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Thread: Wessex Euph or Baritone?

  1. #1

    Wessex Euph or Baritone?

    Hello All,

    I currently have a YEP-201 Student Euphonium, and debating getting a Wessex Dolce or Wessex BR-144 Baritone.

    For those who have had the opportunity to see/play both any comments or leanings you may have? I understand baritone vs Euphonium differences, but most of the reviews and comments have been about the dolce. Anyone have much feedback on the Baritone?

    Secondly, is either much of a real upgrade coming from the Yamaha horn? I am expecting moving to a 4 valve/compensating horn should be, but also with it being a cheap horn I am not sure if it makes the most sense or if I should be saving my pennies for a Besson 165-2

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    Your question is hard to answer in an absolute way. Can you tell us more about your situation (in school, out and working, retired) and where you expect to play (in church, community band, school bands, etc.)?
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    The Besson 165-2 is, I believe, non-compensating. If that makes any difference in your decision making process.
    Clayton M.
    Musician for Fun
    Euphonium Newbie - XO 1270S
    Trumpet Novice - XO 1602RS

  4. #4
    Thank you, Dave,

    I am not in school, I played the trumpet mainly through school and just out of high school. I did play the Euphonium for a year in a community band out of school and then was mostly off the last 10 years. I am playing in a community band now, and due to the large trumpet contingent, I thought I would take up the euphonium again. I am at a place now where I have the means to invest in something a bit more quality, and want an instrument I can grow on past the basics.

    Clayton, I wasn't entirely sure if it was or not, I am not stuck with any particular horn, but in seeing the reviews here and on youtube those were kind of the two I was looking at.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    A euph can find work in several types of bands, a Wessex bari is best suited for brass bands.

    A different sound is why.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  6. #6
    Yes, I agree with highpitch (Dennis). I think a euphonium would be a better choice over a baritone if you are playing in a community band. I own a high end horn (Adams E3) and a Wessex Dolce euphonium. I am very happy with my Dolce and find it to be a very good instrument. I think the Wessex Dolce could serve you well. And it is 4 valves and compensating.
    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)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Sacramento, CA area
    Quote Originally Posted by pixel View Post
    Anyone have much feedback on the Baritone?
    I kind of have experience with the Baritone. What I have is the JinBao standard horn that the BR140 is based from, and finished in nickle. It is a 3 valve compensated baritone, as opposed to the 4 valve compensated (BR-144) that you are asking about. It is a lovely horn and works well within the environment I play in (church brass band, modeled after British Brass Bands) at The Salvation Army. In that context, both euphoniums and baritones are used regularly. Euphoniums typically get more ornamental, and/or solo caliber parts. Think of the lead tenor soloist and you get the idea. Baritones often provide a solid/foundational "third part". If the horns themselves are in an equal level of esteem in your book, then go with the one that gets the kind of part you like to play, or fits within your personal physical limitations better. Get the finish on the horn (lacquer, silver plate, etc.) that makes your heart sing and that you can afford, because the the horn has to please you as its owner. As far as three versus four valves in a baritone, go three. In my opinion, most of what a fourth valve can do for you, the compensating tubing is already doing. I have not seen much use for the four valve baritone in either the community band or the British Brass Band setting, that is not already covered between the baritone and the euphonium. The four valve baritone is trying to straddle the fence between them and those lines (and musical traditions) are already firmly drawn. The best thing you can do to get more parts and playing opportunities is to be able to read both treble and bass clef. Tenor clef too, if you are ready for the next challenge. Let us know what you decide. (smile)

    - Sara
    Last edited by Sara Hood; 04-05-2019 at 12:04 AM.
    Baritone - 3 Valve, Compensating, JinBao JBBR1240

  8. #8
    I've tried the BR-144 a couple of times at booths. Take this with a grain of salt as I have probably a grand total of 20 minutes with the instrument. I thought it played well enough but it had some pretty severe intonation problems. Correctable with alternate fingerings, but I hate having to do that. The Wessex BR-140 I thought played much better, with a really nice sound and a really great response and nicely defined articulations. Still not perfect in terms of intonation (nothing is absolutely perfect) but far better than the BR-144. I think four valves on a baritone can be handy for stealing euphonium (and other instrument) solo repertoire but not necessary.

    But, as others have said, unless you are planning on playing in a brass band (or just practicing at home), baritone has limited value. A euphonium is a more useful instrument to have.

  9. #9
    Thank you everyone for the excellent information and feedback!

  10. A British baritone is largely out of place in a concert band, and is primarily if not exclusively used in British-style brass bands (outside some older pieces that have a baritone part, which is mostly a mirror of the euphonium part). Its sound can be described as a cross between a euphonium, trombone, and french horn (alto/tenor horn in a brass band). A euphonium will give you more opportunities in both concert and brass band.
    James Kircoff
    Genesee Wind Symphony - principal euphonium (Adams E3 Custom .60mm yellow brass bell w/ Parker 4G Houser)
    Capital City Brass Band (2019 NABBA 2nd section champions) - 1st baritone (Besson BE956 w/ Denis Wick 6BY) and 10 piece ensemble (Getzen 1052FD bass trombone w/ Bach 1G)

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