Blog Comments

  1. Jonathantuba's Avatar
    Dave, Thank you for your positive review and your comments on the Sinfonico.

    We will certainly take your advise on the 4th valve slide being slightly shorter. We try to make Wessex instruments suit as many players as possible, so it is always better to make slides slightly shorter, if some people have problems with flat notes, as others can always pull out if they find otherwise.
  2. davewerden's Avatar
    hyperbolica: very good points! I made a decision to not talk about the used market because that is such a huge variable. And some folks want to buy a new horn, or have no safe way to buy a used horn, etc. In my situation I would certainly consider either something like a Wessex or a good used horn for a secondary instrument. (Sidebar: I own 3 slide trombones; two are newer Yamaha models and the 3rd is an old King Liberty. In some ways that old Liberty is the sweetest one to play!)
  3. hyperbolica's Avatar
    Yeah, these are some really good points. Also you might consider that some pros or semi-pros buy secondary instruments, that you might use for learning slide or valve techniques, or for additional gig opportunities, or just for the stimulation of learning something new. My trombones are pro-level, but I don't need pro-level valve instruments, so I turn to the Chinese market you reference, but also the used pro market. You can find the level of quality that you need at various price points, with the appearance or maybe condition being the variable for older used pro equipment and reputation and durability being the variable for the lower priced Chinese horns. It's totally realistic to find an 80 year old trombone that you can use professionally, as long as its in good condition, and in some cases (where performance and collecting interests intersect) sometimes the older instruments can be as expensive as new ones. Just a reminder that the used market is a valid place to find good quality stuff too, and is often a better choice than the low priced new options.
  4. Rodgeman's Avatar
    Looks like he got it modified into a two piece bell.

    Still wonder why it has not been done on a euphonium bell. Just a matter of time I suppose.

    I just noticed it on this video posted this week:
    Updated 12-22-2020 at 12:38 PM by Rodgeman
  5. Davidus1's Avatar
    Thanks for this review. Given that these horns are in production it would be great to hear your thoughts on the production models. Its nice to have a variety of choices.
  6. notaverygoodname's Avatar
    Well, it's not a C instrument because it's in 9' Bb, not 8' C. Unless you have a Euphonium in 8' C. That's a thing.

    Ok, I don't actually want to type out a long and pedantic rant because a lot has already been said, but seriously. Brass instruments are historically based around the idea of reading transposed treble clef. Good luck reading concert pitch music on a natural instrument with key changes. If you can't hum every note with perfect pitch off the page, forget playing it. Another historically common thing...transposing on the fly. It's so easy, even I can do a little bit of it. Can't read anything but treble clef to save my life, but I can read C music on a Bb instrument with some practice. On the Trombone side of things, you have an alto instrument with a 25mm cup diameter and more ledger lines above the scale than the scale has lines. Really not selling me on this multiple C clefs idea.

    The way an instrument reads music can be treated as arbitrary. What we have now is what we'll have tomorrow and it works quite fine as is.
  7. davewerden's Avatar
    tonewheeler: you folks with the 5050's are special! I noticed that the Cronkhite site has one model that fits that horn, and the original model that fits everything else.

    I did not know about the lining, but that is a great feature. My current horn is not silver plated, but who knows what the future will bring.
  8. tonewheeler's Avatar
    I have a leather Cronkhite purchased several years ago. I was told it was specially made to fit the girth of my Miraphone 5050. Additionally, it has a lining which prevents tarnishing. I've never experienced any issues with it and it keeps my horn well protected.
  9. highpitch's Avatar
    My Bonna was made for a New Standard, it just fits the overall length and diameter without any bolsters. I was really lucky for find that model.

    You're right, a fellow player has a full size one and it is bulkier.

  10. daruby's Avatar
    I actually have two Conkhite's, a black cordura and a brown leather bag. My Sterling goes in the cordura bag and my Adams in the leather. Part of the reason for this pairing is my Sterling is silver plated while the Adams is in lacquer. I have experienced more rapid tarnishing in the leather bag, ergo the Sterling goes in the cordura.

