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Thread: Starting again; I have one of three euphoniums to choose.

  1. Starting again; I have one of three euphoniums to choose.

    Hey, May I borrow some experience and wisdom. My wife and I are presently on vacation in England. In the area we are visiting, there are three euphoniums in my price range.

    1. A York Eminence 4052, in good used condition (one small ding and a little brass showing through where the right hand rests). $3474.75.
    2. A new John Packer 374 with a Tuning trigger with silver plate, $2940.93.
    3. A new John Parker 374 with a tuning trigger and lacquer finish, $2460.

    I haven’t played in decades and so I have no lip, so test playing would give an unreliable assessment. My present priorities are first tone, I could be frustrated striving to improve limitations that are actually the instruments. Then intonation, I’ll be paying duets with a friend who is an accomplished tuba player. Thus, I have preferred triggered euphoniums. Even low brass out of tune can be as deadly as two piccolos. I have sung classically and music theater for years, yet with age, my voice is beginning to leave me. Returning to my first love, euphonium, will allow me to still ‘sing’.

    All opinions are welcome,
    Thanks,
    Richard

  2. I'd go for the Eminence. Nice euphonium with a good trigger mechanism.
    Euphonium: Adams E3 Custom Series (SS Bell)
    Trombone: Benge 175F


  3. #3
    The Eminence was (is!) sporadically a good instrument. If you get a good one they’re great, if not then poorly made mediocrity beckons.

    The lead pipe is also a position that some players - me included - found uncomfortable. My head ended up touching the bell rim.

    Valve guides wear very quickly and the replacements were not always exactly the right size. Modern Besson guides won’t fit.

    Having said that, if your preference (pardon the pun) is for a British sound, a York in either Preference or the higher range Eminence guise was a decent shout, again depending on whether the instrument was good one. They aren’t as shoddily built as the last of the British Bessons but did suffer from inconsistent quality.

    (Disclaimer - I used to sell York instruments)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    52
    I own Besson & Sterling, and love the British euph sound, so I'd be biased toward the York. I've never played one, but iirc, David Childs played York before they bellied-up.
    Wear on that York sample would seem to indicate that it saw decent playing time - i.e. probably not a bad instrument if someone liked it well enough to play it that much.
    Also, rumor is that the locals would play-test and purchase the best of the lot, and the rest would get shipped overseas, so perhaps a better chance that it's on the "good" side of the grade.
    If in doubt, get a recommendation for a decent local, and buy him/her lunch in exchange for a play-check.
    I've had a couple euphs for which I couldn't buy ready-to-go valve guides, but I found best-fit and shaved them to size. Worked out fine. For my tuba, I bought nylon screws and shaped the heads into guides. Made some spares while I was about it, but I'm still on the first set many years later.
    Last edited by tokuno; 05-10-2022 at 02:14 PM.

  5. #5
    I'd lean toward the York, assuming it is a good sample. I've always liked the British sound. (My Adams gives me something like that...for a lot more money than this York.)

    Also, assuming you don't mind using a trigger, the intonation of the Bessons and I assume the Yorks is really pretty good except for the 6th partial. Because it is sharp, the trigger can fix it. But the rest of the range is very close. Check out this page:

    http://www.dwerden.com/Intonation/

    The Sovereign 967 tested here was around that York's vintage and very similar in design. Compare it to the JP Sterling and you'll see that the JP has a lot more to deal with for intonation, and its flat notes are not fixed by a trigger.

    The JP and most new horns have a better response through the 4th valve range, if that is important to you. It kinda is to me because that was always hard for me to deal with on my Bessons.
    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

  6. Wow, I appreciate the response and suggestions. A darker sound does warm my insides. The playing wear may up the probability the horn wasn’t still born and left entombed in its case. If it wasn’t well manufactured, besides making my forehead bleed, what would I be looking for, bad welds, wiggly leaky valves or would I hear the difference? I’ve buzzed an old mouth piece for a couple of weeks, but I it will take time before what I hear in my head will come out of any horn. If making a purchase works out, I will have ‘over night shipping’ for $100 as additional luggage on our flight home.

    Thanks for all the feedback,
    Richard

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by richardh View Post
    Wow, I appreciate the response and suggestions. A darker sound does warm my insides. The playing wear may up the probability the horn wasn’t still born and left entombed in its case. If it wasn’t well manufactured, besides making my forehead bleed, what would I be looking for, bad welds, wiggly leaky valves or would I hear the difference? I’ve buzzed an old mouth piece for a couple of weeks, but I it will take time before what I hear in my head will come out of any horn. If making a purchase works out, I will have ‘over night shipping’ for $100 as additional luggage on our flight home.

    Thanks for all the feedback,
    Richard
    Generally, the shoddy ones had exaggerated lacquer and silver wear, valves that aren’t aligned properly (although this is easily corrected), poor welds, bell wire issues, water key mountings breaking off, slides not correctly aligned. None are terrible by themselves, and less of an issue on a used trumpet that a new one, but they often manifested themselves simultaneously for the unlucky punter.

    One thing that is pretty much universal is the black nickel lacquer comes off the buttons and valve caps with insouciant ease.

    Lest this sound too perilous York hooters blow very well - but their cases suffer from the same general flimsiness that Besson do, unless it is an Eminence supplied in mismatched Preference case which is a much better case.
    Adams E2 0.80 Yellow Brass, Satin Lacquer, Blue Abalone Buttons
    AR Resonance M Top / L Backbore Gold Plated Phosphor Bronze

  8. I took the plunge and bought the York. I was wrong about my lips. They lasted only two minutes instead of five.��Yet, they made a much better sound than I had dreaded��. The York appeared in good shape, without any apparent manufacturing flaws, just a little finish wear. I purchased a K and G mouthpiece (3c). The mouthpiece is the only part of my purchase I am questioning. I’m guessing it may have too deep of a cup. I can blast a three below middle-c b flat, using no valves, yet I have difficulty holding onto the b flat just below middle c. I have to play it pretty gently. Mouthpiece’s are probably individualist, but I was wondering if someone could recommend a better fit to start.
    Thanks,
    Richad

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Varese,Italy
    Posts
    256
    Probably the choice of the mouthpiece is not the happiest: size 3 has a very large cup diameter that requires a very developed lip musculature and therefore not suitable for a beginner or a subject who resumes playing after a long pause, moreover the K&G 3C is not a euphonium mouthpiece (all K&G euphonium mouthpieces have the letter D)
    Besson Prestige 2052, 3D+ K&G mouthpiece; JP373 baritone,4B modified K&G mouthpiece; Bach 42GO trombone, T4C K&G mouthpiece; Besson New Standard 3 compensated valves 1974, 3D+ K&G modified mouthpiece; Wessex French C tuba 3D+ K&G modified mouthpiece.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Summerfield, Florida
    Posts
    1,610
    Maybe try a Wick 4AL.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

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