I have always found the Schilke 51D to be a favorite among owners of this model.
Yamaha 642 - bigger overall sound than the 321, large shank receiver and a 12" bell (vs. 11" on the 321).

Is the family considering used horns? I have seen used 642s on TubeNet (http://forums.chisham.com) for $3000-3500.
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2010, 08:59PM »

To answer your question about which is more common, it is really a preference thing and shouldn't really matter on which is more common. Typically, the compensating systems have the fourth valve on the left hand but lately some of the non-compensating are coming out with the fourth valve on the side.

It's not just a preference thing. Having the 4th valve on the left hand gives six inches or so of tubing for the bore to expand between the fourth valve and the main valve cluster. On instruments that don't do this, the fourth valve tubing is necessarily much closer in bore size to the tubing for the first three valves which means the instrument can't be as conical and you lose out on some of the magic of the euphonium sound.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2010, 09:03PM »

http://www.iteaonline.org/2008/conferences/ITEC2010/main_index.php

Have your student attend ITEC, especially if he's serious about the euph. I had an amazing time in '06, and it's where I decided on the Yammy 642 (turned out to be an 842, later). If he can't, which is likely at this point, then the 642 is a solid choice for a compensating horn, as the Sovereign (though they are a little more mixed... a player here has one with terrible valves and the intonation is all over the place. It's new).

There's used euphs around on the internet, but definitely not as many as trombones.
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2010, 09:15PM »

It's not just a preference thing. Having the 4th valve on the left hand gives six inches or so of tubing for the bore to expand between the fourth valve and the main valve cluster. On instruments that don't do this, the fourth valve tubing is necessarily much closer in bore size to the tubing for the first three valves which means the instrument can't be as conical and you lose out on some of the magic of the euphonium sound.

I stand corrected

Thanks!  Good!

But, I have heard of some models with expanding bores for the fourth valve on the right hand...unfortunately neither the make or model comes to mind  Don't know
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2010, 09:16PM »

The Schiller comp horns, at least, seem to be quite nice. I wouldn't pay much more than the 8-900 they're running for a Chinese comp euph.

A non-comp 3+1 horn from any manufacturer is a terrible idea. What if you get a low Eb every now and then? And on a 4 inline non-comp you can use your left hand to change music, hit the spit key,... 3+1 COMP horns that don't have a kicker somewhere for low C and B are also missing out. 3+2 is pretty cool-
http://www.dillonmusic.com/HeleoCart/ProductPage/10087.aspx

The nice thing about 321's and (especially*) 2280's is that they are a bit more open down low than average comp horns. If I had a 321 and wanted to use play in tune below F, I would put a right thumb trigger on the 1st valve and use it for whatever notes need it. C might/not need a short tug further on 3 (older 321's have long 3rd slides). Even with a 6.5 a 321 can really crank a low C. 321's used to have an optional dependent 5th valve and I've read that someone will be making them again. You would lose the 523 option. Oh well.

*Here's a cool thing I learned a while back, though I've not had a chance to try it myself. 2280's were designed to be chromatic, 4 valve, non-comp horns. 4 pulls very far- tune it so that 14 Eb and 124 D are in tune. Use the third trigger kicker for 13 and 123 as well as 234 Db, 134 C, and 1234 B. It's almost like a 3rd kicker on a trumpet then. I (probably...) wouldn't purposefully use one to play tuba concertos (RVW would be doable) but I bet one could really get used to it and with the bigger bore and large receiver you could really get out down low.

Admittedly, if I had to play low on euph a lot and didn't have to go that high, I would probably use a small bass tuba instead as that's right in the money range. My little King Eb is great on Eb-A and with a shallow mp kinda sounds like a big euph.
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Mahler_Bone

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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2010, 09:29PM »

Man, so much info! It is sad how little I know about euphoniums...

My student's family COULD pay 3-5k or more, but I guess my question is do they really need to?

