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Thread: Opinions on these euphoniums?

  1. Opinions on these euphoniums?

    So this is my first post. But anyways as a highschool student looking to upgrade before I go to college in about a year, I was wondering if anyone has tried these euphoniums so I can sort of get an idea why they are in that price range. Im trying to decide between a well known brand like Besson but it would be used around 4800(prestige) or a brand new one around 4400(VFC-EP7566 a.k.a Cerveny emperor)
    So whats everyones take on these instruments such as durability wise and what they have to offer? as well as suggestions on other euphoniums. Thank you
    Besson prestige
    Cerveny Emperor
    Meinl Weston 451
    Meinl Weston 551
    Besson Sovereign 967


    That might help. Oh and, unless you were buying with a good long trial period and/or able to see the horn and test it in person, I would stay away from Besson instruments in general (not just euphs, all brass) that were made from 1991-2006. The 'lottery era' actually began about '93, but serial number records are a bit fuzzy so I would stay as far away from 81xxxx serials as possible.

    here's a serial list:

    Same goes for York. I would not buy one unseen. Also, not sure how much Yamaha was affected by the lottery era.

    It doesn't mean that Besson didn't produce any good horns in that period; it just means that if you buy unseen you are testing your luck. If you get a good one, it'll be great. If you get a bad one, it could be really, really bad. Keep that in mind for re-sale value too. Besson horns from those years are harder to sell online.
    Last edited by coolguy684; 03-12-2013 at 04:07 PM.

  3. #3
    I can only speak towards the Besson 2052 and 967, and the York Preference. I own a 967, and have had a brief sit-down with the Prestige. The Prestige felt like a baby Miraphone 5050. It was big and dark, but with a smaller bore, a hair less of said darkness, and about $1,300 off the equivalent Miraphone's (case, gold trim, tuning trigger) price tag. The partials on the model I tried stacked strangely (can't remember any specifics), but the tuning trigger was solidly made. I only tried it for 5 minutes, so I didn't fiddle around with it too much, but an experimental poke here and there gave encouraging results. Personally, I'd probably shoot for the 2051; a bit lighter, nimbler sound, easier to get through an ensemble. The 967 I own is an old English-made one, for about '85. It's darkened up a LOT over the years, though next to the York Preference it's still a bit lighter sounding. The other, newer Sovereigns I tried were bright horns, and were also solidly built. I tried a newer English model and a newer German model. The German was terrible. Approach German Sovereigns with caution. The York was a very dark horn. I mean VERY dark. Like, Besson 2052 dark. It's essentially a copy of the Sovereign, made with the same tooling and different techs. More consistent from horn to horn, and better build quality during the lottery days. Replacement parts are identical to Sovereign parts, so worry not about York having gone under years ago; you can just go to the Dawkes site and pick up your parts. [Warning: comments from here on are pure speculation] As I remember, the Cerveny has gotten a bad rep in these parts; it was poorly made and the response was a bit dissapointing. If you're going for a decent, low budget horn, you could save some cash, and pick up a Wessex or Mack Brass horn for a few thousand less. The same goes for the Meinl Westons. The only thing you get out of those horns is build quality, and some gold trim on the 551 model. They're stupid expensive new, and the response has been described as "wooden". And since everybody knows that, once you try to resell it, just about nobody will pick it up used, no matter how cheap you go. [Speculation has ended] Personally, I'd shoot for a good used Besson or Yamaha. They sell like hot cakes used, and the Bessons are built like tanks. Trust me when I say it's a good knockaround horn. The Yamaha 642 is the high school standard. Every school with a healthy amount of cash has a bevy of them, and for good reason; they sit well in the niche of the "all-'rounder" horn. That said, here comes the sales pitch; I'm looking at selling my Sovereign, with hard case, for $3,500. PM me if interested.

  4. Wow I was under the impression all the Buffet Besson horns were good and consistent. So they were made in Germany for a bit then all the production went to France?
    Last edited by coolguy684; 03-12-2013 at 06:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by coolguy684 View Post
    Wow I was under the impression all the Buffet Besson horns were good and consistent. So they were made in Germany for a bit then all the production went to France?
    They were British, then they got bought by Schreiber- Keilsworth. The production moved out to Germany, though only partially. Quality control sank, and Besson began to go under. York bought the tooling and designs from S-K, and produced the Preference and Eminence models for a while in competition with Besson, until they too went under and Besson got bought out by the Buffet Company of Paris. If memory serves.

  6. #6
    Not exactly right. Besson made some great instruments in the 80s but had gone way downhill by the early 90s. They revamped their manufacturing around '93 and were making some fantastic instruments for a short period, but there was another long decline as the lottery demand hit and the music group's terrible management affected things. In 2001, the music group built a new plant in markneukirchen under their keilwerth-schreiber brand to make woodwind and brass parts for their brands including buffet, Besson, keilwerth, etc.. All the Besson tooling went to Germany. The euphoniums were somewhat redesigned at this point. Some people liked them better. I didn't. Lots of complaints about bad valves.

    In 2005 buffet was bought by French investors. In 2006 buffet bought Besson from the music group and also bought Antoine courtois. The original Besson tooling remained with KS. KS assumed they would continue to produce Besson instruments under a partnership, but buffet invested in new tooling and discontinued orchestral instruments, moved high brass production to courtois, and contracted with JAmusik to make low brass instruments at the B&s factory in markneukirchen. Took them a few years to get ramped up on all the instruments, but they got the euphoniums going mid-2007, with some great improvements. The baritones, euphoniums, and tubas are still made there today. Cornets and tenorhorns are made in France. I personally think that all these post-2007 bessons are great. They had some issues with the tenorhorns in France, but the euphoniums are spectacular.

    Now, in the meantime KS started making instruments using the old besson tooling under the York name, much to buffet's annoyance. They made some improvements and tweaks to the Besson designs. Some people liked them. I thought they largely still had the same problems as the pre-bankruptcy bessons.

    now in 2010 KS went bankrupt and buffet bought them, too. Besson low brass continued to be made alongside B&s and some meinl Weston instruments in markneukirchen.

    and at the end of 2012, buffet purchased all of the Gerard meinl/JAmusik companies, too. So, now it's all under one company again.

  7. #7
    Great summary of the history, bbocaner! Thanks!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
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  8. Thank you everyone especially for the history on the besson factories. I was looking at a used besson prestige but now I know i need to find the year it was made.

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