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Thread: How are your instruments holding up?

  1. How are your instruments holding up?

    Brands often claim excellent build quality, but how are your instruments holding up for wear and tear?

    Reviews can only remark on the here and now, often pristine condition…

    So, please post pics of your instruments, older than a year, played regularly.

    Tell us what repair work and maintaining work you have had done.

    Perhaps the collective of the forum can establish which brand or model really is living up to their advertised claims of excellence.

  2. #2
    Besson euphoniums from the 1960s and 1970s are legendary…STILL!

    No repairs ever to the 1971 or 1974 horns. I did have some dents removed from the 1962 horn. Replace with properly-sized felts, springs, corks, and spring dampeners along with regular cleaning and a polishing using Hagerty’s spray-on silver polish and these are fully capable and ready for any occasion - today and into future decades.

    Here are pics of my instruments.
    David
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    53510DA1-AAE2-45BB-B9F9-C9882D4D5C73.jpeg  
    Last edited by Shinn; 08-13-2021 at 06:23 AM.
    David Shinn
    Peninsula Concert Band
    Yorktown, Virginia


    Besson 8-10 Series Trio:
    1971 Besson ‘New Standard’ 181 Euphonium (3+1 compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1962 Besson ‘New Standard’ 176 Euphonium (3-valve compensating) ~ Denis Wick 4AM
    1968 Besson 'New Standard' 168 Baritone (3-valve compensating) ~ Denis Wick 6BS

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Posts
    329
    No pictures as I recently sold my Willson 2900 but after 41 years, the only issues were some missing plating in areas where I held the horn and the normal dings.

  4. I do get the feeling that the 70s Besson/Boosey etc. are gonna have held up the best… be interesting to see how the newer models compare, plastic guides etc….

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Posts
    329
    Quote Originally Posted by Jharris View Post
    I do get the feeling that the 70s Besson/Boosey etc. are gonna have held up the best… be interesting to see how the newer models compare, plastic guides etc….
    Plastic valve guides have been around for 30-40 years. I can’t recall if my Willson had them initially but if so I changed them to plastic. 2 sets lasted quite a long time.

    My experiences with higher end horns if they are properly maintained they can last 30, 40, 50 years without major repairs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Varese,Italy
    Posts
    200
    This is my Besson Prestige 2052, one of the first made in Germany in 2007. The fourth piston slide was shortened at the time of purchase. Later I wanted to customize the look with gold and ruthenium plating of the slides, trigger and water triggers; a water catcher and a heavy 4th piston bottom cap were made by me and then I added the lefreque plates. I also personally made the breather holes on all 4 pistons and the original springs were replaced with the Meadsprings and the rubber shock absorbers on the pistons and lower caps were changed. The only repair that was made was the re-welded of the pivot that anchors the trigger on the main slide. After 14 years of daily use it is still in perfect shape. This look probably won't appeal to everyone, but I love it.

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    Last edited by franz; 08-12-2021 at 11:49 AM.
    Besson Prestige 2052,3D K&G mouthpiece;JP373 baritone,T4C K&G mouthpiece;Bach 42GO trombone,T4C K&G mouthpiece

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    401
    Miraphone 5050S Ambassador: Still built like a tank and holding up well. I bought the horn "new" in 2010 and inherited a trigger tuning slide issue which FINALLY was fixed about 2 years later.

    I've lost some of the trigger linkage a while back and had to track down replacement parts (no easy task).
    Miraphone 5050 Ambassador
    Mp: Wick SM4 Ultra X
    The San Diego Concert Band
    Big Brass Quartet- tuba ensemble (EETT)

  8. I have 3, well, 4 valve instruments. Valves are a double for me, so I don't need these to be top quality, just being "mostly" functional is good enough for what I do with them.

