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Thread: Clueless Mom looking for a euphonium for daughter

  1. Clueless Mom looking for a euphonium for daughter

    Hi All,

    As I sit on Christmas Eve printing a GIFT CERTIFICATE for a new Euphonium for my high school student to open tomorrow morning,I realize I cannot even put a brand on the picture. I have been diligently reading this forum for 6 months, trying to learn everything I could about the Euphonium so that I could make an intelligent decision that would make a positive impact on her. Armed with the information from over a decade of postings on this site I have to admit to being overwhelmed. I don’t know if an INTERMEDIATE or a PROFESSIONAL euphonium is the best choice for her. She is expecting to continue in college, making music her career (performance or education still TBD). She desperately wants a Besson because that is what Steven Mead plays. She met him at a Battle Creek performance last May where he fueled her passion for the instrument and is convinced that what he plays must be THE BEST. Ahhh, sometimes so mature and other times still such a teenager! I am a firm believer in USED instruments as a first choice, pricing, the horn’s actual attributes are already revealed and an instrument with a history is always a good choice. Of course that limits me to availability, helps on pricing but leaves me open to possibly making a poor purchase. I am very lucky to have a fantastic Brass Repair person near my home in suburban Chicago, he has cared for our other instruments (trumpet, trombone, french horn, occasional missteps with our school’s mellophones and marching baritones) so USED doesn’t scare me, Dana can handle anything. The school does own two Bessons, one intermediate (my kid hates this one – very USED and limited maintenance) and one passed down from director to director (kids say it is from the 70s – you know ANTIQUE) cared for privately and plays beautifully. Sadly, neither are available to her. Her private teacher and director want her to UPGRADE ASAP, both are frustrated with her inability to perform as they expect based on her skill level. Of course neither wants to tell me what to do or how to do it or where to buy it or what is the BEST because it is such a big investment and every horn is different. They do both agree I need to find a 4 valve compensating horn. It does not need to be a Besson, apparently everyone of you has a favorite horn and Besson doesn’t appear to be right for all, with so many choices and manufacturers I am at a loss. She will be happy with anything that all the valves work and tuning is a possibility.

    Can someone out there be more definitive? Searching ebay, craigslist and store websites is difficult without specifics. Do you know someone trying to unload a horn? Does someone have the RIGHT EUPHONIUM sitting at your house looking to be loved by a promising musician I will be grateful for any clear direction. While my kid may be DESPERATE to upgrade, I would much rather make a good choice than a fast purchase. She will some how survive playing on a student Holton (former rental) for as long as it takes.

    Thank you for any advice,
    Lucy’s very overwhelmed Mom

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    There are many, many choices available, so it would help to know what your price pain point is. A new professional horn is in the $6k-$9k range, roughly. Used pro horns can be anywhere from 2500-5000, roughly. Intermediate instruments go from 1000-3500 (if we include the Chinese clones).

    As you said, we all have our preferences of brand. But if Steven Mead lights up her eyes, she may have a (small?) level of disappointment if she gets even a great horn like the Adams (my choice) instead of a Besson.
    Last edited by davewerden; 12-24-2017 at 08:02 PM.
    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

  3. Well, we can go as high as $5000 but I sure wouldn't mind a little less! I think she will be OK with anything that plays; 4 working valves, compensating and a large shank are the dream. Funny, I pulled up a YouTube of you playing a double bell Conn and she was mesmerized. So no dispersions on Mr. Mead but teenagers are fickle group, it was exciting to meet him and she is planning to attend the event again in May, 2018 with or with or without a Besson! And I admit that the reviews of the Adams, Wilson and Meinl Westoare what made my head hurt and finally reach out for help.

  4. #4
    Good for you, looking to get a good horn for your daughter. Although a good player and has great potential, but she is still in high school. I would suspect she is very responsible and would care for her horn, but her band friends aren't necessarily so careful. My suggest, buy a Wessex Dolce (think they are about $1500) for high school. It is a great horn that will serve her well into her first year in college. When she gets there, her college instructor will be able to guide her to the right professional horn for her. Your promise is to buy that professional horn at that time (and you have time to save a bit more between now and then). The Wessex is highly regarded here, is compensating and has the 4 nicely working valves.

    It sounds like your daughter is a bit more practical than my friend's daughter. His daughter is a flute player. In high school, she was in the Minnesota youth orchestra and one of the flute players from the Minnesota Orchestra was her instructor. She needed an upgraded flute and the ONLY thing that was acceptable (to her) was a $20,000 plus Hanes flute hand made for her (white gold springs included). She HAD to travel to Boston so she could try out just the right configuration. End to the story, she got the flute and went on the study performance in college. She is a very competent player, but not employed as a flute player so now it sits.
    Last edited by opus37; 12-25-2017 at 08:59 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Welcome to the forum “ButYMom”,

    Your daughter is is very lucky to have a mom that is so supportive and encouraging as you. I’m a big fan of Steven Mead too and have met him several times. I know that I’ll never sound as good as Mr. Mead but continue trying to improve.

    Buying the the same horn that Steven Mead plays will not make her sound like him. Sure wish it were that easy. There’s an old saying, “the big boys can sound good on a mouthpiece, hose and funnel”. The “big boys” can sound good on almost anything.

    I think I agree with ‘opus37’ where he suggests getting a Wessex Dolce with a promise to upgrade later if she’s still interested. The Wessex is a solid 4 valve compensating horn that actually has better intonation than the Besson.
    Last edited by RickF; 12-25-2017 at 10:39 AM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (recently sold)
    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
    El Cumbanchero (Raphael Hernandez, arr. Naohiro Iwai)
    Greensleeves (arr. Alfred Reed)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by ButYMom View Post
    Hi All,

    She desperately wants a Besson because that is what Steven Mead plays. She met him at a Battle Creek performance last May where he fueled her passion for the instrument and is convinced that what he plays must be THE BEST. Ahhh, sometimes so mature and other times still such a teenager!
    Yes. Unless your daughter is actually a 55-year old bald British man with decades of experience as a euphonium virtuoso, then perhaps selecting that particular brand and model of euphonium should be given a bit more consideration. Just a thought.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (PT-63)
    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 (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  7. #7
    The Wessex suggestions above are right along the lines I was thinking after I saw your response. The Dolce would have a nice "gift impact" because it's brand new and shiny, and it plays very well. As said, it would provide good service until she knows more about her top-level choices.
    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. You're not that far from Spring Lake, MI. Spring Lake is where they import Wessex from the UK. Call Andy, or email, and make an overnighter of a visit. Have your daughter try out all three versions of the Dolce. You might just leave with a new horn. I've been there many times and have played them all. Great horns.

    Be Well! KKORO

  9. I have to agree with everyone else.

    I'm a senior in high school, and I got my Wessex Dolce during the summer between sophomore and junior year. I fell in love with it immediately, and I couldn't stop playing it. Long story short, this instrument has taken me much, much further than I ever thought I would. The Dolce is cheap, and it really holds its own. As long as she takes good care of the horn, she'll probably be happy.

    Happy Holidays,

  10. #10
    While I am never looking back with my Besson Prestige, it is a big investment and not the horn for everyone. If you have time and patience, then I would suggest waiting for a good used Yamaha 642 or 842, or a similar compensating horn. If you are lucky, you can find one between 2k and 4k.

    Otherwise, the Wessex and MACK Brass horns are great options.
    University of Miami - BM Euphonium Performance '21
    Indiana University - MM Bass Trombone and Euphonium Performance '24

    Besson Prestige 2052S
    Courtois 551BHRA
    Conn 88HCLSGX
    Various Greg Black mouthpieces

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