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Thread: Question to the long-time Wessex owners

  1. I’m not actually a long time Wessex euphonium owner but a new owner who is regretting my purchase already. I have just had a new EP-100 Dulce delivered. The water keys are horrible. My assumption was an error had been made in the assembly of the horn and the wrong keys had been installed. However, after contacting Wessex-Tubas I was informed by Steve Dixon that they had been designed that way. I’m gobsmacked.

    The face of the cork on the water keys is way off being parallel with the face of the holes. Consequently, the seal created by the cork is poor.

    The second issue is that the spring which closes the water key bears directly on the tube of the instrument rather than on the bracket on which the key is mounted (as is usually the way). The spring moves a small amount as the key is operated resulting in the lacquer gradually being rubbed away (I bought the gold brass bell version).

    There are workarounds for both of these issues but I shouldn’t have to do these to overcome this poor design (which according to Wessex is intentional) in a brand new instrument. Very poor.

    I have buyer’s remorse, I should have stuck to an established reputable brand. I could return it but that would cost me $1100 in freight costs ($550 each way, UK to Australia).
    Last edited by Berthos; 11-02-2022 at 06:02 AM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berthos View Post
    I could return it but that would cost me $1100 in freight costs ($550 each way, UK to Australia).
    Wow. That’s a significant expense (for the shipping). Now I am curious to go look at my Schiller to examine the water keys. (I don’t recall ever having issues with them.)

    Aside from the water keys (which it sounds like you have some potential solutions for), how are you liking the horn? Playability, intonation, sound, projection??
    Euphoniums
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  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Berthos View Post
    ...The face of the cork on the water keys is way off being parallel with the face of the holes. Consequently, the seal created by the cork is poor....

    The second issue is that the spring which closes the water key bears directly on the tube of the instrument rather than on the bracket on which the key is mounted (as is usually the way). The spring moves a small amount as the key is operated resulting in the lacquer gradually being rubbed away (I bought the gold brass bell version).
    I think that's probably an inexpensive fix. It looks like they're the same on Mack Brass (I am looking at pictures and don't really remember). In Wessex photos they've often added little black rubber caps to the back of the water keys, probably to stop scratching. Does yours have that? I think the keys could probably be realigned, either on your own or asking a repair tech to remove and straighten then. There probably is some variety of springs available. In the trumpet world, people also sometimes sub in saturn keys.

    The shipping is really tough for Australia. Australia's a case where it might be cheaper to ship directly from China. I think that's part of the background for these discussions is that Wessex or Mack Brass are useful if they can help you troubleshoot problems, but for many of us living in other countries it's probably better to just find a good repair tech.

  4. I’m not really qualified to give a view on other aspects of the euphonium, sorry. Firstly, it only arrived today. Secondly, this is my first foray into brass, I’m a woodwind player usually, alto and tenor sax and previously flute and bassoon. All I can say is that other than the issues mentioned nothing else is obviously wrong with it, but time will tell.

    Even though I haven’t played brass before I’ve played in a lot of bands and orchestras and I know what a well designed water key looks like and how springs should work on instruments. Some of my best friends play brass.

    Yes, that shipping is scary.

  5. Thank you for the suggestion re alternate springs, I’ll look into that. I thought I might put clear plastic film under the spring but your suggestion is better.

    There are plastic covers over the ends of the keys.

    I think thicker corks might improve the alignment issue. I have ordered some on eBay.

  6. #26
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    May 2011
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    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
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    Does air leak from the water keys currently? Or is it more a matter of the alignment not being optimal?

    can you take some pics? (I’d like to compare to my stencil horn.)
    Last edited by iMav; 11-02-2022 at 09:12 AM.
    Euphoniums
    John Packer 374LT
    John Packer 274L

    Larry Herzog Jr.
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  7. #27
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    Jan 2019
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    In my case the euphonium has been seen by three highly reputable and well thought of repair techs, two with years of experience and one younger and very well trained.

    Their attempts cost me over $700 dollars, because I liked the horn and wanted to give it a “fair” shot.

    Having had the first valve “fixed” three times, I do have a sense of what may be happening that makes it difficult to fix it, and I think I really have been fair about doing all I could do to have a playable dependable instrument. If I’m right about what I “think” may be happening, it would possibly be impossible to permanently repair it.

    I can’t put any more money into it, and if I donated it, I’d have to explain to a recipient about its history.

    Also a “reformed” woodwind specialist, I have no issues with troubleshooting and fixing, but I figure if the experts haven’t been able to fix it, I’m not going to be able to either.

    I think it’s wonderful that so many people have excellent luck with entry level horns by the way.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ann reid View Post
    In my case the euphonium has been seen by three highly reputable and well thought of repair techs, two with years of experience and one younger and very well trained.

    Their attempts cost me over $700 dollars, because I liked the horn and wanted to give it a “fair” shot.
    For my (and others') edification, can you elaborate on what you believe the issue is with the 1st valve?
    Euphoniums
    John Packer 374LT
    John Packer 274L

    Larry Herzog Jr.
    Twitter: iMav
    Facebook: iMav
    Email: me@imav.org
    Founder of geekhack.org

    Linktree: iMav


    All things EUPHONIUM! Guilded server

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Varese,Italy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berthos View Post

    The face of the cork on the water keys is way off being parallel with the face of the holes. Consequently, the seal created by the cork is poor.
    I have a Wessex French C tuba and actually the water keys on slides 1 and 3 are badly designed (the one on the main slide is OK). To remedy the problem it is sufficient to shape the cork stopper (from the part inserted in the key in order to restore the parallelism). There are rubber grommets on the keys, but the one on the third slide was lost, probably after I stretched it to get a two step lower instead of the conventional one and a half.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by franz; 11-03-2022 at 06:05 AM.
    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. #30
    I've owned a Dolce just over a year now, and haven't really had any problems with it other than I bought the silver plated with gold trim version, and it seems the gold trim is an extremely thin layer of gold with gold lacquer over it, because the lacquer recently began flaking off the finger buttons and valve caps revealing a lighter gold surface that polished off
    to silver after I polished my horn a few times. Admittedly I didn't really notice the lacquer peeling until I noticed that I had polished the gold off in a few spots. The valve caps are also somewhat difficult to get the threads started but that's just a minor nuisance. I haven't noticed any issues with the water keys, but the corks are well-crushed into the ports, so they make a good seal.

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