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Thread: FS: Ols Ambassador 4-Valve Euphonium - Straight Bell - Nice Condition!

  1. Hey Folks, I received this one a couple of weeks ago, and have certainly had a few issues come my way. First off, the horn was sold without a case, and let's just say that the seller had never shipped an instrument bigger than a cornet before, and the condition it arrived in reflected that lack of experience. The bell was severely crumpled. I initially thought to send the horn back and ask for a refund, but the seller profusely apologized and agreed to pick up the tab in its entirety for repair. He immediately refunded part of the purchase price and I got the instrument back from repair shop on Monday. They rolled out the dents very nicely. This was not a pristine horn to begin with, and I must say that I would have to look very hard to find any evidence of damage. When I break out my brand new Wessex euphonium gig bag that I've not used yet, I found it doesn't fit! These American style front action euphs are apparently longer than the British style top action horns by at least 2-3 inches. I returned it to Wessex, and they suggested their compact tuba bag in exchange. I don't think length will be too much of a problem, but they acknowledged that it would probably require some amount of padding, etc. If this would be my primary horn, I don't think I would be satisfied with that, but for a horn I plan to use fairly sparingly, it is probably okay. What do you think?


    So, how does it play? Very well in my opinion. This horn is just like the 3-valve bell front Ambassador that I played in middle/high school. Overall, definitely easier to play than the compensating horns. No, it doesn't have as broad of a sound and richness of tone and it still would not handle a solid fortissimo and up as well as the compensating instruments, but as an amateur how often would you really need that? As an amateur, only 2 obvious situations come to mind: First, brass bands will require a solid fortissimo quite often (but I'm playing baritone now, and that doesn't affect me now per se), and secondly, whenever I would play a euphonium solo in church. Other than those situations, why wouldn't I want to make my life easier?

    Only one downside about this horn's playability and I'd like feedback on how to correct it....it plays FLAT...15-20 cents flat across most of the range except the 2nd line (bass clef) Bb partial which is even worse. And it seems that the mouthpiece I'm using (a G&W Carbonaria) has nothing to do with it, as I've tried a more traditional cup size, my Doug Elliott F-cup (like a 6.5 AL) in the horn...and with the exception of that Bb partial (which brought the pitch up to only 20 cents flat) it did not help the situation at all, and only made the tone more trombone like. Any other suggestions? A fairly radical one to try would be to have the tuning slide cut, but I'd like to avoid that if there is anything else worth trying. Aside from the flat pitch, the horn's intonation seems quite good.

  2. #12
    As far as a case, Altieri can provide one that will fit. They do custom sizes, but I suspect that have a "template" in place for a horn like this one.

    Despite the cup size of the DE mouthpiece, how is the extension from the horn? If it sticks out to far it will wreak havoc with pitch. If possible try to borrow a standard, small-shank Bach mouthpiece like a 7C or 6-1/2AL (no larger). ALSO, be really sure you have the horn warmed up. It can actually be tricky in the Summer when you are in air conditioning.

    While the horn looks very nice, it might be good to take a look inside all the slides and ports you can see to tell if it is clean inside. If not, then a thorough cleaning would be a great next step!

    Low Bb can be flat on the American horns sometimes, so that in itself is not necessarily unusual.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,262
    Sorry to hear about the damage to the horn, but glad to hear the seller stepped up to pay for repair. Don't know what to suggest about fixing a flat across-the-board horn except for shortening slides as you mentioned already, but I know there are gig bags for American euphoniums... either for bent bell or upright bell. I know that these horns are longer at about 31" instead of 27". I think Alteri makes a bag for these but not sure.
    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

  4. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Despite the cup size of the DE mouthpiece, how is the extension from the horn? If it sticks out to far it will wreak havoc with pitch. If possible try to borrow a standard, small-shank Bach mouthpiece like a 7C or 6-1/2AL (no larger). ALSO, be really sure you have the horn warmed up. It can actually be tricky in the Summer when you are in air conditioning.

    While the horn looks very nice, it might be good to take a look inside all the slides and ports you can see to tell if it is clean inside. If not, then a thorough cleaning would be a great next step!

    Low Bb can be flat on the American horns sometimes, so that in itself is not necessarily unusual.
    Thanks much Dave. Yes, the 2 small shank mouthpieces I tried (the Doug Elliott and the G&W) did stick out further in the receiver compared to my bigger horns (much more so than my English baritones also). I have a Kelly 6.5 AL that I'll try as well.

    Did I read somewhere that some repairmen (maybe even Doug Elliott) have reamed out receivers to have better seating of the mouthpiece?

    And I was playing in my basement storage room which is the coldest room in our house when the AC is on. So you might be on to something there. My bigger horns require me to push in just a touch when I play there.

    Glad to hear that the flatness of that low Bb is not unusual with American horns. The flatness appears to be turned up further in that partial.

    I haven't given the horn a bath, but the pistons and tuning slides appear to be clean internally. A bath probably wouldn't hurt...who knows what may have gotten lodged in there?
    Last edited by euphdude; 07-23-2015 at 08:58 AM.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by euphdude View Post

    it plays FLAT
    Great idea to leak test the horn. First, a visual on the obvious like the spit valves (alignment, corks, etc). Then a quick search through the forum archives where Gary has described an excellent and easy method for leak testing the whole deal!
    Bob Tampa FL USA
    Euph -- 1984 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign 967 / 1978 Besson NS 767 / Early 90s Sterling MP: 4AL and GW Carbonaria
    Tuba -- 2014 Wisemann 900 CC / 2013 Mack 410 MP: Blokepiece Symphony American Shank and 33.2 #2 Rim

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by euphdude View Post
    Did I read somewhere that some repairmen (maybe even Doug Elliott) have reamed out receivers to have better seating of the mouthpiece?
    While that can be done, it is less risky to have the shank of the mouthpiece turned down.

    Kudos to tampaworth for mentioning a leak test. I should have suggested that.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  7. Also to all of the above, these older American baritones do NOT play well with modern large (Wick 4-ish) euphonium mouthpieces. I use a bach 6.5AL or at most a 5G on my Conn 24i. Even then, with the 5G, the tuning slide is ALL the way in.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

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