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Thread: SE Shires Euphonium

  1. Please find me on instagram or Facebook. There are a number of clips I have recorded so far. I have had the instrument for less than a month.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dumfries, VA (Potomac Shores)
    Posts
    294
    I would very much respectfully disagree. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone who has heard Dr. Bowman play think his sound is “small” or that he needs a larger euphonium. As someone who has played virtually every model of euphonium on the market (some for long periods of time), I used to find myself gravitating toward the “larger is better” model... large bell, large shank, dark, dark, and darker. I know most all of my professional colleagues in the DC area play on a Willson 2900, and I don’t think I would characterize any of their sounds as “small” or think to myself that they need a bigger horn. Now, I do understand the brass band “sound” that people look for, and one could describe it as an “American” versus “British” sound concept. Here’s my opinion on this (and it has changed, fairly recently...); the “American” sound (IE military band concept, Dr. Bowman, Roger Behrend, etc) is to have a smaller bell and medium shank and to have a TON of tenor core quality in the sound. None of the tone sounds “covered” and the sound is very thick and full. The “British” sound (IE Steven Mead, etc) is to have larger equipment (bell, receiver, mouthpiece) and have a very broad “singing” sound suited to the soloist and brass band. HOWEVER... I play principal in Brass of the Potomac here in DC and I don’t have a problem getting over the ensemble when needed or blending when needed... and neither does anyone else we’ve had come in as subs who most all play on a 2900 Willson (including Dan Geldert who plays in BOTP, and sounds GREAT on his 2900). It’s all in what one prefers... I have played the Eastman 826 and am currently testing a Shires Q41 w/ “Willson 2900” specs of an 11.5” bell and a medium shank. I find that it sounds great and gives me more tenor core, which is what I’m looking for now that I’m moving permanently to our concert band full-time in particular. The problem with larger equipment for MOST people is that they lose that classic true euphonium sound and timbre. We weren’t meant to be a small tuba, in my opinion. We were meant to have our own euphonium sound and identity. Hiram (and others) play, and will continue to play on medium shank because they believe in it and prefer it. Not everyone has to wear Nike’s or prefer Diet Coke Fiesty Cherry (which is terrible, btw).

    Again, all in preference. Good discussions.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    I am a bit shocked that a brand new professional euphonium would be specified with a medium shank mouthpiece. There are two significant reasons not to go this direction.

    1) The trend over the last 10-20 years has been to a larger euphonium sound and particular towards the brass band market.

    2) This very much limits the choice of mouthpieces. Wick makes many of theirs in medium shanks but the Heritage and a few others are not available this way. Of course Schilke, BB and a few others offer them but many other manufacturer's do not. If I were looking for a horn to replace my 2900, I would absolutely want a large shank receiver. Perhaps Shires has good reason but it's a puzzle to me.
    Last edited by BrandonJones; 06-07-2019 at 09:18 AM.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonJones View Post
    I would very much respectfully disagree. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone who has heard Dr. Bowman play think his sound is “small” or that he needs a larger euphonium. As someone who has played virtually every model of euphonium on the market (some for long periods of time), I used to find myself gravitating toward the “larger is better” model... large bell, large shank, dark, dark, and darker. I know most all of my professional colleagues in the DC area play on a Willson 2900, and I don’t think I would characterize any of their sounds as “small” or think to myself that they need a bigger horn. Now, I do understand the brass band “sound” that people look for, and one could describe it as an “American” versus “British” sound concept. Here’s my opinion on this (and it has changed, fairly recently...); the “American” sound (IE military band concept, Dr. Bowman, Roger Behrend, etc) is to have a smaller bell and medium shank and to have a TON of tenor core quality in the sound. None of the tone sounds “covered” and the sound is very thick and full. The “British” sound (IE Steven Mead, etc) is to have larger equipment (bell, receiver, mouthpiece) and have a very broad “singing” sound suited to the soloist and brass band. HOWEVER... I play principal in Brass of the Potomac here in DC and I don’t have a problem getting over the ensemble when needed or blending when needed... and neither does anyone else we’ve had come in as subs who most all play on a 2900 Willson (including permanent 2nd euphonium, Dan Geldert, who sounds GREAT on his 2900). It’s all in what one prefers... I have played the Eastman 826 and am currently testing a Shires Q41 w/ “Willson 2900” specs of an 11.5” bell and a medium shank. I find that it sounds great and gives me more tenor core, which is what I’m looking for now that I’m moving permanently to our concert band full-time in particular. The problem with larger equipment for MOST people is that they lose that classic true euphonium sound and timbre. We weren’t meant to be a small tuba, in my opinion. We were meant to have our own euphonium sound and identity. Hiram (and others) play, and will continue to play on medium shank because they believe in it and prefer it. Not everyone has to wear Nike’s or prefer Diet Coke Fiesty Cherry (which is terrible, btw).

    Again, all in preference. Good discussions.
    Brandon, I think you are misinterpreting what I am saying or else I did not make myself clear. First of all I know Dr. Bowman and I went to college for 4 years with Roger Behrend and he and I remain friends. He is the reason I play on a 2900S and have since 1981. I studied for 4 years with Leonard Falcone at MSU with Roger.

