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Thread: New Euphoniums on Trial - Gold Prestige, Silver Prestige and Geneva GVL

  1. #1

    New Euphoniums on Trial - Gold Prestige, Silver Prestige and Geneva GVL

    Hi Everyone

    New to the forum, so please be gentle!

    By way of background: in my late teens, early twenties I sat in number two seats at Norwich Citadel and then Coventry City bands. Since then have played baritone, then back to euphonium, then Bandmaster (so not really playing at all), then a bit more euphonium. For the past three years, I've been on Eb Bass. Just back on to euphonium in the past couple of months. I have a Besson custom made euph that I bought from my brother in law, so no idea of model, etc!

    I am in the market for a new euphonium and am currently trialling the gold Besson Prestige 2052-8G, silver Besson prestige 2052-2 and Geneva Cardinal GVL models. I am also looking for a new mouthpiece having played on a DW 0AL for over 30 years!

    First impressions:

    Gold Besson Prestige is a beautiful instrument. It certainly sounds the most resonant (due to the floating lead pipe, I guess) with a slightly "understated" tone compared to the silver Prestige (perhaps due to the gold lacquer?). It does seem more of a blow than the other two.

    Silver Besson Prestige has a more defined tone than the Gold, but I'm finding it more difficult to pitch on this instrument (possibly only due to changing the instruments and mouthpieces so often in one session). I did manage a clean version of the beginning of The Call of the Righteous towards the end of my lunchtime session!

    Geneva Cardinal GVL seems the easiest to play. It is much easier to centre the sound of each note and have not so many of them fall over. But I do worry that it sounds more like a souped up Baritone than the Besson sound I am used to.

    Tuning on the Gold Besson was terrible, but almost spot on on the Geneva (I've just realised I don't think I tested the Silver for that).

    Mouthpiece-wise, I don't seem to be able to get away from the DW SM3U from a variety of DW classics, Alliance DCs and an SM3UX and SM4UXR.

    Would welcome any feedback and advice!

    Kind regards.

    Rob

  2. #2
    Hi Rob,

    Itís hard to make a decision on an instrument for someone else but from what youíve said above it would appear that the Geneva was the better of the 3 you tested. Sound is sometimes hard to gauge when you are behind the instrument. Can you get someone else to play them and you listen and see how the Geneva sounds to the listener compared to the Bessons.

    Regarding mouthpiece, a 0 size is very big and if thatís what youíve been used to in the past I would try and stay towards the larger size mouthpiece. I play on a SM3 Ultra but you could also try a SM2 Ultra and see what you think. I think a 4 would be a bit small for you from what you have previously been used to.

    I would try and find a mouthpiece you are happy with first and then look for an instrument as lots of swapping about might be confusing things.

    Good luck with your testing.
    Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick SM3 Ultra mouthpiece.

  3. #3
    I have no experience with any of those three horns but I enjoyed reading your thoughts, so thanks for sharing. I think it is really interesting to hear about the compromises that one has to choose between the sound/tone that you are after versus the intonation/ease/playability. I guess it is very hard to have it all!

    I did play for a few years on an SM3U and really liked it, so if that is the one you prefer I say go for it! I ended up switching to a 3AL after a few friends unanimously preferred my sound on the 3AL over the SM3U in a blind test. Although I did prefer the feel of the SM3U over the 3AL. Specifically I felt like my flexibility and lip slurs were more secure with the SM3U. Worth noting that I don't play a SM3U or 3AL at the moment, so whichever you end up choosing it may not be the one you're playing 5 years from now, haha.

  4. #4
    Thank you - great advice! I think you might be right on which instrument is the "right" one, but only had 24 hours with them, so will see what happens over the next few days. It might just be that the Geneva is closest to the instrument I have now. I have a euphonium friend (ex-ISB) coming over on Saturday, so will definitely listen to what he gets out of them.

    I did wonder about the SM2U, but the SM3U has taught me just how much air the 0AL needed! The SM3U is a little easier but not too small to give me much of a problem. As you say, the 0 is very big - my teacher (back in my teens) recommended it as "like playing into a bucket!"

