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Thread: Need advice on new Euphoniums

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    El Paso, Texas
    Posts
    383

    Need advice on new Euphoniums

    Hi, I am a Sophomore Music Education student at NMSU, and I am currently having major "stuffiness" issues with my 1980's Besson Sovereign 967. There is no major damages, only small scratches and dents here and there. It has supposedly been through the U.S. Army Band which explains the wear and tear. I have had the horn professionally cleaned by a local horn craftsman(Patterson Hornworks) in the last few months and still have "stuffiness" issues particularly in the upper registers. The connection seems to really falter after D above the staff(D4). Tone quality begins to go away and resistance really kicks in. I am currently having the horn leak tested and as well as looking for a potential culprit for this excessive "stuffiness." The horn plays very well other than the stated issues with the upper registers. It sings out very well and allows me to produce an amazing tone in the comfortable ranges of the horn. At what point in the repair process should I call it quits and begin my search for another horn.

    On that note, I have done some looking myself on this forum as well as reviews and have really leaned myself towards several Euphoniums, but I am open to all opinions as I will be trying out the horn before purchasing to see if it really fits me as a player. My top three are the Besson Prestige 2052, Sterling Virtuoso, and Willson 2900/2950. I have heard great things about Miraphone, Adams, and Yamaha as well, but I have have had the opportunity to play on these three brands personally, hence why they are my top three. I am really looking for advice on the tendencies of each brand, valves, intonation, singing ability, projection etc.. It is also important to note that although I plan to be an educator, I plan to get my Masters in Performance as well. I do plan on being a serious performer thus why I am doing such an extensive search.

    Again, all advice is welcome,
    Justin

  2. #2
    Hi, Justin - welcome to the forum!

    Your first step should be to look around this forum a bit, where you will find lots of opinions and descriptions of the characteristics of the various brands you mention.

    I've played every horn you mention, and I chose to play an Adams. It has the best intonation (without a trigger), outstanding response, and a fine, singing tone quality, which I have always insisted on.

    In my opinion, there is no horn made today that can beat the 967 in putting out a quality tone. However, having played a 967 for years, I can say that many of today's horns can offer advantages. Also, the 967 is not as good in chamber settings as with large ensembles; that's one thing that moved me away from Besson and toward the Sterling in 1990.

    But if you are mostly playing in band all the time, a 967 is great, assuming you don't mind using alternate fingerings for the 6th partial. The only stuffiness complaint I had was when in the 4th-valve compensating range. I did not find the high D particularly troublesome, although some horns are a little better. That is to say, most of them stink on this note. When premiering the piece Summit at ITEC 2010, I was on stage with Mead, Bowman, Corwell, and Mueller. All of us agreed that a high D is troublesome. You will often see some/all of these players using 2 on that note to make it work.

    If your repair tech has a scope he might be able to examine the bore to see if there are some bad solder joints that could cause stuffiness. The valves could also be misaligned.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
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    10
    Hello,
    I use a Mack brass MACK-EU1150. It is a Chinese clone of the Yamaha 842 and its amazing. Its 1000 dollars and it plays better than the 842. The tone quality is amazing, but if you get this horn, make sure you dont use the mouthpiece it comes with. Other than that, its an amazing horn, with 3+1 valves and very affordable. The site is mackbrass.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
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    10
    I'm sorry, I meant clone of 642

  5. #5
    Unless you're just itching for a new euph, I'd get the 967 looked at before giving up on it. That's a great horn from a great year!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    El Paso, Texas
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    So after being leak tested, we found out that my valves are all leaking a bit, some more than others. They said it would likely cost around $3000 for redone valves and a replating after all the work, estimated 3-4 months for all the work to be completed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jrpetty24 View Post
    So after being leak tested, we found out that my valves are all leaking a bit, some more than others.
    Did they give you any point of reference other than "a bit"? Is it leaking more than most horns of similar age that are in good shape overall?

    ALL valves leak, because they have to be able to move freely, but well-oiled valves should not leak enough to cause any trouble. If you liberally oil all 4 valves (the 4th is important) does the stuffiness seem better? If so that might point to excessive leaking in the valves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jrpetty24 View Post
    ...it would likely cost around $3000 for redone valves and a replating after all the work...
    There are some intangibles involved, but I would not advise spending that much on that horn.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    El Paso, Texas
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    383
    They did not give me a relative comparison, but from what I saw myself, the bubbles coming out of the bottom of the valves in a fairly constant flow. They were all about pea sized bubbles. Does that help or still a little vague?

  9. The $3000 estimate sounds about right to me. I had my 1980 Sovereign 967 rebuilt (Anderson replating, etc.) around 10 years ago for about $1700. It was originally a lacquer horn I purchased new for $1500. The total investment of just over $3200 over a 25 year period I owned it was about what I sold it for. Putting $3000 into a used Sovereign now seems pretty steep given that you can buy a near new one on the used market for $4200 - $4500.

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    El Paso, Texas
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    383
    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    Putting $3000 into a used Sovereign now seems pretty steep given that you can buy a near new one on the used market for $4200 - $4500.

    Doug
    I would agree, the technicians said that assuming the repairs completely fixed the issue I could get that value back in the sale price, but like you said most people would just get a new horn with money instead.

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