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Thread: Overwhelmed by choices! Little help?

  1. Question Overwhelmed by choices! Little help?

    I feel like you should have my back-story so I can tell you what I'm looking for. I played euphonium through junior high, high school, and a semester in college. I quit playing after that because I no longer had an instrument, plus life got in the way. Did the marriage thing, the kid thing, etc. Fast forward almost 20 years later. I'd been wanting to play again for many years, but still didn't have an instrument. Christmas of 2016, my daughter and husband gifted me a new euphonium. It's a Mendini, off of Amazon. My husband doesn't know much at all about music and even less about euphoniums. For the price, it's a not a bad horn, really, especially for a beginner. I have a hard time getting it in tune though and I'm not wild about the valves. They're pretty clunky. So I've started looking into getting something else, upgrading a bit. I'm in community college and have started playing in my school's chamber ensemble. (It's a challenge - orchestra scores never include parts for the euphonium.) I'm not looking to go professional or anything, but I've thought about joining a local symphonic band as well, plus I play in the local Tuba Christmas. I just play for fun, but I still want to improve my range and my skills.

    First issue is financial. I can't afford something super expensive. I'm thinking $3k - $4k range.

    Next issue - I'm a small person with crappy lungs. (Seriously, my left lung isn't fully developed. I wish I was kidding. I also have mild asthma, because an underdeveloped lung wasn't enough of a challenge.) So something that's easy to blow and more suited to someone with less air would be great. I'm guessing that the lack of air support is probably part of my issue tuning the Mendini.

    I've done tons of research but am now completely overwhelmed. Every time I think I've settled on a horn, I see another review saying not to choose that.

    I had settled on the King Legend Soloist, but now I'm reading bad things about the trigger mechanism. Plus it's non-compensating, and I've read what you really want is compensating. The cheapest compensating I've found is the Jupiter JEP 1120, but Jupiter reviews aren't great, plus it looks like it has a wider bore than the King Soloist. If my research is correct, I want a smaller bore because I have less air?

    TL;DR - I need a horn between $3-$4k that's easy on the lungs and doesn't have clunky valves. I'd like to be able to play for fun with my local community bands, and be able to improve my skills without breaking the bank.

    PS - If a particular mouthpiece would help, feel free to throw that in there as well. And recommendations of where to buy would also be welcome!

    Thanks a bunch!

  2. #2
    I would try a Yamaha 321. It's a great horn, used my many pros/studio musicians in LA and New York when they need a euphonium. It's not compensating, but compensating is just not really needed in American wind band music. Compensation helps go super low (where almost no one can play with a good sound) and it helps intonation on certain notes in higher registers, but it adds weight and complexity to the euphonium. Finally, the bore on the Yamaha 321 is a little smaller than most compensating euphs and that might help in acquiring a full, resonant sound.

    John

  3. #3
    I second the Yamaha 321 suggestion. It is a smaller horn, but still very capable.

    I found that I bend pitches on the 321 better than on any other euph I've ever played - the intonation is quite manageable.
    [I]Frost School of Music (UMiami) - BM Euphonium Performance '21


    Besson Prestige 2052 Euphonium - Greg Black NY 3.75
    Courtois 551BHRA Bass Trombone - Greg Black 1 1/4G
    Olds P-16 "Custom" Trombone - Greg Black NY 3A

  4. #4
    I'll add my vote for the Yamaha 321. Its bore is about .570" compared to .592" for most higher-level horns. And it is certainly tried and true in a variety of uses.

    Your budget is more than ample, but given your description I don't think you would benefit from buying a more expensive horn right now - it could tax your air supply.

    Here are a couple very nice Yamaha 321's on eBay right now. Both have really nice cases as well.

    Lacquered, $1,899.99

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-YEP3...N/292446494954

    Silver, $2,000, seller has 100% positive rating.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Silver-Yama...l/132489804106

    eBay offers nice buying protection to help protect you from fraud. I would use a little of the money you saved to allow for buying a good mouthpiece or two. Or you could go whole-hog and work with Doug Elliott on a custom mouthpiece, which could be tailored to your particular needs. It would probably cost 2x or 3x as much as a stock mouthpiece, but if it really suited you it would be worth it.

    As you get a year or two down the road you might feel like you are ready to move to a larger horn, so bank the saved money! The nice thing about either of these horns is that they are in close-to-new condition now, and if you take case of them, they would hold most of their value if you want to sell later to upgrade to a larger horn.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    Here is Doug Elliott's page with small-shank mouthpieces:

    http://www.dougelliottmouthpieces.com/tenortrb.html

    He's good at working with individuals to find just the right mouthpiece.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. I am a big fan of the 321. It responds easily, sounds great, is pretty fair in tune and works with a range of mouthpieces. I use a Wick 4AY, a big mouthpiece, and get a pretty dark and full sound.

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Rochester NY, USA
    Posts
    25
    Another vote for the Yamaha 321, I play one myself, it can easily handle the standard concert band literature and the slightly smaller bore size will help with your air issues. It is also available under your stated price range. The Dennis Wick 4AY mouthpiece was designed with that horn in mind, but may be a little big for you, a Schilke 51D works really well with that horn, I believe they come with a Yamaha 48 mouthpiece which will probably work very well to get you started until you're ready to upgrade.

  8. #8
    Yet another nice option for the Yamaha 321 is to have a 5th valve added. This can be done at a later date if you feel you need it. I had a teacher in college who had one of these and it worked well.

    https://www.hornguys.com/collections...-321-euphonium

    Robert Pendergast, DM

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Varese,Italy
    Posts
    150
    I also suggest the 321 Yamaha. I've never owned one, but I used one a few years ago to replace my Courtoise for repair. It is light,easy to play, has a good pitch, a nice voice and requires less air for smaller tubes. Good opportunities can be found, and the price of a new one is quite moderate.
    Besson Prestige 2052,3D K&G mouthpiece;JP373 baritone,T4C K&G mouthpiece;Bach 42GO trombone,T4C K&G mouthpiece

  10. #10
    It's kinda hard to go against so many votes for the Yammieslammer 321, but aside from the pretty good intonation (for a non-comper) and the easy response (for those with perhaps an air supply deficiency), and the decent sound (pretty bright for my tastes), it tends to be a delicate horn.

    So if you're a high-schooler who's around lots of pretty clueless kids in a large band room with lots of opportunity for damage (I know you're not! :-) ), I'd say steer clear of the Yammieslammer 321. I've heard lotsa good stuff about the Wessex Dolce and who knows? It just might be what the asthma doctor ordered -- coerces you to breathe deeply and with purpose. That's gotta be good, right?
    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

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