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ITEC 2014 Instruments, part 4: Adams Custom

Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.
Naturally I spent the most time at the Adams booth. This was partly due to not being able to get away for large blocks of time because there were so many euphonium players asking about and trying the horns! The interest this year was very high, and some of the display horns were even sold and taken before the event was over.

Adams had seven instruments at ITEC, as follows (going from memory, so...):
.50, gold brass, bright silver plated
.55, yellow brass, brushed finish
.60, sterling silver bell and red/gold/yellow body, bright lacquer
.70, gold-tinted lacquer with tuning trigger
There were also 2 with .80 metal, but I can't recall the configuration otherwise.

There was a mix of E1 and E2 horns. One interesting comparison was the E2 sterling bell with .60. This is essentially the same horn as mine except for being an E2 vs. my own E1, so I could compare the two. The E2 valve action feel slightly heavier, perhaps because of the heavier-looking caps (I'm sure the pistons are the same otherwise), and it also had a slightly denser sound. As I recall, the main changes are that the E2 model has heavier trim on the valve casings and different bracing. Below are photos of Fernando Deddos' E2, where you can see some of the extra weight trim.

Adams is doing a remarkable job of making horns that have a lot of hand-work and yet are really consistent from one horn to the next. These seven instruments had a very similar feel ("family" resemblance?) in that they were highly responsive and consistent from note to note. But they also had distinguishing characteristics based on the metal/E1-E2 configuration. At one point, when trying to demonstrate for someone how the thickness affected tone, I played the .50 horn followed immediately by one of the .80 horns. The difference in tone was striking, but I felt the same great response from each. I have mentioned before that the lighter metals give better response, but I realize now that what I was feeling for those former statements was the agility between notes when you are moving around. That difference is still there, and is probably inherent with changes in metal weight. Where the response is more consistent among all thicknesses is in the immediacy of the horns' response when you start each note. In any case, I doubt any of these horns would strike someone as being sluggish.

The tuning slide trigger has been reworked by Adams for better practicality. Previously the barrel (silver cylinder) on the last leg of the mechanism was used to adjust the trigger paddle height. Now it is used to adjust the tuning. Previously there was a tuning stop that was a small threaded rod with a nut on it, and the nut had to be run in or out to serve as a tuning stop. Now that is handled by the barrel in one easy step. And the even better news is that you don't lose the adjustment of paddle height. That is handled by a different mechanism. And the mounting of the slide/shirt protector is more solid now, using two mounting points. The mounting points are half visible in the photo below and are indicated by the red ellipses. The paddle height adjustment is hidden behind the 4th valve, but its location is shown by the red rectangle.

The hand-formed tube seams are smoother now and the bell seams are all but invisible. (One exception is that the bell seam on the sterling horns will continue to be somewhat visible, although very smooth, due to the material used to braze the pieces together. A brazing material the same color would not melt easily enough to avoid melting the bell before the seam is finished.)

In summary, the horns feel great and are slightly improved over the one I own. But the standard was already so high that I don't feel deprived at all! And in a higher-level summary, I think all the brands at ITEC are showing continuous improvements - that's good for all of us!

I did not do a fresh tuning graph for Adams, since the one I have on the Euphonium Intonation page is only two years old. That graph is shown below the photos.

Adams E2:

Showing the E2's heavier valve trim

Hidden behind the 4th valve is the trigger's paddle-height adjustment.
Within the elliptical outlines you see the new double mounting points for the slide guard.

Blurry, but shows the new trigger guard with its double mounting points:

Click image for larger version. 

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Compare these and other euphoniums on my Euphonium Tuning Comparison page.

This is part 4 of my ITEC feedback.

Read part 1 here (Besson Prestige 2051, Besson Sovereign 955, Gemeinhardt/Big Mouth Brass):

Read part 2 here (JP Sterling, Willson 2960):

Read part 3 here (Jupiter XO, Wessex Dolce Cantabile):

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