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DEF1 View Post
    Hi Rob,

    It’s hard to make a decision on an instrument for someone else but from what you’ve said above it would appear that the Geneva was the better of the 3 you tested. Sound is sometimes hard to gauge when you are behind the instrument. Can you get someone else to play them and you listen and see how the Geneva sounds to the listener compared to the Bessons.

    Regarding mouthpiece, a 0 size is very big and if that’s what you’ve been used to in the past I would try and stay towards the larger size mouthpiece. I play on a SM3 Ultra but you could also try a SM2 Ultra and see what you think. I think a 4 would be a bit small for you from what you have previously been used to.

    I would try and find a mouthpiece you are happy with first and then look for an instrument as lots of swapping about might be confusing things.

    Good luck with your testing.
    Thank you - great advice! I think you might be right on which instrument is the "right" one, but only had 24 hours with them, so will see what happens over the next few days. It might just be that the Geneva is closest to the instrument I have now. I have a euphonium friend (ex-ISB) coming over on Saturday, so will definitely listen to what he gets out of them.

    I did wonder about the SM2U, but the SM3U has taught me just how much air the 0AL needed! The SM3U is a little easier but not too small to give me much of a problem. As you say, the 0 is very big - my teacher (back in my teens) recommended it as "like playing into a bucket!"

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by aroberts781 View Post
    I have no experience with any of those three horns but I enjoyed reading your thoughts, so thanks for sharing. I think it is really interesting to hear about the compromises that one has to choose between the sound/tone that you are after versus the intonation/ease/playability. I guess it is very hard to have it all!

    I did play for a few years on an SM3U and really liked it, so if that is the one you prefer I say go for it! I ended up switching to a 3AL after a few friends unanimously preferred my sound on the 3AL over the SM3U in a blind test. Although I did prefer the feel of the SM3U over the 3AL. Specifically I felt like my flexibility and lip slurs were more secure with the SM3U. Worth noting that I don't play a SM3U or 3AL at the moment, so whichever you end up choosing it may not be the one you're playing 5 years from now, haha.

    Haha! Yes - I think the reason I've stuck with 0AL for so long is that I recognised changing mouthpiece might become an expensive business!! Interesting thoughts on the 3AL - I have one of those in the box to try, so might test it further against the SM3U.

    I guess if anyone ever produces an instrument that has it all it will be a fly away best seller!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    We donít know the bore of your custom Besson but the Prestige like most modern euphs has a large bore and bell. They may take more than a day to develop a comfort level. Also, they need the trigger to compensate for their intonation quirks.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    We don’t know the bore of your custom Besson but the Prestige like most modern euphs has a large bore and bell. They may take more than a day to develop a comfort level. Also, they need the trigger to compensate for their intonation quirks.
    Thanks Michael. I'm sure you're right about developing a comfort level - I am getting better with the Prestige's. I guess the Geneva is easier because as a dual bore, the bore going into the valves is smaller. Having blown them all, I would think that my Besson is a smaller bore than the Prestige's, certainly.

    Never had a trigger before - so getting used to using it! I imagine these Prestige's are no different intonation-wise than other Bessons, I was just surprised at how much more accurate the Geneva seemed to be in comparison.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Farmington Hills, MI
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    326
    Quote Originally Posted by RobWP View Post
    Thanks Michael. I'm sure you're right about developing a comfort level - I am getting better with the Prestige's. I guess the Geneva is easier because as a dual bore, the bore going into the valves is smaller. Having blown them all, I would think that my Besson is a smaller bore than the Prestige's, certainly.

    Never had a trigger before - so getting used to using it! I imagine these Prestige's are no different intonation-wise than other Bessons, I was just surprised at how much more accurate the Geneva seemed to be in comparison.
    Besson intonation issues continue generation after generation. I struggle to understand why they don't do something about the consistently sharp 6th partial. Perhaps they experimented with a modification and it changed the legendary Besson tone quality. Just a theory. But of course many of the greatest players in the world play the Prestige or Sovereign and they are not all brand ambassadors. The trigger would certainly help. Personally when I considered a new horn, the consistent intonation of the Adams E3 won me over. I chose not to get the optional trigger and other than the sharp middle G concert, I'd never use the trigger. I can't speak to the Geneva but if you like the accuracy and the tone quality, it sounds like a great choice.

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