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davewerden

Difference Between Boosey Hawkes and Besson

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Originally posted on the TUBA Discussion List several years ago, by "Klaus":

Boosey, Besson, and Hawkes merged under the same umbrella with Boosey & Hawkes as the company name.

When I entered the world of brass in 1960 there were still 2 set of brand names:
  • B&H had Imperial engraved on their top line (stamped Class A) and Regent engraved on their second line (stamped Class B).
  • Besson had New Standard engraved on their top line (Class A) and Westminster on their second line (Class B).


Production was not too consistent, but that aside the respective line levels had identical output. However there was a difference in appearance at least between the larger Imperial and New Standard instruments.
  • Imperial had pretty much normal valve caps and finger buttons.
  • New Standard had caps and buttons with a characteristic sloping profile. Something like 30° from vertical I guess. The valve caps had not the normal tiny ridges to assure a firm finger grip, but 6 or 8 rather deep grooves.


That difference did not occur between the Class B instruments.

However, recently a list friend privately alerted me of a 3 valve non-compensating bell-front tuba on ebay. It had the characteristic New Standard valve caps and buttons. That is a contradiction in my eyes, as all New Standard basses in principle were compensators. But very well in concordance with MCąs notion, that the Brits dumped some trash at the US market years ago.

Within the models with a high turnover there were savings for the factory in the distinguishing between Class A and Class B instruments. Not so in the production of the relatively rare Eb cornet. Despite the 4 possible model names, all Eb cornets were made from the same design. Clever bandmasters in my country realised that. So at that time the most common Eb cornet was the Westminster. Which was really a New Standard in a cheaper disguise. My own Eb cornet, bought in 1992, maybe made up to 15 years earlier, is very sparingly engraved:

Made by
Besson
England.

I would reckon it to be identical to the Imperial/New Standard level.

The late 70-ties were transitional years for B&H. They had established Sovereign models of Eb and 2 Bb cornets, Flugel horn, Alto horn, Baritone, 2 euphs, and 3 trombones. Even 2 trumpets.

In 1973 Denis Wick had told me of plans to issue squared down models of their basses in Eb and Bb. However they could not duplicate the very succesful Eb leadpipe on the BBb version. The result was a delated Sovereign bass issue around 1980.

The Eb had 2 versions: the John Fletcher inspired leadpipe on the 981 concert Eb and the old leadpipe (with an enlarged receiver) on the 982 parade Eb. Both models with a York Monster style 19" bell.

The 994 BBb kept its frame but had a 19" bell and a large bore receiver. Around 1996 the the 994 was squared a bit down.

Also in the mid-90-ties the trombone line was redesigned incorporating the Hagman valves.

Klaus

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