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Thread: Looking for New Horn Advice

  1. Looking for New Horn Advice

    Hello everyone!

    I am a student euphonium player transitioning from high school to college to major in Music Education, and I am looking to buy a new horn. I cannot afford a brand-new horn, so I am in search for a used euphonium that can last me throughout college (and maybe even past that). Currently, I play on a Mack Brass horn (and have for several years), and it is reaching the end of its lifetime.

    Like most individuals looking to make such a large investment, I am trying to find the best brand and model. I do not have access to opinions on many specific models that fit my price range. I can only find reviews on the more top-of-the-line and expensive horns. In my search, I have found many listings for Boosey and Hawkes Imperial horns, but nothing about how they play and stand the test of time. All of these listings fit my budget very well, but they seem too good to be truely worth the lower price tag.

    Does anyone have any advice for me on specific horns to look into? Any resources I can use to find used horn listings (I already am looking on Ebay and the Tuba/Euph Marketplace Facebook group)? And lastly, does anyone have an opinion on these Boosey and Hawkes Imperial model horns? If so, I think I may have found the perfect candidate.

  2. #2
    There is a Besson Round Stamp for sale in the tuba forum. Looks to be in good shape.

    http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=95800
    John 3:16

    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum!

    Boosey & Hawkes are, essentially, the same as Bessons of the same era. At least in the last half of the 20th century they were made in the same factory. At least by the 70's they were the same in all functional ways, with differences in logo and trim. For a while at least, they were using B&H for Europe and Besson for the USA (a branding thing). I think they later decided to keep things more simple and use Besson for all the brass. Not sure of the date, but somewhere in the 1980's is my guess.

    From experience I can tell you I seldom see a B&H for sale in the USA that is newer than 50 years old. Keep that in mind.

    The other side of my opinion is that Besson New Standard and B&H Imperial are in the same category: great vintage instruments by heritage, with robust construction and materials. They shared the sharp 6th partial issue, but are otherwise not bad for intonation. Response is not up to today's standards, but was very good for the time. The tone quality has an attractive "core" to it, while many of today's horns are more sterile in sound. As such the old ones can be attractive to the right buyers.

    I just saw a B&H on eBay that I chose to not list. The seller did not provide close to enough detail, but it did look fairly old and well used. That raises the question of "how are the valves?" If valves are very pitted or just worn out, the cost of restoring them is many hundreds of dollars. For that horn, there were not enough photos to reveal possible damage or repairs. Such is often the case with horns older than 4 decades or so.

    IF you can be sure the horn is in good condition, and if you are aware of the other issues I mention above, a horn like this can serve you well. When I hear old recordings of British players, many of them sound terrific. If you are going to be in a section of players using modern horns (which are larger), you may not blend well. But many euphonium sections have a diverse set of horns, where you could be fine.

    Remember also that the right horn for you is the one that helps you do what you want to do. One thing the old B&H/Bessons do is sound solid. Another thing is in an old joke: a Besson sounds just as good at the bottom of the stairs as it did at the top (i.e. it will hold up well!).
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    I own an Adams E3, very good top line horn. It is my main instrument and I suspect will be indefinitely. I also own a Wessex Dolce euphonium for about 1/10 the cost of my Adams. It is a very nice compensating horn and is certainly NOT 10 times worse than the Adams. Or put another way, the Adams is not 10 times better than the Wessex, not even 2 times better, but it is better. So, the Wessex Dolce or their new Sinfonico (I think that is the name) could be good choices. Both compensating, and the new Sinfonico is hand made and really sharp looking. For about $3K.

    Now, about the B&H Imperial. I have one from 1956. In very good condition when I got it a couple or three years ago. I had it restored (which really only amounted to a couple of small dents removed, horn totally checked out, new valve guides, pads, springs, felts, etc.). I agree with all that Dave said about the Imperial. It is a tank, very solid. It is smaller than today's horns. And intonation is not as good. BUT, it is a very satisfactory horn and a real thrill to play on. I am always excited when I get the chance to play it in groups (usually when I might be worrying about my Adams in close quarters or lousy weather). I know, that is seemingly not very respectful to the Imperial. I do get it out every so often at home just to play on it and keep it in good shape. It has a great sound.

