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Thread: Wessex Dolce vs. JP 274

  1. #1

    Wessex Dolce vs. JP 274

    Hello once again for the (hopefully) final time bugging you all about different euphonium brands.

    I am considering the choice between the Wessex Dolce euphonium and the JP 274. What I understand is that these are both stencil horns from China that go through some tweaking and quality control, but I've heard quite mixed opinions about both of them. I can't find either of them used on any website so I'd have to by them brand new from the respective company's website. I've also found a used Andreas Eastman EEP 426 that I am seriously considering.

    Wessex Dolce:
    I have heard many good things about this instrument, especially on this forum. To me it seems very attractive, however I have heard of issues with the build quality. Supposedly the metal is weak and will damage easily, and I've heard that the plating isn't good and will wear out quickly. Does anyone know something about this? A Wessex Dolce for me would cost around $1800 with shipping.

    Eastman 426:
    I have used and Eastman instrument before and I know that they are a quality company that manufactures and designs their own instruments, although still in China. This model seems to be geared more towards lower-level students, so I'm unsure how the quality stacks up to the JP and the Wessex. The one I've found looks to be in very good condition and has been serviced by the company that's selling it. This instrument does not feature the compensating system, but that does not matter much to me because I'm not doing anything professional, and may even be a plus because it would be lighter. The instrument I've found would cost me $1760 with shipping.

    JP 274:
    From what I know about this instrument, it is a good horn for the price. I know that the sound is more comparable to a Besson euphonium, but I'm not exactly aiming for a specific sound for an instrument, so that doesn't matter all that much to me. I've heard that the build quality of the JP is stronger than the Wessex Dolce and the instrument would last longer. I've also heard that there are a few known issues with the instrument, especially with the valves, something about one of them not being cut to the exact size? The JP 274 would cost me around $1650 + whatever shipping costs there may be (JP is based in the UK and I live in western US so this may be high).

    My point is, which instrument/brand in your opinions has a better reputation for quality and durability, and which option would be more worth the cost? Is the slight difference in price worth it to go for the cheaper option? Should I go for a compensating instrument anyway even it's just a tiny bit more expensive? As a reminder, I'm using this euphonium for nothing but my own enjoyment and playing in my college's campus band.

  2. #2
    I own the Packer, and have had a few students purchase the mack brass/wessex/jinbao version. I can tell you the 274 version is heavier and much better built. It sounds amazing and is very in tune, I don't have the typical problems with High F that the Besson is known for.

    If you can get the 274 for that price, jump on it, I thought they were over 1800 now, even when going through a dealer. Don't go by online prices you're seeing, it's always cheaper getting a price quote from a dealer. I can give you name of one if you need it.

    I played my 274 for years before just this last March upgraded to an adams E3. The adams valves are quicker and lighter, but if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have spent the extra money. The Packer is that good

  3. It sounds like of that selection, the JP would be the one to get. I've owned the Wessex Dolce and the Festivo. I prefer the Festivo for the valve arrangement. I can say that the finish on the Wessex horns doesn't hold up to use.

    Just to throw a wrench in it, why aren't you considering King instruments? If I were to do it again, I'd get a King 2280. I think the response is better, tuning options are better, and access to repair parts is better. And you can probably get one cheaper.

  4. You write you're in the Western US.
    Is there any way you can get to Illinois (Wessex) or Missouri (KC-- ACB doubler... not on your list, but perhaps an alternative?) to try a collection of horns and pick a winner?

