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Thread: Please... Just tell me what to buy!

  1. Please... Just tell me what to buy!

    Hello friends! I am getting back into this music thang after 15 years away, and I'm overwhelmed by all the decisions to make! I'll just play in a community band for now, but I want to have potential to step up when life permits. Money is definitely an object, but at some point, value is more important than actual cost.

    I was raised on a YEP-321S, so I have a certain anxiety about moving to a 3+1, but I know it's the right thing. At 5'4", I'm not long and I'm not strong, so having a comfortable reach seems important. I generally prefer a warm, rich sound, but responsiveness matters, doesn't it? I have two young children at home, so efficient maintenance will be important. I'm committed to giving excellent care to this significant purchase, but not more care than I give my kids... You know. #reallife #butbandnerdforever

    I've been reading reviews and forums and trying to put it all together, but it's just too much. I've reviewed many threads here, but several links no longer work. Could those of you who know things do me a solid and just tell me exactly what to buy??

    Here we go:

    -Wessex Dulce or MB - is the Dulce REALLY worth 50% higher cost?
    -BEST oil?
    -BEST slide grease?
    -BEST cloths?
    -Top 2 mouthpieces?

    And what do I not know that I don't know??

    Thanks in advance for all your advice. I've already learned a ton from this board and I appreciate you all sharing what you know!!

  2. #2
    Hello lzajmom and welcome to the forum!

    Get a Wessex Dolce, lacquer for about $1,295.00. Added value with Wessex on quality and a few things on the horn. And you can return it within 2 weeks if not satisfied for a full refund. My wife is a smurf, too, even more so than you, and she could probably handle this. 3+1 in my opinion is easier than 4 in line valves. And the Wessex is compensating. I have been playing my Wessex lately as my Adams is away at reform school getting some things done to it so it will behave better. The Wessex is a great horn. The case sort of sucks because it is bigger than the Empire State Building, but it does protect the horn. I would use a gig bag with the Wessex for most of my transporting around town. As for mouthpieces, get a Wick 4AL for a great mouthpiece to start playing again. I can't remember what comes with the Dolce, but it is unremarkable (mouthpiece).

    I have now done you a solid, and I expect nothing in return except for your immediate assimilation back into the ranks of euphonium players. Live long and prosper.

    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. #3
    You won't go wrong with the Wessex Dolce. I've only used a John Packer JP274 before and I would recommend it, but it is a little on the heavier side, according to people who tried my instruments. So probably not the best choice.

    A lacquer coated euph will definitely be a lot easier to maintain and keep clean, so go for that over the silver plated one.

    In regards to best oil and slide grease..... it's really up to personal preference? But I've seen quite a few people on this forum, and I now consider myself among those people, use the Hetmann 2 piston oil and Hetmann slide gel (#6 I think?). Another thing you won't go wrong with.

    Mouthpiece, as what Mr. Morgan mentioned above, a Wick 4AL is the standard one. I am currently using a Wick 5AL on my JP274, but I plan to switch over to a 4AL or equivalent some time in the future.

    Welcome back into the ranks of the euphonium players! Enjoy your stay!
    "Never over complicate things. Accept "bad" days. Always enjoy yourself when playing, love the sound we can make on our instruments (because that's why we all started playing the Euph)"

    Euph: Yamaha 642II Neo - 千歌音
    Mouthpiece: K&G 4D, Denis Wick 5AL

  4. #4
    Totally agree with both John & Christiane above. I have a Dolce as a backup horn for my Yamaha Neo. The Dolce is a superb instrument, lacquer finish will be far less maintenance than silver (assuming you wish to keep the horn looking good).

    I purchased a miraphone gig bag (on this site) which if a perfect fit for it, as John says, the Wessex case does protect well, but it is huge !!

    Also feel the 4AL is the right choice, best to you and your euphonium playing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    For a mouthpiece I would say go to a music store or get some on trial, from different brands. As much as I would love to play a Denis Wick 4AL, it doesn't fit my face, so I play a 5AL. This might be the same for you. There is nothing wrong with trying a lot of sizes and brands of mouthpieces (Yamaha, Wick, Schilke, Bach, ranging from 6.5/48D size to 4/53 size etc). Choose whatever works best for you.

  6. First, thank you all so much for the hospitality!! This is a wonderful resource and community.

    Second, you guys!! I love the look (and sound!) of the silver so much that I hadn't even considered the lacquer, but of course you're totally right about the maintenance. And I hadn't even considered it! �� To quote my 3yo: "Silly mommy!" (She has occasion to say this often.) Thanks for the excellent consideration.

    Ok so I have a follow-up and an "oh yeah" addendem:

    I hear the preference for Wessex over MB, but...
    1) If you compare silver compensating Dulce $1395 to silver compensating MB $995, are the subtle upgrades to Wessex REALLLLLY really really worth $400? Not to be awkward (yet here we go), but I know Jonathan is a frequent and very helpful contributor here, and it makes me wonder whether this group is a bit biased because of that association. Or maybe it really is that much better and I just need to accept the offense to my budget? Nothing but respect for all parties.
    2) The lack of phone number on the Wessex site, combined with the fact that I still haven't gotten a response to my online inquiry after 3+ days, gives me pause about the service I would receive if I had any problems. Apparently you all have had great experiences?
    UPDATE: I just noticed where they actually do have a phone number, but the link for my phone doesn't work. I'll try again and that may completely eliminate my concern with #2.

