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Thread: Adams bell option questions

  1. #1

    Adams bell option questions

    I have some questions about the various combinations of customisations that appear on the Adams website. It looks like i'm going to be able to test play a E1 and a E3 (not too many about in the UK). The E1 will have a 0.60 Sterling Bell and the E3 a 0.70 brass bell (I assume that's yellow brass).

    So my questions:

    1. Will all E1's sound and respond more closely to each other than to an E3 with the same bell spec (Example - will a E1 with a 0.70 yellow brass bell be closer in sound and response to a E3 with a 0.70 yellow brass bell or a E1 with a 0.60 SS bell)?

    2. I'm assuming that, in general, the thinner the bell the brighter the sound and quicker the response?

    3. If my assumption in my second question is correct what makes the bigger difference to the sound the bell thickness or bell material or are these two independent things that change the sound and response in different ways?

    4. The Adams website states "Sterling silver is a very versatile material but also much more dependent on the individualís particular ability level. Therefore we recommend this bell option for the serious amateur or professional." Why? If you lack ability with this bell option how would this manifest itself?

    5. My pre-conceptions before testing make me think that a E3 with a red brass bell would be the closest in sound to a British Euphonium (York, Besson or Stirling), does this sound like a reasonable assumption?

    Thanks for any responses

  2. #2
    1. hard to say because they are different in different ways.
    2. yes
    3. I think the thickness makes a bigger difference than material, which is more subtle
    4. what I find about the sterling bell is that it really gives a very interesting and colorful sound when you push it, but it sounds a little bit dead and dull when you don't. So I think what they're saying is that it responds well to players that use a certain amount of intensity even with soft playing. I like the sparkle, but I think it also lacks some of the clarity and consistency of articulation that the yellow brass bell has, so it's not my favorite.
    5. besson and york have always had yellow brass bells. Red brass is a very popular option on Sterlings. I think heavyish yellow brass is probably the most classic "british" option.
    --
    Barry

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    3. If my assumption in my second question is correct what makes the bigger difference to the sound the bell thickness or bell material or are these two independent things that change the sound and response in different ways?
    Keep in mind that we tend to use the phrase "bell thickness" when in reality the thickness of Adams horns is uniform throughout. So if you go for a .70 bell, you are getting .70 on the rest of the horn as well. I believe Adams would build a horn with a different material on the bell, as long as it's the same thickness.

    I agree with Barry that thickness makes a greater difference overall, but material and thickness both matter. I tested a .50 in red brass that had more "substance" to its sound that a comparable .50 would in yellow brass. However, both examples of the .50 are more responsive than the heavier horns.

    Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    4. The Adams website states "Sterling silver is a very versatile material but also much more dependent on the individualís particular ability level. Therefore we recommend this bell option for the serious amateur or professional." Why? If you lack ability with this bell option how would this manifest itself?
    This is tough to answer, but... For one thing, the ss bell is made of a more dense metal, and can withstand more power. It also is more capable of color variations when you want. But that takes more maturity in the player's concept and ability to deliver the mental concept through the horn.

    Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    5. My pre-conceptions before testing make me think that a E3 with a red brass bell would be the closest in sound to a British Euphonium (York, Besson or Stirling), does this sound like a reasonable assumption?
    The E3 in general is the best choice for getting "British" if you want. On either a Sterling or Adams, red brass adds a little more zing to the sound at the expense of a little smoothness in sound. When I played Sterling I liked both bell choices, but I always chose to buy the red bell. That got me the more lively character I wanted.
    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

  4. #4
    An adams dealer told me in the last few days that the Sterling Silver bell provides more of a "covered" sound. Typically, I wouldn't use that as a positive adjective, but I'm not sure what his aesthetic is.

    Anyone that has played multiple Adams horns, am I correct in thinking the E3, probably with a SS bell, would be the horn to go to for a nice compromise between the "german" sounds one might want in a wind band, and the "british" sounds one might want in a brass band?

    It's really interesting to me that many of the dealers seem to lack the vocabulary to adequately discuss the qualities of some of these horns. I suppose that's a function of the number of options and the availability, though.

    Mike

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    ...This is tough to answer, but... For one thing, the ss bell is made of a more dense metal, and can withstand more power. It also is more capable of color variations when you want. But that takes more maturity in the player's concept and ability to deliver the mental concept through the horn...
    Dave's answer about the SS bell being more for the pro or serious amateur above.

