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Thread: Besson 967 Sovereign, british vs german

  1. Besson 967 Sovereign, british vs german

    Hello!

    I am very sorry if this topic has been spoken already, but I cannot find much information about this comparison. I know that this is a very subjetive question but, wich would you prefer? the german 2007+ version or the 2006,2000- version if you were looking for an used? In terms of sound, intonation, response, wich are the characteristics of each version? Are the parts like valve buttons, valve caps upper and bottom are interchangeble between those? Am I able to buy heavy valve caps from the prestige and put on the old sovereing? Is there any way to know from picture wich model is wich without asking for the serial number? For example I have noticed that the right handrest is melted (?) to the uppper bow of the instrument whereas It is suspended and soldered on the german model.Is this a good way? Or there are british sovereigns that have the hand rest separated from the bow aswel?

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Yy...Q=w503-h750-no

    This is handrest that, just by looking at It, I am assuming that is from a later Sovereign made in germany. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Thank you so much!
    Jose
    C Courtois 168 "D'Orchestre" French Tuba
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  2. #2
    There's a lot of questions packed in there...

    -Overall, I like the post-2007 German ones better.
    -between 2000ish and 2007 parts were made in germany (keilwerth-schreiber) and assembled in UK with the original UK tooling. They may have even shifted the actual assembly to Germany near the end. I think these are the worst of the bunch. This was a saxophone factory that was just getting their feet wet with brass instrument manufacturing. I think somewhere in here is where the handrest changed.
    -most parts are not interchangeable between post-2007 and pre-2007 instruments. Valve caps I'm pretty sure are different threads. Dawkes music in the UK used to have a decent supply of pre-2007 parts, but those are starting to thin out and they are starting to get some german parts now, too. It can be really difficult to get the german-made parts and consumables here in the US.
    -I think the sound of the german ones is a little lighter than most of the UK-built ones but they also respond easier and are generally just better quality. If you really want the biggest most "british" sound quality you can't beat a round-stamp sovereign - but I find them to be a little more cumbersome to play, the german ones are a little more towards an "international" type of sound and are pretty effortless relatively speaking.
    -intonation on the german ones is marginally better than the older ones but it still has the same tendencies.

    I'd have to look at some photos to see if there's an easy way to tell just from photos.
    --
    Barry

  3. The handrest changed with the introduction of the 967GS (full floating leadpipe) in the mid 90's. The Round stamps had the early handrest and the metal tab valve guides. Then Besson switched in the mid-later 80's to the later style plastic guides but the leadpipe was still soldered to the bell and it had the early style handrest. The German built horns are based on the 967GS design. One change that I do NOT like in the newest German sovereigns is that the 1st valve compensating loop no longer has a removable slide.

    Other than what I have described, Barry summed it up quite nicely.
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  4. #4
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    I always found the 967GS to be flimsily built, ergonomically poor and with a very brittle sound. The 1980s Sovereigns were much better - not least due to the fact they still had the lead pipe soldered to the bell which to me increases the intensity of the sound. I’d still got for a round stamp Boosey though. Better built and made of better brass (B&H changed supplier when the Sovereign became a Besson rather than a Boosey). My experience of German Besson isn’t good either, but I won’t bore you with that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    [snip]One change that I do NOT like in the newest German sovereigns is that the 1st valve compensating loop no longer has a removable slide.
    Wow, that would be a game changer for me. Not only for cleaning, but for me it offers me a quick access to oil the first valve during rehearsal or concert. With the horn laying on my lap (bell facing my left) I can pull that slide and add some oil if necessary.
    Last edited by RickF; 10-16-2019 at 10:28 AM.
    Rick Floyd
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    The handrest changed with the introduction of the 967GS (full floating leadpipe) in the mid 90's.
    No, it didn't. It was quite a bit later that the handrest changed. Might have been late 90s or it might have coincided with the start of parts production in Markneukirchen, but there are lots of examples of late 1993-on floating-leadpipe "GS" instruments with the older style handrest.

    Like this one, which would seem to be from 1995:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Used-Besson...-/293230032849

    Or this one listed here I just noticed, which the seller claims is 1997:

    http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...e#.Xacyl-hKhaQ
    Last edited by bbocaner; 10-16-2019 at 11:11 AM.
    --
    Barry

  7. #7
    The other thing that changed in late 1993 when they started making the "GS" instruments is instead of individually hand fitting each piston to the casing, they had a machine that could purportedly finish the pistons to a very accurate specification outside of the instrument, so when it came time to join them up it was "one size fits all". This was heralded as a big quality improvement, but I believe it was just a cost-saving measure in disguise. You can see the finish of the pistons from this era is different, though. I think it meant that there weren't as many really bad ones (because of poorly fit valves) but there weren't any really exceptional ones (because of really well fit valves) either.
    --
    Barry

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    The other thing that changed in late 1993 when they started making the "GS" instruments is instead of individually hand fitting each piston to the casing, they had a machine that could purportedly finish the pistons to a very accurate specification outside of the instrument, so when it came time to join them up it was "one size fits all". This was heralded as a big quality improvement, but I believe it was just a cost-saving measure in disguise. You can see the finish of the pistons from this era is different, though. I think it meant that there weren't as many really bad ones (because of poorly fit valves) but there weren't any really exceptional ones (because of really well fit valves) either.
    I'm not a Besson history expert, but I was a Besson Artist from 1980-90-ish. I think the last new Sovereign I received was in the mid 1980's, maybe in 86 or so. On that horn they had used the system you refer to, I think. I had a name like micro-bore or some such lingo. The idea was that the instruments were made and the valves were made and then all was put together without further fitting. I know I needed a replacement piston at some point and they just sent me one, which I put in with no problem.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
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  9. #9
    Interesting. It thought was explained to me at the time as being an "innovation" that was introduced with the GS instruments, but it's possible I'm misremembering or that I misunderstood them at the time.
    --
    Barry

  10. Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    No, it didn't. It was quite a bit later that the handrest changed. Might have been late 90s or it might have coincided with the start of parts production in Markneukirchen, but there are lots of examples of late 1993-on floating-leadpipe "GS" instruments with the older style handrest.
    I learn something every day. I must say I liked the old handrest better. In fact MUCH better. Never had to have it re-soldered to the inner or outer branches and I preferred the positioning. Every horn since my 1980 round stamp (My 2007 Prestige, my Sterling, my 2001 Sovereign, and my Adams E3) have all had one end or the other come unsoldered on me, always during a performance!

    Doug
    Last edited by daruby; 10-17-2019 at 09:59 AM.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

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