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Thread: Euphonium Field Trip!

  1. #1

    Euphonium Field Trip!

    I just visited the new Schmitt Music store, which is greatly expanded. The last time I visited their old store, they had 3 or 4 euphoniums, which included a 3-valve student model.

    Now they have a bigger room, and there were about 15 or so euphoniums on display. They had an Adams E1 (antique finish), 2 Besson Prestige, 1 Besson Sovereign, 2 Yamaha Neo, a Shires Q41, 2 Eastman, and a few others. My time was not unlimited, but I had a while to spend there, so of course I tried some horns. Here are my quick impressions. I mostly played the Holst 2nd Suite solo, Lincolnshire Posy Brisk Young Sailor, and Mendez's Chiapanecas for testing. I also tested a few using my arrangement of Schubert's Sonata in A for it's smooth, soft melody.

    Adams E1: all yellow brass at .60. It blew nicely, of course, and had a good sound. The sound was a bit brighter than the E1/sterling I played before, but was very nice for some uses. Was well suited to Chiapanecas!

    I tested 1 Prestige, the 2052-2. This is the one the sales guy said he liked when he tried it (he is a trumpet player who doubles on euphonium). It did blow very nicely and had a nice, dark sound. For some reason, the upper E concert seemed to jump out much more than the surrounding notes. Nicest for the Brisk Young Sailor, not so much for the Schubert because the consistency from note to note was not quite on. Sharp 6th partial was the worst intonation problem I noticed by ear.

    Besson Sovereign. Very comfortable for me, even though it is a different horn from the British-made Sovereign I played back when. I liked the response better than the Prestige, which surprised me. Sound was very good and seemed to work well in all the excerpts. Sharp 6th partial was the worst intonation problem I noticed by ear.

    I played one of the Neo's. It did have a nice sound, and was much more to my liking than the 842's I have played in the past. Overall response was good, but the high Ab concert was very "woofy" on this one. I don't recall noticing that on other Yamaha comp horns I've played. The valve alignment on this was was right on, and was better than the 2nd sample (which I did not test for that reason). This had apparently been played enough that the felts were broken in.

    The Shires seemed fairly similar to the early model I tested in 2019. The initial impression was very good, with easy response and good tone. Intonation was interesting (playing with no tuner running). It seemed to change depending on context, perhaps just because I am not used to it. My primary disappointment was the same as in 2019 - the note-to-note response was more variable than I have come to expect. Given the number of good players who use the Q-series, I have to wonder if it does not match the mouthpieces I like. In 2019 I was using a Wick 4AL and now I am using an Alliance DC4. Both are different from a 51D (which I assume was the mouthpiece type used by the consultants who helped develop these horns).

    I was very impressed that Schmitt had such a variety of pro-level horns to test! In addition to the above, they had the 2 Eastmans, which are in the pro class I think. Notably absent was Willson, but that is probably due to Schmitt have a full range of brass. I assume getting a Willson franchise is not worth it for them, since they would not have much call for Willson trumpets, flugelhorns, trombones, or French horns. But if I had money in my pocket and needed to walk out the door with a pro-level horn, I could!

    They also have a full woodwind, percussion, and string line. And there are pianos as far as the eye can see! There is a good repair shop, practice/teaching room, and a recital hall. (Schmitt's original downtown store was, and still is, a landmark. There is a mural covering one full side of the multi-store building that is sheet music.)

    They also have an eye-grabber in the showroom as you enter the door - a $330,000 Steinway grand piano. This one has a mural of the skyline of St. Paul and Minneapolis wrapping around in. It is made with inlaid white gold!

    Very happy to have this store so close by.

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    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    566
    When I was looking, I talked with my “local” Schmitt store (hour away - Fargo, ND). The rep mentioned he could get some horns transferred in temporarily (from a Twin Cities store, I guess) so I could give some a try. Ultimately, he ended up calling me back and telling me the other store was not willing to do so. I suppose it worked out for the best, as I got a great deal…and have no regrets regarding the make/model I chose (even though it was largely out of ignorance…relying on others’ opinions.).

    The downside of living in a small state…even your largest city can’t get a single, pro horn in stock.

    Where is this store located thst you visited, Dave? Sounds like it would be a fun field trip if I had a few days off!
    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

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by iMav View Post
    Where is this store located thst you visited, Dave? Sounds like it would be a fun field trip if I had a few days off!
    Right here!

    https://www.schmittmusic.com/stores/bloomington-mn/
    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
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    566
    Now they need to work on their website!
    (I’ve been directed there a few times by Schmitt reps who, then, end up apologizing for the site.)

    I’m guessing I may be in the Cities sometime in Jan. I’ll have to remember to fit in a music store trip.
    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

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by iMav View Post
    Now they need to work on their website!
    (I’ve been directed there a few times by Schmitt reps who, then, end up apologizing for the site.)
    It's been my observation that the more business a company from schools & musical organizations, the worse the website is. Wenger, for example, is very unfriendly for a general purpose shopper.
    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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