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Thread: Wessex Festivo

  1. #101
    I have my Festivo about half a year now. Initially, I tried the Wick SM4U, but I found I had better slotting using the Wessex MP.
    It should be noted that I'm still in the "Breaking-in" period of my Festivo, as I don't play it as often as I would like. Maybe when I'm better used to the horn I'll try a MP change.
    Martin Monné
    • Wessex Festivo, 4-valve compensating (2017) - Denis Wick SM4U
    • Hirsbrunner HBS 378 Standard, 4-valve compensating (1983) - Denis Wick SM3.5
    • Couesnon Saxhorn Basse, 4-valve - Denis Wick 6BM
    • Mahillon Bass Saxhorn, 4-valve (1927)- Denis Wick 4AY
    • Anton Hüller Tenor Horn, 3-valve (Early 20th Century, HP) - Denis Wick 10CS

  2. #102
    I had an interesting mouthpiece experience many years ago. Was playing a Conn constellation 4 valver with a Conn 5 mouthpiece. With the goal of getting a deeper, more Euphonium sound, I went down to the local music store where i tried out a couple of dozen mouthpieces over a 2 hour stretch. What I discovered was the Conn 5 was the best overall mouthpiece for the horn. I did buy a Schilke 51 which accomplished my goal, but use it sparingly. To get ready for the new Festivo mouthpiece, I dug out the Schilke and tried it with the Yamaha replacing the Yamaha 48 that came with the horn. To my surprise, the Schilke gave the horn a much clearer and precise tone without any sacrifice to range and stamina. I figured Wessex spent some time with the horn/mouthpiece combination to come up with this match, so I will give it the old college try with their format. The Conn 5 will also fit the same horn, so will mess with that combo as well. I'll let you know what I come up with.

  3. #103
    I sprung for a Silver plated festivo. It arrived in 24 hours. I've had the horn for 11 days now and have spent time every day playing it. Here are my impressions so far. Figuring out how to hold the horn has taken some experimenting. The horn was designed to be carried like the old British horns where the bell points to the side rather than up. The placement of the valves are perfect this way. My problem with this position is the bell is right in the ear of the guy next to me. So I have found a comfortable position with the bell pointing about 20 degrees off vertical. Not a great angle for fingers to valves, but i can reach all 4 with one hand without my hand in an awkward position. It does require me to angle the horn away from my body in the x/y plane to get the reciever square to my lips. It does rest comfortable on my right leg, but requires a 2" piece of foam to get the height right. valves are long stroke and spread wider apart than my old Conn. Valve action is a little stiff, but i'm adjusting. Valves are nice and quiet. Valve caps are fine threaded and require care to keep from cross threading. The mouthpiece is a Wessex 4Y. I hated it in the beginning, but have finally figured out how to play with the thing. It is comparable to a 6 1/2 AL, or a Schilke 51. I am working with a 51D which produces a darker, more Euphonium sound. The 51D also slots the high notes better. I can get a very good tone with both mouthpieces, but struggle when playing up around high B flat, especially when my lip is not fresh. I ordered a 12C for the songs that spend a lot of time in the upper register. This mouthpiece definitely gives the horn a baritone sound. Will have to use a shank adaptor. All the slides are a nice fit except the main tuning slide which is very loose. In the position that the horn was intended to be played, this is not a problem. For holding the horn more vertical, the slide will not stay in the horn. I've discussed this with Wessex, and even though they feel the horn was ok the way it was made, they will pick up the tab for having the slide tubes expanded. Going to see a guy tomorrow about that. I still haven't figured out alternate fingering for compensation. The high A is terribly flat with both the wessex and 51D mouthpieces. All the rest of the notes are far more in tune than either my Conn (upper notes flat), or the Yamaha (upper notes pull sharp). The compensation doesn't seem to dull the tone, as the horn speaks well throughout the entire range. So far, I am liking the horn better with each day. We'll see how it goes once I play in an ensemble. The case is soft sided, with zipper, outside pouch, and backpack style straps. Has feet to stand the case on its side or on the bell. Has a foam insert for the bell. I presume to keep the bell round. Also came with a pair of white gloves, extra set a springs and guides, and a microfiber cloth. The case only has one hole for the mouthpiece, but there is room to add a couple of more on your own.

  4. #104
    AZRuss - Thanks for the great review! It sounds like your purchase was successful overall.

