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Thread: We bought another horn.

  1. #1

    Red face We bought another horn.

    I am a tuba player and I play a big old Yamaha YBB321 (I miss my B&S PT-3S sometimes, but I like playing Bb better than C). I also dabble on euphonium and have for years. My son is fine euphonium player and he just started high school. We were having issues with getting his horn home since I got a new job (It's been a true blessing for our family, but I can't pick him up from school!). Bringing the euph on the bus was pretty annoying and his case wasn't the greatest, so the wear and tear on it was a concern to me. If our family had another euphonium, we could play duets and generally have more fun with music at home.

    My son, Logan, was saving his money to get another instrument. We knew it would be a long time before he had enough for an Adams (his dream horn after attending MWRTEC), so with a little help from the sale of my late grandfather's home and my mother pitching in to help pay for half of it, we decided to get another horn now. Originally, we would just get another Mack, but this time in Silver. After reading through this thread, we decided to look at Wessex. My son had always wanted a solver horn with gold trim, and the small differences (leadpipe angle, water key on second valve and the floating leadpipe) made it seem like a good idea to spend a little extra and purchase a Wessex for our horn which will live at home. Of course, we will have to get him another Denis Wick 4AL (but this one in gold, already ordered from DF Music) so he can have a horn for school and a horn for home, but that just makes Christmas shopping all that much easier. We're all excited and my flute-player wife is even going to get her long overdue euphonium lessons so she can start playing with the rest of the low brass family at Tuba Christmas! (my oldest son plays trombone)

    I can't wait to let you all know how the instrument is. This forum has been an incredible resource. I can't thank Mr. Werden, the moderators and the contributors enough.
    I play a Wessex Prague
    aka “Pocket Kaiser”
    Stofer Geib Mouthpiece

    My Son plays
    Mack Brass Compensating Euphonium
    Wessex Dolce Compensating Euphonium
    Doug Elliott EUPH SN103, I, I9

  2. #2
    Congrats on the new horn! Look forward to hearing about how it plays. That will be great to be able to play duets and enjoy music together!
    John 3:16

    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  3. #3
    OK - quick first impressions. Similar to my experience buying from Mack Brass, the communication was excellent, and the horn arrived in great shape. It was packed well.

    There is definitely a difference between this horn and our Mack Brass. The angle of the leadpipe is not incredibly different, but it's noticeably better. The horn playing position is more comfortable; the 4th-valve side of the horn is further away from the body. My son is able to play standing up much easier now, which will serve him well. The floating leadpipe is really noticeable when playing. The feedback of the horn is different than the Mack. It's slightly more responsive and feels easier to play. The low register on this thing is amazing. So easy. I like the mouthpiece, my son still prefers the 4AL to the Wessex 5G, but it's a good mouthpiece.

    The valves feel very nice. They're noticeably better than the Mack valves when we got it. Still evaluating the springs. We got new springs from the horn guys, and it made those Mack brass valves work very well. Not sure if we'll need them for this horn. The case is lighter, but doesn't have backpack straps or wheels. My son says he won't need it since the case is so light. It's got a red fuzzy lining that really sets off the horn. It has the Wessex name and logo on it. It came with a cooll Wessex baseball cap, pencils, and silver polishing cloth. I came with a felt plug for the bell for when it's inside the case. Another nice touch I wasn't expecting.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It plays great. It feels more like an old Besson than the Yamaha. I don't know exactly if it's the silver or the leadpipe change, but it has a really clear tone to it.

    OK - so anyhow so far it's all positive. Intonation is good, consistent with what the Mack was. One difference was that on the Mack, the tuning slide didn't need to move much at all to be in tune, which worried me a bit, but the Wessex is in tune with the slide out half an inch. Much better - room to adjust. First and second valves, though, didn't need to come out at all. Not a huge concern for me on the second, but I wish the first had some leeway. The 4th is more in tune on the low C than the Mack (C and F were close to being in tune on the Wessex, while you could only have one in tune or the other on the Mack.

