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Thread: Euphonium Upgrades

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Adding a 5th valve would be absolutely ludicrous. You take away the compensating tubing and extra valve length, sure, but you're adding another valve casing+valve+subsequent valve tubing which is gonna need to be wrapped a LOT for it to fit in the general shape of the instrument, increasing resistance and stuffiness in the process, and you would easily gain the weight back. There is a reason why manufacturers try to make the 4th valve wraps as open as physically possible. It would also still need compensating because a 5+1 or 5+2 valve combination would still be sharp as hell, and it would making use of all valves when possible even more complicated and awkward to use, let alone hold the instrument.

    The trigger is mainly for notes that are sharp anyway because of the way brass instruments work, namely the 6th partial. Yes, Bessons are notorious for the quite absurd sharpness in that area, but even my Willson 2960 is 15 to 20-ish cents sharp there, needing to be played with alternate fingerings. That's just how physics work.

    And regarding orthodoxy... well, we have a certain sound concept in mind, the instruments we have now provide that, so why change? If it ain't broken, don't fix it. The only thing we have to be aware of is that the instruments don't get even bigger and almost transform in actual baby tubas.

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodgeman View Post
    For Snorlax

    The King 2280 would let you switch the tuning slides on the fourth valve to tune in at Eb. This gives the chromatic scale down to Bb.


    "Fourth valve in Eb: If you reverse the fourth slides and pull them to their extremes, you can tune the fourth valve to Eb by itself.

    F 1-3T
    E 1-2-3T
    Eb 4
    D 2-4
    Db 1-2-4
    C 2-3-4
    B 1-2-3-4

    The low notes all settle in pretty well without any trigger added. And let me say this: Low Eb played on one .600" valve is completely captivating. I want to play it again and again. Loud. This pattern makes a bit more sense to me than the above Fourth_in_E pattern, but of course, your mileage may vary. The drawbacks still include having to play 1-3 and 1-2-3 with that fourth piston button sort of in the way, and also not being able to set your horn down on the bell due to the extended fourth slide."

    That page has lots of interesting information. The YEP-321 used to have an extended third valve slide. So maybe instead of a 5th valve you could have an extended 4th valve slide? Just an idea.
    [Edit: There's another post ahead of this one referencing the spreadsheet! But that one hasn't showed up yet; it's awaiting approval. I think as I'm a new user - this post must be the first one past a probationary amount of posts, I imagine? The spreadsheet is one I created a few years ago to automatically deduce fingering charts from a given valve layout.]

    And here's what the same spreadsheet makes of this layout, assuming the 3rd slide stays permanently tuned for a good G(F) on 1-3:

    Deduced preferred fingerings:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    [Edit: Oh, that's a shame, they came through much smaller than I attached them, so much so that they can't really be read. I guess attachments get shrunk to a maximum permitted size?]

    F#(E) is very sharp on 1-2-3 without further pulling, and so is E(D) on 2-4, but there aren't any closer combinations.
    Low B on 1-2-3-4 it rather likes already, in contrast to the HornGuys list.
    Last edited by MoominDave; 07-16-2020 at 05:37 AM.

  3. Quote Originally Posted by TheJH View Post
    Adding a 5th valve would be absolutely ludicrous.
    I find myself in agreement with TheJH.

    The Blaikley system, by and large, works well and gets rid of the need for a 5th valve. Why would I want yet another valve? Plus the joy of moving slides around in real time like a tuba player? I can play a modern euphonium sitting or standing without the need for props and stands, and my hands don't leave the horn or move around to accommodate more than the three strong fingers on my right hand and one on my left, plus my thumb.

    "Look ma, my hands never leave my body (of the horn)!"

    Most modern compensating euphoniums are now "designed" to be either roughly in tune or sharp on most notes. This gets rid of the need to lip notes up. The sharp notes (6th partial), 1-2-3-4 B naturals, and any other quirks (middle G's and low F's on my Bessons and Sterlings) are handled pretty well with the trigger. On my triggerless Adams, I use alternate fingering (3rd valve) on middle G and have to lip 6th partial F down a bit, but Eb and E are spot on. On my untriggered Besson Sovereign, I used 1-3 for 6th partial Eb and 1-2 for F to bring the wild sharpness under control.

    OTOH, my Conn Connstellation and most Yamaha 321's that I have played have some serious "flat spots" which are harder to manage in my opinion. Typical are middle C (1st valve), the A below that (2nd valve), and on the Conn, most notes above high G (1-2 or 3) up to high C. This is a product of their extreme sharpness in the low range. The designers tend to make the 1st and 2nd valve loops just a bit longer to "compensate" in the 1-3, 1-2-3, and 4th valve notes below low Eb.

    It is not true that innovative designs have not been attempted. A few years back, someone came up with a new wrap for a 3+1 compensating euphonium that was marketed as the Gemeinhardt I-808. The wrap is illustrated in a CAD drawing below. I played one at the Army Conference twice over a 2 year span. Then it disappeared from the face of the earth. It had an awkward (for me) 4th valve position and a 2-way trigger mechanism that went both sharp and flat. In spite of (or because of?) the "innovations", it played poorly, had really kind of bad intonation which the trigger didn't have enough travel to solve, and now appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

    In the tuba world, we have at least three major layouts of horns in the "American" style, British style, and German style. We have rotors (largely German), top action pistons (American and British), and front action piston (American and German) with anywhere from 3 to 6 valves. BUT each of these designs and their wraps are dated in history at least 100 years old, and are suited (generally) for specific tasks based on their pitch (BBb, C, Eb, F) and target audience (Jazz, Orchestral, Wind Band, Brass Band, Marching band, chamber ensembles, solo, etc.).

    In the euphonium world, we have just one pitch (Bb an octave above the BBb tuba), fewer accepted roles (Brass Band, Symphonic band, Marching band, and a more limited set of chamber ensembles and Jazz venues). That the horns have evolved into just two generally accepted formats (British style and German style) and that the front action American style non compensated euphonium has largely evolved into a marching horn (curved bell or DCI style) does not surprise me. Keep in mind, that the last big revolution in American wind band use of the euphonium occurred in the 1950s with the transition to the British style euphonium in Military bands (1st), College and University (2nd), and by 1970s to secondary schools as well.

    The instrument we largely use works well, suits the uses to which we put it, and has been ably refined over the last 100 years, not just by B&H/Besson and its antecedants, but by the many manufacturers and artists who joined the marketplace starting with Yamaha in the 70s, later Willson, and the explosion of quality manufacturers after the demise of old Besson in 2005.

    We will continue to see innovation and refinement, but I doubt we will see any revolutionary change.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I808FrontBack4th.jpg  
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  4. #44
    Just another word about the compensating system. Its benefit is enabling the same fingerings in each octave. It's very helpful to me in my practice, and now and then in performance. I'd hate to use either of the special fingering charts displayed earlier to play this etude, for example:

    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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