    Ok and I meant to include this in the OP:
    -BEST brush thingies for cleaning inside?

    Sorry this is so long. Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by lzajmom; 02-12-2019 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Correction

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by lzajmom View Post
    First, thank you all so much for the hospitality!! This is a wonderful resource and community.

    1) If you compare silver compensating Dulce $1395 to silver compensating MB $995, are the subtle upgrades to Wessex REALLLLLY really really worth $400?
    Only you can answer this question since it really asks if the difference is worth it TO YOU. It wouldn't be to me, but it definitely is to a lot of others.

    Apparently you all have had great experiences?
    Depends on the level of support you're anticipating. It's worth investigating with respect to any of these vendors and getting a good solid feel for it before you buy so that you won't be surprised later. Ask anyone you're thinking of buying from exactly the questions that are of importance to you and carefully evaluate the response. There's not much more you can do. Things that may be important to you are (1) the return policy (e.g., Full refund? All shipping costs (both ways) included in the refund?). (2) What is the policy (the EXPLICIT policy and a written commitment) to any repairs under the warranty (Can you have it done locally and paid for or reimbursed by the vendor? How well does the vendor actually support this policy and how difficult is it to get them to do that?). Don't be satisfied with vague responses. (3) How long would it take you to get a replacement part if needed?

    -BEST brush thingies for cleaning inside?
    I like the synthetic bristle and plastic coated trombone snakes (like Yamaha, I think?)

    There are no reasonably firm answers to your other questions about oil, grease, mouthpieces, etc. It's a personal journey and what you start with isn't what you'll end up with (and also, you'll never really "end up" ).

    To you're final riddle: I don't know what you don't know that you don't know since I don't know what you do know or don't know. But I do know that while you don't know what you don't know (under one standard interpretation of this, it's a theorem of any reasonable epistemic logic), you may not know specifically what that is (which should also be a theorem of a reasonable epistemic logic). However, for lack of my own knowledge about your knowledge, I can't be of any more than totally speculative help there.
    Last edited by ghmerrill; 02-07-2019 at 10:14 AM.
    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)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Summerville (SC)
    Hello lzajmom, welcome to the forum family!

    I freely admit of being a Wessex fan.... Wessex Festivo being my first euphonium.... I had dabbled for a few years with flugel, cornet Bb and Eb, and trumpet... Yet, once I discovered the euphonium per the suggestion of my friend AwesomeDad, I never looked back... There is magic from my euph that high brass has never given me.

    No, I am not trying to persuade you to go the Festivo route... While it does have easy to reach side-mounted valves, it does cost 50% more than Dolce. On the other hand, if my Festivo is representative of Wessex workmanship, I must say that the quality control that Jonathan and his crew have developed at the JimBao factory dedicated to Wessex production is impressive.

    My impression from following this board is that the acolides for Dolce and Festivo stem from the sheer satisfied experience of their users, rather than from Jonathan's occasional posts, which are typically quite informative, yet dry of marketing lingo or self-promotion.

    You should be able to see the Wessex USA phone number next to the Wessex Tuba logo on most pages. For example at:

    Just in case, here is the Wessex USA contact info:

    Wessex Tubas LLC
    PO Box 362
    520 Elm Street
    Ferrysburg, MI 49409
    Phone: 616.843.6888
    Contact: Steve Markus, and Andy

    I phoned Steve, and spoke with him several times... Steve was wonderful to work with when I purchased my Festivo... I received my horn in about one week from the order.

    On mouthpieces... The Wick AL series is usually listed between $72 and $77. However, right now WWBW has it on sale for a nice $62.00. See:

    Best, Guido
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Good advice from posters above. As far as cleaning your horn, I like to use HW Brass Saver Brushes. The bristles are soft and won't scratch the inside of piston casings. The long brush for cleaning out slides and tubing have the same type bristles. The wired to pull it through is covered with plastic to keep from scratching.

    Here's a link to Amazon if interested:
    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
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernández) cell phone video

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Anderson, Indiana
    As has been reported previously on this forum, Wessex seems to be moving their US headquarters from Michigan to the Chicago area. That could explain the difficulty of reaching them.
    Dave Werden has suggested to others to try their Facebook page if other efforts fail:
    When you do make contact, Wessex representatives should be able to explain in detail why their instruments cost more than similar models. (Wessex upgrades, better testing before each instrument is shipped, etc.)
    Friends have been happy with the similar Mack Brass instruments but they are experienced musicians, have easy access to repair shops, etc. As others have pointed out, it depends on how much the extra inspections and service is worth to you.
    Oh and one other thing......If you are buying a new instrument, regardless of brand, I would recommend you give it a good cleaning with warm (not hot) water not too long after you get it in order to flush out any remaining machining fluids, valve lapping compound, etc. Most brass musicians I know use Dawn or other good dish washing detergent.
    Last edited by enhite; 02-07-2019 at 01:11 PM.

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