    I also have a Bonna case that came with my Adams. Due to the different dimensions of my Prototype E3 (it is slightly longer than a standard E3), it will not fit in the Bonna without custom cutting of the foam bolster for the bottom bow. Plus, it is MUCH larger, heavier and awkward to carry than the Cronkhites. So it is a closet queen along with the original Besson-style hard case the Sterling came in.

  11. highpitch's Avatar
    Good review, Dave. I too carried an Altieri for many years.

    I gave a real hard look at the leather Cronkhite, Altieri, and the Bonna.

    The Bonna won out, and I'm very pleased with it.

  12. Liuto's Avatar
    Being a novice euph player with a strong background of singing bass in a choir, bass clef is the obvious choice for me. Feels completely natural to me.
    I also can easily play untransposed treble clef without too much of trouble (very useful to play Lieder).
    Finally, I sort of learned to play in Bb treble clef because my teacher is a trumpet player and has lots of his stuff in Bb treble clef. I am a lot slower reading TC, but I would like to play it fluently. Main advantage: it is just like tenor clef with a few different accidentals which opens access to lots of trombone parts.
  13. davewerden's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments and your perspective! There is a valid concept on your side.

    But there is another practical side. Sax players often move to different instruments in their family, especially studio players. If you are told at the last minute to cover the soprano instead of the alto you've been using more, there may be some disagreement with "A big ol' bari sax playing in treble clef seems like an unnecessary abstraction." Clarinet players sometimes face this, but not as often unless they are also studio players. (Tuba players are not usually asked to play a particular key of tuba, so they have a little more control, and most times trumpet players do as well.)

    You may find an inconvenience in euphonium bass clef music. I have found that many (probably most?) euphonium players don't read tenor clef, so I seldom see a euphonium part that uses it for high range writing.
  14. hyperbolica's Avatar
    As a trombone player starting to play euphonium, I'm glad I don't have to wrestle with transposition on top of getting the hang of the valves. Trombone players deal with the whole ledger lines thing by using clefs. I think this is the most efficient method, because everyone stays in the same key. The movable C clef is highly practical. Tenor clef, alto clef. String players avoid the whole issue of transposition by using C clefs, especially cello and viola. When I read trumpet or clarinet music, I just read it as tenor clef and add two flats. Clefs are a great mental trick for transposition. Why should a trumpet player interpret the music differently from a piano player? The need for writing bass instruments on treble clef seems obtuse and distracting. A big ol' bari sax playing in treble clef seems like an unnecessary abstraction.

    Tuba is an example of an instrument that is written in actual pitch regardless of the fundamental pitch of the instrument playing the part. This makes sense to me.

    If I had the whole written music system to reinvent for all musical instruments, I'd definitely write for every instrument in concert pitch. It is unnecessary mental gymnastics to have a French horn part up against an alto sax, trumpet and trombone. And while I was at reinventing things, I think I'd make the "all white key" scale be called A, and I'd find a note that the orchestra can tune to that trombones can play in 1st position.;o)

    If we were all in concert pitch, there would be no argument whether euphonium is in C or Bb.
  15. daruby's Avatar
    (Continued from previous post)

    So where does this leave us...?

    For me, the question of whether the euphonium is a Bb or C instrument and how we treat it is irrelevant. For the last 10 years I have been performing almost exclusively with Bb treble transposed parts in the British brass band world. Even though I am comfortable reading treble clef, my underlying thought process is concert pitch. I "see" the written C in my Bb baritone or Euphonium part, I know it is a written C, but my inner ear "hears" a Bb and that is what I play. I even visualize the piano keyboard when necessary as I think about the pitch.

    I believe every accomplished euphonium performer should be fluent in both bass clef C and treble clef Bb parts. This should be mandatory for anyone graduating as a euphonium performer at the Bachelor's level. Anyone performing trombone, bassoon, or cello literature needs to know tenor clef. Finally, I think that C treble (in order to read piano, choral, and some "fake book" parts) is a pretty strong requirement.

    I argue for all of the reasons that Dave outlined regarding reading ledger lines above and below the staff, that the concert pitch bass clef/tenor clef combination used by trombone, cello, and bassoon is the ideal!

