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Thread: Adams E1 Pitch Issues

  1. Adams E1 Pitch Issues

    Hello, everyone,

    I bought an Adams E1 in December 2020, from Austin Custom Brass. The entire process was a great experience, and I love the horn. For what it's worth, it's a .70 gauge, yellow brass, with brushed lacquer finish.

    The only thing I don't like about the horn, and it's a big issue, is that it plays flat. If I have my tuner set at A=442, I have to push the main slide in all the way, and I STILL have to lip up the regular tuning note Bb. If my tuner is set to A=440, I can fairly easily play in tune, as long as I have the main slide all the way in.

    I don't want to have the main slide all the way in just to be able to play at A440. There are obvious problems with this, like, what do I do when I encounter an accompanist with a piano/organ that is significantly sharp?

    I'm curious if anyone else that plays Adams horns has encountered this issue, and if so, what you did to solve it.

    I am playing a Doug Elliott mouthpiece with an N104 rim, I cup, and I8 shank. It's the same mouthpiece I used on my previous horn (mid-1970s Besson New Standard), and I never had any trouble with that horn playing flat. Quite the opposite, in fact!

    Things I have already tried, none of which have solved my problem:

    - Different mpc (have tried a Wick 3AL, 4BL, and other combinations of Doug Elliott)
    - Tried a shorter shank on my existing Elliott mpc, made for me by Doug with the express purpose of raising the pitch. This has helped *a bit*, but not enough.
    - Tried putting the AGR in the all-the-way-in position

    I DID contact the dealer to inquire about possible solutions, and they said they would be happy to order me a shorter main slide, but that I would also need to have the tubes that receive the main slide made a bit shorter as well, by a competent repair tech.

    I'm no conspiracy theorist, but the fact that there is an OPTION of ordering a shorter main tuning slide makes me think that this is a "known issue," and if that is the case, then I'm sort of thinking there should be some sort of disclosure, prior to purchase, i.e. "a lot of people say these horns play flat, and we offer a shorter tuning slide in case that's a concern for you," or something along those lines.

    As I said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the horn, but this seems like a pretty major problem. If anyone has any ideas or insight, I am all ears. Thanks for your time and consideration.


    Ed

  2. #2
    I'm hoping to gain some data from our users who play any model of Adams. Do you have trouble getting up to A440? If so, please let us know what mouthpiece you use, in case that can be a factor, and anything else you have learned. If I can get enough feedback perhaps I can Adams some useful info for their future mods.

    And I am sure Ed would love it if you have a suggestion that might help.

    I don't think there is much difference in this aspect within the E1/E2/E3 models, so chime in no matter which one you play.

    Thanks!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3
    I'm bumping up this post because it was "hidden" (waiting for approval) and I didn't notice it. It would be great to get some pitch feedback from you Adams owners.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    Every Adams horn I've ever played has played "lower" than other mfg horns. There is an air adjustment period, in my opinion, that happens and you do get used to it. I love it because once I got used to it, I only pull my tuning slide out slightly, rather than 3/4-1 inch on the Yamaha 842 I had. I haven't found it to be much of an issue as notes are much easier to lip up and down than other horns. My feeling is that the new standard required less air, therefore your airstream requires more support with the Adams. By and large, I think people have found then horns blend better and play better in tune with ensembles and pianos, not the other way around. That has 100% been the case for me. Work on long tones, get the horn and mouthpiece warm, play with a beautiful and open sound and then check the pitch. If it's still a mess, try playing with a drone. You might find your ear and air adjust automatically to the drone, and if that's the case don't worry about it. Otherwise Miel has good support, he'll probably send you the shorter slide for free.
    Adams E3 0.6 with SS Bell
    K&G 3.5D
    ---------------------------------
    Founder and Solo Euphonium
    San Francisco Brass Band

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Harrisonburg, VA
    Posts
    11
    In my experience, I didn't have any trouble with the horn being "flat." The main tuning slide is about 1/2 to 3/4 an inch out, and with the trigger I have some room to play with. I use an SM 3.5.
    Sean Breast
    DMA Euphonium Performance - James Madison University '22
    Adams Custom E3, SS Bell - Denis Wick SM3.5
    Edwards T350-HB - Warburton Gail Robertson Signature
    Edwards B454-V - Greg Black 1 1/8G
    BAC Custom Shires Straight Tenor - Schilke 47C4
    ...and random others

