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Thread: Besson 767 or Wessex Dolce or ????

  1. Quote Originally Posted by iiipopes View Post
    If not, then the Yammy 321, the King 2280, or the Wessex Dolce are all good horns, all taking the larger shank mouthpieces.
    I thought the Yammy was a small shank ???
    T.J. Davis

    Wessex Dolce
    G&W Kadja

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by daviste View Post
    I thought the Yammy was a small shank ???
    Indeed it is.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. Thanks to all for the generous input.

    Just to clarify a couple of points:

    1. Bore/shank size: Is it always the case that small shank=small bore, medium shank=medium bore, large shank=large bore? And what is the cut off between small/med/large? The Yamaha 321 is listed as small shank, .571 bore; the King 2280 large shank, .581; the Wessex ''Dolce' as large, .591. The older Besson 767 has the medium shank but I'm not clear whether it is a medium or large bore (does the early 767 go by another name?).

    2. I take it from the comments that the standard today in college wind and low brass ensembles is larger shank and larger bore instruments, and he will want to have a larger bore instrument to blend in. Is that then a mark against the older Besson?

    3. I appreciate the comments that a 3+1 compensating horn is probably overkill for my son at this stage in his musical studies. What I'm having trouble parsing is the value proposition between older used vs new instruments and old line manufactures vs the new Chinese imports. Which is to say, is there a compelling reason to pay $1000-$1500 used/ $2400 new for a non-compensating Yamaha 321 or King 2280 when a new compensating Wessex Dolce or JP274 can be had for ~$1200?

    Thanks again,

  4. Historically, the advice was to purchase a good used horn from a reputable company instead of a new horn from an unproven company. Wessex has turned that on its head. Their Dolce euph is so well made and popular that they can't keep them in stock. Additionally, I have had the best of experience with my new BR115 in my specific application in my old-school community band. Their QC is the best in the business.

    I don't know why Besson changed from the mid shank to the large shank on their euphs. Their bore size did not immediately enlarge with the change in receiver size. I don't think there is a correlation, except that possibly the euphs with a small receiver (not the BBB baritones) may be geared to school trombone players switching over so they don't have to immediately change mouthpieces. It is a lot easier to switch from a trombone 12C to a 6 1/2 AL than it is to go directly to a Wick 4 or similar with its much larger throat.

    BTW: historically, the Besson primary bore was .581.

  5. As a comeback player I recently went through a very similar decision. I used to be a performance major way back in college and played a Yamaha 641, but sold that some time ago. About 5 years ago I picked up a Besson 3-valve compensating New Standard to get back in shape, and a year or two after that decided to step it up buy a 4-valve compensator.

    I first bought a Besson 767 from the 1960s for a great deal--about the same price as a new Wessex. And then I bought a Wessex with their 14-day return policy. My intention was to either return the Wessex or sell the Besson.

    I found the Wessex superior, and ended up selling the Besson. It was simply much easier to play. The intonation was much better, slotting was precise, tone was clearer if a touch less rich, and it was simply more dependable for someone who doesn't have time to practice hours a day to keep his chops in tip top shape. The Besson had a nice rich tone for sure, but it was harder to center notes, less flexible, and much easier to flub a note on a large interval jump or loud entrance. Fast passages sounded mushy too--individual notes less crisp and well-defined.

    The Wessex reminded my very much of the 641 I used to play--not surprising since it is based on the 642. My only complaint is the low B-natural, which is just a horrid note, whether played 2-4 (way flat) or 1-2-3 (way sharp). But I'd still trade that for the Besson 6th partial any day of the week. And other than the B-natural it has quite good intonation. Dave has a nice intonation chart somewhere on this site.

    I imagine some of the Besson's problems were due to age. I had the horn serviced, cleaned, valves aligned, etc, and there was no visible wear on the valves, but it did feel like a bit more-than-normal air leakage. Then again my Wessex has a good bit of air leakage but plays just fine.

    Anyways, just one person's experience.

  6. #16
    I have a wessex festivo and a king 2280. So far as I'm concerned, they are both great. If I were allowed to have only one, I don't know if I could make up my mind... Except I bought the festivo because it has valves on the front that makes it more comfortable for my bad shoulder and ruptured disk in my neck. I was going to sell the king but as good as it plays, I hate to let it go.