    Updated 11-18-2019 at 10:47 AM by daruby
  16. daruby's Avatar
    (continued from previous post)

    2. Second Issue
    - What kind of literature was used in the development process?

    Since I grew up in American wind bands and started in concert pitch, my ensemble playing was always using bass clef C parts. This was reinforced by other factors. Other than "Theme and Variation" pieces from the Sousa era, there was very little good euphonium specific solo literature available to me. From age 9 on I performed bassoon, cello, and trombone literature or vocal transcriptions. By age 17, I had performed Morceau Symphonique (bass/tenor), Rimsky-Korsakov Trombone Concerto (bass/tenor), Mozart Bassoon Concerto (bass/tenor), several cello sonatas, movements from the six Bach Unaccompanied Suites, all either in competitions or public performance. While I also performed pieces by H.L. Clark, etc, this was not the majority of my study. As a cello player and performer of trombone literature, I was fluent in both bass clef and tenor clef. All of my baritone method books (largely Rubank and Arban's Mantia baritone edition) were bass clef as were my cello books at a beginner and intermediate level. Thus ALL of the study I did from age 9 through the end of my sophomore year in college was in concert pitch (bass and tenor). I became fluent as a treble clef Bb reader when I started playing trumpet in my senior year in university (age 21).

    Updated 11-17-2019 at 05:21 PM by daruby
  17. daruby's Avatar
    Dave already knew this comment was coming. I have had time to think about it and fairly strongly held beliefs that, while not at odds with Dave's position entirely, comes from a different point of view.

    I agree that Euphonium is a Bb instrument in that its open harmonics are those of a Bb instrument. When one presses the 4th valve on a compensating euphonium, it equally becomes a small bore 3 valve F tuba, but we do not consider it to actually be a Bb/F instrument in the same sense as a double French Horn. So the question of Bb or C to me is not a question of what kind of instrument it is, but a two part question based on the answers to the following:

    1. First Issue - What background does the performer come from?

    This comes from childhood. I began on piano at age 5 and took lessons through age 7. I was also a boy soprano with accurate relative pitch who sang in a number of choirs. I hated piano and the fact that my parents made me walk a mile to lessons, but I knew and read treble and bass clef (left hand) and to this day visualize the white and black keys when reading concert pitch parts. I started playing "baritone" at age 9, and at almost the same time, I also was taking lessons on cello. Needless to say, I became a bass clef "concert pitch" reader. OTOH, I would say that many of my American euphonium seatmates and virtually ALL of my Salvation Army and British colleagues began as cornet/trumpet players in childhood and switched to baritone/euphonium fairly early in their musical development. Of course, most of these performers grew up in the transposed treble clef Bb thought process.

    Updated 11-17-2019 at 05:18 PM by daruby
  18. ChristianeSparkle's Avatar
    Hi Sir,

    I have a question in regards 1) and the part in where Mr. Lehman mentioned about marking every notes while tuning to a tuner to get a feel of what the tendencies of each notes.

    Do do both of those exercises with all the valve slides fully in, with only the main tuning slide tuned to Bb?

    I am trying to understand all of these exercises before I do them in case I do them wrongly and make things worse for me.

    Thank you!
  19. davewerden's Avatar
    ChristianeSparkle: The euphonium I play is lacquered, so I could not have had a problem with tarnish. However, I don't see why the strap would cause tarnish on silver. But I'm not sure of the material used in the current QHR strap. The original, made by Valerie Wells, was made of cotton duck fabric. Then QHR found a maker to build it for them, and that strap had a much more open weave and felt "harder" to the touch. If you are using one of those, perhaps there is a material that accelerates tarnish.

    I'll guess it's easy to solve, though. Take off the strap and polish that whole area with Hagerty polish, with the added tarnish inhibitor. It's possible that is all you need.
  20. ChristianeSparkle's Avatar
    I have a question about the strap being secured at that location. The part where the hand strap is, it will usually rub against the horn as you hold it, right? It's happening in my case and I notice tarnish developing as a result (hopefully no scratches on that part). How do you get around that?
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