    I agree with this. I think it does take a seasoned and musically mature player to get the full benefit of a SS bell. I can play my horn with a lot of power, and it won't break up. Some people have characterized the sound of SS bells/horns as dull when soft, but alive with sparkle and overtones when pushed (higher volumes). I agree with the alive part, but I also can make my horn sound good at soft levels. When I am "on", my horn literally sings gloriously at all volume levels, high and low and in between. I can play notes in the low and pedal range better than ever before on any other horn, including the Miraphone M5050 which played low notes great. I feel the notes resonating through the horn, it is like the vibrations are a part of the horn and my body. I am not sure how much that last statement has to do with the SS bell or just the overall horn, metal, gauge in general.

    After having my E3 for almost a year now, I am still learning things about it and how to properly play and get the most from it. I have not ever played a horn that I like better.
    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
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

  6. #6
    So I got to try some Adams Euphoniums over the weekend, to sum up they aren't for me but I can see why people that like them really like them, they can all be played very nicely. Below is how I found them to play (and that's part of the issue I had with them - I just don't think I have the ability to get the best from them).

    E2 Selected
    Sound was too unfocused and tuba like for me from my position behind the mouthpiece but my wife listening said it sounded fine and was close to my York Eminence. What actually killed this as an option was that I kept running out of air, it just felt too big for me or maybe just too open.

    E3 0.7 Yellow Brass no trigger
    Sounded really similar to a Besson sovereign (but with great intonation) at low volumes and then from (my) mf upwards in volume just got better and sang beautifully. The response was really really good, almost Yamaha Neo like (I tested one earlier in the day). What killed this as an option was that the high range was just to difficult for me (similar to a Besson Sovereign or a Geneva Symphony), if I was a better player this would of been right up there in my considerations.

    E1 0.6 with SS bell no trigger (it was a custom because it had a brushed finish, in all other ways I believe it was the selected spec)
    My favourite. With maximum concentration I could make this sound like my York but (and it's hard to describe the sound) with added sparkle right across the dynamic range. Response was similar to the E3, Intonation was great, Ease of playing in the high register was only second to a Yamaha Neo out of the myriad of instruments I've tested recently. The instrument was light and easy to hold. The only thing I didn't like was the oversized slippy valve tops that my greasy fingers kept slipping off. However my own lack of ability led me to discount this, essentially when the music I was using to test with got harder and my concentration on the sound waned I lost the sparkle. My wife actually says that to her she couldn't hear it, but from behind the mouthpiece that's what it sounded like to me and so I felt like the tone of the instrument was changing on me all the time and found it really disconcerting. I guess that, for me, this is why the website says "Sterling silver is a very versatile material but also much more dependent on the individualís particular ability level. Therefore we recommend this bell option for the serious amateur or professional."

    P.s. I tested all three with a tuner and didn't have an issue that some have pointed out with flatness (even from cold). I ended up pulling out the main tuning slide about 1/2" on both the E1 and E3 which is slightly less than the 3/4" i usual end up with on most Euphoniums.
    Last edited by EuphoJon; 05-07-2017 at 07:44 PM.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the detailed review! Most of what you observed falls into the legitimate area of personal preference, which I might see as one's comfort level with an instrument's personality. But one thing is easily solved! (Although I'm sure it was a small part of your decision.)

    Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    The only thing I didn't like was the oversized slippy valve tops that my greasy fingers kept slipping off.
    I dislike them as well, for the same reason!! So I requested a more "standard" button for my own horn. There is a typical mother-of-pearl button (white), and my daily-use option of a red garnet-like insert, and a wooden insert. The wooden has the best "feel" for your fingertips. It just seems cozy. But the red ones are slightly indented, so they feel like what I like. Here are, from left to right, the red, wooden, and white tops.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Thanks for the detailed review! Most of what you observed falls into the legitimate area of personal preference, which I might see as one's comfort level with an instrument's personality.
    The majority of what I've found while on my search for my next instrument is all about personal preference. In just about every instrument I have tried I could see why someone else may decide that instrument is for them and i haven't found a bad one (Besson, Yamaha, Stirling, Geneva or Adams) just different ones. In my opinion Euphonium players are well catered for in terms of the instruments that are out there.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    In my opinion Euphonium players are well catered for in terms of the instruments that are out there.
    I've been saying that (with some pleasure) for years! Compared to my choices when I first became a pro (Conn Constellation or Besson/B&H), we have an abundance. I also agree with your statement about seeing why any of the pro horns might be some players' favorite. I've played a few more than you have (not the Geneva yet, though) and the statement holds.
    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

  10. #10
    Has anyone compared the gold brass bell to the yellow brass?

    Mike

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