    Conn 24i It's kind of physically beat up, with dents and removed dents and a lot of missing lacquer, and a bent leadpipe that needs to get fixed (bought it used a couple months ago). But despite all that, it's a wonderful player, great tone, great upper range. The only complaint is that the valves are loud, and I'll probably get that remedied at my next shop visit. Also, I had to get Doug Elliott to make a special shank for a mouthpiece I already had, as it doesn't like typical small shank (tenor trombone) shanks and doesn't like big mouthpieces. Overall, I'd say it has lasted pretty well. It's got to be ~50 years old. I don't know who has owned it in the past, but it looks like it wasn't always treated very well.

    King 2280. An occasional slow valve, and the slides are tweaked enough that they aren't smooth and easy. The spring mechanism for the 3rd valve is gone as is most of the lacquer. The one repair I want to have done here is to straighten out the 4th valve slides, since that is the unique characteristic of this horn. But it has a glorious tone, and the thing resonates in a way that makes it kind of addictive to play. Some small dents, but yeah, I'd play this in public. One complaint is that as the 24i receiver is too small for a typical small shank mouthpiece, the 2280 is too large for a typical large (bass bone) shank mouthpiece. I may eventually get a special shank for another DE EUPH piece, but for now I'm using 2 wraps of masking tape on a DW SM3. This horn is probably 30-40 years old, and is just an old sturdy, dependable horn.

    Wessex Festivo. 2 years old. I bought it new, and recently had a warranty repair done on it (leak in the 2nd valve compensating loop). It took several months of playing and cleaning to feel like the valves had broken in. The lacquer has worn through where my left hand grips and where my right forearm rests. The slides don't all work as well as I would like, and one of them did get stuck enough that I couldn't get it out. The valves will stick if I don't play it for a week. The valves are incredibly quiet compared to the older horns. That makes it a joy to play, and makes it feel like a higher quality instrument. Will it last like the other two? Mechanically, probably. I think the lacquer will be mostly gone before the horn tuns 10.

    Mack Brass 422 3/4 4v piston BBb tuba. This is a CHEAP TUBA (<$2000) about 1.5 years old, and gets played the least, probably once a week just to remember if I can still deal with the mouthpiece. The valves are reasonable, but a little loud. The slides are pretty miserable, either from misalignment or bad fit or corrosion. I have to say the quality of the instrument only has so much it can contribute to the sound. A good player can make real music on this horn. How long will it last? Longevity of musical instruments is mostly a function of the owner and the environment, the actual qualities of the horn to a lesser degree. A typical student in a typical band situation might destroy a horn like this in a few years. If I keep it and never take it out of the house, it might last forever. The lacquer hasn't started to come off yet, but I do use a strap with it, so I don't grip it as much as I would otherwise.

  9. #9
    I have 3 instruments older than I am, a Gunkel tenor horn (1895) a Holton Double-Bell euphonium (1935), and a King Liberty (2B) trombone from around 1940. The two newer ones have held up very well. The King had so much playing before I bought it used that not only is the silver plate worn off around the hand grip, but the brass beneath is pitted. That, I think, does not in any way indicate fragility. Just the opposite! The Holton is nearly like new mechanically, and has very little lacquer wear. The Gunkel has also held up well considering its age. The brass is bare around the hand grip area where the nickel plating wore off. The valves leak horribly, but I doubt that was due to lack of quality - at some point before I bought it from a Salvation Army thrift store ($5) it should have had a valve job.

    My other two senior horns are actually kids, relatively speaking. My Sovereign Eb tuba and my Sovereign baritone horn are both from the early 1980's and are just about perfect. The tuba could use new pads on top of the pistons - the original silicone dealies are yellowed and flatter than they started out. Neither has had full-time use, so there is no surprise.

    I have a Yamaha symphony tenor with F attachment from the early 1990's, and it is in perfect shape excerpt for a small pink spot inside the bell.
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,449
    My Miraphone 5050S Ambassador is holding up very well. No problems at all after seven or eight years.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    El Cumbanchero (Raphael Hernandes, arr. Naohiro Iwai)
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)

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