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Thread: Besson or Sterling

  1. Besson or Sterling

    Hello everyone

    I have a great indecision and want you help me to resolve it, because surely you know more than I about it. My problem is:

    I want to change to a compensating euphonium, by what I've read in various internet forums (not that there's a lot about euphoniums) the two best speakers of these is the Besson Prestige 2052 and the Sterling Virtuoso. I decided to buy one of them but do not know which is better. I want a euphonium with a good entonation, it is easy to blow (especially in the high register), which has a dark sound but not sound like a tuba, I want to soloist.

    If anyone thinks that there are other euphoniums best for what I want it, also can tell me (Besson 967, Willson 2900 ...) PLEASE help me to clarify my thoughts.

    I can not buy a new euphonium, if someone wants to sell one of these that is in good condition and not expensive also can contact me via PM.

    Thank you very much (sorry my English)

    Cipri Sánchez



  2. Besson or Sterling

    Dear Cipri Sánchez,

    I happen to own both a Sterling Virtuoso and a Besson 2051 (not 2052). I have decided to keep both and I use both. Keeping in mind that the Besson is the smaller 11" bell version, the following are differences:

    1. The Besson is a bit lighter and more comfortable for a shorter person. The Sterling is quite long from the bottom bow to the lead pipe and may be uncomfortable for someone with a short torso. I don't need any padding to rest the Sterling on my knee where I do with the Besson.

    2. The Besson has lighter and smoother valve action. The trigger on the Besson is also easier to use. The Sterling is good, mechanically, but the Besson is great.

    3. Intonation is generally better on the Sterling than on the Besson. Both are sharp on middle G (1-2). I use full trigger or 3rd valve and half trigger to tame the G's. The Besson is also sharp on middle F (open). Both are sharp on 6th partial (Eb, E, F) and 7th partial G. The Besson is more so. The Besson is a bit flat on low C and Cb (4th or 2-4). The Sterling is spot on with 1/4" of 4th valve slide pull.

    4. Both horns have glorious, singing sound. The Sterling is much darker and less directional. A 2052 would be darker than my 2051, but still not as robust as my Sterling.

    5. Both horns are equally responsive and open across the full range. I work from pedal Cb to D above high Bb every day in my daily routine (4 octaves). I find that I can use the range from pedal G to high Db in real music on both horns with facility and a beautiful smooth open sound. I do 1/8 note two octave major scales starting from pedal Bb at a metronome setting of 140. Both horns are clean, open and responsive.

    I would suggest that you cannot go wrong with either instrument. The larger issue will be finding a used one at a price you can afford. Do make sure that the Besson Prestige is one of the newer German-manufactured instruments (since 2007).

    Doug Ruby
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  3. Besson or Sterling


  4. #4

    Besson or Sterling

    Originally posted by: prototypedenNIS

    this could be a winner for you.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Sterling-C...9#ht_500wt_1156
    A very nice instrument, though by the time international shipping, duty, and VAT are figured in, the total cost may approach that of a new Sterling or Prestige.

  5. Besson or Sterling

    but not with a SS bell!

    Good point though.

  6. Besson or Sterling

    Thank you very much for trying to help me everyone, and especially to Doug for sharing your views and experiences with us. His explanation I have clarified many aspects. I think that an instrument is known depending on the response given on the day to day.

    The Sterling euphonium that you taught me on e-bay is fine, but if I add shipping costs, the VAT (18%) and the customs cost is becoming very expensive. For very little more I can buy a new one. I prefer one that is in the United Kingdom or the European Union because I avoid paying the VAT and customs. Although I hear there's a trick to avoid these costs, this is that the sender specifies that it is a "gift" on customs declaration gives the postal service. But I'm not sure and would risk it.

    Anyway, I'm open to more tips and suggestions from other euphoniums to buy.

    Cipri Sánchez



  7. Besson or Sterling

    Some new Yorks might still be floating about dealers... if they're in consideration as well.

    Otherwise, sounds like you've just got to go try them all.

  8. Besson or Sterling

    Hello,
    Is costing me a lot of work and much time to find a Besson 2052 or a Sterling Virtuoso. The most I've seen are Besson 967-968, Willson 2900, Yamaha 642, Sterling before Virtuoso, and some Miraphone. All without trigger.
    I've also seen a York Eminence and a Miraphone 5050.
    What opinion you have of these euphoniums? Do you recommend me some?

    Do you think about this euphonium that are now on e-bay?

    http://cgi.ebay.es/Sterling-Euphonium-Good-Condition-/280584672298?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Brass_RL&hash=item 415426542a

    Do you think I should wait until I find a Besson 2052 or Sterling Virtuoso?


    Thank you very much.

    Cipri Sánchez


  9. #9

    Besson or Sterling

    This is a tough question. The good news is that all the horns you mention seeing are good, professional-grade instruments. There are some very fine players using each model.

    There has been a great deal of progress in the last 5 years or so. Besson moved to Germany and is producing better quality instruments in general. Sterling has made advances gradually over the years. Miraphone came out with the 5050. Etc.

    As far as the eBay listing for the older Sterling goes, it may be a fine instrument for you. The new Virtuosos are better because of the year-to-year changes Sterling has made, but they will cost more. The extra cost is worth it to me, but if I could not afford the new horn I would still have a good time playing the older ones (which I did for 17 years).

    Some of the older Bessons were very nice, but the quality varied a great deal from horn to horn during the decade or so before Buffet bought them. If you had a good chance to really test on older sample, you might end up with a very good buy.

    Yamaha 642's in general are nice, and they are pretty consistently good from horn to horn.

    So, if you want the best of the lot, I would wait for a newer horn, assuming you can afford the price without giving up grocery money. The 2052 and Virtuoso would be safe choices, even if you had to buy them without trying them first. (We should always strive to try out a horn before purchase, but sometimes it is just not possible.)

    If you DO have a chance to try before you buy, still consider the Sterling and Besson, but also:

    You may consider the Adams if you can find one to try. The sound is different from the Besson/Sterling, but is attractive, and the response and intonation are outstanding. The Miraphone 5050 is also a good choice, but it has a very large sound, and some folks may find it is not flexible for all types of music. Willsons are a very popular choice in the USA, although I don't care for the sound for my personal style and taste. But they are well made and well respected.

    In short, I don't think anyone on this forum can say "Do this" or "Do that." But we're doing our best to give you opinions so you can be better prepared as you shop and consider your choices (or lack of choices). As I have said before, when you have so many good horns to choose from, you at least know you will probably end up with something that is very good.

    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

  10. Besson or Sterling

    I think I'll wait a little longer to try to get a 2052 or Virtuoso. Dave, thank you very much for your advice.


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