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Thread: Lotto-era Sovereign receiver/lead pipe woes. Advice?

  1. Lotto-era Sovereign receiver/lead pipe woes. Advice?

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    I have played a Besson 700-series intermediate horn for about 15 years, and decided to make the leap into a pro-level horn. I got a pretty good deal on a relatively new Besson Sovereign 967, but I'm having problems with the lead-pipe or receiver.

    Both my horns are large bore and I have 2 Schilke mouthpieces and a Bach mouth piece and have tried them in an older 967 that belongs to a colleague and they fit properly. All three fit my 700-series properly, as well.

    But in my 967, it's as though the tip of the shanks (this problem occurs with all three of my mouthpieces) are interfered with by the venturi so that the mouthpieces stick out of the horn about a 3/8" farther than on the other horns. The three problems this is causing me is that I have to push the main tuning slide in somewhat farther, sometimes all the way; the mouthpiece shank doesn't seat completely at the rim of the receiver (it's not very obvious to see unless you're looking for it. It appears from just a few feet away to be seated, but it isn't -- you can 'rock' the mouthpiece back and forth ever so slightly like a 'loose tooth.' When doing this you can see a bead of fluid being pinched out between the shank and the receiver rim); and finally, the mouthpiece is prone to dropping out of the receiver.

    I called Besson, and kinda got an "anything before 2006 isn't our problem" attitude, however I wasn't demanding any warranty-repair work. I had hoped they might be open to letting me pay them to replace the lead-pipe and/or receiver, but I got the feeling that they aren't interested.

    The suggestions Besson made was to replace the receiver, or replace the lead-pipe/receiver assembly. I asked about modifying the mouthpiece shanks and he mentioned that it could mess up the horn's intonation.

    I called the repair shop that I bought the horn at and they suggested first trying to de-solder, move out (making nominal horn length longer) and re-soldering it so the distance between the receiver rim and the venturi is increased.

    Now I've been playing Euph since I was in High School, and I'm well into my middle ages now. I keep hearing references to the 'intonation of the horn' and elaborate tuning setups, but I've never fully understood what all this means. I just adjust the main slide until the open overtone series is in-tune, and then pull out the 1st slide just a touch so the middle "G" is correct. I have just lipped everything else to the correct place and I never get complaints from anyone about intonation. Because of this, I'm not sure what way the intonation of the horn can be affected such that a main tuning slide adjustment can't correct it. I suppose if I have to push-in all the way on the main after the receiver is moved (if I go that route), that I could have the main tuning loop chopped to compensate.

    I'm not sure which way to go with the repair, and what the ramification of these options are.

  2. #2
    easiest thing to do would be to experiment with a tech on trimming the end of your mouthpiece stem shorter so it doesn't bottom out on the end of the leadpipe. Not reversible if you go too far though. And then the mouthpiece might not work as well on another instrument.

    It might also be that the receiver is not perfectly round and it is not the end of the leadpipe that is causing the problem. Perhaps fashion some sort of depth gauge and figure out exactly how far in the leadpipe end is? Maybe compare that against someone else's known good instrument?

    I don't like your repair shop's idea of moving the receiver out as it would mess with the ergonomics of the instrument. You could have a tech remove the receiver and see if the end of the leadpipe could be trimmed a bit shorter and then expanded a bit to fit and reassembled. I would also check that the receiver is good. I would seek out a high end tech with a reputation for meticulous work for this sort of thing, though. It's not something I would just bring to whoever works in the back of the local music store!

    Replacing with a leadpipe and receiver from a new instrument isn't a terrible idea, but Besson/Buffet Crampon is notoriously difficult to get parts from.

    I can tell you that this problem isn't exclusive to lottery-era Bessons... I had an early 1990s Sovereign where the leadpipe did not line up straight in the receiver at all. While in my case it didn't mean that the mouthpiece was bottoming out on the end of the leadpipe, it was obviously very sloppy work that affected the way the instrument played in a big way!
    Last edited by bbocaner; 05-12-2015 at 05:10 PM.

  3. In addition to Barry's comments, I would add that a receiver can be replaced without replacing the leadpipe. I would NOT cut the mouthpiece shanks, but instead get a new receiver that has a proper end gap from the venturi to the end of the mouthpiece shank. Any York or newish (1990's or newer) Besson receiver should work.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  4. Some mouthpieces, like the Bach megatones, come with a short shank option -- sort of like a mouthpiece shank cut at the factory.
    Harry Nuttall

    Bach Stradivarius New York model 8II tenor trombone #28xx
    Besson New Standard #438xxx
    Besson "Prototype" euphonium #510xx
    Conn 30I Wonderphone double-belled euphonium #327xxx
    Hawkes & Son Excelsior Sonorous #534xx
    Holton Revelation euphonium #753xx
    Holton Revelation euphonium #797xx

  5. #5
    I have had my mouthpiece shanks trimmed for the mouthpieces I use on euphonium and baritone. It allows you to fine tune the gap to get the instrument playing its best. I see this as a more elegant solution than the adjustable gap receiver that the Adams has. It helps if you use a modular mouthpiece so you can sacrifice a shank to finding the best gap without having to sacrifice a whole mouthpiece when you reach the point that it starts getting worse rather than better!

