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Thread: Has anyone ever made a 4 on the top compensating euphonium?

  1. #1

    Has anyone ever made a 4 on the top compensating euphonium?

    I ask because I have been playing a 4 in front horn for about 6 months, and Iíve gotten used to using my right pinky for 4, but just recently a dormant case of repetitive stress injury in my right hand has re-emerged.

    So I got wondering whether it might work if I switched off between my front valves and a horn with top valves, and then realized that Iíd be relearning 4th valve fingerings, just as Iíve begun to develop some facility playing right pinky 4. Then I realized

    Is there some mechanical reason why a top 4 compensating horn couldnít work? Could an older horn be adapted?

    I canít seem to find references to this question anywhere. Have I missed them somewhere?

  2. #2
    I suppose a 4 valve on top compensating horn could be built, Wessex does a 4 valve in front compensating horn. It is just a matter of figuring out how to lay out all of the tubing into a somewhat ergonomic configuration. But, I suspect the reason the 3 top 1 side valve arrangement evolved was that there was better finger facility and technique having the 4th valve played by your left hand index finger (usually) than by your right hand little pinky. I think it would be a bit difficult and expensive to try to adapt an older horn.

    You really don't have to relearn the fingerings per se with a 3+1 setup, just a different use of "your" fingers. I know a few people say that they can play just as fast with 4 top valves vs. a 3+1 configuration, but I sort of doubt that. Each configuration takes a little time to get totally good at, but there are some pieces of music that I wouldn't dream of trying with 4 top valves vs. the 3+1 setup.

    Do you have access to anyone who owns a 3+1 euphonium? Or a store nearby. Might be really good to just be able to try one out and see how it feels for you. I hope you find something that allows you to keep playing. Good luck.

    Actually, just remembered, once Wessex is back up with their inventory, you could get a Dolce and try it for a few days. They have a two week return policy if it doesn't work out for you and the Dolce is fairly inexpensive.
    Last edited by John Morgan; 05-21-2020 at 12:09 PM.
    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)

  3. #3
    I too like 4 in row more than 3+1, and having started on tuba, I'm a LOT faster with my pinkie.

    I have a king 2280 that I converted to a 5 valve horn (4 on top, 5th valve operated by the thumb of my left hand) If it had the tone of my Packer 274, I would play it every day. The packer has a better tone, so the king sits as a backup, but it is a very good horn.

    Any reason you couldn't use a Wessex front action 4 valve compensating ?

  4. #4
    Willson 2975 used to be a thing and there's one for sale on ebay if spending less on a Wessex doesn't suit your fancy.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Willson-297...kAAOSwnI5eswd8

    I've never seen an upright inline 4 valver with any sort of compensating system. I think that one King model has some sort of facility for maneuvering the 4th valve slide, but I never looked close at it. I'm sure that someone has to have made a 5 valve that style before, but can you buy one? Dunno.

    I get the hand injury thing. I have the opposite issue where I almost never play my upright horns anymore because the nerve pain is so fatiguing. If you have some sort of wrist brace that helps, use it. Don't be ashamed to try a shoulder strap, either.
    Hobbyist. Collector. Oval rotary guy. Unpaid shill for Josef Klier mouthpieces.

  5. #5
    there are 5 valve rotary euphoniums from the factory, never seen a 4+1 with 4 pistons and one rotor, which is why I made my own. I picked it up and played it last night for the first time in a while last night. Good playing horn. The valves are quick and light, shorter action than a Compensating horn. I like the King more than the yamaha 321

    here's the full story
    http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic....71662&start=20

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Smoketown, Pa
    Posts
    225
    I started playing a compensator 3+1 about 3 years ago. Besides the extra weight, there are still some fingering patterns with the 4th valve that I have to go over and over with to get it right. The arthritis in the right hand is becoming more of an issue as time goes on and the top valve euphoniums are becoming harder to manage. I had bought a 4valve rotary B&S baryton more than 7 years ago and love the horn. The only problem is playing in one community band where no one wants to sit next to me. The other band I play in there is no complaint. I had sold my old Conn 4 in row front valve horn which was an American euphonium. I broke down a bought a used Wessex Festivo which I find much easier to manage and have no problem using it as a 4+1. I guess the way the valves are in line makes it easier after playing for 50 some years with straight 4. I think the Wessex would be easier for you to manage. Again the direction of the bell might be an issue but it's not the same as the oval horn. The only downside to the Festivo is the one I bought was early production so one must be careful not to cross thread the valve caps. My horn was seldom used by the former owner and I find the threading seems to work a little easier after some use. The Wessex has really worked well for me plus the intonation is really good.
    B&S 3046 Baritone/Euphonium
    B&S PT33-S Euphonium
    B&S PT37-S
    Schilke ST20 Tenor Trombone

  7. #7
    Some of you have offered the advice of trying a Wessex Festivo, a four valve in front compensating horn. The OP has a 4 valve in front horn now and wonders about a 4 valve on top horn, particularly a compensating one, which I know of none being made now. My suggestion was for her to try a 3+1 horn to see if that helps with her repetitive stress syndrome. I wonder if that condition was exacerbated by using the pinky of the right hand. Ann would need to weigh in with perhaps some more information on the condition and what hand positions/finger use might be making it worse.
    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)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Smoketown, Pa
    Posts
    225
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    Some of you have offered the advice of trying a Wessex Festivo, a four valve in front compensating horn. The OP has a 4 valve in front horn now and wonders about a 4 valve on top horn, particularly a compensating one, which I know of none being made now. My suggestion was for her to try a 3+1 horn to see if that helps with her repetitive stress syndrome. I wonder if that condition was exacerbated by using the pinky of the right hand. Ann would need to weigh in with perhaps some more information on the condition and what hand positions/finger use might be making it worse.
    John is correct about the extent of the injury. I might add a suggestion is not to jump too fast about another horn. Boy oh boy I've done that before. The thing I like about Wessex is the option to either use the right hand pinky on the 4th valve or the left hand. I actually alternate depending on how the arthritis is at the time.
    B&S 3046 Baritone/Euphonium
    B&S PT33-S Euphonium
    B&S PT37-S
    Schilke ST20 Tenor Trombone

  9. #9
    Thanks to all of you. I started on a 4 valve plastic euphonium, and now play on a Festivo and also a Wessex Duplex. I have a very badly deformed index finger on my right hand, and an equally bad pointer on my left hand, but also pain in both wrists, but no arthritis (yet).

    I had played the plastic horn in a community band for a couple months, and had made pretty good progress, but bought the Festivo at a good second hand price to experiment with the front valve arrangement.

    Holding the Festivo is some better than the 3+1, and I got the idea that if I switched back and forth between the two, it might help relieve some of the tension I experience while playing. I practice an hour or more every day, and I do suspect that at some point while I’m practicing I’m tensing up more than I should be. Maybe I should be looking for a beater to see if I can motivate my banged up left pointer.

    Your comments and suggestions are always helpful!

  10. #10
    you might want to consider a non compensating instrument with lightweight springs. The valves are lighter than compensating horn. The King 2280 I have has shorter action than my compensating Packer.

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