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Thread: Question to the long-time Wessex owners

  1. Question to the long-time Wessex owners

    For all of you playing any Wessex horn for a bit longer:
    In 2015 I bought my Bb ophicleide in raw brass, in 2018 the french c tuba in silver plated. I played them both for a lot of hours and they saw some gigs before C...d. They had both minor tweaks which I could sort out myself in the first days, of the sort I didn't bother for this price.
    Last December when preparing my Christmas french tuba quartet for the video I found the some notes a bit strange. On the recording day it felt so bad, especially the lower Dbs (on 46 and 56) that I rinsed the horn and found open soldering joints on the bow of valve 4 and 6 and a pinhole in bow 5.
    For the recording duck tape was the rescue (meanwhile my repair guy did a good job!).
    In January I looked at the ophicleide while the sun shone on her through the window... and saw the soldering of one of the big braces coming apart.
    And some weeks ago I bought a 2015 Wessex Saxhorn (copy of the Courtois 366, they had it until 2016) from a former student. When I tried it it sounded like a leaky water key. When I cleaned and rinsed it some days later the complete leadpipe/tuning slide assembly fell of, all solderings had disintegrated.
    Do you have some similar experiences or do I have some black magic in my studio? All other horns are OK, the longest owned is my Courtois trombone (for 39 years) without soldering problems.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Oof! You may have just gotten me to swear off Wessex horns!
    John Packer 374LT
    John Packer 274L

    Larry Herzog Jr.
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  3. Yeah, I got a Festivo, (my 6th wessex - Dolce, Bombino Eb tuba, Urbie trombone, prototype trombone, super tenor trombone), and immediately I knew there was a problem with any compensated combination with the 2nd valve, but I couldn't pin it down. Eventually I found a leak on the short tube in the compensating system between 1st and 2nd valve that wasn't soldered properly and leaked substantially. Local shop fixed it, and Wessex paid for it. They did the right thing, but it took a lot of effort on my part.

    All my other wessex horns have been good, except that the urbie trombone was missing a collar around the open end of the hand slide. I had bought that horn used, so they wanted me to pay $25 for this tiny trim ring that was left off the horn from the factory. The super tenor was marginal, but it had been treated roughly by a student before I got it.

    I have to say they have been pretty nice horns for the price. I bought 4 new and 2 used.

    I'm currently looking for a used Bubbie 5 if anyone is tired of theirs...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    The Netherlands
    I do own a 2017 Festivo, but I haven't played it for a while, since Covid. Lately, many of these negative stories about Wessex quality come up on the internet, but I wonder if they are mostly for older built instruments or also for the more recent ones? As I understood, Wessex prides itself for having very good and thorough quality checks.
    Recenlty I was looking to buy a new budget French Horn and the Wessex was one of my options, but I could find only one positive review and many negative...I ended up buying a John Packer from my local repair shop; seemed the safer option to me in case of trouble.

  5. To me, that's the biggest problem with Wessex - no local warrantee shop, unless you consider Chicago local. If you have to send something back, that's an expense. At least JP has local(ish) shops. Generally you're better off buying something used, but Wessex does tend to make some of those odd things you can't buy new or used anywhere, like Bubbie and the Festivo.

    My festivo was purchased in 2019, and I think got shipped directly to us from uk because they didn't have stock here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    I did have a couple of loose solder joints on my Wessex Champion within the first year of use. I think this is pretty much a "feature" of a lot of Chinese manufacturing and "quality control." I also had an issue with the threading of a valve/valve-cap. Again, I see these as broad Chinese fabrication and Chinese quality control issues. I fixed all the issues myself (resoldering joints, etc.). I've seen comparable quality issues (such as quality of brass and valve/cap threading on other non-Wessex Chinese horns I have. Recently, I've bought some mid-level (in terms of quality/cost) Chinese optics, and the quality there seems to be very good. There's an evolutionary process going on here -- similar, I think, to that of Japanese quality after WWII.

    I have been told -- by a very well known and competent tuba tech and rebuilder -- that such issues are not confined to Chinese instruments but are a consequence of machine-soldering techniques being broadly used today in brass instrument construction. For "unusual" instruments (i.e., relatively low sales volume), I wouldn't be surprised if the incidence of such problems is higher.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (PT-63)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kellyberg
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    My little Maly has excellent build quality, no problems.
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original
    2019 Wessex Tornister

  8. Hello Highpitch

    I also have a Maly silver, which I bought just at the beginning of the pandemic. I've played it just an hour, it's like new and, since I'm not playing it, would like to sell it. Any ideas?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJimmy View Post
    I also have a Maly silver, which I bought just at the beginning of the pandemic. I've played it just an hour, it's like new and, since I'm not playing it, would like to sell it. Any ideas?
    There is a for sale forum here, no?

  10. There is. I've tried it before with no luck, so I thought I was asking for advice, not trying to sell it.


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