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Thread: Besson 956 4v Baritone vís Wessex BR144 4v

  1. So considering the 956 has such a poor reputation, then either the 144 or 2056 will be a big step change improvement over what Iím used to?

  2. #12
    Hi Howellsimon,

    Unless you're regularly playing music that goes below low F# (treble clef) on Baritone, you might do well to consider a 3-valve compensating baritone. They tend to have a better reputation overall for playability and tuning. And, in the case of Wessex, you'd be paying $400 less for the three-valve.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

  3. Hi, I play on a 956, having bought it from Quinn the Eskimo in 2017 for $2745, it was in mint condition.

    Below is a link to a video for a solo competition where I used the horn.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2a8KUSf79yc

    As the other posts already said, it hasn't got great ergonomics, and the 4th valve is pretty much useless, intonation is quirky, BUT it still sounds and feels like a Besson Sovereign.
    (I've had the 1st and 3rd slides cut, and often have to swap the tuning slide with the longer 4th valve slide to get it to play in tune in warm weather).

    Prior to buying this horn I was playing a Wessex 3 valve which I bought for 570gbp (plus 120gbp for shipping). Intonation on this horn was hard work, but believe it or not lefreque plates helped. The horn itself, and the valves felt flimsy and the metal feels hollow and light. The sound wasn't anything special (lefreque plates did give it more focus),

    If I was to do more baritone playing (I spend 90% of my time on euph) then I would sell the 956, throw in another $2000 to get a 3 valve Sovereign (German made) or Neo.

    The Prestige I tried in 2009 was absolutely fantastic in every way, just too dark for my taste (and I'll admit that I like the baritone sound brighter than most people).

    I have not tried the Wessex 4 valve, so I will not comment.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Varese,Italy
    Posts
    176
    Quote Originally Posted by adrian_quince View Post
    Hi Howellsimon,

    Unless you're regularly playing music that goes below low F# (treble clef) on Baritone, you might do well to consider a 3-valve compensating baritone. They tend to have a better reputation overall for playability and tuning. And, in the case of Wessex, you'd be paying $400 less for the three-valve.
    I would also consider the JP Packer baritone. I have a 373 and it sounds great: the intonation ( after cutting the slides) is very good and coherent, the brass has a good thickness ( 0,6 mm bell) and costs about half of the most prestigious brands.
    Besson Prestige 2052,3D K&G mouthpiece;JP373 baritone,T4C K&G mouthpiece;Bach 42GO trombone,T4C K&G mouthpiece

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by superted View Post
    Below is a link to a video for a solo competition where I used the horn.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2a8KUSf79yc
    Sounds great, man!!
    --
    Barry

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Howellsimon View Post
    Thanks Doug and Barry for your thoughts and comments - all very much appreciated.
    I think my next plan must be to have a play on a BR144 and I guess a 2056; both back to back with 956.
    One further question - speaking Treble clef and an ĎAí one line above the top line. Absolute sod to hit nicely. With my preferred mouthpiece - this needs to be played on valve 3, as it either splits or seems to require exceptional control when using 1 and 2.
    Same applies with the ĎBí above it.
    Is this a 956-ism or a player-ism?
    What do you think?
    I bought the very first 2056 sold in the US in 2008 and played that until I sold it to get my Neo in 2016. Prior to that I used a borrowed York 3056 (made using 956 tooling) for about a year, and the first player in the band I played with for over 10 years used a 956 which I tried on many occasions. I honestly don't remember exactly what specifically my intonation challenges were with the 3056/956 other than the fact that anything in the cis-pedal register with 4th valve plus any other valve is not easily useable.

    On the 2056, the main alternate fingerings I used were (Bb treble clef terms):

    fourth-line D - 1 + 3
    B above the staff - 1 + 2 (the traditional 2nd valve fingering here was VERY flat)

    I don't recall having to use more than a tiny bit of lipping for A on the first ledger line above the staff. Keep in mind that not every example of these instruments has exactly the same tendencies, and mouthpiece choice tends to complicate things, too.
    --
    Barry

  7. #17
    By the way, the dislike of the 956 isn't completely universal. Helen Harrelson I know plays a 956 even though Besson gave her a 2056 to use as well, and she's an amazing player.

    The Neo is where it's at!!
    --
    Barry

  8. Thanks to everyone for thoughts, comments and suggestions. Lots and lots for me to think about.
    I like the 4v set up for ease of playing. I donít use the 4v low range - as the 1st bari line is typically quite high, isnít it?
    So the 4th valve is only useful because my fingers from 1-3 to 2 and back (for instance in basin st blues) is tricky for my fat, old fingers...
    So...... I really donít know where Iím at now.
    I fully understand that everyone is pretty much agreed that the 3v is better in both play and intonation.
    So from what you have all said, a three valve shoot out would appear to give top three (not in order necessarily) as Yamaha neo, besson 955 or 1050 Sterling.
    So..... 4v for the times when 4th valve helps finger a tricky passage or the easier play and tuning of a 3v??????!
    Last edited by Howellsimon; 12-03-2020 at 03:23 AM. Reason: Error

  9. #19
    Yeah, there isn't much call in a brass band for the extended range. I know that The Devil in the Deep Blue Sea has some low Fs but you could easily just fake it and nobody would notice. Ellerby Baritone Concerto has some extended range in it, too. But where I think it comes in handy is solo literature. There just isn't too much written for solo baritone literature, although the situation is getting better rapidly. But having 4 valves helps you borrow euphonium, bassoon, cello literature.

    With regards to technique, I really like having 4 valves, too. I made the point to Katrina Marzella Wheeler that I thought it was easier to play highly technical stuff with 4 valves and she pointed out to me that cornet players manage just fine which shut me up really quickly!
    --
    Barry

  10. So, just to update.....
    Following everyoneís advice and suggestions, I am visiting a local music store at the weekend to trial a 955, 2056, Neo and a Sterling 1050 back to back...
    Iíll let you know how it goes......
    Thanks again. Simon

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