    For your high A (concert pitch, I assume), you might find 12 a good option, or maybe 3.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of,

  5. #105
    I've been playing around with 12 or 3 for the high A. I now have to teach myself to use that fingering when the note comes whizzing by on the page. the issue is the note next door (high G) uses the same fingering so that forces me to "lip" been the 2 notes. I don't have either mouthpiece dialed in good enough to do that with confidence. I'm finding that using 12 for the G and 3 for the A seems to help separate the 2. I noticed the Yamaha had this same issue with these 2 notes, where this didn't require such accuracy with my Conn. I'm still trying to figure out what each slide does as the compensating tubing has a slide as well as a spit valve. The horn has 4 spit valves, all of them in an awkward setup. Main tuning slide is on the back of the horn. The only slide that requires removal to dump spit is #2.

  6. #106
    Thank you Russ for the excellent and detailed review! Unlike on your Festivo, the main tuning slide on my unit is smooth and silky but not even faintly too loose... None of my slides are too lose or too tight. THus I am wondering if I am fortunate, or perhaps you are unlucky instead *Smiles!*

    I have not found particular issues with intonation... But I am just a babe in the woods on euph.

    I am using alternatively my right pinky and my left index finger for the 4th piston. Using more and more 3 as an alternative to 12, and 4 as an alternative to 13. Tone is more open using the alternate fingering, and IMO intonation is not suffering.

    Cross threading remains a bit of a challenge... While I had requested Wessex to select a unit for me that would not experience cross-threading, my experience with screwing piston top and bottom caps is mixed.... Sometimes there is no problem, while other times I fiddle for several minutes before I obtain a clean thread insertion.

    Perhaps Jonathan can shed some light on these little issues.

    Regards, Guido
    Last edited by guidocorona; 12-22-2018 at 01:07 PM.
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  7. Quote Originally Posted by guidocorona View Post
    Perhaps Jonathan can shed some light on these little issues.
    This is something we have looked at extensively. Sometimes the leading edge of valve thread is rough/damaged causing issues. You can minimize the chance of problems by;

    1) Pushing down on valve button to put pressure dead center
    2) Turn anti-clockwise until you hear/feel click and then start screwing clockwise

    We have developed a new design which solves the problems, and from last manufactured batch have started applying to production. The good news for existing owners is the solution is to change in valve cap design, so threading issues can be solved on existing instruments with replacing valve caps with our latest design. We don’t have any spare caps yet to supply (we wanted to test the solution worked first), but will during 2019. Any customers experiencing threading difficulties do contact about Easter next year and I hope we will then be in a situation to help you with replacement caps.

    Whenever customers are experiencing problems, Wessex Technical expert, Chuck Nickles and I examine the production process to establish the cause of the problem, and then we work with the factory management to change the process to rectify, or at least mitigate. So Wessex gets ever better.

    I am writing this as I head to China for yet another visit to the factory (5th this year).
    Last edited by Jonathantuba; 12-22-2018 at 09:01 PM.
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  8. #108
    Wow... Thank you so much Jonathan.... Your response makes me even prouder to own my wonderful Wessex Festivo!

    I'll be first in line come spring to contact Wessex USA about top and bottom caps replacements... Meantime, I'll try the technique that you suggested for screwing top caps back in.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  9. #109
    My old Conn had the same cross-treading issues. Using the valve to center works to a point as well as rotating the cap CCW until it finds the groove. Once you have cross threaded, it is nearly impossible to get it back to normal. I've found the secret is patience and a light touch. If the tread is fighting you at all, back it off and try again. I found an 85 year old guy that does horn repair out of his house. Been doing it for 23 years and has a phenomenal collection of tools, anvils, and tapered wood rods for dent removal. He messed with the horn slightly when I took it to him but found it wasn't going to be a quick fix. He stretched both tubes and made no difference in the slop. I don't know if the Nickel slides will give him grief. I measured both slide tubes well as well as the opening on the male tube. looks like the small tube has about .001 radial play (.002" overall, which is a lot). the big tube is half that. A normal press fit is .0005" The slide tubes had no taper to them, which was nice to see. (sign of good production quality). So I will take a few days off playing and will see what the tone is like after the layoff. That will be the true test.
    A Merry Christmas to you all.

  10. #110
    The Festivo is back from the repair guy and all is well. The Bach 12c showed up at the same time. That mouthpiece is such a departure from all my others, it will take some training to use. It requires so little lip movement, when I jump from a low to high note, I overshoot the note. The layoff was less than a week. The tone was still there and find it easier and easier to get the tone. Biggest issue now is hitting high G and A with accuracy. So the next hurdle is to understand the compensation. Are all Euphoniums compensated the same way. Mine has a tuning slide on the comp tubing. what is this used for. If anyone has a chart of alternate fingerings or how the compensation is supposed to be used, I would love hearing from you.


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