    At bottom, on allthese Chinesium horns the quality disparity within the run, and the alleged QA/tune up performed after, really run the spectrum.
    I was burned buying sight-unseen.
    But the good news is, and this forum bears it out, that like the Girl with the Curl, if you get a good one it can be very very good.
    So if you can playtest, might solve everything.
    If you can get to ACB I'd do that in a heartbeat.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by hyperbolica View Post
    Just to throw a wrench in it, why aren't you considering King instruments? If I were to do it again, I'd get a King 2280. I think the response is better, tuning options are better, and access to repair parts is better. And you can probably get one cheaper.
    That's a very good point! The main value I see in the Chinese horns is that they brought well-playing compensating horns down to a low price. But if you truly don't care about the compensating system, the King is a great instrument and has proven tough enough to survive school use.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    I don't own or have ever tried Wessex and JP euphoniums, but I have a French Wessex C tuba and a JP sterling 373 baritone and I can say a few things about the two brands. The French Wessex tuba has a very good build quality, sturdy instrument with 0.6mm thick brass sheet, has a flawless silver plating and has so far (I've had it for 9 months) held up perfectly the usury. The valves are made of stainless steel, flow beautifully and are among the best I have ever tried, the intonation is good overall, I am very happy with the purchase. The JP 373 baritone is lacquered, purchased used (but practically new) 5o6 years ago. The sound is very nice (for a baritone), the lacquer didn't stand up to wear and came off in several places. The instrument sounded flat and it was necessary to shorten all the slides to be able to play it in tune, now it's ok. The valves are in monel and needed frequent lubrication in the first year of use, now they are fine, but if not used after a week they remain blocked. Overall, I really like the instrument and the sound that comes out of it, but it was necessary to make changes that, for a Chinese-made instrument with a not exactly low cost, would have no reason to be made.
    Last edited by franz; 07-31-2022 at 01:06 PM.
    2007 Besson Prestige 2052, 3D+ K&G mouthpiece; JP373 baritone, 4B modified K&G mouthpiece; Bach 42GO trombone, T4C K&G mouthpiece; 1973 Besson New Standard 3 compensated valves, 3D+ K&G modified mouthpiece; Wessex French C tuba, 3D+ K&G modified mouthpiece.

  7. #7
    I have a king 2280. I like it, the valves are FAST and short. As a tuba player I appreciate all 4 valves being on the right hand. It's amazingly in tune

    but... it doesn't have the tone of the besson, the Adams, or the Packer, so I dont play it all that often. Especially when I might have a solo

  8. JP 274/Dolce Continued...

    I'm in a peculiar spot now since I'm in between buying and selling euphoniums, so I have both of these models on hand. The Dolce is lighter, made of thinner material. It plays in tune well, but since I've moved to a larger mouthpiece, it seems to play flat on more notes. Nice valves. Others have said it plays more like a Yamaha, and I agree. My lacquer JP 274 also plays in tune, have very nice valves, is heavier weight and a more traditional Besson sound and feel. I like the JP 274 better. I also happen to have a (make sure you get this long name right) a Schiller Custom Class Elite IV in silver plate. This particular Schiller is basically the same as the JP 274. The only difference I see is that the mouthpiece receiver is a little different. There may be more to the differences, but this is what I see. This Schiller in silver plate is on sale right now at Jim Laabs, and the price is at least a couple hundred less than any lacquer JP 274 that I have seen recently. Most 274s are now over $2,000. So I would encourage you to look at this particular Schiller at Jim Laabs. (Please don't get it confused with the shorter named "Schiller Elite.") The silver plate is beautiful.I've also played the King 2280 in the past, and it is very nice. The short throw valves are great for quick passages. But it's not compensating.

  9. I've seen deals on Shires Q41 from time to time as low as $3200. I tried out a bunch of horns in the past. The Shires was my favorite. I sit next to guys playing various horns, all compensated. I am not a fan of the compensated sound. It sounds like the overtones are dampened. However, the Shires sounded the best of those I've tried. I have not tried or sat next to anyone playing an Adams or any of the next level in price horns. I ended up buying a King 2280. I like its sound the best and I got it for under $700.

    Regarding the JP274, the one I tried just did not sound the way I wanted. Too many notes lacked a full sound.

    If I were looking for a compensated horn, I would stretch my money to reach the Shires. It was easily many times better than the JP.

    King 1130 Flugabone
    King 2280 Euphonium
    King 10J Tuba
    Conn 22B Trumpet

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