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Thread: Contemplating 1st purchase for our student son (Intermediate+ level player)

  1. #11
    A silver horn is going to tarnish at some point. The more it is handled and the more it left exposed, the faster it will tarnish. My own horns have shown tarnish that is black-ish and also that is yellow, depending on the horn and conditions. You could always buy a polishing cloth from Ash, one that is treated with polish on one side and just plain on the other side. Then use it on one of the silver patches and see what happens. I suspect it will be satisfying. There are many threads on the forum about polish, but basically you want to go over the horn with a good silver polish that includes a tarnish inhibitor. I always used Hagerty polish with great results:

    https://www.amazon.com/Hagerty-10120.../dp/B0000CFMQO

    That said, because Wessex is always improving things, it is worthwhile to see how old that floor model is. They are inexpensive enough that one does not need to feel constrained to buy a used one or an old/new one.

    Almost any new horn you get at any price will need a breaking-in period for the valves, no matter how good they feel out of the gate. I always remove the pistons daily, wipe them down, and oil them for a couple weeks at minimum. AND when putting the piston back in, you must be sure the valve spring is seated correctly, so the cylinder should be straight up and down as you do this. If not, the spring could be crooked and scrape the sides as it moves. My own horn would cost close to $10k new and I have some high-priced "Mead Springs" in it to replace the standard springs. But if I don't keep it clean and keep the springs centered, it will make scraping noise.
    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

  2. #12
    Hello Sheldon, what mouthpiece was your son using when testing the Wessex and the Jupiter?

    Reason for asking is that as mouthpieces have an influence on a number of parameters, including overall tone, testing results may vary unnecessarily if each instrument is tested using its own stock mouthpiece.

    For example, the stock Wessex mouthpiece on my Wessex Festivo seems to impart a somewhat lighter / less intense / less warm tone than my Wick SM4U, and at least for me, seems to impart a slight limit to the instrument's range in the lowest and upper range.

    I can just imagine that the stock Jupiter mouthpieces would have its own unique characteristics different from the Wessex...

    Using his own MP, your son would be able to control this otherwise unpredictable variable.

    Concerning valve noise, I have noticed that the valve noise of my Wessex Festivo has abated considerably since I received it last July, without perhaps reaching the total silence of Adams valves. But it is important to consider that current Wessex EP100 and EP104, as well as JP 274 are not $10K professional-level euphos.... Thus some allowance must be made to some minor mechanical flaws which would be otherwise unacceptable on a $10K horn.


    Concerning tarnish on Silver.... Typically starts as a yellowish tinge, gradually morphing through more mustardy, sepia, and then tar-like black... In spite of its apellation as a "noble metal", Silver is far from remaining tarnish-free like Gold.

    Best, 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

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,976
    I continue to be puzzled by repeated complaints (regarding various instruments) concerning "valve noise". First, this should not be terribly difficult to diagnose. And then, second, it should not be difficult to fix -- unless there's something really fundamentally wrong with the instrument that's causing it, and then you need to know that.

    Piston valve noise is almost always caused in some way or another by (1) Felts (wrong size/thickness, or worn, or possibly "too hard"), (2) Valve guides or channels (worn, poorly made, or dirty), or (3) springs. Otherwise, something that SEEMS to be valve noise may not be valve noise at all -- e.g., a broken or partly broken solder joint somewhere in the instrument, or a loose "solder blob" inside the instrument. But these things can be found and addressed.

    In the case of springs, the Chinese instruments in my experience just don't have very good springs. Hey, if you can't see it, who cares, right? And you may wonder by what magic a genuine Yamaha euphonium has so much quieter springs than your Chinese clone. You think it might be because the Yamaha springs are plastic coated? Then get some Yamaha springs and throw them into your euph, eh?

    If the problem is something like valve guides and channels and it turns out that this is because the channels were machined a bit too wide and the result is valve clatter, then yeah, you're probably stuck -- because while this is theoretically fixable, it's not worth going there. However, I haven't seen that in my Chinese instruments.

