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Thread: Help identifying besson baritone model

  1. #1

    Help identifying besson baritone model

    I recently traded with my repair tech for a besson baritone.

    It says besson on the bell with one star and London - Paris - New York

    Serial number is 541,xxx
    It appears to be a 3/4 size

    Any help would be appreciated

    Iím new to playing baritone,Iím a trumpet/ cornet player

    Thanks

    Tim
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 06F9C1E2-9C08-4B48-BBB9-1538C116C017.jpeg   A37481F6-E6AB-4570-A571-DCC96E6770D6.jpeg  

  2. #2
    Looks like a (full size) New Standard baritone. The serial number would put it somewhere in the early 1970s. This was their top model baritone at the time, until the introduction of the Sovereign in the 1980s. The bell is a little bit smaller than the later instruments, and they make them with a larger bore these days, but it's not all that different. In my opinion, the biggest challenge with these is the intonation. It looks to be in truly excellent condition!
    --
    Barry

  3. #3
    Hi Barry

    Thanks for the info.

    I also have a 1930’s conn 20i which I don’t play it’s cumbersome to hold. But it’s much larger than the besson that why I was thinking the besson was a 3/4

    The besson is much easier to put in a stand so it definitely will get played.

  4. #4
    So, there's some confusion around the terms baritone and euphonium.

    In England there are two separate instruments, baritone and euphonium. Your Besson is a baritone. It fulfills a different role in a band than the euphonium: as a downward extension of the tenorhorn section, a strengthener for the trombone or euphonium sections, or as a tenor/baritone solo voice with a different color than euphonium.

    We had that same dichotomy in north american bands in the 19th century, but we called the two instruments Bb tenorhorn and baritone. In the 20th century an american-style euphonium (AKA baritone) developed, which was a little smaller bore and bell size than the British-style cousins. This is what your Conn is. Since our bands in the Sousa tradition went a different direction than British bands, we stopped using the smaller of the two instruments. Baritone is the historic American word for euphonium which is confusing since baritone is the British word for the completely different instrument, get it? These days, most American players use the British terminology, but it's still not unusual at all to see people call euphoniums "baritones" nor is it really incorrect as so many people seem to think.

    But your Besson is a true baritone in the British sense of the word, which explains the size difference.

    Since you said you're a trumpet/cornet player, the baritone is like a cornet while a euphonium is like a flugelhorn. Your Conn baritone/euphonium is like an antique flugelhorn that's smaller than a modern one but it's still a flugelhorn. Does that make sense?
    --
    Barry

  5. #5
    It's also not unheard of to see British-style baritones being used as 3/4 size euphoniums for beginners, so there is some validity to your assumption.
    --
    Barry

  6. #6
    Makes perfect sense. Thanks for breaking it down for me ����

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    Since you said you're a trumpet/cornet player, the baritone is like a cornet while a euphonium is like a flugelhorn. Your Conn baritone/euphonium is like an antique flugelhorn that's smaller than a modern one but it's still a flugelhorn. Does that make sense?
    I am not trying to muddy the waters, but I do need a little clarification here Barry. Correct me if I am wrong here. But the British baritone has more cylindrical piping, so it is more like a trumpet. The British euphonium has more conical piping, so it is more like the cornet. At least in terms of instrument construction, geometry, and tone color/voice. Am I right, or have I gone off the deep end and totally made the question impossible?

    - Sara
    Baritone - 3 Valve, Compensating, JinBao JBBR1240

  8. Quote Originally Posted by Sara Hood View Post
    I am not trying to muddy the waters, but I do need a little clarification here Barry. Correct me if I am wrong here. But the British baritone has more cylindrical piping, so it is more like a trumpet. The British euphonium has more conical piping, so it is more like the cornet. At least in terms of instrument construction, geometry, and tone color/voice. Am I right, or have I gone off the deep end and totally made the question impossible?

    - Sara
    Sara,

    The British baritone's degree of conical tubing and bell taper is more like a cornet while the euphonium is more like a flugelhorn. This is the most apt comparison. The American baritone is more like a euphonium than a British baritone. The closest analog to the trumpet is a trombone.

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sara Hood View Post
    I am not trying to muddy the waters, but I do need a little clarification here Barry. Correct me if I am wrong here. But the British baritone has more cylindrical piping, so it is more like a trumpet. The British euphonium has more conical piping, so it is more like the cornet. At least in terms of instrument construction, geometry, and tone color/voice. Am I right, or have I gone off the deep end and totally made the question impossible?
    The baritone is still a conical instrument, it's just a different ratio of conical to cylindrical than euphonium, and doesn't get as big. It's a saxhorn.

    But here's the real muddying of the waters. What if I told you the modern trumpet *IS* a cornet? It has a leadpipe that's a little different and the mouthpiece and especially the playing technique (airflow) are different, but the modern trumpet is just as conical as a cornet is. The historic trumpet is double the length and played higher in the harmonic series, so it's much more cylindrical.

    Take a look at this article:

    https://www.robbstewart.com/differen...pet-and-cornet
    --
    Barry

  10. #10
    Speaking of mud... The cornet/trumpet/flugel examples are not perfect, but may help some.

    A British baritone is more cylindrical, at least in small ways. First, most have a tuning slide you can reverse and put in the horn. Euphoniums typically have a taper in the curve, so the two legs are different sizes.

    When I look at euphoniums, either American or British-style, I see tubing that tapers everywhere possible. The legs of the tuning slides can't taper, of course. And almost all brass instruments do not try to taper the bore in the 1/4" or so between valves. However, every other tube in the open horn tapers.

    When I look at my own baritone horn, the tubing just looks more cylindrical. That is to say, while it is possible there is a taper in some of the open runs, it is hard to tell it with the naked eye. I'll get out my calipers and check when I have a chance. But suffice to say that my baritone is very stingy with bore width taper for a LOT of its length!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

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