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Thread: GENERAL: Bell damage on my Besson

  1. GENERAL: Bell damage on my Besson

    While teaching a high school clinic, one of the students stepped very firmly on the bell of my Euphonium when I had it sitting on the ground. It left a very prominent dent, firmly bending a section near the edge of the bell. I know of a fantastic instrument repair tech in the Chicago area who I will be taking my Euphonium to. Out of all of the euphoniums that I've owned, I have never had any kind of bell damage, like so I'm very unfamiliar with the potential outcomes, post-repair. For those of your who have dealt with bell damage on your instrument, what was the outcome after it was repaired? Did it leave a noticeable mark on the bell? Was it as good as new? Did the instrument play any differently? Thanks in advance for your input.

    Also, I know that this isn't specifically about repair shops, but I'm just hoping for some input so I know what to expect after the instrument is repaired. Thanks!
    Gregory E. Lopes
    Euphonium player
    US Navy Band Great Lakes
    US Navy Music Program, 2009-Present

    Besson Prestige 2052

  2. #2
    As an owner of many, many top end euphoniums over 50 years, a few suggestions, and I am truly sorry your horn was damaged.

    Never put your euphonium on the floor on its bell, ever, period. Get a stand like the K&M (German made) where your horn sits in the stand resting on the bottom bow with arms on both sides of the horn to secure it. Great stand. Never leave your horn unattended (out of sight), even on the stand. If you cannot physically eyeball it 100% of the time, put it in the case and close the case. I know, easy to say after the fact, but these are rules I have been living with for many years with good outcomes - I have never experienced any damage to any of my euphoniums outside of the times I shipped my horn or flew with it (which I don't do anymore).

    Good luck with the repair. I hope it turns out great!
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. Thanks for the advice... I have a K&M Euph stand, but it was sitting at home since I don't usually pack it up and take it with me when I travel for work. I guess I will be changing that policy. I also very rarely put my Euph down on its bell... But I guess that "very rarely" will now turn into "never."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Plus bell-down lets all sorts of gunk settle into the top felts.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  5. I would be grateful if we could stick to the topic at hand. While I appreciate the subtle pieces of "advice", I'm looking more for personal experiences with how someone's horn came out after having the bell repaired. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    It sounds to me like the bell having been stepped on probably caused a crease near the rim and a bit higher. This is pretty easily repaired by a skilled brass repair tech. They roll it out with proper tools and there shouldn't be any effect on the sound afterwards. There will probably be a bit of a scar showing some prior damage to the brass. If the horn is silver plated (like shown in avatar), this should be minor.

    Good luck with the repair.
    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

  7. Does it sound different now with the bell crease?

  8. #8
    Without seeing it, no one can say what the likeliest outcome is. Truth be told, few of us are qualified to make that call anyway.

    But you are asking for personal experience and I think a couple folks here have had crinkled bells. They may still chime in. One of my students had a gig bag mishap and dropped his horn, bell first, on the floor. He had it repaired by Lee Stoffer in Iowa. I just saw him again last week for a lesson and was surprised at how good the horn looks. You CAN tell work was done if you are close enough to it, but to the casual observer it would probably be a non-story.

    Your profile pic shows a silver horn. If that is correct, you're a little better off. Lacquer seems to be a bit wrinkled all on its own and may remain fuzzy-looking even if the underlying metal is nicely straightened. With silver you have a better shot at smoothness.

    If you bend metal far enough it can develop a surface crack. If that happens, I suspect repair will be more difficult.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  9. #9
    My horn, in it's gig bag, fell out of the back of a car when the hatch was lifted. Left a pretty large and complex crinkle, but the bends were not "acute" and the bead was unaffected. Aaron Beck of Beck BrassWorks rolled it out with very good results. It is unnoticeable unless you look very carefully at surface reflections in the area between the bell and top bow. He also ensured that the bell and bead were in the proper plane. The finish on my horn is silver plate.


  10. The cosmetic damage to the finish post-repair is dependent upon the amount and type of damage. Pretty much any dent, wrinkle or crease can be removed. However, the "sharpness" of the bend, as noted earlier, affects not only the metal in terms of possible cracking, but also how much rolling and burnishing must be done to remove the dent or crease. This use of tools is what cause problems with the surface finish. There are many ways to protect the finish while burnishing including adhesive tapes and sheets of Teflon between the tool and the horn. Even with those protective measures, there will be damage to the finish from both the metal damage and the repair of the metal damage. Extremely severe damage like a twisting crush of a bell or flattening of a tube requires so much movement of the metal that failure of the metal due to fatigue is very possible (this is like when you bend a paperclip back and forth until it simply breaks). In these instances, the metal "work hardens" and must be annealed periodically to prevent it from cracking. Annealing is done by applying heat, typically with a propane torch, until the hardness is lessened. This is not like heating iron until it is soft when blacksmithing. It is heating the brass to change the hardness due to the crystal structure of the metal. This application of heat pretty much destroys a lacquer finish by the way.
    Weril H980 euph
    Besson 4v comp euph 314xxx
    Besson 3v comp euph 455xxx
    King 3v bari. 20xxx
    King 4v double-bell euph 50xxx
    Conn 5v double-bell euph 355xxx
    Buescher 3+1 double-bell euph 285xxx
    Olds bell-front 3v bari
    Holton alto horn
    Holton 3v tuba
    Belleville Helicon
    Some of the performances of the Mid-Shore Community Band:

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