Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Needing advice on a Euphonium upgrade

  1. Needing advice on a Euphonium upgrade

    Hi all.

    Having only started learning the euphonium in my mid 50's I am rather late to the brass party. It has proven to be an awesome way to spend time. After several years of lessons the dog no longer leaves the room as I settle in to play.

    From the beginning I've been using a previously-loved student model 3-valve Yamaha YEP-321. It has been very faithful and patient. But, eventually one starts to wonder if they'd be a better player if they had a better instrument. For the past couple of months I have had the loan of a fully compensating 4-valve Besson Standard (Thanks, Salvation Army!). I am starting to get the hang of it. The additional weight has been great for my biceps. The fourth valve still remains a bit mysterious, given that my brass teacher is actually a trumpet player. Fortunately I do know a very well-qualified euphonist(?) who is willing to fill me in this weekend (for a small fee of course).

    Although my euphonium career aspirations remain modest - possibly only going as far as playing for someone besides the dog - I do like the idea of upgrading to a fully compensating 4-valve machine. But being a Scotch Presbyterian it is hard to justify spending large amounts of money on it. It seems that used euphoniums are quite scarce up here in the wilds of Canada. I had been toying with the idea of getting a new Austin Custom Brass ACB Doubler. However, I just got a line on a 1947 B&H 4 valve Imperial, supposedly in excellent condition. Taking in to account the $CDN/US exchange rate, taxes and shipping the final cost would be about the same.

    I would be most grateful for anyone's expert thoughts/suggestions.

    Best Regards,

    Mike

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum and to the world of the euphonium!

    As for the 4th valve mystery, check out the article linked below. It is intended to explain the compensating system, but also shows why you need a 4th valve.
    http://www.dwerden.com/eu-articles-comp.cfm

    Old Bessons and B&H euphoniums and legendary and are nice horns. They have a very solid sound and are fairly easy to play. The ACB will respond a bit easier and more consistently, especially in the very low register (which may not be part of your playing for quite a while), and will have quieter valves. Bessons are all sharp on the 6th partial (if you read treble clef, they are the F on the top line, the F# and G), so you might need alternate fingerings to fix the pitch. The ACB is better there, but not quite as good an octave lower. You can see that graphically on the link below. When you get there, you can select both the ACB and the Besson Sovereign 967 (which has a similar pitch profile to the horn you are considering).
    http://www.dwerden.com/Intonation/
    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. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Welcome to the forum and to the world of the euphonium!

    As for the 4th valve mystery, check out the article linked below. It is intended to explain the compensating system, but also shows why you need a 4th valve.
    http://www.dwerden.com/eu-articles-comp.cfm

    Old Bessons and B&H euphoniums and legendary and are nice horns. They have a very solid sound and are fairly easy to play. The ACB will respond a bit easier and more consistently, especially in the very low register (which may not be part of your playing for quite a while), and will have quieter valves. Bessons are all sharp on the 6th partial (if you read treble clef, they are the F on the top line, the F# and G), so you might need alternate fingerings to fix the pitch. The ACB is better there, but not quite as good an octave lower. You can see that graphically on the link below. When you get there, you can select both the ACB and the Besson Sovereign 967 (which has a similar pitch profile to the horn you are considering).
    http://www.dwerden.com/Intonation/


    Hi Dave.

    Wow! I wasn't expecting a reply from the man at the top! Thanks so much for your quick response and welcome. I have enjoyed your forum as a guest. It is nice to become part of it.

    Those links look very interesting. I have always assumed that my own inconsistencies (not to mention my mediocre ear) would be far bigger problem than any inherent tuning issues.

    But, the underlying question remains: what are the considerations when contemplating buying a new price-point-oriented instrument like the ACB Doubler vs a quality vintage instrument like a B&H Imperial?


