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Thread: Redesigning The Euphonium

  1. #21
    Violinists often say the same--their instrument has changed very little in the last five hundred years. They've added a longer neck and chinrests and shoulder pads, but it's a very similar instrument.

    I do wonder with technology change where there might be even more customization possible in the future. A lot of the things that are annoying on euphonium are things specific to the player--a leadpipe that sticks out too much or is too high or low. Maybe in the future you'll be able to order an instrument with a wider valve spread or a more elongated body, etc.

    There are some innovations that cross instruments--for instance leadpipes that let you adjust gap or heavyweight valves. It is interesting to me that some innovations don't cross over. Some trumpets now are quite heavy (2x the norm), but as far as I know no one has made a 25lb euphonium with heavy bracing.
    Jupiter 462 & 470, XO 1270
    Stork 4.5 mouthpiece

  2. #22
    On the weight/size question, I also think it's possible that with stainless valves and carbon fiber bells there could be really nice lightweight student instruments some day. Plastic is pretty terrible, the cheap euphoniums are quite bad, and it's a lot for a parent to spend $1500+ on a 3 valve euphonium. I wonder how changes in materials and manufacturing will affect the field in ten or twenty years.
    Jupiter 462 & 470, XO 1270
    Stork 4.5 mouthpiece

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magikarp View Post
    Why ever not? A good sound is a good sound. If you mean they donít produce the bland overschooled, homogeneous university sound youíre right. I know of at least two top echelon players who would play round stamps if their bands allowed it. If a round stamp is good enough for Lyndon Baglin and Stephen Lord itís certainly good enough for anyone. The intonation issues are exaggerated, in my opinion, having owned two and played many.

    If I had to get rid of my Adams, Iíd replace it with a round stamp, and certainly not Sterling or Geneva or Besson.
    Not saying itís not a good sound. Itís a great sound but itís too small of a sound for todayís bands, especially brass bands. I know many here play in these ensembles and they often require huge volume. Iím not sure Iím a fan of the direction championship brass banding has taken but the test pieces require massive sound at times. Mouthpiece size has gone up in parallel.

  4. #24
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    Has it really though? Steven Mead played on a 3AL and SM3 in the 80s and 90s which are still the 'large standard' option next to the 4 size which is the 'normal' standard.

    I think that the main issue is that yes, everything else is getting way louder, and the euphonium is struggling to keep up because there's a point where it's gonna be too big to keep playing properly, or to keep the sound characteristic enough. As I said earlier, if a euphonium becomes too big, it's... just a small tuba instead of a euphonium. And this was already a criticism when the Sovereign with its larger bore was *introduced* in the mid-70s.
    I have no idea how to make the euphonium even louder without plugging in an air compressor to do the breathing *for* us.
    And quite frankly, I don't *want* it to get louder. You want louder, you put in an extra trombone or smth. Euphs are not meant to blast FFFFFs out of their bells imo.

  5. #25
    Michael and the JH, I've only just moved to compensating euphonium last summer but am struck how much bigger (broader? diffuse?) the sound is. I can see how people would have mixed feelings about it. But on OP's question, I am curious if anyone has ever upsized a euphonium. Is a 6/4 front-facing euphonium possible? What would it sound like? How many more decibels could you get out of a euphonium if you wanted to?

  6. #26
    Mark me as on the side of being wary of too large a sound. I heard a recital a few years ago at an ITEC by a euphonium player who, I think, was using a huge mouthpiece. He was playing a Willson 2900, so that's why I think it is mouthpiece related, because I know basically what the horn sounds like for most players. I have a good ear for tone colors, but I would have sworn this was a tuba recital if I had my eyes closed. There were maybe 3 or 4 short phrases that would have clued me in, but otherwise it was quite a nice tuba sound for a recital hall. That is not what we should strive for.

    Besides, we currently have a choice, in the Miraphone 5050, that has an enormous tone. It's probably on the outside edge of good euphonium sounds. For ME, that tone is wonderful on the Holst 2nd Suite, etc. but not what I want for my overall performance style. We also have a couple choices that are smaller and brighter, and many choices that fall in the middle. If we are designing a new horn, where should the target sound lie?

    A consideration that should stay on our radar is our limited supply of air, greater is some and lesser in some, but limited nevertheless. Let's start with the horns I used through public school, the American style small euphonium. Bore was about .560". The next step was the classic Besson, bore about .580". My Adams, and most other new compensating horns, come in around .592". And the 5050 is .610". You could calculate the percentage increase in bore diameter, but the real effect is the increase in bore area. Here is the progression of area:

    Conn/King/Olds/etc: baseline
    Besson early @.580, increase was 7%
    Most modern comp horns @.592, increase was 4% over early Besson
    Miraphone 5050 @.610, increase of other new comp horns was 6%
    The 5050's increase from the American horns was ~19%

    I'd bet a dollar that human lung capacity has not kept up with those increases. BUT...if we want to get a larger sound, there are apparently other ways.

    The Besson 967 had a larger sound than the New Standard, but bore was identical. Leadpipe and bell were changed to accomplish this.

    My Adams E3 has a bigger sound than my Adams E1 did; both have the same bore.

    So if we consider the human element, we should try to avoid larger bore sizes as we redesign. Our ability to play longer phrases would be enhanced by keeping bore sizes reasonable, and as I human being, I want that to be considered!
    Last edited by davewerden; 11-27-2022 at 09:10 PM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
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  7. #27
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    Thanks Dave. I moved from a 2900 to an E3 with SS bell because I couldnít put enough air through the Willson (among other reasons). Maybe thatís me but I donít have that issue with the Adams and I did not change mouthpieces.

  8. #28
    My new euphonium has a 12.2 bell and a 0.590"~0.660" bore, and it does feel more tuba-y. On violin it's clear that you could double the volume of the instrument and keep the same string length, but the timbre would change a lot. I don't know where the drawing line is on euphonium. I think TheJH's line about everything else getting louder is probably true (the growth of C and piccolo trumpets in US orchestras, larger tubas, bigger bored trombones, etc.), but how do players respond?

  9. If the Euphonium got too much larger, it would probably sound a bit like the Wessex Compensating British F Tuba, which is described as being like a bass Euphonium.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Frankly, I think some of the goals I mentioned above might be solved by the old American design with front valves and a curved, adjustable bell! It is ergonomically superior in some ways and the player can control the directionality. If such a design were the group's recommendation, adoption among existing serious groups could be slow because of the mismatch with current instruments, and brass bands might find them wholly unacceptable (unless the overall shape of tenors, baritones, and basses were to change at the same time).
    I also think the front valve design is ergonomically superior.

    One thing that might be good is if there were some kind of system (a second trigger?) that raise the pitch. There are several notes on my horn that are hopelessly flat, at least when I play the instrument.

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