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Thread: Possible to tune on a concert A?

  1. Possible to tune on a concert A?


    I am a trombonist who has bought my first euphonium, and now need your expertise on what's normal on a euphonium. I recently bought a JP274 MKII compensated euphonium. Great instrument with a good sound. The problem is that the 2nd valve is way flat. Concert E (in staff) is lip bendable, but concert A is close to impossible to lip bend. Is this normal, or should I complain? It was shipped from abroad, (I live in Sweden), so I need to know what's expected. The salesman says lip bending is normal, but since this A is closer to a Ab, it is not possible to use the 2nd valve for this.

    I'd love to hear if anyone else has had similar problems, if this is a normal thing I need to practice away, or if I should ask for a new horn. This was not the case on the Yamaha euph I played on 15 years ago.

    I recorded a video if that would be of any aid.

    Thank you for your help!

  2. The video is on Google Drive. I don't know if it 's playable on the drive, but it can be downloaded and played.

  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of valves!

    Tuning to A is not good for euphonium. Many brands are flat on the A - some by a little and some by a lot. Use Bb to set your main tuning slide.

    Most players learn to lip the A when it is a problem. One of my Bessons was flatter than normal on A, so I would play it with 1&3 on sustained notes in ensemble.

    There are some handy alternate fingerings for some problem intonation, which I have outlined in this book (along with alternate patterns to use for technical challenges):

    Here is a video I did on tuning a euphonium. Perhaps it will be helpful:
    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
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    I had intonations problems on the baritone JP373. I solved by shortening all the slides. On my Besson 2052 I shortened the 4th slide to get around the low C# (treble clef) which position 2-4 was very flat.
    See in this thread: there are some photos of the work done.
    Last edited by franz; 07-28-2020 at 12:37 PM.
    Besson Prestige 2052,3D K&G mouthpiece;JP373 baritone,T4C K&G mouthpiece;Bach 42GO trombone,T4C K&G mouthpiece

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Indianapolis area
    You have your tuner set at A442 rather than A440. Is that the custom where you're located?
    If 442 is your local standard, then the main tuning slide needs to be moved.
    If your tuner is set to 442, any A based on 440 will show flat.
    Last edited by Snorlax; 07-29-2020 at 03:23 PM.
    Jim Williams N9EJR (love 10 meters)
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103E, SM3.5
    Yamaha 321, Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Conn 50H trombone
    Blue P-bone

  6. #6
    A442 seems to be fairly standard for concert bands in my region I believe. Now I know it is for Sweden too! First time I was told to start tuning to 440 outside of band was when I started taking lessons (she's a trombonist from America).

    For the JP274, I recall it being an issue, had to lip it, but it wasn't too out of the way.

    (feel free to ignore this) Would moving your main tuning slide in help without affecting the other notes too much?

    Edit: Apologies for such a foolish suggestion. I did not know of such foolishness before this.
    Last edited by ChristianeSparkle; 07-29-2020 at 03:34 AM.
    "Never over complicate things. Accept "bad" days. Always enjoy yourself when playing, love the sound we can make on our instruments (because that's why we all started playing the Euph)"

    Euph: Yamaha 642II Neo - 千歌音
    Mouthpiece: K&G 4D, Denis Wick 5AL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Tuning on anything other than an open note is foolish. Especially since manufacturers do lengthen some valve slides to limit sharpness in 1+2 and 1+3 combination.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    NYC metro area
    For your amusement, I've seen a video clip of Mnozil Brass tuning up. Leonard (trombone/bass trumpet) plays the tuning notes, and gives different notes to different instruments. Sorry I can't find the link to that - it's probably a routine included in many of their concert videos.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  9. Thank you for all the good responses. A442 is normal in Swedish concert bands, to give that brighter sound. Not the best for my euphonium, but that's how it is.

    Thank you Dave for your insights. This JP probably acts like your Besson. I changed mouthpiece to a Schilke 51D and managed to lip bend it. I noticed it was easier to get it in tune while playing a scale upwards. Downwards or sustained, I needed to go with 1+3. I'll probably have to try it in band once again to see if I can manage it with others as well.

    And I agree about tuning on the second valve. This was merely a suggestion on what tone to aim for while tuning the second valve. Others have suggested to tune the valve after Concert E (on the staff) or somewhere in between. I was only curious if you should be able to tune a Concert A on the second valve or if the horn is defect. I noticed someone else had a similar issue with the JP274 in another thread on the forum. And franz mentioned shortening the 2nd valve (or all valves) to help in intonation. That could be an alternative also. But I'm more hopeful now when I've actually hit the A on the tuner once in a while.

  10. #10
    FYI, look at these 2 tuning charts for a Willson and Eastman euphonium. Both are around 15 cents flat on the A:

    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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