    Best regards,

    Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Posts
    118
    Though not directly related to your specific question, there are some gold nuggets of insight and advice in this thread.

    http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...t#.YeCO4xZOmEc

    Here is a link to fingering charts for 3- and 3+1 valve, compensating and non-compensating, bass and treble clef players.

    https://norlanbewley.com/bewleymusic...gering-charts/
    Last edited by Shinn; 01-13-2022 at 04:32 PM.
    David Shinn
    Peninsula Concert Band
    Yorktown, Virginia



    1971 Besson ‘New Standard’ 181 Euphonium (3+1 compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1962 Besson ‘New Standard’ 176 Euphonium (3-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1979 Besson 'New Standard' 168 Baritone (3-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC5S
    1927 Holton Double Bell Euphonium (5-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC5S

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,528
    Mike, if you're having trouble knowing when to use to the fourth valve – and you happen to be a former trumpet player – you might try playing "Trumpeter's Lullaby (Leroy Anderson). Just use the 4th valve anytime you see the low D (1-3). It's what I started off playing when I first got my compensator. Helped to make it second nature for me. Pretty sure you can find that music online still.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (recently sold)
    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 Hernandez, arr. Naohiro Iwai)
    Greensleeves (arr. Alfred Reed)


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MHodgins View Post
    , the underlying question remains: what are the considerations when contemplating buying a new price-point-oriented instrument like the ACB Doubler vs a quality vintage instrument like a B&H Imperial?
    That is a great question. I don't have a good answer for you, but I am in exactly this boat right now. For the last 7 years I have been playing a modern Chinese stencil (the Schiller Elite) and it served me well for what I needed, which was getting back into playing after many years off and playing in some groups.

    In December I purchased a 3-valve compensating Besson New Standard from 1976. It is such an interesting comparison to the Schiller I think because for virtually the same amount of money I can directly compare a modern Chinese stencil with a vintage instrument that carries a great reputation.

    At the end of the 2021 I was very busy at work and then had dental surgery and then had the holidays, so I have been working myself back into somewhat decent playing shape to give them an honest comparison. I have grand plans to share audio recordings with the forum comparing the two once I have a good sense of the difference. I have been struggling with how to get a decent recording with basically only a smartphone. My initial attempt was quite underwhelming, which I attribute to a bad recording setup and my disappointing chops after a December with very limited practice.

    However I can at least provide you with a few of my initial impressions. My New Standard is a noticeable smaller instrument with just three valves and also a smaller bore and smaller bell than my Schiller, which at first felt a little unsettling to me. I'm probably somewhat guilty of the bigger is better philosophy. After playing on it some I don't mind the size and actually appreciate that it is lighter to hold. I use a Comfy Euph hand strap on the Schiller but don't feel I need it with the 3-valve New Standard. My wife noted that the New Standard looks "weightier" than the Schiller and was surprised when I told her the Schiller felt much heavier. I think what she is probably getting at in terms of weightiness is the apparent build quality when looking at the New Standard. I had read they are built like tanks and I must say I was impressed at the condition in terms of relatively few dents and lacquer wear for a 45 year old instrument. I would say my 7-year old Schiller has more lacquer wear than the New Standard.

    As you may read in various places, the valves on older instruments such as the New Standards are a little loud, but I put Mead Springs on the New Standard and changed the felts and that made a huge difference.

    Intonation does seem significantly better on my New Standard in many ways than the Schiller. I have been using 1-3 and 1-2-3 for the concert C and B (talking bass clef) above the staff on my Schiller because they are so flat with standard 1 and 1-2 fingering. Playing those on the New Standard with standard 1 and 1-2 work just fine which has been nice. The D above the staff and A at the top of the staff are kind of equally flat for me on both horns. The B in the staff on my Schiller is incredibly flat with 2-4 and I have to lip it up to an uncomfortable level, whereas the B played with 1-2-3 on the New Standard is really pretty good. The 6th partial on the New Standard is sharp, but it is on the Schiller too and I honestly don't find it unmanageable. My general impression is that for the majority of notes from low F to High F, the New Standard is much easier to play in tune with itself than the Schiller.