    I've been playing in brass bands for the last 23 years and have followed general euphonium trends for many years. That trend has been to larger horns with 12" bells and bass trombone shanks. Of that there can be no doubt. That is the reason that Shires decision is surprising. It's going against a trend. Whether that trend is good or not is a matter of taste. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 2900S sound. I love the focused dark sound. It's just not popular in brass band circles and is not the current trend. I have had judges comment on that my tone is not the typical BB sound.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dumfries, VA (Potomac Shores)
    Posts
    294
    I understand your point. Shires isn’t making this as a marketed brass band horn. You’re saying it’s going against a trend, but that “trend” is brass band oriented. One can argue that the trend for Willson 2900 and medium shank has never went away, as again, most all of my colleagues still play one and will choose to if given a new instrument again. It’s all in preference. Shires made this horn with the military bandsman in mind, hence the 2900 specs and medium shank. They will also be offering it with a larger bell (Q40) and bass trombone shank as well, for those who want that. I’m not attempting to be confrontational, so please forgive me if my post comes across that way. I think the smaller bell and medium shank gets “pooped on” more than it should. There’s real magic with that combination, and countless players prove that.

  5. #65
    FWIW, I'll post a mini review of the Eastman and Q41 some time, probably next week.

    Regarding the Willson 2900 concept, I have an opinion, which I think I have stated on the forum and I know I mentioned it to a few people at ITEC. The 2900 has one outstanding strength, which can also be a weakness for some tastes. It has a very solid core to its sound, and that core/sound is consistent through all the primary range of the horn. That's impressive. But for me it's a limitation because I WANT to be able to tailor the sound a bit for various things I'm doing.

    BTW, the display models of the 40 and 41 (as well as the Eastman) wore large shank receivers at ITEC.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dumfries, VA (Potomac Shores)
    Posts
    294
    Dave, I agree. The Shires has all of the good qualities of the Willson, but is a bit more flexible in sound, which I really like. The lacquered Q41 there had a medium shank. I have it now testing. It’s a great instrument.

  7. #67
    Although it is certainly gaining steam, I'd characterize the brass band scene as a pretty specialized niche in the US still. I enjoy the Willson sound for sure, but I also like the UK sound concept and have always aimed for something inbetween with my own playing.
    --
    Barry

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonJones View Post
    I understand your point. Shires isn’t making this as a marketed brass band horn. You’re saying it’s going against a trend, but that “trend” is brass band oriented. One can argue that the trend for Willson 2900 and medium shank has never went away, as again, most all of my colleagues still play one and will choose to if given a new instrument again. It’s all in preference. Shires made this horn with the military bandsman in mind, hence the 2900 specs and medium shank. They will also be offering it with a larger bell (Q40) and bass trombone shank as well, for those who want that. I’m not attempting to be confrontational, so please forgive me if my post comes across that way. I think the smaller bell and medium shank gets “pooped on” more than it should. There’s real magic with that combination, and countless players prove that.
    As a long time (34 years) 2900 player, I agree that the 2900 tends to get a bad rap. In high school I studied with Brian and I studied with Roger Behrend many years later as an adult when I started playing again, so I am quite familiar with its sound. I agree with Dave's position that the sound may not be as flexible as some would like and that fine, it's a personal preference. But, over the years on this forum (and others) I have tended to see comments regarding the sound being small or bright. Or seen statements like, for example, "I played a 2900 in high school and am now looking for a more professional horn for college". Same with the 51D mouthpiece. There seems to be an idea that it is a beginner mouthpiece. I think this is just a symptom of the bigger is better philosophy. Big horn, big mouthpiece = big sound.

    Mike

  9. Couple of ideas here that I’d like to comment on:

    -The medium shank makes a difference, but not as much as some are making it out to be. I played a 2900 for many years and it is a tank. It’s capable of making as big of a sound as anything else. I had a Hirsbrunner for a while with the interchangeable shanks. When using the same mouthpiece (51d) the difference between medium and large shank was non-existent.

    -Yes, certain brands have a tendency toward certain sound qualities, but it’s still very much the player that determines the sound. I played a York for a bit and sounded nothing like Dave Childs on his York. Thomas Ruedi and Steve Mead sound nothing alike using Bessons, Thomas and Adam Frey sounded nothing alike when they were both using Yamahas, Ben Pierce and Demondrae Thurman sound nothing alike on Miraphones. I sound nothing like Fernando Deddos on my Adams. There’s nothing wrong about saying a certain brand isn’t a fit for you. Find what fits you but don’t expect an instrument to fix your sound.

    -Ditto for mouthpieces. I play an SM3X and sound nothing like Steve Mead.

    -No person, brand, school, or genre (Brass band, military band, etc.) has a monopoly on what a Euphonium “should” sound like. There may have been some truth to this at one point, but we’re way more diverse than that now. There’s room for multiple interpretations of Euphonium sound and style, and I’m very happy to see it happening. I don’t want to speak for Brandon or Hiram, but even within individual bands the sound varies. Getting too locked in to one sound and style of playing can be very limiting. Solid tone, rhythm, and pitch, along with a great ear and the ability to adjust to the section, conductor, and ensemble are more important in my experience than having the “orthodox” sound.


    Good conversation!

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    Same with the 51D mouthpiece. There seems to be an idea that it is a beginner mouthpiece.
    Yeah, I often see forum posts where people are talking about huge Wick 3ALs and Warburton Demondrae Thurman model mouthpieces and the like as if they were the only serious approach, when many if not most of the people in the US who are actually making a living playing the euphonium are using 51D or BB1.

    The 2900 can indeed be brighter than instruments after the Besson tradition, but that's not saying they sound small or tinny at all. And there's actually kind of a consistency in the attack and the midrange of the sound that makes them very dark in a manner of speaking as well. Timbres are complex and we can throw around terms like bright and dark, but that's highly oversimplified. It's possible euphonium model A to be both brighter AND darker in different ways than euphonium model B.

    My own personal theory is that the sound comes as much from the fact that they are so heavily built with thick gauge brass and lots of bracing as it does from the fact that it has a medium stem receiver and a half inch less of bell diameter than is typical these days.
    --
    Barry

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