He doesn't need the gold standard of euphoniums.

For example, when I was in the 8th grade, I got an 88H. I own an Edwards now, but it would have been crazy for me to buy an Edwards in Middle School. The 88H was great and it got me all the way to college.

That is the sort of horn he needs.

I like the sound of the Yamahas...I played one of those in college and it fit the bill.

Ignore my babble and keep the good tips coming! There's always more to learn....
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2010, 09:47PM »

If I were in their shoes, I wouldn't spend $5000+ on a new euphonium for an eighth grader (that's just me). Sounds like the 321 would be the "easier sell" unless they would go the used route.

The 321 wouldn't get the student through college as a music major (a non-major, yes it probably would then), but that's thinking FAR down the road. Then again, this is partially dependent on where, and with you, you study with. I like college students to be on large shank (or even euro shank) compensating instruments. That's why I'm partial to a compensating euphonium if possible, my opinion...

Buying a new euphonium for an 8th grader is much more in-depth and complicated than I ever realized. I've had younger students (6th-7th grade) as well as older (11th-12th grade) students buy euphoniums, and I see this as the "middle of the road" where you could go both ways:

1) Buying an instrument that's a step-up knowing that you MAY need to purchase another one a few years down the road.
2) Get the pro level instrument that will suit you for years to come.

Decisions decisions decisions...
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2010, 09:54PM »

Since he's still pretty young, my impulse is to say Yamaha 321 also; they play well and have a great sound. BUT if he's really serious about it and can handle one, I'd say go with a compensating horn. Personally, I've never been a fan of Yamaha's compensating euphoniums (or their trombones), but he should definitely try them out. Between the small shank leadpipe and smaller bore on the 321, it makes it a little more manageable for younger players and doublers, but if he's really going to be a euphonium major in college or something else that would really require a bigger compensating horn, there's nothing wrong with getting him started on that early. I played a 321 until my senior year of high school (a school horn with bad valves...), when I moved up to a Besson 968. In college I probably had to play an average of five or so low C's a concert, and I couldn't imagine doing that to good effect on a 321, at least while being able to play fluidly in that whole range below the staff.
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2010, 12:20AM »

hasn't been mentioned much, but the new compensating euphonium from Jupiter is said to be quite amazing. and it's right in the price range you mentioned. High 3,000's (i believe). Loren Marsteller actually gave it a great review on his yearly NAMM review on his website.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2010, 04:17AM »

I just want to mention something else.

A compensating Euph is pretty heavy.  If the kid is going to be part of Marching Band you might want to consider an old Olds "American Baritone" to take on the field.  Or maybe look at the NeoTech bari sax harness to hold the compensating Euph if he must march with it.

One other thing to consider is that a middle schooler is going to be rough on a horn.  Even if the kid himself is gentle, his buddies aren't.  The idea that you can buy something at this age that will last into adulthood may be a fantasy.

I have a Conn 19I (the Conn version of the 2280) and I find it to be a great horn.  But you have to learn to lip notes in tune more than with a compensating Euph.

A friend of mine got a new Besson a few years ago and was disappointed.  I think he recommended a Willson.  I personally like Yamaha horns.  The 321 might be just the ticket for this stage of the kid's life.

You might also look at the Sterling.  It's a Besson copy and made in England.  Supposed to be pretty good.
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2010, 06:23AM »

If you want a compensating horn, you are looking at $4000 - $6000 unless you find a used one.  The Meinl Weston 451 (which I play) is $3995 at Baltimore Brass.  The Yamaha 642 is in the ballpark of $5000, Besson and Willson are even more.  Other manufacturers in this range are Sterling, Miraphone, and Hirsbrunner.  These are all great instruments that have top pros who play them.  Each manufacturer also has a "boutique" version of their pro horn that adds $1000 - $2000 to the price tag.

