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Thread: SE Shires Euphonium

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,952
    I can only conclude that the US and global economy -- and euphonium-playing musicians across the globe -- must be doing very well indeed in order to support yet one more entry into the high-priced euphonium marketplace. As part of this, I have to reflect that there are a lot more people than I thought roaming the plains with wads of cash in their pockets and thirsting for yet one more expensive choice to be made available to them.

    Really ... I'm pretty surprised by this development (particularly in the presence of an event like Kanstul fading from the brass instrument scene, and the unbroken litany of complaints about how difficult it is to make a living as a musician -- not to mention as a euph player), and wonder what the market research was that encouraged this move by Shires. Unless, of course, this is another "made in China" product (in one or another sense of "made"), as with some Shires and Rath trombones -- which would seem to put them into a category similar to the new "hand-made" Wessex instruments along with some others.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  2. Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
    I can only conclude that the US and global economy -- and euphonium-playing musicians across the globe -- must be doing very well indeed in order to support yet one more entry into the high-priced euphonium marketplace. As part of this, I have to reflect that there are a lot more people than I thought roaming the plains with wads of cash in their pockets and thirsting for yet one more expensive choice to be made available to them.

    Really ... I'm pretty surprised by this development (particularly in the presence of an event like Kanstul fading from the brass instrument scene, and the unbroken litany of complaints about how difficult it is to make a living as a musician -- not to mention as a euph player), and wonder what the market research was that encouraged this move by Shires. Unless, of course, this is another "made in China" product (in one or another sense of "made"), as with some Shires and Rath trombones -- which would seem to put them into a category similar to the new "hand-made" Wessex instruments along with some others.
    The only way to make money as a euph player is play in a military band, or double on trombone or tuba and play in a military band.
    James Kircoff
    Genesee Wind Symphony - principal euphonium (Sterling Virtuoso w/ Parker 4G Houser)
    Capital City Brass Band (2019 NABBA 2nd section champions) - 1st baritone (Besson BE955 w/ Denis Wick 6BY) and 10 piece ensemble (Getzen 1052FD w/ Bach 1G)

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by jkircoff View Post
    The only way to make money as a euph player is play in a military band, or double on trombone or tuba and play in a military band.
    Adam Frey might disagree.

    I don't want to speak for Adam, but I think he makes a living teaching and in his website business. In addition, though, he seems to find a great many chances to play in situations where one would want the horn that best suits their needs.

    And there are ways to make money as a euphonium player, perhaps enough to justify a pro horn, without playing it full time. In some communities and ambitious player can find opportunities or MAKE opportunities. Combine that with another job or with teaching, and there could be options. As for myself, I've never had the kind of imagination and drive to make that particular kind of thing happen. My extra energies go into writing arrangements and running the forum.
    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 TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,952
    Which suggests either a very limited market for the "high end" euphonium or else some sub-population of amateurs with money to burn. I do know some people like that in the tuba-euph world, but seemingly not enough of them to keep adding such high end products to the set of offerings -- unless the new entry has severely well managed development and production costs in order to get a sustainable margin.

    That's why I'm wondering if it's not thoroughly Chinese-made, and so it will be interesting to see if it has the same QC problems as most products of that sort. Or if instead it will in fact solve those long-standing quality problems -- which would put huge pressure on the other vendors of Chinese made instruments. I haven't been able to find any insight into where manufacture of the parts/sub-assemblies and the assembly step itself will take place.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  5. #25
    To the comments above, I need to say that I, too, have been surprised at the number of expensive euphoniums the market is supporting! Not sure I understand all the reasons, but it sure is fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    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 TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  6. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Adam Frey might disagree.

    I don't want to speak for Adam, but I think he makes a living teaching and in his website business. In addition, though, he seems to find a great many chances to play in situations where one would want the horn that best suits their needs.

    And there are ways to make money as a euphonium player, perhaps enough to justify a pro horn, without playing it full time. In some communities and ambitious player can find opportunities or MAKE opportunities. Combine that with another job or with teaching, and there could be options. As for myself, I've never had the kind of imagination and drive to make that particular kind of thing happen. My extra energies go into writing arrangements and running the forum.
    There are those such as Frey and Mead who have the talent and the drive to make brands of themselves and presumably live comfortable lives playing euphonium. Those individuals combined with military band members and college professors (along with organizations like Dallas Winds and Tokeo Kosei) are theoretically the only ones who need a "professional" grade euphonium. Everyone else (especially myself) plays them because we believe they are the best the market has to offer and we are serious about this hobby of ours.

