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Thread: Picking up the euph again, thinking about options

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    Welcome Pete! That was a nice read. As a retired Army guy, curious to know if you did the Marine Corps thing? I gave the oath of office to my son, Ian, when he joined the Marine Corps. Pretty neat. If you did the Marines, how long, or are you still in?
    Hey John, thanks for the nice note, and congratulations to you and your son. I never made it through OCS, despite going two times (first in June 2007 and again in January 2009). Both times I was injured during training and medically discharged from OCS, so sadly I never commissioned as a lieutenant. I thought about going back a third time, but life happened and I eventually moved on.

    I don't know how much he told you about Marine Corps OCS, but the attrition rate is pretty high -- roughly 40-50% of candidates don't make it to graduation for a combination of injuries, illness, poor academic performance, bad leadership scores, integrity violations (candidates caught lying about something), and people who just plain quit (Drop on Request). This was during wartime, too, so I think the instructors were being extra hard to weed out the candidates who were on the margins. In my first OCS class, my platoon started with 55 candidates, and we were already whittled down to about 45 by the time I had my injury: a couple guys got pneumonia, some had heat-related injuries, another broke his ankle on the obstacle course, crap like that. The first time I left OCS it was with a barely-functioning right elbow; the second time I was on crutches. I'm not sure what I could have done to prevent it, so I just call it bad luck.

    My older brother is a Marine infantry officer, so I still get to hear about the Corps a lot. I was hoping he would be able to give me the oath of office when I commissioned (if he wasn't on deployment at the time), but obviously that never happened.

    But, looking on the bright side: the Marines taught me more about leadership and strength than anything else in my life (except my father's example), so it was still a positive experience for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RickF
    Pete, I noticed you mentioned attending the Governorís School in NC. I understand thatís quite an honor and excellent program. My granddaughter (trombone) got to do that 2 or 3 years ago.
    Rick, I'm glad your granddaughter got to go to Governor's School. It was a fantastic time for me, a good precursor to college, and I hope she had the same experience. The best eupher I ever played with was principal at GS East that year, and I was his second chair. We met up again at All-State the following spring. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a member of this forum...

    Thanks to everyone else who chimed in. I'm glad to be welcomed to this group.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianeSparkle View Post
    Congratulation on your new Wessex! Looking forward to your thoughts on it! It seems like Mr. Powell is currently traveling to China to QC a batch of instruments at the factory. So, I bet your Euph will be coming from this batch! I always found it fascinating to know the journey a eupho went through before reaching a user (or even stories as it gets passed down from one user to other)
    Thanks! It's awesome that he takes such a strong interest in ensuring his overseas partners produce quality instruments. At the risk of stating the obvious, "Made in China" can be a stigma among many consumers, and I'll admit to having been prejudiced against Chinese-made euphoniums several years ago when I first caught wind of them (pardon the pun?), but... after hearing about Wessex's devotion to stringent quality control and reading the thorough and positive reviews on this forum, I figured it was a no-brainer for a returning player like me.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    527
    Agree completely with Snorlax! I purchased a Mack Brass Euphonium in 2015 and I'm still using it with no issues at all. Great horn and great price!
    Also - don't get discouraged. Your playing will come back. Just takes time. It is well worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snorlax View Post
    Welcome to the forum and--hopefully--back to playing!

    I would heartily recommend a Mack Brass 1150. At $995 new in silver, it is a terrific choice for a returning player.
    I used one for a while when I was between two other instruments, and everyone I work with was satisfied.
    I have no experience with Wessex instruments other than the occasional 10-minute trial at a conference, but others on this forum sing their praises.
    You're right--in the period you've been away, there has been an explosion of GREAT instruments for us to choose from. Fortunately, part
    of that explosion has occurred on the low end of the price spectrum. Mack and Wessex are Chinese and both importers exercise good quality control.
    You might want to act quickly if you buy a Wessex or Mack--it's unclear to me whether musical instruments are part of the new tariff structure.
    Perhaps Jonathan or Tom can report here on that.
    So please have a look at the Mack 1150 at www.mackbrass.com ! I assume you've already looked at the Wessex site.
    Jim
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  4. #14
    I can recommend the wessex festivo. I've had mine for a year and a half. The more I play it the more I appreciate it.

  5. #15
    My Wessex Dolce arrived this evening! A few thoughts right off the bat:

    * As a software engineer and designer, I have to say that Wessex has a great website and online ordering process.

    * I had a question about shipping time and they responded after a couple of days. I'd call that good customer service.

    * Appearance: the finish is not perfect, but I didn't honestly expect it to be. There are several very small marks/imperfections in the finish, all of them no bigger than a pentip.

