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Thread: Marching Euphoniums Inquiry

  1. Marching Euphoniums Inquiry

    Hello all,

    My director has asked me to recommend new marching euphoniums for the program to purchase. Does anyone have any opinions as to which marching euphoniums are best? The most important features for our group include a characteristic euphonium timbre (not baritone), intonation, and weight/balance. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Hello!

    I have a number of thoughts on the subject, having spent time with many of the current models.

    First, when you say you want a characteristic euphonium timbre rather than baritone, keep in mind that the modern marching Baritone is closer to a euphonium in characteristic than it is to a baritone. (You’d need a trombonium or something similar to get a more baritone-like sound).

    With the exception of the Blue Devils (as far as I know) and I think the Cadets (this may have changed since Gino Cipriani went to Boston), most groups use a mix of baritones and euphoniums. Generally, baritones on the upper 2 parts and euphoniums on the 3rd. (Again, this is very general)

    Another thing to keep in mind is the age and health of your participants. In my opinion, unless you’re doing it DCI style and doing it hours a day, actual marching euphoniums are way too heavy to be practical. The mini corps I participate in (Star United) as well as when I toured with Blast; we used Yamaha marching baritones. The YBH301M. You can absolutely get a characteristic euphonium sound with them. You mention weight/balance as a concern. For the love of all that is holy, go with a marching baritone rather than a euphonium.

    I personally don’t care for Jupiter, as I think they don’t play well and intonation is rough.

    System Blue just changed manufacturers because of a plant closing in China.

    I think King is now making the system blue horns again, but I haven’t had my hands on a sample.

    Regular king marching horns are fine, but I haven’t played them in a while.

    I think the Yamaha lines are absolutely the most consistent from horn to horn, and with the exception of the fact that the C above the bass clef really needs to be played 1-3, the intonation is good. I would recommend these horns every time when asked about marching horns.



    Quote Originally Posted by ztfederico View Post
    Hello all,

    My director has asked me to recommend new marching euphoniums for the program to purchase. Does anyone have any opinions as to which marching euphoniums are best? The most important features for our group include a characteristic euphonium timbre (not baritone), intonation, and weight/balance. Thanks!
    Mike Taylor
    Adams E3 - SS Bell/Brushed Lacquer - Custom short valve set - For Sale
    Besson BE2056 Baritone
    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

  3. I would agree with what Mike has posted. Particularly for a school program, marching baritones are much more preferable compared to most marching euphoniums, especially in regards to ergonomics and ease of use. The two summers I marched DCI, the group I was with used Jupiter Quantums, and then the King Ultimate series. Both marching euphoniums played well, but are quite heavy and large. I wouldn't recommend them for most school programs, for the same reasons Mike mentioned above.

    BD and Phantom Regiment are the two corps that have/still do use all euphoniums in their hornlines, and a few like SCV and I think Boston Crusaders and Cavaliers use all baritones (Yamaha 301Ms). But it isn't unusual for groups to use a mix of them.

    The Yamaha 301M can provide a characteristic euphonium sound, and is compact and lightweight enough to be easy to hold and manage for students. Part of what helps with this is the design of the horn, where the valve block is positioned closer to the back, so the weight center of the horn is closer to your body, making it easier to hold with great posture for longer periods of time.

    Another option that could be good is the King K30 (formerly System Blue's SB30 before they split with Conn-Selmer, changed the design and shifted manufacturing overseas). This model is a "hybrid" marching euphonium, so it's a little more compact and easier to hold than other marching euphoniums, but is still larger than the Yamaha 301.
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Bach 5G
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941) - Faxx 7C

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

  4. #4
    You must have marched PR, given that progression. The difference on the kings was night and day.

    BK is also using all euph right now because they decided they played better than the Jupiter baritones, but thatís a change in the last couple of years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fujiifilm View Post
    I would agree with what Mike has posted. Particularly for a school program, marching baritones are much more preferable compared to most marching euphoniums, especially in regards to ergonomics and ease of use. The two summers I marched DCI, the group I was with used Jupiter Quantums, and then the King Ultimate series. Both marching euphoniums played well, but are quite heavy and large. I wouldn't recommend them for most school programs, for the same reasons Mike mentioned above.