    I wish I could give you a better comparison at this point of the sound difference between the two, because that is where a lot of the important comparisons should come from. They do sound different to my ears when I play them, but as I mentioned my audio recording was underwhelming when I tried to compare a couple excerpts. I'm sure that is more to do with my playing and the recording circumstances than the horns themselves.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MHodgins View Post
    But, the underlying question remains: what are the considerations when contemplating buying a new price-point-oriented instrument like the ACB Doubler vs a quality vintage instrument like a B&H Imperial?
    I think my answer above summarized my thoughts:
    Old Bessons and B&H euphoniums and legendary and are nice horns. They have a very solid sound and are fairly easy to play. The ACB will respond a bit easier and more consistently, especially in the very low register (which may not be part of your playing for quite a while), and will have quieter valves. Bessons are all sharp on the 6th partial (if you read treble clef, they are the F on the top line, the F# and G), so you might need alternate fingerings to fix the pitch. The ACB is better there, but not quite as good an octave lower. You can see that graphically on the link below. When you get there, you can select both the ACB and the Besson Sovereign 967 (which has a similar pitch profile to the horn you are considering).
    A horn like the ACB will feel smoother to blow and smoother mechanically (especially the valves). Here is a sampler I did with the ACB:

    https://youtu.be/82wH6EUkhVU

    ANY euphonium will require some pitch adjustments. I mentioned the common 6th-partial issue already, but of course there are other notes that are not perfect.

    If you know what ensemble(s) you will play in, consider what other euphonium players are using. If they have Bessons, then the old B&H will match better for tone and pitch. If they have more modern instruments the ACB/Wessex/Etc. may match better.

    While it is not at the right price point, an Adams could be a good horn for a less confident player. It blows easily; when I first started playing one I found many passages easier to play, even compared to my previous premium horns (Besson Sovereign, Sterling Virtuoso). And it has the best over pitch, which means you could just blow the horn and be pretty close to in tune on most notes. BUT, aside from purchase price, if you think the horn may take some abuse in close quarters or under and airplane with luggage, the old Bessons / B&H's are probably the toughest horns out there. A horn like the Adams is made deliberately without as much bracing and with lighter materials to help it resonate easily, but you are going to bump into other horns it will dent more easily. The same was true of my Sterling.
    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. Thank you everyone for your enthusiasm and helpful advice. I am sure fourth valve will be solved. As for the other….

    It is clear that the choice of instrument includes the tone and behaviour. But I also wonder about durability and maintaining value. My sense is that the classics have a proven record. Does anyone have experience with the ACB? My impression is that it is a “Chinese Stencil” upon which Austin imposes decent quality control.

    Regards,

    Mike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Posts
    118
    How’s Your Horn Holding Up? thread-

    http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...g#.YeCxhhZOmEc
    David Shinn
    Peninsula Concert Band
    Yorktown, Virginia



    1971 Besson ‘New Standard’ 181 Euphonium (3+1 compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1962 Besson ‘New Standard’ 176 Euphonium (3-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC3M
    1979 Besson 'New Standard' 168 Baritone (3-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC5S
    1927 Holton Double Bell Euphonium (5-valve compensating) ~ Alliance DC5S

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by MHodgins View Post
    But I also wonder about durability and maintaining value. My sense is that the classics have a proven record. Does anyone have experience with the ACB? My impression is that it is a “Chinese Stencil” upon which Austin imposes decent quality control.
    Starting with the last statement, yes, sort of. I think Austin has some control over certain features and specs that the factory builds to, and they of course do QC when they receive the horns. They are also there to help you later if you need parts or have an issue. On the other hand, some of the Chinese horns being sold with various stencil logos are simply a rebranded Jin Bao product.

    Resale.
    As things stand today, the Chinese horns are much better than before, partly due to companies that don't simply stencil their logo on the bell. When Wessex or ACB instruct the factory to make an improvement on the horns they order, the factory MAY decide to carry some of those to the anonymous production. As of now they are respected at their price point. Neither Wessex nor ACB claim their horns are as good as Besson/Yamaha/Miraphone/Adams/Willson/etc. But they are proud of their value for a new instrument (and should be).

    Considering that... If you pay a fair price for a used premium horn and keep it in good shape, it is not likely to depreciate much (or at all). I suspect the ACB/Wessex variety (and JP Sterling) will depreciate to around 60% of new. On the website they have the ACB on sale at $1,650. It is normally $2,250. That confuses the issue a bit, but a nice used one should be worth $1k-$1.2k. The big factor is simple. "I can buy a new one for $1,650. If a used one is close to that price, why not just buy new?"

    That is not strictly an equation of percentage. A used premium brand might hold more value because saving $2k off a $10k horn is saving $2k, which is pretty attractive even if it's only 20%.

    This is just opinion, and it is worth what you paid for it, but it's probably not totally out in left field.
    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

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •