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Thread: JP274 vs King 2280

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Blake View Post
    Thank you for your reply, the Sifonico seems like a great horn, I won't be able to attend the MidWest clinic to try it however so I can't really say, do you think this horn would outperform the 2280?

    I'd opine that it depends upon what you mean by "outperform".
    I turned down a musical scholarship out of high school (back then the Yamaha 321 was what everyone played in state honor band), and I played the 321 until "moving up" to a spankin' new Besson Sovereign 967 right out of high school (and also had experience on the King 2280), but university rigor (engineering/architecture studies) meant that I played (very) casually in college - marching band and (undemanding) Spring Symphonic Band - then hung it up for twenty years - career, marriage, mortgage, kids.
    Coming back was frustrating - my brain expected results that wouldn't happen - and the big, compensating horn played like a truck due to my layoff. I sold it and picked up a Yamaha 321s, because it is a nimble, flexible, forgiving horn. I.e. for me in that circumstance, it WAY outperformed the compensating horn, and gave me the "pick up and play" capability that my limited practice availability demanded. The Besson would've required far more dedication & time than I had available to bring me the same playing comfort that the 321 provided with far less effort.
    What did I give up by playing the 321? Timbre - I loved the Sovereign's sound. Volume - the small-shank 321 has a lower volume ceiling (less of an issue of course with the 2280). Compensation - but none of the community band literature dropped far enough below the staff to matter. Prestige? - nah - no one outside the euphonium section knows or cares whether someone's playing a "professional, expensive, compensating" horn, and everyone in the section stops caring about cosmetics as soon as the playing starts. 4-across vs. 3+1 - a little time to re-familiarize renders that moot, and, frankly, 4-across is handier for page-flipping without interruption. Intonation - every horn has its quirks, and the 321 is workable.
    On the "bennies" side, used 321s are cheap, reliable, very consistent as long as the valves are good & the tubing's relatively clean, fully-depreciated, easy to flip when you're ready to move on, light-weight, and sufficient to most any casual need.
    The 2280 is a little less common in my area, and probably a bit harder to flip, but imo is a better-sounding horn than the 321. For my purposes, though, those two are 6-of-1, 1/2-dozen-of-the-other options.
    I always considered the 321 to be a short-term "re-entry", so I bought used and after playing myself back into shape and wanting a different experience, flipped it at no loss, then flipped a bunch of compensators in search of my ideal sound and playing experience.

    This all to advise: you're familiar with the 2280 - if you can find one on the used market, it's a known-quantity, more-than-enough horn to keep you playing affordably, and if you eventually find it's insufficient to your needs, you can embark upon a horn safari all while still having the way-more-than-just-adequate King to keep playing on while you test-drive other horns.
    If you can't find a 2280 inexpensively, throw a stick: there's a bazillion used Yamaha YEP 321 & 321s on the market, and with a bit of effort, you'll find an inexpensive one in decent playing shape.
    Spend the savings on Arbans, Gillis, Rochut, Kopprasch, et al., and a decent tuner/metronome app (I like Total Energy Tuner), and practice & play the heck out of the horn!
    Also, google the rule of 72, and invest into target retirement funds what you would've spent on a more expensive horn. You'll thank me in 45 years.
    Last edited by tokuno; 12-05-2021 at 01:57 PM.

  2. #12
    I’m in the same thought mode as tokuno. I’m now alternating between two nice horns, one a Willson 2704 and the other a heavily revised Wessex Festivo that I bought 2nd hand.


    Although it has taken me two years to do it, I now have two really functional horns to alternate between and my out-of-pocket has been pretty reasonable. I’ve also had excellent instruction, experience in the top level training materials previously mentioned, and both ensemble experience and training on one of the well known concertos.

    For me, the hand position of the King was not workable BUT the 4 across of the Willson is just about perfect. SO, individual differences between brands and models can be significant.

    Your excitement is contagious, but temper it with a few experiences. My local music store was very cooperative with allowing me to try instruments before my successful choices emerged.

  3. You've asked a very subjective question. It hits on a lot of trigger topics for euph players and the answer depends a lot on a number of things - how you feel about compensating systems, low notes, intonation, if American made is important to you, Ergonomics...

    I'm a trombone player, but I have 3 euphoniums. Wessex Festivo, Conn 24i, and King 2280. I like the 2280 for a number of reasons.

