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Thread: Student switching from a euphonium to tuba

  1. Student switching from a euphonium to tuba

    THANK YOU for all of your assistance in helping me with my euphonium purchases - instrument, mouth pieces and music - a few years ago.

    I bought my then 11yo (I think) son a Wessex 4 valve; Dolce. He transitioned from the beginner Yamaha to the Wessex with great success. He's not often careful, but treated the Wessex with great care.

    I recently washed both instruments and the Wessex has only a few very minor dents. The Yamaha was beat up when I bought it, was probably abused by my son/his band mates, and I recently had it overhauled so my beginning daughter can use it.

    My son's band teacher has encouraged him to switch to the tuba; as their only tuba player is graduating next spring.

    So, I bought my son the Wessex Dragon.

    When I purchased the Dolce, the communication from Wessex was outstanding. Perhaps this was because they still had the Michigan site. I purchased the last Dragon on the website, but then did not receive any communication from Wessex; except the order confirmation. Although the website says in stock orders ship within 48 hours, mine did not. Emails to them went unanswered; which was VERY different than my 1st purchase. It took over a week to receive a shipping confirmation.

    My son loves the Dragon. Before ordering, I asked him multiple times if the school's tuba was full sized, and of course he said yes. The Dragon is much bigger than the one he's been using but he is 6 feet tall and has no problems reaching the valves. He likes where the thumb hole is located; vs the school's tuba.

    He said that the build quality of the Dragon feels much better than the Dolce. I think he needs to purchase a different mouth piece, but is extremely happy with his new instrument; and his sister will play the Dolce when she's ready.

    Thanks again for all of the wisdom -

    Deb

  2. #2
    Deb,

    Thanks for that detailed update! It's always nice to know how things are working out.

    Regarding this...

    Quote Originally Posted by decent.beginner's.mom View Post
    When I purchased the Dolce, the communication from Wessex was outstanding. Perhaps this was because they still had the Michigan site. I purchased the last Dragon on the website, but then did not receive any communication from Wessex; except the order confirmation. Although the website says in stock orders ship within 48 hours, mine did not. Emails to them went unanswered; which was VERY different than my 1st purchase. It took over a week to receive a shipping confirmation.
    I've seen similar comments on Facebook. As near as I can tell it is due to the company moving from MI to IL. For a small company with a good inventory of heavy, damageable stock, that's a very large undertaking. I assume their communications will be back to normal once they are settled and have a chance to catch up.
    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

  3. I figured that the change in service was their move.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by decent.beginner's.mom View Post


    My son loves the Dragon. Before ordering, I asked him multiple times if the school's tuba was full sized, and of course he said yes. The Dragon is much bigger than the one he's been using but he is 6 feet tall and has no problems reaching the valves. He likes where the thumb hole is located; vs the school's tuba.
    "Full sized" is a rather vague description, and it's always better to do it in terms of actual measurements since people's perceptions differ. Similarly for the normal designations of tuba size as 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, etc. All relative in somewhat vague ways, especially since there are many parts and dimensions to a tuba. And I'm sure the tuba at school seemed MUCH bigger to him than his euphonium.

    That Dragon looks like a very nice horn indeed, but it's BIG! Not a terribly large bore, but quite large diameter tubing in the final parts, bows, and bugle. And a 19" bell!!. It's also heavy. A Miraphone 186 (typical "full size" tuba, the Cerveny 781 BBb I used to play, and the Wessex Champion Eb I have now) all weigh in at around 18 lbs. So at a claimed 26 lbs., the Dragon is over 40% heavier than those "full size" tubas. And a Yamaha 321 BBb tuba (very often used by schools, and a full-size tuba) weighs in at almost exactly 20 lbs. So the Dragon is a pretty big honker. But that's great. He'll grow into it quickly and will appreciate the size as time goes on.

    I don't know why you think he needs a different mouthpiece, but for a beginning tuba player (even with the euph experience), I would recommend starting with a Faxx 25 or maybe a Faxx 18 (NOT under ANY circumstances a 24AW of any sort). It's relatively inexpensive, won't be too big for him right off the bat, will be big enough, and he should use it until he learns what alternative he might prefer (which will require some experience/comparison). The Faxx pieces are high quality low cost reproductions of Bach mouthpieces. I think the 25 would be best as the 18 might be a bit large for him initially. Just my thoughts.

    Addendum: If the mouthpiece he's using is the Wessex "HB" Helleberg-style mouthpiece, and if this is a faithful reproduction of the Helleberg, then I think it's likely that it's too big for him right now. I have never been able to use a full-size Helleberg mouthpiece (like the Conn or Schilke) easily and successfully. They just seem to suck the air out of my lungs.
    Last edited by ghmerrill; 11-06-2018 at 03:57 PM.
    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. Thank You Gary! I will relay your mouth piece suggestions.

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