    BD and Phantom Regiment are the two corps that have/still do use all euphoniums in their hornlines, and a few like SCV and I think Boston Crusaders and Cavaliers use all baritones (Yamaha 301Ms). But it isn't unusual for groups to use a mix of them.

    The Yamaha 301M can provide a characteristic euphonium sound, and is compact and lightweight enough to be easy to hold and manage for students. Part of what helps with this is the design of the horn, where the valve block is positioned closer to the back, so the weight center of the horn is closer to your body, making it easier to hold with great posture for longer periods of time.

    Another option that could be good is the King K30 (formerly System Blue's SB30 before they split with Conn-Selmer, changed the design and shifted manufacturing overseas). This model is a "hybrid" marching euphonium, so it's a little more compact and easier to hold than other marching euphoniums, but is still larger than the Yamaha 301.
    Mike Taylor
    Adams E3 - SS Bell/Brushed Lacquer - Custom short valve set - For Sale
    Besson BE2056 Baritone
    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    13
    I had a King marching euphonium for 3 years of marching band in college. It played well for a marching horn - privilege tones actually spoke on the horns and it had all the projection I ever needed and then some - but even in my early 20's and in pretty good shape it was heavy. Generally, many members of the section looked pretty rough by the end of a parade or long halftime show. The King baritones were okay after they swapped out the receiver in the early 2000's. The old small shank ones managed to be stuffy, easy to overpower, and sounded too 'cylindrical'. The large shank models (maybe they did some other internal work on them - cosmetically they looked the same) played a little better.

    I played a Yamaha marching baritone in high school (way too many years ago) and taught at a few places that had them. They're well built and easily have the best sound quality to weight ratio. Yamaha also makes a marching euphonium, but I presume it probably suffers from the same problem as the King in terms of weight.

    I don't have any experience with modern Jupiter horns - the only time I ever dealt with one was 2007 and it was pretty rough. I've heard they got better, but can't directly confirm that.

    Has anyone worked with Adams marching brass at all? Based on brand reputation, I would expect them to be among the best options available, but I have no idea if that assumption is correct. Finding parts when something inevitably goes wrong may be more challenging here.

    I suppose that's all a long way of saying "Yamaha marching baritones, if budget isn't a factor". Yamaha and King tend to come at a premium as I recall, but they're pretty well built products and your friendly neighborhood instrument repair professionals should have readily available parts and know how when some 15 year old manages to bend a valve or take a colorguard rifle to the bell. If budget is a factor (I have quite a few band director friends and my wife is a public school teacher, so I know too well that it may be) I'm stumped. I know that there are budget option out there, but I have no idea if any of those are defensible options.
    Andrew Easley
    Principal Euphonium, 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas Army National Guard

  6. Quote Originally Posted by miketeachesclass View Post
    You must have marched PR, given that progression. The difference on the kings was night and day.

    BK is also using all euph right now because they decided they played better than the Jupiter baritones, but that’s a change in the last couple of years.
    You're right! Marched 2015-2016. The Kings were definitely a improvement across the hornline.

    Come to think of it, I remember noticing during the prelims theater broadcast in 2018 that most if not all the WC corps using Jupiter (BK, Mandarins, Academy) had shifted to all euphoniums. The newer version of the Jupiter Quantums (I think they're called the MKII series) released in 2018-2019 are supposed to be improved, but I haven't tried them out.

    The weight issue with the King Ultimate euph has to do with how long the horn is. It's much longer than any other marching euph out there, and is a little more bell heavy which can make it more troublesome to use, especially for students.

    I tried the Adams marching euph at a conference a few years back, as well as when PR was trying out different brands before they decided on King. I remember liking how it sounded and felt (compared to the Jupiters we were using at the time) and that you could get a sound that was close to a concert horn out of it. I think Spirit of Atlanta and Troopers are the only corps currently using them, in addition to some WGI Winds groups.

    If your director ends up leaning towards Yamaha, I would highly recommend contacting corps to see if they can get educational pricing on the horns. Corps like SCV, Cadets, Madison Scouts, Cavaliers, Bluecoats, and Carolina Crown (all of which use Yamaha Brass) usually sell off the equipment they used during the previous season for a decent discount. It might be worth seeing if they have any of the 2019 season instruments still available.
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Bach 5G
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941) - Faxx 7C

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

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