    1) A compensating system doesn't really do anything for you until you start playing below the staff.
    2) The 2280 has a more lively sound than its compensating competitors.
    3) 2280 has tuning options due to the trigger and the very long 4th valve slide
    4) its American made
    5) it has been around forever and is currently in production, so there are a lot of spare parts available
    6) since it has been around a long time, you can probably get one used and cheap or brand new if you wish
    7) the 4th valve on the far side of the instrument is an ergonomic nightmare for people with shoulder problems, so 4 valves in a row is better. Better yet would be 4 valves in front, like the Wessex Festivo.

    On the down side,
    1) I prefer the Wessex Festivo from an ergonomic point of view, but being in high school, you probably don't care about that
    2) There are a lot of people who are prejudiced against the 2280 because of 1) 2) and 4) above.

    2280 is kind of polarizing, but I prefer the way it sounds and responds. It's a little lighter, and to me resonates better. You can feel it when you play. There's a better quality to the sound - slightly "less dark" and overall more lively than the compensated Asian imports.

    If you really want an opinion on this horn, read this article from Steve Ferguson of Horn Guys
    Yes, he's trying to sell them, but he sells other stuff as well. Steve is a real musician and very knowledgeable about stuff. He points out different ways you can use the 4th valve tuning options to set up the horn for how you use the low register, and how you like to tune notes below the staff.

    I used to have a Wessex Dolce, which is very similar to the JP horn you mention. It was ok, but not remarkable in any way. I like the Festivo mainly because it is comfortable to hold. If I could get a 2280 with front valves like the Festivo, that would be a perfect euph to me. That's kind of what the 24i is, but that is a smaller bore and bell front, and other triggers that euph purists tend to pooh-pooh.

    Since you're already comfortable with the 2280, that's probably a great pick. The only advantage of the JP is the compensating system, and frankly, compensating systems are overrated. It only engages when you use the 4th valve, and it only compensates for the 4th valve, it doesn't compensate for combinations of the first 3 valves. As a trombone player, the mechanism on the 2280 is a more reliable tuning option than a compensating system. Tuning on euphonium is often a compromise between tuning and centered sound quality, unless you use a slide. There is no such thing as push-button tuning.

  4. #14
    We all know what opinions are akin to, so I'll throw mine in here.

    I grew up on a 2280. It was my "first" horn and the one I played on through high school until I got my first compensating horn (a Willson 2950). Even though I've never *owned* a 321, I now prefer the Yamaha 321 over the King 2280 for a few reasons:

    1) Ubiquity. There may be no euphonium more common than the Yamaha 321. This is beneficial for a few reasons: Parts/repair are EXTREMELY easy to handle through pretty much any shop/dealer. It also means you're more likely to find a used one at a good price.

    2) Consistency. Something Yamaha is really known for is producing a very consistent product from instrument to instrument, which makes buying before trying a lot safer bet. Yes, the King is "American made," but in all honesty the instruments I'm seeing come out of the Conn-Selmer factory are concerningly inconsistent - and that includes high-end pro instruments. I'm talking basic QC issues right out of the box (won't go into heavy detail here though). If you buy a used one that someone can vouch for, it's not as big of an issue, but I'd be careful if you're wanting to purchase new.

    3)Ergonomics. The 2280 has all four valves on the same horizontal plane, whereas the 321's 4th valve is a bit more "offset," which I find more comfortable for the pinky. I also prefer the 4th valve slide wrap on the 321. The way the 2280's slide juts out on the side has always made me nervous.

    Again, IN MY OPINION, you can't really beat the Yamaha 321 if you're shopping for a great quality non-compensating euphonium. It's pretty commonly the choice of pro doublers as well as jazz players. You can certainly achieve that brighter sound you want with it.

    As you can tell from this thread, there are a ton of great options, and I think you'd be satisfied with most of the recommendations people here are giving you!

  5. Quote Originally Posted by ann reid View Post
    I’m in the same thought mode as tokuno. I’m now alternating between two nice horns, one a Willson 2704 and the other a heavily revised Wessex Festivo that I bought 2nd hand.



    Couldn't agree more. Lots of people on this forum like the Wessex. The one I got sight unseen was an absolute dog.

  6. #16
    I own both. they both play remarkably well in tune, and I love both of them

    Pro for the 2280
    1. quick, light, short action valves
    2. Lighter, taller horn

    Pro for the 274
    Amazing tone
    better in tune than the besson it copies
    great build quality
    a new one is significantly cheaper than the 2280
    Standard large shank (the king is slightly larger than normal, and you cant use every mouthpiece with it)

    I liked my 2280 so much that I added a 5th valve to it, but now, every time I play it, I wish it had the singing quality of the 274

    I had an opportunity to upgrade to the Adams last year. went back and forth for a long time with the adams E1 and the Packer. In the end, I decided there just wasn't enough of a difference to pay $6000 for just to get a horn that was just slightly better

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