    There can be a few minor playing gigs for euphonium, but vast majority from a low brass perspective are for trombone and tuba. Personally I think the euphonium is the best low brass instrument for solo work...and there are many people who agree, which attests to the popularity of the instrument, and why it's given a very prominent voice in brass band and many wind band works. Unfortunately, composers in general - especially in orchestra - do not incorporate the potential of the euphonium into their writings.
    James Kircoff
    Genesee Wind Symphony - principal euphonium (Sterling Virtuoso w/ Parker 4G Houser)
    Capital City Brass Band (2019 NABBA 2nd section champions) - 1st baritone (Besson BE955 w/ Denis Wick 6BY) and 10 piece ensemble (Getzen 1052FD w/ Bach 1G)

  7. #27
    Back to the instrument itself, Medium/European shank size is indeed very interesting, but also not very... attractive, since for example here in Europe basically everyone that doesn't play either a student Yamaha model euph or a medium shank B&H/Besson Imperial, plays on a large shank mouthpiece. After all, Willson isn't THAT big here either and again, the large shank models (2950/2960) are basically the ones getting used. So getting any popularity in Europe with this model is going to be VERY hard, even if it could rival the likes of Yamaha, Besson, Willson, Geneva, etc quality- and sound-wise

    On the other hand, you could also argue that mouthpiece manufacturers should make more medium shank size options, but I have an inkling that the general 'bigger is better' trend has also caused mpc manufacturers to focus on the large shank designs. Looking at Dave's mouthpiece chart, it seems like Joseph Klier is the only manufacturer that actually has a somewhat decent range of medium shank mouthpieces, although still somewhat limited.

    Maybe Shires still has a large shank model in the pipeline, who knows.
    Willson 2960TA Celebration
    1979 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign (Globe Stamp)
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick 5AL

  8. The majority of euphonium players out there aren't professional musicians, they are hobbyists. They do it for love so the purchase of a professional grade instrument is emotional and not financial. (And because they are not musicians they may also have the income to make such purchases).

    Their time on the horn is their escape from the daily grind. It is valuable to them, perhaps more valuable to the seasoned pro who does 8 hours a day (because that's their daily grind).

    So the market is there, in the way that there is a market for luxury sports cars or sedans. (We're not profession drivers so why not get the cheapest nasty junk that gets us from A to Be?}

  9. #29
    Thanks for all of you who brought the word "hobby" in as a part of this discussion! I should have mentioned that.

    On Facebook, I follow a group called Vintage Audio Collectors and Technicians. These folks are spending quite a bit of their money on obtaining and restoring (if necessary) audio gear from before 1985. And the mention of cars is another area where we may spend "unjustified" money.

    I like walking past the Magnolia section of our local BestBuy store. They have some Macintosh gear and electrostatic speakers right out front. Almost no one who buys this stuff can justify it as a necessary expense for their occupation. But they enjoy listening to it, just as we enjoy playing really fine horns.

    Let me really abuse this comparison by sharing an article I read many decades ago, written by a hi-fi buff ("audiophile" in today's lingo). He was a hobbyist who was constantly fiddling to improve the system. In those days there was much more modularity. You might replace a speakers tweeter with a new, improved version, or even change the tubes (ask your grandfather) for better ones. Then one day he was stuck in traffic in his VW Beetle. I owned 4 of these and they had a single (not too bad) speaker in the dash and a radio. The author was listening to the classical station, to a recording he owned personally. But he suddenly realized he was enjoying the music, while at home he was obsession about high-frequency smoothness and such. On the VW system there was no thought of worrying about such things because it was instinctively pointless. Hmmm. Does that suggest I should sell my Adams and get a Wessex or old, used Besson? I don't think the author sold his home system, but he at least remembered to appreciate the music he was playing. Having read that so long ago, I do always try to appreciate the music in what I'm playing, regardless of whether I'm playing my Adams or my old double-bell.
    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 TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,952
    I can't shake the feeling that THAT market for the eclectic/nostalgic/technophilic hobbyist/collector is definitely NOT the market that Shires is aiming at with this new instrument.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

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