  6. Ed,

    Generally I agree with Jake. Since my horn was an E3 prototype whose body is slightly longer than the standard E3 due to the longer top sprung short action valves, it blew quite flat across the range, but with generally good relative pitch. Miel Adams was at Austin Custom Brass (then in MA) the day I auditioned it and agreed to modify the horn if I would purchase it (which I did). He shortened the tuning slide (and ferrules) considerably for me (1.5cm per leg) and did beautiful work right in Trent's shop. Even then, initially I found myself with the identical issues that Ed describes above, tending to blow flat. We couldn't shorten the standard slide any more because the ferrule rings are right up against the tuning slide braces. Miel had several shorter slides made for me by decreasing the length of the bow in the slide. Two were 1 cm shorter (one yellow brass, the other red), and one was 1.5cm shorter in red brass.

    Now 3 years later I find myself using just the standard tuning slide (note it has a red brass bow). The horn just "sounds" better with that slide. The shortened bows and/or yellow brass make the sound a bit more brittle. I use either a Wick 4AL or Doug Elliott EUPH 103 with J9s shank and 3 turns on the AGR. I tune to A=440 (which is what the groups I play in tune to). I also use a Wick 4AL or EUPH 103 with J9 (standard length) on my Sterling. I have found pitch pretty solid on the Adams, but had to get used to blowing the horn. In cold weather (like now) I have maybe 1/8" - 1/4" on the tuning slide at A=440. In warm weather, it is more like 3/8" to 1/2" (or more when REALLY hot).

    It definitely requires more air than the Besson Sovereign 967 I traded in (which also tends more sharp across the range). I would expect that the Adams E1 is quite a bit more free blowing than your New Standard. Generally a horn that blows "big" will require some adjustments when transitioning from a smaller horn to maintain pitch. Your mouthpiece choices are also pretty large, so this may require some adjustments to muscle memory.

    I would urge you to continue to practice, using a daily routine with tuner if possible and see how things go. And I can concur with what Jake said about Miel sending shorter slides. I have 3 add'l tuning slides and a short 2nd valve slide for my E3!

    Doug
    Last edited by daruby; 02-01-2021 at 02:05 PM.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  7. #7
    Doug,

    When you have a minute, could you provide a pic of your tuning slide legs to show how the work came out? I'm curious myself, not because I need mine shortened, but because I wondered about the clearance available. Each end of the between-slides braces is attached to what I'll call a round-ish "pad" (I'm sure there is an official name for these parts). The outer slide tube has a pad that is pretty close to the end. I think one side of mine has the pad within 6mm of the end of the slide (up to the reinforcement).

    Thanks!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  8. #8
    I have an Adams E3, sterling bell, and .60 gauge metal. When I got my horn almost 5 years ago, I thought it tended to play flat. I had to warm up really well to get in tune with most slides all in. Today, with no changes to my horn, it plays fine. I have my main tuning slide out about 1/2 to 3/4 inch usually. I have my 3rd slide out a bit and my 4th slide out a bit. My 1st and 2nd all in. I use a Demondrae Thurman signature Warburton mouthpiece, and have ever since my Miraphone days of about 8 years ago.

    I do think I have adjusted to the horn and that, more than anything else, has "solved" the flat tendency. I do still think the horn is built real close to being on the flat side. But by learning how to blow and play this horn, and watching a tuner a whole lot during that process, I have adjusted to the horn and can play in tune quite easily and automatically now.

    I did think at first that I might need a shorter main tuning slide, but after all this while, I have no need for it. Still absolutely loving this Adams E3 after almost five years. I have put tons of hours on this horn and just can't think of any reason whatsoever that I would ever change. And I think it, and I, play even better now than when I got it in spring 2016.

    My advice, give it some time and really learn how to play this great horn you own.
    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)

  9. Mods to my tuning slide

    Dave,

    Attached are two pictures of my horn. The first is off of Trent's web site and was taken before I purchased it. I have focused on the tuning slide. Notice that the distance between the edge of the tuning slide ferrule and the round pad under the brace between the bottom-bow and tuning slide leg is more than 1 cm.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In the second picture, taken AFTER Miel Adams shortened the ferrules and the actual legs of the slide itself by nearly6 1.5 cm on each side, you can see how close the edge of the slide is to brace pad.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also, here is Miel actually working on the horn after I wrote the check!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by daruby; 02-01-2021 at 07:31 PM.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  10. #10
    Thanks, Doug. You had more room originally than I have now, but with your horn being special that is not surprising. So if someone did the same thing to mine it would give an extra .6mm of push-in range. That might be enough to get someone to 440 in many situations.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

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