    Now you say you are going to major in Music Education - good for you!!! If you were majoring in Euphonium Performance, my recommendation might be different. But if you found an Imperial that is really in top notch shape, and you got to play on it before deciding, then I might say why not. If you were majoring in performance, I would suggest a newer model of a top line horn.

    I don't know your budget, so it is hard to recommend a specific brand or model, new or used. Check out that Imperial if you can in person! Also check out the Wessex Sinfonico.
    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)

  5. #5
    isaacbigcheese: Your posting inspired me to break out the Boosey & Hawkes Imperial. Which I just did. I played on it for an hour. It is really a delightful horn. I have the original KosiKup mouthpiece as well. I bought the Brian Bowman mouthpiece that is a copy of it, so I have that one as well. I really like the Imperial. I can get a really good sound out of it and it is a kick to play. I am a lucky guy.
    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)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    156
    Hello isaacbigcheese, what is your budget range for your euphonium upgrade project?

    Regards, Guido
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    I own an Adams E3, very good top line horn. It is my main instrument and I suspect will be indefinitely. I also own a Wessex Dolce euphonium for about 1/10 the cost of my Adams. It is a very nice compensating horn and is certainly NOT 10 times worse than the Adams. Or put another way, the Adams is not 10 times better than the Wessex, not even 2 times better, but it is better. So, the Wessex Dolce or their new Sinfonico (I think that is the name) could be good choices. Both compensating, and the new Sinfonico is hand made and really sharp looking. For about $3K.
    [...]
    I don't know your budget, so it is hard to recommend a specific brand or model, new or used. Check out that Imperial if you can in person! Also check out the Wessex Sinfonico.

    I have a Sinfonico on order. Six weeks ago they told me September-ish. On the website presently they are taking orders for October-ish.
    I'm cool with that...I bought a nice used Besson Tenorhorn and I'm calling this my Tenorhorn Summer.
    But it may make it impractical for OP.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    156
    Hello Shawn, congrats for your upcoming sinfonico... Hope that once you receive the ciritter you will post your impressions of it here... And perhaps you record a representative Youtube clip of it as well.

    Regards, G.
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  9. #9
    Yeah, me too, looking forward to you, Shawn, getting the Sinfonico. Let us know all about it.

    The OP is off to college it appears, and he still owns the Mack Brass, I assume, so maybe October could work for him. Nice starting college horn or early Christmas horn.
    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)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Sacramento, CA area
    Posts
    197
    Quote Originally Posted by isaacbigcheese View Post
    Currently, I play on a Mack Brass horn (and have for several years), and it is reaching the end of its lifetime.
    In your post you wondered about how Boosey & Hawkes horns stood the test of time. I remember that was one of the big questions here on the forum about the JinBao made horns (like Mack Brass and others). So I would like to ask you the same question. "How does the Mack Brass horn stand the test of time?" It sounds like your own horn has not stood up as well as you would like. For our reference, how old is it? What issues are you having that you say "It is reaching the end of its lifetime."?

    And to bring this back around to your original intent for posting here in the first place - To help us help you find a horn that is the best brand and model that fits in your price range, it would help us to know just what your price range is.

    From the other comments that are posted on the thread here, I think that you can see the consensus opinion on a Boosey & Hawkes horn (smile).

    Good luck with your first year in college! - Sara


    PS - Here is another resource to watch. The TubeNet forum has some of the same people in it as this one, so you will see some overlap. http://forums.chisham.com/viewforum.php?f=4
    Last edited by Sara Hood; 06-27-2020 at 04:13 PM.
    Baritone - 3 Valve, Compensating, JinBao JBBR1240

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