As has been mentioned, the Yamaha 321 is a great intermediate horn that is used as a doubling horn by many pros.  It has a small shank receiver, but is actually a large bore instrument.  It is easily converted to a large shank receiver by any decent brass tech (a friend of mine got it done for $25).  The King 2280 is a big-playing, large shank non compensating horn.  I like the sound quite a bit, although the pitch is not as great.  Both of these instruments are 4 valves across the top, and will take your student up to college, or through college if he is not a music major.

If you really want a 3+1 setup, Jupiter makes a good intermediate non-compensating 3+1, as does Besson (the 765).  Dillon Music in NJ is importing a Chinese made 3+1 non-comp that is only $1000 and has the Dillon name on it.  It is among the best Chinese made brass instruments I've played (except for Eastman).  Call Dillon and talk to Matt Walters, he will be very up-front with you about them.

Eastman is making non-compensating and compensating 3+1 that I understand were designed by Steve Shires (although not the level of input he had on the trombones).  These are excellent instruments with very good intonation.  The compensating one is $3500, so it's a bit less than the Meinl Weston, but not much.

If it were my student, unless I could find a good deal on a used compensating horn, I would probably go with the Yamaha 321 and get it switched to large shank.  They also hold their value very well, so if he decides to get a compensating horn in a few years, he can resell the Yamaha for a good price.
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2010, 06:54AM »

the Sovereign (though they are a little more mixed... a player here has one with terrible valves and the intonation is all over the place. It's new).

Is it new new (made by gerhard meinl) or "new" (made by schreiber keilwerth)? If the latter, then bad valves are par for the course. If it's the former, it should have really incredible valves. All the players I know think these are the best piston valves ever. I've seen a bunch of new ones with some manufacturing goop in the valves, especially the first valve. It's really thick stuff that doesn't come out with a regular bathtub cleaning. If he's having trouble he should take it for an ultrasonic or chem cleaning. If they are still bad I'd take it back under warranty.
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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2010, 09:13AM »

Is it new new (made by gerhard meinl) or "new" (made by schreiber keilwerth)? If the latter, then bad valves are par for the course. If it's the former, it should have really incredible valves. All the players I know think these are the best piston valves ever. I've seen a bunch of new ones with some manufacturing goop in the valves, especially the first valve. It's really thick stuff that doesn't come out with a regular bathtub cleaning. If he's having trouble he should take it for an ultrasonic or chem cleaning. If they are still bad I'd take it back under warranty.

Must be the latter, I really have no idea. Anyway, I think I'll let her borrow my 842 next year since I won't be using it.
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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2010, 05:42PM »

Pro:
Sterling
Willson (2900 is medium shank, 2950 is large shank)
Besson (Sovereign or prestige)
York
Yamaha (642 or 842)
Miraphone
Meinl Weston 551,751 (451's have bad tuning)


New or used intermediate:
Yamaha YEP-321 (4v inline Small Shank)
Eastman (Yamaha Copy)
Weril (Yamaha 321 copy WITH LARGE SHANK)
Besson 4 valve non-comp (3+1 config large shank)
King 2280 (4v inline, 3rd valve trigger, large shank)
Meinl Weston 51 (4 valve inline)

Used:
Japanese Made Bachs (Made by Yamaha, just as good but a couple years old)
Used Besson Imperials or Sovereigns (check serial numbers and dates late 70's with large shank are horrid for tuning)
Boosey and Hawkes
Conn 4 valve models


Stay away from:
Amati
Cerveny
Older Jupiters (new ones MAY be OK)
Generic Chinese*
Indian brands off Ebay!

*the exception I have for Generic Chinese is Eastman, the design is flagrantly copied from Yamaha so replacement parts are available and interchangeable with Yamaha's.

Other manufacturers in this range are Sterling, Miraphone, and Hirsbrunner. 
Hirsbrunner is over, the old man passed and the company was bought out by Adams.  They're finishing up previous orders but not taking any more.
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