    That's not the first thing I would do here though, because I don't like the idea of changing a standard mouthpiece to something weird just to match an instrument that's not quite right. It would probably work just fine though (assuming the receiver is true and that the depth of the leadpipe is actually the big problem) and would be by far the cheapest way to deal with this.

    I would try to do some very gentle feeling around with a screwdriver and measure exactly how deep the start of the leadpipe really is, and then compare that against the insertion marks on your mouthpiece. Make sure it really is the end of the leadpipe that you are bottoming out on rather than some other defect with the receiver.
    Last edited by bbocaner; 05-12-2015 at 05:01 PM.

  6. I'm certain I'm not hitting the lead pipe... at least, not if the lead pipe is that copper-bronze colored edge in the first photo.

    Is the venturi part of the lead pipe, or is it part of the receiver?

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    MP next to "C" cell for reference.

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    MP in my 700 series.

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    MP in 700 series with post-it stuck right where MP meets receiver rim.

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    MP in 967 with post-it in same place (so you can see how much farther the MP sticks out)

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    MP in 967 with post-it removed. Look closely and you can see the "ring" on the shank where my other horn's receiver normally meets the MP.

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    Closer view.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_3767.JPG  

  7. #7
    The venturi is in the leadpipe, and is an inch or so down the way, not near the receiver at all. It is not unusual to call the whole leadpipe a "venturi" though. So if you are positive that the end of the leadpipe (yes, the brass-colored thing you see through the receiver) is not what's interfering, then it sounds like the receiver is damaged or perhaps it has some debris in it. Try cleaning it (use a stiff nylon brush and some dish soap, and if that doesn't work, get a new one. You can order one here:

    You'll have to have it silver plated somewhere.
    Last edited by bbocaner; 05-13-2015 at 09:42 AM.

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    The shop removed my receiver and filed it out and reinstalled it. They said there was a burr that was causing the MP to no go in all the way. After the work, the MP goes much farther into the receiver, but I think the MP still sticks out about 2mm farther than it does on my other euphonium. The MP definitely stays in the receiver much better than before.

    But after a night's playing, when I removed the MP, I noticed some highly polished lines (grooves) in the tip of the shank. They appear on the attached photo between the red arrows.
    I guess this is a fundamental question, but how is a MP supposed to seat in a receiver? Is it supposed to only touch the mouth of the receiver leaving a gap between the shank and inside wall of the receiver as the shank progresses into the receiver, OR is the entire depth of the MP shank supposed to contact the inside wall of the receiver?

    In my picture, it appears that only the tip of the shank is contacting deep inside of the receiver, leaving a slight gap between the shank and the inside of the receiver from about ⅜" from the tip of the shank all the way up to the mouth of the receiver.

    I'm wondering if I should punt on fixing this receiver and just get a new one at this point, or if what I'm seeing is completely normal (or perhaps I should say, "correct").

    The official Besson part number is STD1031C-04 and can be requested in silver or for a lacquer horn, which would save me from finding someone to electroplate a receiver from dawkes, but I'm unable to locate one for sale.
    Besson 700 Series
    Besson 967


  9. #9
    It took me three years to get a full set of regular consumable parts (felts, rubber spring dampers, water key corks, etc) from Buffet Crampon for my 2056 baritone and 2052 euphonium, so a special part like a receiver might take forever. Plus, your instrument is slightly different than the new German-made ones and there's no guarantee the receiver would be exactly the same. You might be able to get away with using a Yamaha or other brand receiver.

    There are variations on the exact depth from model to model, but typically the mouthpiece should go in precisely one inch. I have seen, for example, some of the older Besson baritones are significantly less than that.

    The mouthpiece stem is supposed to contact the receiver all the way down. It sounds like in getting rid of the "burr" in your receiver they left some sharp edges which are scratching your mouthpiece. If you had an old sacrificial mouthpiece to insert a few times and take the brunt of the scratching it might wear down.

  10. Promising results in the Great Taper Caper.

    That's what I kept that old Bach 6 AL around for!

    Actually, the tarnish on the old mouthpiece helped to make it more evident what was going on.
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    By the looks of it, A decent area of the taper is making contact At least, much more that I had originally thought. Certainly, the old mouthpiece is just as likely to have some flaws in it's shank taper as the receiver. But I liked seeing that more than just the " at the tip was making contact.

    I had removed my first valve, and spun the old mouthpiece in the receiver for several minutes. Then I flushed the lead pipe with some warm water before reinstalling the valve. I didn't want any errant filings to get into my piston and scar the valve body or piston.
    Besson 700 Series
    Besson 967


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