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Thread: Pending Euphonium Purcharse

  1. Pending Euphonium Purcharse

    Greetings, I used to lurk here during the brief time (6mo.) when I had a Shin Bao rotary valve Euphonium. My basement apartment flooded in a storm about 10 years ago and the landlord panicked and put all my worldly possessions in a dumpster. Water under the bridge. Literally. Anyway I have not played a euph in all this time. I have a French Horn and get nice sounds out of it but it just feels wrong on my face. Everytime I put it to my lips it has to be in a different place to get a nice tone. Even in one short piece I am constantly resetting my embouchure. It might be clear from this that I have never had any brass instrument instruction. Actually I have never had any formal instruction on a musical instrument.

    Anyway, I have decided to find another Euphonium. I remember that the Schiller Compensating Euphoniums would get consistently positive reviews from posters here. My question is: how does the rest of the Schiller Euphonium line compare to the compensating instruments? Specifically the two rotary valve Euphoniums that Schiller sells? I have had an eye on the American Heritage 4 rotary valve Bb/C instrument for years and who can quibble with the price. More recently I have expanded my budget to include the Schiller Elite four rotary valve Euphonium for a little more than twice the price of the American Heritage. Are these decent instruments for a hobby player who does plan to play in public?

    Last night I saw three different Conn four valve Euphoniums from two different sellers. One seller is offering both the four valve short stroke and the regular with a choice of recording or upright bell. The other seller is offering a short stroke four valve with recording bell only. My question: are these true Euphoniums? Are they a full size Euphonium bore? What size mouthpiece shank would they need. The Schillers are large bore instruments and use a large size mouthpiece shank but I cannot find any data on the Conns.

    Bottom line: the Conns are all circa 1970 and cost exactly what a new Schiller Elite retails for (~$1250). I like the idea of rotary valves because thats what Horns have and I have all the right oils to do regular maintenance. But other than that I don't know. Thoughts anyone?

  2. #2
    the rotary 4-valve Bb/C is supposed to be terrible, there were some posts previously here and on tubenet about it. Wessex used to sell the same one and stopped apparently because it wasn't very good.

    What are your playing opportunities? American style and German-style instruments don't fit in everywhere.
    --
    Barry

  3. Hi Barry, thanks. I am primarily going to have church solo and small (very) ensemble opportunities to begin with. I did dare to take the Shin Bao to a Community Band rehearsal and no one batted an eyelash. I didn't think the Conn or Schiller instruments would be regarded suspiciously in a Community Band or Tuba Christmas kind of setting. But I don't know ...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,996
    In those circumstances, it's unlikely for anyone to notice what you're playing. They might care what it SOUNDS like in terms of pitch and intonation, but I have (very briefly) played in a community band where no one (especially the conductor) seemed to care much about that either.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    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, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  5. For $12-1300 get the Wessex Dolce if you want a new euph. It will have much better intonation, quality control, and manufacturer support. If you don't like the conventional 3+1 comp, then like the Conn, Wessex make a front-piston-valve BR115 4-valve non-comp, which is what I use in community band and is well received. And if you want to stay with an oval with rotary valves, they have both a regular 3-valve baritone for @$700 and a "Kaiser" 4-valve (more like a euph) at @$1000.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by iiipopes View Post
    For $12-1300 get the Wessex Dolce if you want a new euph. It will have much better intonation, quality control, and manufacturer support. If you don't like the conventional 3+1 comp, then like the Conn, Wessex make a front-piston-valve BR115 4-valve non-comp, which is what I use in community band and is well received. And if you want to stay with an oval with rotary valves, they have both a regular 3-valve baritone for @$700 and a "Kaiser" 4-valve (more like a euph) at @$1000.
    Thanks very much. I am going to check those out right now. The Jinbao was an oval rotary but the Schillers are upright. I'd prefer that actually. Sounds like the "Kaiser" four valve is exactly that. I'm off to find out. Thx again.

  7. Ok, so I see that the Kaiser 'baritone' is oval. I should have known that. Anyway, while I was on the Wessex site I did notice the 'Festivo' compensating (but front valve) model. I like it. My last question before I leave you all alone is: is a compensating euph essentially a three valve euph that plays perfectly in tune down to the bottom of the normal three valve range (E?) using the fourth valve purely to correct the intonation of the first three valves? That's what it sounds like based on scant information. To me, again based on scant information, a non-compensating four valve would be a better option because you can play down to Bb and still get some correction to the intonation of 1-3. What I don't know is if it is as cut and dried as that, and I don't know if the additional range is chromatic (continuous) below the E of the three valve range. Do I make any sense?

  8. #8
    There are 3-valve and 4-valve compensating euphoniums. The Festivo is a 4-valve. Here is an explanation of what the compensating system does:

    http://www.dwerden.com/eu-articles-comp.cfm
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    653
    A four-valve compensator doesn't 'compensate' until using the 4th. Using just the first three, it plays like any 3-valve horn.

    With the 4th engaged, using any or all of the first three in addition gets you small bits of extra tubing to bring the then sharp partials flat a bit.

    No horn will play perfectly in the lower ranges, even a pro comp job; they are just less squirrelly.

    An oval or rotor-valve euph will always have degrees of difficulties blending with piston-valve horns in any ensemble.

    Don't let your valve oil investment cloud your judgement on buying a new horn.

    Dennis
    3 notes and the truth.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard, early model Wick 4AL
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original, Bach 5GS

  10. #10
    Hello Leise, funny you ask about the Wessex Festivo... The 4-valve compensating Festivo is my very first euphonium.... I received it in early July, and absolutely love it!

    While I have dabbled with high brass for a few years, I had never tried a euph before.... Found transition to be remarkably comfortable.... Even with my mediocre abilities, I have already a range a little greater than 3.5 octaves. And I am starting to obtain a very sweet tone from it.... Particularly after I started to use a Wick SMU4 mouthpiece instead than the Wessex Y4 that is shipped with it.

    A fine semi-rigid and padded gig bag / backpack is included. If you live in Europe, Wessex ships its Euphoniums with a little instrument care kit, which includes a bottle of Wessex valve oill.

    Regards, Guido
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

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