    * Playing: I haven't played euphonium in 12-13 years, so my chops are completely gone, but I was pleased to discover that my low and middle registers are still solid after a decade of slacking off. Upper register is really dicey -- I was able to make it up to F-sharp, but only just barely. I'm really not comfortable above D. And slurring is quite a challenge. Just going from middle F to middle B-flat without slipping was humbling. I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

    * Worried: While farting around on the Dolce, I started hearing a metallic buzzing sound on A-flat (both low and middle registers). I had my wife come in and listen, and she thought it was coming from around the valves (or, as she said, "those thingys"). I popped out #1 and inspected the spring, then put it back in and screwed the cap on tight, and the buzzing on A-flat went away. Good to go. But about 5 minutes later, I hit a middle G (1+2) and started hearing the buzzing again. I popped out all the valves, tightened all the caps, and still the sound persists. I started switching between 1+2 and 3 only and noticed that the buzzing goes away when playing middle G on 3 only. Has anyone heard of this on a Wessex Dolce before, or in general? I know I've been out of the saddle for a while, but I can't blame it on bad chops if the buzzing goes away on a different fingering for the same pitch. Do the valves need to be broken in? What should I be looking for?

    Obligatory picture: https://photos.app.goo.gl/17XdCqezBSoDSk9WA (I hope everyone can see that)

    Pete
    Last edited by pdbenbow; 09-18-2019 at 08:12 PM.

  6. #16
    Great reviews! Congrats on the arrival of the horn!

    In regards to the weird buzzing sound, it could be the springs in the valves not seated properly. Explains why the 1st valve's buzzing stopped after you take it out. try opening the valve caps and pulling the valves half way out while having the valves stand vertically, it usually helps to seat the springs properly, at least for me.
    "Never over complicate things. Accept "bad" days. And always enjoy yourself when playing, love the sound we can make on our instruments (because that's why we all started playing the Euphonium)"

    Euphonium: Yamaha 642II Neo - 千歌音, JP 274 MKII - 千歌
    Mouthpiece: K&G 4D, Denis Wick 5AL
    Gone but not forgotten: Yamaha EP100 - Euphy (Thank you for the past 15 years)

    https://soundcloud.com/ashsparkle_chika
    https://www.youtube.com/user/AshTSparkle/

  7. #17
    I agree that it could be the spring is not sitting straight inside the casing. I discuss that very issue in my video about cleaning the euphonium. This link should take you to that part of the video:

    https://youtu.be/kVxSxMnV8i8?t=792
    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

  8. #18
    Thanks for the replies. I practiced for 30 minutes today and noticed that the buzzing is (mostly) gone, so I think you're both correct that it's just a spring not sitting right.

    It's only been two days and it feels like my chops are already slowly coming back. Undoubtedly a lot of that is just owed to muscle memory, and I still have a long road ahead of me when it comes to developing the actual muscles in my embouchure. I'm definitely more comfortable with slurring than I was yesterday, but I have a tendency to slide right past the note I'm trying to hit. I noticed today that my air control is sloppy and inconsistent, and I have a hard time sustaining notes evenly for more than a few bars. And lastly, my upper register is still garbage... I managed to hit a very weak high G today... but I think my range will probably take the longest time to rebuild of anything.

    The thing that's probably the most improved in only two days has been my articulation; I ran through some improvised drills doing rapid single- and double-tonguing, and I was actually pleased with the results.

    As for the euphonium, no complaints yet. First valve is a little slower to come up than the others, but nothing that a dab of Blue Juice probably can't solve.

    I'm going to try to get my hands on some etudes, and I'm working on an arrangement of "Gabriel's Oboe" as an attainable goal, something I might be able to play at my family's church by Christmas if I keep practicing steadily. After that, I'm thinking Morceau Symphonique (a favorite that I performed in a recital in college), and then the Marcello Sonata in F Major (a piece that I practiced a lot but never performed).

  9. Pete, check your private messages.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by pdbenbow View Post
    It's only been two days and it feels like my chops are already slowly coming back. Undoubtedly a lot of that is just owed to muscle memory, and I still have a long road ahead of me when it comes to developing the actual muscles in my embouchure. I'm definitely more comfortable with slurring than I was yesterday, but I have a tendency to slide right past the note I'm trying to hit. I noticed today that my air control is sloppy and inconsistent, and I have a hard time sustaining notes evenly for more than a few bars. And lastly, my upper register is still garbage... I managed to hit a very weak high G today... but I think my range will probably take the longest time to rebuild of anything.
    Range disappears quickly and comes back slowly. I broke my arm last year and couldn't hold an instrument for the better part of two months. When I started playing again, I'd lost almost an octave off the top end of my range. It took a while to get it back, but it gave me the opportunity to be more methodical and precise in building it back up. Now I've got the top end back and its more consistent and easier to play musically.

    My point is that the situation of having to rebuild range and other aspects of playing as an adult with greater maturity can be a blessing in disguise.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

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