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Thread: Adams Endorsement

  1. #1

    Adams Endorsement

    After an extensive evaluation period, I have made the decision to officially switch from playing and endorsing the Sterling Virtuoso to playing and endorsing the Adams Custom euphonium. Those who know me may be surprised at this because they know how many good things I have said and written about the Sterling. Well, none of that has changed. I still like my Sterling quite a lot - it's a fine horn.

    But during my time as a clinician/artist I have always said that I play the horn I play because I feel it is the best choice. I said the same thing when I was a Besson artist, and I meant it. When Sterling came along, I found that it was a better horn for me, so I became a Sterling artist. After 20 years of playing and enjoying Sterling, I have now found that the Adams Custom is a step up and a better choice for me, so I am switching.

    Please be aware that this decision is not because my opinion of my Sterling Virtuoso has changed. It is still a nice instrument. In fact, I think my particular Virtuoso is the best sample of all the Virtuosos I have ever tested. That's partly why it took me a while to make up my mind (but more on that delay later). But as good as the Sterling is, the Adams offers better performance.

    Another statement I have made over the years is that the sound of the instrument is extremely important. I still feel exactly that way. The Adams Custom that I am currently playing offers me the same warm character of sound I've always preferred, but also has a little more room-filling ability, great intonation, and better response. It took me quite a while to become comfortable with the fact that the sound is at least as good as the that of the Virtuoso. In fact, it educated me about a factor of "projected sound" and "perceived sound" that can be misleading.

    When I first played the Adams at the company's booth at the last ITEC, I didn't think it had the sound I wanted. But when I tried the same horn at a different time, when the elephant room had cleared out and I could hear more of the "hall sound," the Adams seemed to have potential. Much later when I tried the horn in my own environments, I began to see what was going on. In my basement studio, comparing the Sterling and the Adams seemed to give the Sterling the advantage every time. But when I played both horns so they pointed more horizontally toward the "long end" of the room, they sounded more equal. When I took them both to my church sanctuary, which has rather nice acoustics, the Adams came into its own. The sound was not only as pleasant as my Sterling but it filled the room better. I ran through some lengthy comparisons with some trusted listeners who know my playing very well, and their impressions were that the Adams and Sterling were quite close in color/warmth of sound, but that the Adams filled the room better and had a wider dynamic range available. Some mentioned that the Adams sounded like it was easier for me to play (which is what it seemed like to me as well).

    You may be wondering why the horns compared differently in a small room vs. a large room. So was I. I've always been aware that a small-sounding horn will sound better in a small room, but I don't think that was at play here. The Sterling is by no means a small-sound horn, even though the Adams has a somewhat bigger sound. I have concluded that is has more to do with the "impression of sound" or the close-up "perceived sound", which is created by the physical characteristics of the horn. A lot of what we hear as we play the horn is the *direct* sound that radiates from the metal of the horn's body, plus a little bit that flows around the edge of the bell and travels to our ears directly. Some may also be due to sound/vibration transmission directly to out body. The rest of the sound, and that which the audience hears, it what come out the bell and fills the room. For whatever physical reasons, the Adams doesn't communicate its depth of sound directly to my body they way other horns might. But what matters is what gets to the listener, and that is a wonderful sound! Fortunately, the Adams still gives me plenty of feedback about the changes I wish to make to the sound for different kinds of music.

    While having a big sound is great, I also require a flexible sound. I want to be able to play a lighter or more playful piece without being encumbered by an unwieldy, huge sound. I want to sound dark and mysterious sometimes, or bold and brassy sometimes. The Adams meets all those needs perfectly. It can blend with the small brass ensemble I often play with, and it can project over a large ensemble with ease when required.

    Fit and finish are first rate. Some of you may already know that Adams offers an adjustable-gap receiver. This is an interesting tool. You can vary the gap between the end of the mouthpiece's shank and the beginning of the leadpipe tube. The change as you adjust for a wider or narrow gap is subtle, but it does make a difference. Frankly, I'm still not quite sure where I should set it. All the way in (narrowest gap) makes the horn feel even more responsive, but my accuracy suffers. (This could be a matter of getting used to the narrow gap's response, I suppose.) As I open the gap, my security improves and the sound seems to deepen. But there are an infinite number of positions, so it will take some serious experimentation if I really want to explore all the effects. The tone changes a little, and I suspect the intonation might change, although I have not done full intonation tests with several different settings (maybe someday when I have time... but it takes a long time to do a good job on each test). Adams artist Matt Tropman has mentioned that the gap affects intonation slightly in his testing.

    A very nice plus is the Marcus Bona case that comes with the horns. It's offers a blend of qualities between the lightness of a gig bag and the protection of a hard case. It's not a light as a gig bag, but it has shoulder straps, and offers great protection from what I have heard.

    Adams offers a nice variety of finish and materials. The horn can be had with several different metal thicknesses, for example. Their concept is to keep the metal the same thickness throughout the entire length of the horn, so no matter which weight you choose, that will be consistent for the whole horn. Recently they began to make a heavier-walled model to be more familiar to those who are used to horns like the Besson (especially from the British-made era) or Sterling. Perhaps that will make the sound coming from the bell more similar to what radiates right around the player. The model I am currently borrowing has a sterling silver bell, which gives it marvelous power and sound. I hope to try many others at ITEC and decide which is really the best fit for me, but so far I'm enjoying this particular model.

