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Thread: The Development of The Besson Sovereign Euphonium and The Besson Prestige Euphonium

  1. The Development of The Besson Sovereign Euphonium and The Besson Prestige Euphonium

    Hello everyone,

    I have been looking at the development of The Besson Sovereign Euphonium and I was curious to know if anyone could describe in a little more detail the development of The Besson Sovereign GS Euphonium and how it influenced the introduction of The Besson Prestige Euphonium?

    I have always been interested in the details behind these developments and I just cannot seem to find the detailed information which I am after. I would love to hear more about the early days of The Besson Prestige Euphonium and it's influence on the Besson Prestige that we know today.

    My very first Euphonium was a Besson Sovereign Euphonium and I rapidly moved onto a Besson Prestige Euphonium and after a brief stint playing on a Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium I have returned to my roots playing a Besson Prestige Euphonium, it is a brand that fascinates me!

    Thank you all in advance for your help.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons

  2. I'm not sure if he uses this forum, but I think Steven Mead would be well worth reaching out to regarding this topic if you haven't already, as I believe has been consulting on the design of the Besson Sovereign/Prestige euphoniums for many years.

    He is fairly active on Facebook, so it may be worth reaching out to him through there?
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
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  3. Micah,

    I agree with Fujifilm on sources re: the development of the Sovereign GS and the Prestige. My first reaction is that you are personal friends with Stephen Mead and have studied under him. He would be "the source" for this topic. Paul Riggett left Besson in 1986 (I think), so he might have some ideas regarding the Sovereign GS. Trevor Groom was involved in testing and evaluation of the Sovereign in the New Standard/Sovereign transition. He would give you some more insight into early Sovereign development. It was not very pretty from his point of view. AFAIK, though, the "mid-80s to current day history is almost all in Steve Mead's hands. Each of them might have some data and point you to other sources (Don't forget Denis Wick). Once you get the story and can integrate all of the points of view, you could update all of us!

    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
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  4. Hello everyone,

    I have been doing a bit of digging yesterday and managed to have a chat with my good friend Simon Philips who is an expert on this subject and has provided me with a lot of information. That is a superb idea Doug! I am actually seeing Steven Mead later this week so I will have a chat about this subject with him when I see him!

    The general history of of The Sovereign Euphonium starts with The Boosey and Hawkes Sovereign which didn't have model numbers until around 1983 which later became known as The Boosey and Hawkes Sovereign 967. The 966 was introduced in 1985 which was later replaced by the 968 in the early 1990's. It was around this point that the 967GS was introduced.

    Obviously we have to consider the lottery era of euphoniums which in itself is an interesting period which I have never really delved too deep into! Of course I will have to explore the era of the English Besson Prestige Euphonium and The German Besson Prestige Euphonium. It would also be interesting to make the link to The York Eminence Euphonium as well as see the development of The Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium too.

    The only final comment I can make at this time is as to the current development of The Besson Prestige Euphonium which is a stunning instrument! The current development has been to introduce a Gold Lacquer and remove one of the stays from the leadpipe which has created a very free blowing instrument overall!

    Thank you for all your help and I shall try and write an update as soon as I get some more information!

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons

  5. Hello everyone,

    I have an update in regards to the development of The Besson Sovereign GS Euphonium. I managed to find a friend who owned a Besson Sovereign GS Euphonium which was quite an interesting experience. In essence The Besson Sovereign GS Euphonium came about following a number of tests all designed to make the existing Besson Sovereign Euphonium more in tune without the need to add a trigger this was basically achieved by experimenting with different leadpipe tapers. I believe the final design of The Besson Sovereign GS Euphonium has a thinner metal on the bell and with a reduction of metal elsewhere on the instrument. The Besson Sovereign GS Euphonium has directly impacted the Besson Sovereign Euphonium that we know today.

    I believe that The Besson Prestige Euphonium was released later due to many individuals getting triggers unofficially added to their instruments and due to the popularity of triggers, Besson finally incorporated this design into the new line of Besson Prestige Euphonium’s.

    I will update this thread when I find some more information.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    A couple of days ago I watched this video of Besson featuring Steven Mead, telling about his experiences with Besson.
    Interesting is the part from the 29:25-ish minute mark.
    From then on he describes the development of the Sovereign in the 90s, along with the development of the Prestige, the Buffet Crampon takeover and other things.
    Willson 2960TA Celebration
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick 5AL
    1979 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign (Globe Stamp)
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick SM4
    1975 Besson New Standard
    Mouthpiece: Denis Wick 6BS

  7. Hello JH,

    Thank you for the link.

    Best Wishes,

    Micah Dominic Parsons


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