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Thread: Besson Anniversary Euphonium, York, Prestige, and relative merit

  1. Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    The New Standard/Imperial of the late 1950s through very early 1970s had an 11" bell and medium shank receiver. They had an absolutely beautiful, melodic, smooth sound in the hands of better players. Their intonation was MUCH better than later Sovereign and Prestige models with just a slightly sharp 6th partial. I tested my 1970 New Standard using a chromatic StroboConn back in the day. The horn was dead on across a 2 1/2 octave range except the Eb/E/F 6th partial which was just slightly sharp. Response was great and I never had a problem soaring above a wind band when doing solo licks in pieces like Bydlo, Holst Suites, etc.

    These horns are very comparable to the Willson 2900 in sound and playability. If I had one in great condition today I would actually use it with a Wick 4AM (I use a Wick 4AL on my other horns). I would also convert the valves to plastic screw in guides and use modern felts. I would NOT convert it to bass trombone shank, however. It would be a fantastic solo, small ensemble, or wind band horn. I would not, however use it in brass band.
    What about the later ones, the model 767, the ones that have large (bass trombone) shank? Do they sound different or have a different response? They always show up for sale at a reasonable prices, but people seem to pass them and always prefer to buy or to wait for an used Prestige or Sovereign. I also thought It could be a very nice instrument for solo as the smaller bell.
    C Courtois 168 "D'Orchestre" French Tuba
    Bb Courtois 267 "Challenger" Euphonium
    F B&S 56AFT "Alessandro Fossi" Bass Tuba
    CC B&S 4098 "Mel Culbertson - Neptune" Contrabass Tuba

  2. Quote Originally Posted by joshealejo View Post
    What about the later ones, the model 767, the ones that have large (bass trombone) shank? Do they sound different or have a different response? They always show up for sale at a reasonable prices, but people seem to pass them and always prefer to buy or to wait for an used Prestige or Sovereign. I also thought It could be a very nice instrument for solo as the smaller bell.
    Several issues here.

    1. Quite a few older Imperials and New Standard horns have been converted from medium shank to large shank.
    2. The existing records show that serial number 481845 dates to January 1970 and 560000 dates to 1974. There is no clarity about serial numbers in between those two data points. These are the dates that the instrument was ordered from the factory and it generally is assumed the instrument would have shipped within a few months of that date.
    3. The first Globe Stamp "Boosey&Hawkes" Sovereign 967's are believed to date to 1974. I know that my brass band has a Globe Stamp Sovereign tenor horn that has a serial number prior to 560000 so the name "Sovereign" must have been used prior to 1974.
    4. It is hard to know at this point whether any given large shank New Standard/Imperial with a serial number that puts it in the early 1970s originally was medium shank or was a 767 that left the factory as a large shank.
    5. The 767 was ultimately replaced by the 968. The 968 has a slightly larger bell than the New Standard/Imperial and a slightly different lead pipe than the 967.


    I think ultimately it comes down to "knowing" what you are getting. If the horn has the medium shank receiver and appears to be unmolested and has a pre-1970 serial number, then it is more desirable because it will definitely be of the era and design that buyers are interested in.

    Doug
    Last edited by daruby; 11-27-2019 at 12:39 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

  3. #13
    Some of the recordings of Black Dyke and other British bands from the 1960s era show very clearly that they were grappling with much more than just "slightly" sharp 6th partial notes even then, suggesting that this wasn't just an issue that was introduced with the Sovereign!
    --
    Barry

  4. Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    Some of the recordings of Black Dyke and other British bands from the 1960s era show very clearly that they were grappling with much more than just "slightly" sharp 6th partial notes even then, suggesting that this wasn't just an issue that was introduced with the Sovereign!
    Oh Barry, My memory must be getting flat!
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  5. #15
    FWIW, I have heard from a few sources that the instruments were somewhat variable, even in those days. I had one from about 1971 that was a sweet horn, but was sharp on the 6th partial. My understanding, and it makes sense, was that when new batches of euphoniums were produced, the brass band guys who needed a new horn would descend on the factory and choose the best of the lot. At some point after that shipments to the USA were prepared. Could just be an urban-legend thing.

    But I know that Custom Music would send batches of Hirsbrunners to Earle Louder for testing (I know because they sent me 6 one time when Earle was not available). The goal was to evaluate each horn and rate them from 1-6 (or however many there were). They also sought comments for things that their shop could fix or things they could pass along to Peter for future improvements. When the horns were back at Custom, they would send the 1's and 2's to the best pros who were currently looking for a horn. Someone got the 6, and it was still a good horn, but not as good as the 1.
    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

  6. #16
    I got a Prestige in the early 2000's that replaced a Hirsbrunner (oh what a mistake I made unloading the Hirsbrunner) and if 10 of these Besson Prestige horns (mine included) had been sent to someone to rate from 1-10 (1 being best), I got the horn rated at about 35. It was a true, bonafide lemon in every sense of the word. Then again, I had a frosted finished Besson around 1970 that was a sweetheart of a horn, and a few in the U.S. Army Band that were nice, so go figure. I did get another Prestige later on that was a nice horn. Then a Yamaha 842, then a Miraphone M5050, then a Wessex Dolce, then an Adams E3. The beat goes on, the beat goes on (put to music)…. But the Adams is a keeper.
    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. #17
    As it turns out, you’re right! A newly restored new standard, restored by McQueens Musical Instruments in the UK.

    Matt Van Emmerik was also playing an 11” bell on that concert. (Shires Q series).

    Quote Originally Posted by superted View Post
    By the way I came across a Facebook post the other week which identified that frosted euphonium is a refurbished Besson New Standard with an 11" bell (and not a new 967 anniversary special).
    Mike Taylor
    Adams E3 - SS Bell/Brushed Lacquer - Custom short valve set
    Adams E3 - SS Bell/Brushed Lacquer - Standard valves - FOR SALE
    Besson BE2056 Baritone
    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

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