    If the Dolce is comparable with the festivo, it will be more than sufficient....

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by tkthomp View Post
    Which is to say, is there a compelling reason to pay $1000-$1500 used/ $2400 new for a non-compensating Yamaha 321 or King 2280 when a new compensating Wessex Dolce or JP274 can be had for ~$1200?
    That is the big question, isn't it? With the new Chinese horns, it really does seem like you get a lot for the money. I have been very happy with my Schiller, and I think your son would be very happy with the Wessex or JP.

    I was similar to your son in that I played through college and was fairly active in the music department, but I did not major in music. I played on a school-owned 642. If your son thinks he will be playing euphonium in a wind ensemble in college, a modern compensating horn will almost certainly be what the other players are using. It seems like a non-compensating horn will have a different sound within the ensemble that may not necessarily be desirable.

    However, there are certainly great players making great music with the 321 and 2280, so it is hard for me to say that musically there is a clear answer between the non-comps and Chinese comps. If you are just looking at the "value proposition", the Chinese compensating horns have a lot to offer.

    I also think that ernstlanzer's post is probably pretty indicative of the comparisons between the Wessex and a vintage Besson, which is after all the whole point of this thread.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Sacramento, CA area

    Which horn for your son?

    As the one funding this horn, it is ultimately up to you. Here is my two cents. Buy him as much of a horn as you can reasonably afford. I recently purchased my first baritone, as opposed to always using a loaner. I found that the difference in price between compensating and non-compensating was not as much as between say a lacquered brass and silver finish. While I am just a hobby musician, I found a compensating instrument to be the way to go.

    You say that he is serious about his interest/passion in/for music, and that his main instrument is trombone. Well as someone so moved by music, I think that he is going to want something near pro-level for any instrument he plays on and owns. It will be nice to have a high quality horn to double with, when he does decide to alternate. He will probably find more call (demand/opportunities) for his skills on trombone, than on euphonium, but that does not mean that he shouldn't have a nice euphonium to fall back on.

    As to whether you should go with a used top-of-the-line brand, or a new Chinese stencil, all other things being equal, that is a tough one.

    I love my JinBao Baritone (a Chinese stencil). Their factory also makes Wessex, Schiller, Mack Brass, and a few other respected names. They are cloned off of the best of what the brass instrument world has to offer. So they have a lot going for them without the same price tag. What they don't have is the same level of customer service and history of name recognition. By buying from a big name, domestic dealer, like Wessex, you get the customer service and quality control that might otherwise be lacking when buying a horn manufactured on the other side of the planet.

    On the other hand, used Yamaha, Besson, Adams, and Sterlings are very nice horns and are respected names. They are so highly regarded that even their used instruments are sought after and have retained a lot of their value. Besson, for example, is the byword in the English speaking world, for what a Euphonium should sound like.

    If this gift is not intended as a surprise, maybe you should let him pick. Tell him you will pay up to (insert your budget amount) for the horn of his choosing. Then give him the info you have gathered from this forum, and let him do the shopping. You may find yourself going all over the place "test driving" horns, but he is sure to find one that he is in love with. And as a musician, the love affair between player and instrument can be all the difference in the world.

    Hope you and he have fun looking for a horn (smile).
    - Sara Hood

    PS This should also help you to determine whether his being "smitten" is a passing fancy, or a serious interest in the euphonium. And there are plenty of trombonist/euph-ist dual instrument playing folks out there, so don't be surprised if he loves both.
    Last edited by Sara Hood; 06-08-2018 at 09:55 AM. Reason: Took John Packer out of my list of stencils because I discovered that they are made in a different factory/brand in China.

  9. l'm a life long trombone (Conn 88H) and euphonium player (Yamaha 321 since middle school). my daughter is decent freshman high school euph/trombone player. when wanted to upgrade her, went through similar discussion. for trombone, went with standard advice, stick with a used classic, and got her an old King 4B. for euphonium, tried to use same logic, but when reviewed options, had to go with the Wessex Dolce. wildly impressed. sold my Yamaha euphonium shortly after. we use the Dennis Wick 4AL with the Wessex and 5AL with my 88H which makes switching back and forth easy and comfortable. strongly recommend Wessex dolce for your son.
    Last edited by Shiner99; 03-16-2018 at 01:06 PM.

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