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Thread: Buying advice: first second-hand euphonium

  1. #1

    Buying advice: first second-hand euphonium

    Hello,

    I am buying my first euphonium to learn to play on. I only have a small budget and am looking at second-hand instruments.

    I found a Boosey & Co London Class A euphonium. The serial number is something like 71916 (a bit hard to see in the picture). Would you say it is advisable to go for such an old instrument, or is it better to look for something newer?

    I wouldn't mind changing to something more expensive once I get the hang of it. But as I am still learning, I am thinking to buy a cheaper second-hand one (I also like the look and feel of a beautifully engraved, old instrument). On the other hand, I wouldn't want to make learning to play the instrument harder than it already is.

    These are some pictures of the euphonium I am looking at:

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    Any advice?

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Posts
    121
    The older Boosey & Hawkes euphoniums have a great reputation. Based upon the serial number, the horn you are looking at is from 1906 -

    http://www.dwerden.com/Special/bandh_handlists_web.pdf
    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

  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum!

    I would advise staying away from that lovely old horn, which was made somewhere around 1909. There are questions about whether it is made to play at A440 for starters. And it is always possible for a very old horn to have leaks around the pistons (from wear) that would greatly affect how it plays. If you have an experienced euphonium player test the horn for you before purchase, then it could be a good instrument if the price is right.

    A safer bet is to buy a horn made to today's standards, like the Austin Custom Brass (ACB) Doubler or the Wessex Dolce. Both have been reviewed well and are at reasonable prices. They are made to be tuned to A440 and would have smooth response.
    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
    Thank you both for your quick response! I decided to let this one go.

    Instead, I went for a 1920s Hawkes & Son (as I'm based in the UK, Hawkes and Boosey seem to be the more available second-hand/vintage brands) from a trusted, experienced brass instrument seller. He assured me it is converted to modern tuning and doesn't leak around the pistons.

    I look forward to learning to play and am happy to be on the forum!
    Last edited by daphne; 01-20-2022 at 12:03 PM.

  5. #5
    It's nice to have some help from a trusted player, and it seems you came to a good solution.

    Now all you have to do is practice (and take lessons if possible)!

    We don't usually see questions like this resolve so quickly - must be the time zone you're in
    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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