    All in all, the Wessex and Mack horns are both fantastic. The details of the Wessex are great. The valve caps are slightly better. The water key on all the valves is nice. The Griffin logo looks nice on the bell, while the Mack logo is very pedestrian. Getting the hat and pencils was a nice touch. It does feel a bit more prestigious to have a Wessex. I must say, the experience was great from both places, but if you want that little bit more, Wessex is the place to go. When we bought the Mack, it was perfect for us and our situation. We paid $795 for a lacquer horn and it was a huge risk and a huge financial strain, but he needed a euphonium. Now, he had saved money and with a little help, we were able to get him the silver horn he wanted with a little more fanciness thrown in. I felt it was much lower of a risk for us this time, so I think when we were really struggling financially, the silver and the extras would have felt unnecessary.

    in conclusion, so far so good. It's a really good horn. I am pleased with it.

    I am glad we have both horns, they're both great. I can't wait to play together with him!
    I play a Wessex Prague
    aka “Pocket Kaiser”
    Stofer Geib Mouthpiece

    My Son plays
    Mack Brass Compensating Euphonium
    Wessex Dolce Compensating Euphonium
    Doug Elliott EUPH SN103, I, I9

  4. Great review! This is the first one I remember reading by someone who owns both horns and can really compare the two. Very helpful. Congrats to you and your son on the new horn!

  5. #5
    Thanks for the review. Very glad to hear that you are happy. I have purchased some trombones from Wessex and are awaiting their arrival. The service has been great just as you mention. Happy playing!
    John 3:16

    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  6. #6
    Thoughts from my son - The low register is so clear and easy on this horn. He can play down to a low Db below the pedal Bb with relative ease. It sounds better in the low register than his Mack. The high register seems the same.
    I play a Wessex Prague
    aka “Pocket Kaiser”
    Stofer Geib Mouthpiece

    My Son plays
    Mack Brass Compensating Euphonium
    Wessex Dolce Compensating Euphonium
    Doug Elliott EUPH SN103, I, I9

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NYC metro area
    Posts
    377
    Quote Originally Posted by jakewillis View Post
    Thoughts from my son - The low register is so clear and easy on this horn. He can play down to a low Db below the pedal Bb with relative ease. It sounds better in the low register than his Mack. The high register seems the same.
    I'm interested to know if you've compared the compensating range intonation on the two horns. On my Mack Brass horn, I have the fourth valve tuned so that F3 (played with the fourth valve) and C3 are in tune, but F2 is slightly sharp, as are the rest of notes in the compensating range.
    Last edited by dsurkin; 12-04-2015 at 08:22 AM. Reason: correct missing words
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  8. #8
    I'll have him check it out this weekend when we have both horns at home. I do know that there is a difference with the fourth valve tuning between the horns. I also have to remember which note is F2 and which is F3!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NYC metro area
    Posts
    377
    Quote Originally Posted by jakewillis View Post
    I'll have him check it out this weekend when we have both horns at home. I do know that there is a difference with the fourth valve tuning between the horns. I also have to remember which note is F2 and which is F3!
    Middle C is C4. I am, of course, referring to concert pitch. So F3 is the second line from the top on bass clef, and F2 is one octave below that.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  10. #10
    We have both horns at home now so I forced my son to do a little intonation testing between horns.

    The 4th slide on both instruments is basically the same - the F2 and F3 were slightly sharp while the C3 was slightly flat. I was surprised since I remember the Mack always being low on C3 with the 4th.

    Anyhow - the compensating range on the Mack was all over the place, but my tuner doesn't pick up low frequencies that well, and my son wasn't really listening to what I had told him I was trying to measure. Such is life with 14-year-olds, and after some correction, I decided it wasn't a battle I needed to choose tonight. I basically had one time through the scale Bb3 to Bb2 to try to follow the tuner as he played.

    The Wessex actually was a bit flat (20 to 30 cents) through the entire compensating range, so I think that is something which can be addressed over time with practice. He's only had the horn for a short time, so I am sure he'll spend more time working on intonation with his teacher in the next coming weeks.

    I'll try to do more soon when it's not after a really long weekend.

    What I will say with certainty is that the tone quality of the compensating range of the Wessex is noticeably better than the Mack. It seems like the Mack is fighting it when he plays that low and the Wessex wants to show off it's range.
    I play a Wessex Prague
    aka “Pocket Kaiser”
    Stofer Geib Mouthpiece

    My Son plays
    Mack Brass Compensating Euphonium
    Wessex Dolce Compensating Euphonium
    Doug Elliott EUPH SN103, I, I9

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