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Thread: Selecting a Besson

  1. Selecting a Besson

    Hello All!
    My son plays Euph at a pretty fair high school level. He currently has a Yamaha 321 that is serving him pretty well. Considering a bump up though. There are two used Bessons on ebay currently. Both have minor (or hopefully minor) issues that are bringing them squarely into our price range (as close to $3k as we can manage. Hoping that someone would be willing to offer some input. The first is a little older:
    Seller says Serial was buffed off during previous refurb but suggests date in the 70's or so. Understand this may have been built prior to model numbers/names that I'm familiar with.
    Second one has some serious finish issues and since I'm a trumpet player I have a morbid fear of red-rot, but this seems pretty well distributed for that, maybe just poor prep before finishing. Will probably need 500$ or so refinish to make it look good, if that becomes important.
    Any feedback would be most appreciated. Thank You.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Either one would be a good player. The 967 would use a large shank MP, the NS a medium. The valves look good on the NS. A refinish on either would be good, and being lacquer, easier on the wallet that replating a silver horn.

    That being said from a New Standard devotee, a new Wessex Dolce might be a good choice too. I've played them, and are amazing for the $ with a great warranty policy.

    They also are building the Sinfonico pro horn, but production is stalled due to the Corona virus. Dolces may be in stock in Chicago, ready to go.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum!

    Both horns have good qualities. Note that the newer one is a "bid" product, so the price could go higher than shown. I agree that red rot usually is not found all over a horn, so it is probably a case of incomplete prep prior to finishing. This one comes with a hard case that doesn't appear to be a factory original, but it might have been the case the U.S. distributor used.

    The older horn was probably made before 1975 because it has the medium shank receiver. Those can be very sweet horns. The missing serial number would concern me ordinarily, but in this case I suspect it really is from the polishing process. The seller has a pretty long history and a 100% positive rating. This horn does not come with a hard case, so at the very least you would need a gig bag to go with it.

    The Sovereign would have a bigger sound, but the intonation worsened slightly on that model compared to the older horn. This is a variable factor, through, because of sample-to-sample differences. If you kid is (or will be) a powerful player, the Sovereign might be more satisfying. If not, the older horn may be a better fit. Neither is likely a bad choice in terms of matching to the player, though.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. Thank you for the replies and insights. I had heard the New Standard as part of the old Besson line-up, but without the actual stamp/engraving wasn't sure. Info seems to be sketchy as we go further back.

  5. Here is a really beautiful example too, and is in the same price range
    C Courtois 168
    Bb Courtois 169RII
    Bb Courtois 167RII
    Bb B&S 3046
    F B&S 56AFT
    CC B&S 4098
    BBb Meinl Weston 197

  6. Where are you currently located? US? Europe? That will definitely help with recommendations. Looking at the pics, I'm a bit partial to the unrestored one you are looking at. Some spot lacquering on the 3rd valve tubing would definitely help it a bunch.
    Sterling / Perantucci 1065HGS Euphonium, Yamaha YBB-631S BBb Tuba, and a bunch of trombones.

  7. That 767 is gorgeous. I must have walked into Euphonium World at just the right time. Dillon also has this Euph available.

  8. That 767 is gorgeous. Have a message into them asking about their shipping policies.
    I must have walked into Euphonium World at just the right time. Dillon also has this Euph available.

    I'm in Michigan here in the U.S.

  9. Horn 1: The first horn is a New Standard. As Dave said, prior to 1975 due to the med-shank receiver. It is very clear that it has been heavily buffed since the Besson logo on the bell is almost gone. Also, the straightening on the bell done prior to the lacquer work doesn't look very good. Seem to see lots of waviness in the bell. This horn might be a good player, but I would not do another refurb. It would take off more metal. I would value this horn no more than $2K if it were me.

    Horn 2: Based on serial number, this is a 1985 Sovereign. Again, the amount of corrosion under the lacquer is worrisome. New Besson horns use an epoxy lacquer that is pretty resistant to wear, etc. Older Besson horns used lacquer that didn't hold up and would absolutely melt if you used bug spray in outdoor play situations. I personally would steer away from this horn as well.

    Horn 3: At Duchybrass, this horn is beautiful. This is similar to the "New Standard" with an 11" bell, but a late example with Sovereign valve caps and buttons and a large shank receiver. The price converted from GBP is $2900. Jenny Thomas of Duchybrass is a reputable seller and will ship to the US. I know that often she uses Paul Riggett of Sterling to do her restorations.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  10. Seems I hit the jackpot on knowledgeable feedback and info. Thank you so much!

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