    One problem with serious valve noise I had was on my (duh!) 1924 Buescher tuba that still had the original (brass) valve guides. Clatter, clatter, clatter ...! But it didn't take much effort to take those (almost 100 year old) guides out, true up the channel tops a bit, drill and tap the valve guide holes, and put plastic guides in. The result was silent valves. Actually, with the plastic valve guides and the Yamaha springs in it, the valves on that ancient horn are quieter than those on either my Mack Brass euph or Wessex tuba (both of which are very quiet).

    The other serious problem I have is with the rotary valves on my Amati oval euph. Terrible clattering. This is because the linkages are worn, and the only solution to that short of replacing the entire linkage (not going to happen!) is to drill out the bushings and valve arms and put in slightly larger pivot screws. Sometime ... maybe this coming winter.

    But my point is that USUALLY valve noise is eminently fixable, and MOST OFTEN in the case of PISTON valves it simply involves first FINDING the problem and then applying the very simple fix -- like buying plastic coated valve springs (or maybe some felts), which will typically cost you around $20.
    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)

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Posts
    886
    If the Wessex had been sitting around (was this a used model, I didn't know Wessex sold from other dealers), then you could get very scratchy sounding valves. They need to be lubricated and used. Mine are very quiet and I do nothing special other than play the horn and keep the valves oiled. The yellowish appearance is indicative of a silver plated horn that is showing signs of tarnish, very normal, and what you would expect of a horn sitting around. It sounds very much like this horn has been basically ignored.

    The Wessex is a good, solid horn. Period. Can't say that any other way. But you have to get what you like and are happy with. Good luck.
    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)

  5. #15
    I think there is also an issue of expectations. One shouldn't expect the same level of sound/quality from one of the Chinese sourced horns as one would from a pro level horn. Also, expecting a young player to be comparing (and very concerned with) high range response, projection, articulations, etc. seems a bit much. Although maybe I am just outdated. At this point, it would makes sense to pick a well regarded model like the Wessex and make it work. If after he has played the horn for a good while it no longer meets his needs, then he can move to something different. But, trying to sort this all out before purchase can lead to insanity. Just my opinion.

    Mike

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    US East coast
    Posts
    17
    Speaking of outdated opinions, if your son will be taking lessons with a particular professor it might be a good idea to check Professor’s preference before purchasing.

    When I entered college (middle Stone Age), the clarinet majors who came with brand new top line Selmers were told that they would need top line Buffets or wouldn’t be allowed to take private lessons.

    Things may have changed, but it never hurts to check.

  7. #17
    Iím none of the guys you mentioned, and I havenít played either the Wessex or the JP, but I bought a JP Bass Trombone sight unseen and I was amazed at the quality of the instrument. The instrument was Drop-shipped directly from the uS distribution center, so its not like my dealer massaged it either.

    You have no worry about quality from JP.

    Don Winston.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ann reid View Post
    Speaking of outdated opinions, if your son will be taking lessons with a particular professor it might be a good idea to check Professorís preference before purchasing.

    When I entered college (middle Stone Age), the clarinet majors who came with brand new top line Selmers were told that they would need top line Buffets or wouldnít be allowed to take private lessons.

    Things may have changed, but it never hurts to check.
    Good idea. I was taking private lessons as an adult with the euphonium soloist with a major service band in the D.C. area who was also adjunct professor at a university. A new music student came in with a new Besson 2052 and was told that he needed a Willson 2900. I'm not sure whether her son is a music major or not, so that could be an issue.

    Mike

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Posts
    886
    I guess I never quite warmed up to the idea that you had to check with your professor to see if your horn selection would be satisfactory to "him/her". Now I agree that it might be useful to ask your professor his opinion of the various horns out there, and what might be right for you based on your ability and your plans for your music "career", etc., but if I had a Besson or an Adams and some professor told me I needed a Willson (or another horn, not picking on Willson), I would probably tell him what he could do with that idea. I might be immediately looking for a new professor, but that is too much influence in my opinion.
    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)

  10. #20
    Totally agree with you, John.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

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