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Thread: I bought a Sterling

  1. I bought a Sterling

    First, thanks to Dave for demonstrating the difference in tone between red and yellow brass bells at ITEC. Thanks to Jeff for offering me a good price, too.However....not being rich (still) ... I just kept waiting hoping to find a used Sterling. Well, I did; one turned up on ebay at a reasonable price. It is the Perantucci model; I called Jeff at Custom and asked if it was the same basic wrap and intonation as the Virtuoso, and he said yes, that the Virtuoso had bells and whistles but the intonation should be the same.So I took a chance and bought the euph off ebay from a seller who had never sold a musical instrument (all his stuff was rock climbing stuff.)It is a little beat physically (some small dents, blemishes, and scratches) but appearance isn't that important to me; I hate that period after you buy something before it gets the first dent or scratch...I'd rather get one that already has that dent or scratch. And the valves were super tight, just like new.So I took it to quintet practice; the response was overwhelming....suddenly I had no trouble matching the intonation of the group (I always struggled with my previous euph) and it actually seemed to play itself in a way, in terms of how much less work I had to do. I had noticed during my play-test the day before, that the high range was a lot easier to play, and that the low range was very un-stuffy for a compensator. Since I play a rotary F tuba, stuffiness has to be pretty bad before I'm going to lament over it. But the quintet said that it sounded like an entirely different person playing (in a good way!) and they wholeheartedly approved of my purchase.So there you have it. What's funny is that three of the slides are still stuck, but as the tuba player told me, apparently they are stuck in the right place. MA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL

    I bought a Sterling

    Congratulations Mary Ann!

    I saw the horn on ebay and was wondering what lucky person was going to end up with it. Glad you're happy with it.

    BTW, what horn did you play previously?
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank

    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernández) cell phone video

  3. #3

    I bought a Sterling

    Congratulations on the new axe!

    I had the opportunity to play a Sterling Perantucci when my Virtuoso was in the shop for a repair, and If I could have justified owning a second premium quality euph, I'd have bought it.

    You're right: it's a great euph! Gorgeous upper register, lots of core to the sound, and power to spare.

    Hope you end up enjoying ti as much as I'm enjoying my Virtuoso.

  4. #4

    I bought a Sterling

    Congrats on your purchase! I notice the tubas in your profile. How has the transition from tuba to euphonium worked for you?

    Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium, Denis Wick 4AL

  5. I bought a Sterling

    Congrats on the new horn! I think that the Perantucci label is one of the stencils (the other being "Symphonic") that Custom Music applied to its imported pre-Virtuoso Sterlings. Such instruments that did not pass through this importer are simply marked "Sterling" and, according to my source who has worked with Sterling's Paul Riggett for years, all these instruments -- however they may be labeled -- are substantially the same, provided they are manufactured around the same dates.

    I also play a pre-virtuoso Sterling, and its performance was, for me, the same ear-opening wonder that you experienced. Compared with the later Virtuoso model, the earlier Sterlings have their own distinctive and lyrical voice. If I had the need -- or the money -- to purchase a Virtuoso, I would be loath to trade-in my older Sterling. But, as I have related on other threads ("Tale of Two Sterlings"), one can make a strong case for either instrument, sound-wise.

    Regarding the intonation: after several years of playing a sweet-sounding and respected Japanese 4-valve non-compensating instrument, the change to Sterling was liberating. First of all, the Japanese horn, out of the box, tended to play quite sharp, necessitating long slide pulls to bring it into line; second, I found it very difficult to balance-out the tuning of the 4th-valve circuit with the rest of the horn. It was as if the Bb and F loops were a quarter-tone away from one another, relatively speaking. On the Sterling, I found the two loops at peace with one another.

    You have probably already discovered that the scale of the Sterling is strongly biased toward the expectation that the player will employ the 4 and 4/2 combinations rather than the "equivalent" 1/3 and 1/2/3 combinations. Failure to use the 4th valve on your Sterling will send those notes through the roof! However, the 2/3 combination plays quite tolerably in tune.

    Enjoy your "new" horn ... I hope you can get those slides un-stuck without damaging anything!

  6. I bought a Sterling

    Happy new horn. Good thing those slides.are stuck in the right place!

  7. I bought a Sterling

    If I didn't like both of the pre-Virtuoso Sterlings I played, would I like the Sterling Virtuoso?

  8. #8

    I bought a Sterling

    Depends on what you didn't like about it.

    Ergonomically, the Virtuoso has several tweaks that make it easier to hold and operate.

    The intonation and responsiveness of the Symphonic I played was noticeably better than my New Standard's, but my Virtuoso's is even better.

    Sonically, the Virtuoso falls solidly in the "classic Besson/British" camp. Bell weight, material, and diameter do affect the color to an extent, but if your preference is for the crisp, tight Bowmanesque sound, none of the Virtuoso configurations is likely to be a good fit.

  9. I bought a Sterling

    Thanks for all the replies.On switching instruments....I actually "used to was" a horn player. Developed dystonia, lost my orchestra position. Found that euph and tuba are different enough that I can at least hack along on an amateur level. Beats not playing.This is actually my 4th attempt at finding a euph/baritone that works for me. Funny, but it took four (french) horns to get the right horn for me other three euphs/baritones are a Conn short-stroke forward bell (sounds fine but ergonomically is a disaster for me,) a MW rotary bariton (not "baritone") and a King 2280. I had been playing the King and thought I was managing the intonation....on the tuner it wasn't really so bad. But apparently I was tuning it to get the upper range in tune, and then lipping up the low range. However, I guess I wasn't lipping up the low range adequately (frankly, I thought the tuba player was perenially sharp, my bad.)MA

  10. #10

    I bought a Sterling

    Originally posted by: euphos456 If I didn't like both of the pre-Virtuoso Sterlings I played, would I like the Sterling Virtuoso?
    As Felix said, it depends on what you did not like. But also remember that there are options that can change things in some ways. I'm playing a "loaner" right now, which is configured with the standard-weight bell. My own choice has always been the heavier bell, but this loaner has the light-weight bell. That makes it respond a little better, which is nice, but for my taste it gives up too much of the potential for power and a dark sound. If you were used to a certain common brand I could think of, you might prefer the light bell because it would feel more familiar to you.

    There is even a subtantial difference between the 300 and 310mm heavy bell versions. And in that heavy weight there is a difference between yellow brass and red brass.

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
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