    As I have done in the past with Besson and then Sterling, I will try to drive improvements where I see opportunities and when I hear from other players who try the horns. Adams is very responsive to suggestions and has already implemented a couple improvements I discussed with them (I'm not sure how much of that was based on my recommendation and how much was from the many other players who play the horn or who have visited the factory to test them, but the end result is what counts).

    If you are not familiar with Adams, they are already known worldwide for fine quality percussion. Brass is a newer venture, but they managed to rise right to the top of the breed within that time. Their trumpets and flugels are already being used by several high-profile players, and they recently moved into the tuba realm.

    I'm very happy to be associated with Adams and to be playing the Adams Custom euphonium. It's a great horn and a great company. Next time you are near an Adams booth or dealer, give them a good try and see what you think. The Adams should absolutely be considered by anyone looking for a top-line euphonium.



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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    804

    Adams Endorsement

    Dave,
    Please allow me to be the first on the public forum to congratulate you (AND ADAMS!!) on a great new musical relationship!!

    As you may have read on the forum, I was impressed by the Adams horns each time I tried them. I also spoke (in Dutch) to one of the reps at Midwest and was very impressed with their caring and desire to produce a great horn.

    So, in true Dutch spirit, I say: HARTELIJK GELUKGEWENST met je benoeming tot Adams's nieuwste euphonium-virtuoos!!

    Which one are you going to be playing?

    Though I have lived in the Netherlands, I don't know anything about Ittervoort, but I'm sure you'll enjoy the occasional trip over there.

    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103E, SM3.5
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  3. #3

    Adams Endorsement

    Jim,

    Thanks for the bilingual congrats! The one I am playing is roughly 2 or more years old. It's the lacquer finish with sterling silver bell. It's a pretty finish. The horn uses yellow brass on the small tubes (because they say it works better on the valve cylinders) and gold brass on the large tubes, all of which shows through the clear lacquer.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,220

    Adams Endorsement

    Congratulations on your new horn Dave and on your new affiliation with Adams. Hope you have a long and satisfying experience with Adams.

    Looking forward to hearing some new solos with your new "axe".

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    Rick Floyd
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    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.
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  5. #5

    Adams Endorsement

    Congrats Dave, sounds wonderful.

    It's also great that things are not content to stand still in the top end of the Euphonium range.

    That was the thinking behind the new leadpipe design for the UK Willson 2950 & 60 models (although I've changed my 2900 one as well). That one critical change has transormed the instruments.

    It will be interesting to see how it all develops.

    Chas

  6. Adams Endorsement

    This thread brings back an old theme on a thread I started a couple of years ago: what an amazing proliferation of artist-grade instruments we have seen in the past five or six years! While a handful of players still revere their golden-years Besson Sovereigns and B&H Imperials, and by all accounts their preferences are defensible, the latest crop of euphonium offerings are better in so many respects -- and so many to choose from!

    Let me float one question: didn't Adams buy-out the Hirsbrunner works? How much of the new Adams euphonium is built upon Hirsbrunner DNA and with Hirsbrunner know-how?

  7. #7

    Adams Endorsement

    Adams acquired the HB trademark and some, but not all, of the designs and tooling.

    The Adams Custom euph has been around since at least 2006, and has had the adjustable gap receiver since at least 2008, which predates the Hirsbrunner acquisition by at least 18 months, so I doubt that the acquisition of HB had a significant influence on the design or construction of the Adams.

    Where I DO expect HB to have had a significant influence is in the Adams tubas, which were in prototyping at the time of the acquisition.

  8. Adams Endorsement

    That's great Dave, congrats on the new horn! Matt Van Emmerik and Fernando Deddos are both coming to Atlanta with their Adams horns this summer, I look forward to checking them out.
    Martin Cochran
    Adams Performing Artist
    mceuph75@gmail.com

  9. #9

    Adams Endorsement

    This might have been discussed in a previous thread, but having never seen an Adams euphonium in person, I'm curious about the long-term durability of the adjustable mouthpiece receiver. I'd imagine it's pretty solid, given the comments I've read on the horn's overall quality.

    I'm sort of casually in the market for a new horn, and would seriously consider an Adams based on the rave reviews I've been hearing, but only if the receiver wouldn't "wear out" or "loosen up" (hopefully I'm explaining what I mean clearly) over a relatively short period of time.

    Sean Kissane
    Development Director - International Tuba-Euphonium Association
    Geneva Oldroyd Cardinal Custom Euphonium
    Adams E1 Custom (.6 Gold Brass, Brushed Lacquer, Sterling Silver Leadpipe)
    Giddings DHWA-S Mouthpiece

  10. Adams Endorsement

    Dave,

    Congrats and welcome to the "Adams Family" (duh-duh0duh-DUM) (sorry couldn't resist).

    I like mine more and more as the months pass, and really enjoyed meeting Miel Adams and playing some of the newer stuff he had at NAMM a few weeks ago. He and Adams are really committed to making great horns, whether it's for an "endorser type person" or ANYONE else. I'm very happy to be with them.

    Go Dave!!

    Matt Tropman


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