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Thread: How to tune a Euphonium

  1. How to tune a Euphonium

    Seems like a basic question, but I am a bit confounded by it. For trombone, I push the tuning slide all the way in and tune everything with the 3 foot long tuning slide in my right hand. For trumpet playing I tune the concert Bb using the main tuning slide and don't worry about anything else (like most trumpet players I know). But having recently picked up a Wessex Dolce Euphonium and not exactly sure what to do with all of the valve slides. It seems obvious to tune the main slide to the 3rd partial Bb. And my thought is then to tune the 2nd valve slide to the A below it and the 1st slide to Ab. But what to do with that pesky 3rd valve. I don't see using it by itself to play the G, so I wouldn't tune it to that. Makes more sense to me to tune it to the Gb or the Db in the staff (bass clef) with 2nd and 3rd valves depressed. Doesn't make sense to me to tune the 3rd valve slide to the C (1 and 3) in the staff as I would tune the 4th valve to that note.

    And I off base here. Overthinking it. Going the wrong direction?

    After a first orchestra rehearsal using the Euph, I quickly found out that I should probably use the 4th valve for the C above the staff, 2and 3 for the Db, 1and 2 for the D above the staff in order to stay in tune with the orchestra, but I am not sure how that plays into the whole tuning of individual valves.


  2. #2
    you are thinking along the right lines. I would make sure to tune the 2nd valve to an average of the best spot for the top line A and the upper-middle space E, first valve for Ab and Eb, 2+3 for Gb and Db, and fourth valve for lower middle space C and under-the-staff F.

    I'm surprised by your need to use alternate fingerings for those notes above the staff on your instrument.

  3. #3
    I personally tune the 3rd slides on my horns so that the in-staff Db is in tune, since I run into a Db/C# more often than a Gb/F# and the Gb/F# is pretty close when Db/C# is perfect. My King 2266 has a top 3rd valve slide that I can pull and push as I go. On that horn, I like to play below the staff quite a bit so I tune the 3rd valve where the Db/C# is slightly high. That makes the below-staff D 2-3-4 bang on, and I can pull that top 3rd slide to get the Db 1-3-4 bang on and the 1-2-3-4 low C pretty close.

    Keep in mind that the 2266 is basically a Wessex BR115- 4 valve, non-compensating. Your Dolce will not have serious intonation problems below the staff thanks to the compensating system... I personally would tune it so the in-staff Db is in tune.
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  4. #4
    On my Wessex I also need to use 4 for Middle C and 4-2 for Bnat below that. C# and D are fine though.
    Adams E3 0.6 with SS Bell
    K&G 3.5D

  5. Check Dave Werden Blog How to Tune

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
    Check Dave Werden Blog How to Tune
    ...which is here:
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  7. This ^

    And as the repertoire changes, don't be afraid to adjust the slides to get the best flow of the music.

    Anecdote: several years ago, I was playing tuba in a community band during a season we had a piece that had an ostinato: low C to D, G, repeat. The other players in the section tried to play it with standard fingerings, 4 for C, 1+2 for D and G. And they burbled all over the place. The piece had some rests for the tuba part before and after the ostinato section. So I quickly shoved 3 so D and G would be in tune with 3rd valve alone, pulled 1 to play the C 1+3 in tune; this had the effect of only having one valve to move in the line to go between the C and the D or the G, and retained the legato of the ostinato without burbling. At the end there were enough bars of rest to re-set the slides conventionally for the rest of the piece.

    We have all heard the joke, "set at the factory." Don't be afraid to experiment after you have taken time to set the slides according to Dave's method to get the best scale possible for conventional playing, if the repertoire calls for something else. That's why slides are adjustable: adjust to the music.
    Last edited by iiipopes; 03-02-2018 at 09:38 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Good point made above. We’re playing “Candice” (Bernstein) this next concert. I noticed I had to pull out my 3rd slide to play better in tune for all the Db concerts and sometimes using 1-3 for low F. So I marked my part “3rd out” atop the page. Just have to remember to reset it afterwards.
    Last edited by RickF; 03-02-2018 at 12:02 PM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    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
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  9. New utube video just out today on Tuning

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Sacramento, CA area

    Tuning video

    I tried viewing this video on tuning and UTube showed that it has been taken down. Any chance you know of another source/link for viewing it?
    - Sara

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