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Thread: 1st post-- need some advice

  1. #1

    1st post-- need some advice

    Hi everyone, I?m new to this forum and this is my first post. I?m afraid it?s going to be a somewhat lengthy one, but I hope you can indulge me and help me think through a few questions I have.

    I?m a returning euphonium and trombone playing. I haven?t played much for about 5 years and even over the last 20 years, my playing was relatively sporadic. However, 20-25 years ago, I regularly played mostly euphonium in the Eastern Iowa Brass Band, a NABBA band that was very active, including NABBA competitions. I was missing playing and got my horns out about 3 months ago and, in spite of a very heavy work load (spring is always our busiest time of year), I?ve been able to put some time into playing. My chops are starting to come back and I just began to play my trombone in Jazz Big Band, mostly composed of returning players such as myself. I?ve also verbally committed to play in a local community band for the summer, mostly likely on my euphonium, since that seems to be what the greatest need is in that band.

    Here?s where my questions begin. My euph is a roughly 30 year old Yamaha 321 that I bought used while playing in the brass band . It?s in basically good shape: only one dent roughly the size of a quarter on the main bow with a handful of smaller dents, roughly 80-85% of the lacquer intact, and the valves working quite well with only a couple of spots of pitting. The horn plays well.

    I?ve always thought that I would stay with the Yammie with the possible exception of upgrading to a used King 2280 or one of its stencil clones. I?ve tried out a 2280 and like it very much. Although I?ve tried out compensating horns and liked their sound, the price has always made them out of reach financially in my mind with my level of playing.

    However, since coming on this site recently, I?ve become aware of the Jinbao stencil horns. I?ve read every blog on this site about them that the search engine could pull up and they intrigue. It looks like I could sell my 321 for almost the same price as a new Mack, for example, and have a compensating horn. Can you confirm that I?m really understanding the situation correctly?

    In addition to the compensating issue, I?ve noticed that my pinky finger is having a bit of a rough time getting back into shape and the 3+1 set-up might be an advantage, it looks like. Years ago, when I was doing regular woodshedding to prepare for the tough stuff that we played for NABBA competitions, I got pretty fair using the 4th valve as an alternative to improve intonation on low Cs and Bs. However, right now my 4th valve is close useless except for sustained tones. I not only don?t have strength in my pinky, but it?s a bit stiff as well. I?m 63 and I know that it?s not going to get better.

    I?ve also read about a number of players replacing valve springs, valve tops, valve buttons, etc, on the Jabao stencils. While the S Mead springs would likely be too stiff for me, it sounds like the Yamaha springs from the 642, as well as other parts will fit the Jinbaos? Just how much does replacing such parts cost and how much is really necessary? Is replacing them easy or would I need a brass tech to do that? We have a good brass tech locally at West Music in Coralville, IA (where Steve Shires of trombone fame got his start?couldn?t resist the name dropping!), but Lee Stofer?s shop is only a little over an hour away if necessary. I know that I would need to upgrade my mouthpiece if I got a new horn as well because the Marcinkiewicz I currently play on my Yammie would be a bit too small for the larger bore Jimbao. All of this is simply a reflection that I could possibly be getting a bit more money into a new horn than what it looks like on the surface. I?d appreciated any insight any of you could give.

    Thanks for taking the time to think through this with me. I?ve been stewing this over in my own mind for several days. I look forward to your insights.

  2. #2
    I think you understood correctly. You can buy a new compensating stencil horn for roughly $1k - more for some and less for others. They will feel close to the expensive horns if your playing is not too demanding. They are not equal to the horns in the $6k-8k range (no surprise), but they serve a need in the market and play surprisingly well, particularly if you look at the ROI.

    One drawback of the inline 4's like your Yamaha is the inherent weakness of the 4th finger. But trombone doublers and tuba doublers (if they come from inline valves) find inlines more comfortable. It would take a little while to get used to using your left hand for the 4th valve, but you'd get there.

    I can be more awkward for some people to hold a 3+1 horn. Your left hand is pretty much locked in one position if you need the 4th valve for what you are playing. But it not a problem for most people, and I would think your odds are better with a 3+1, given the difficulty you are having with the 4th finger.

    I don't hear a universal dissatisfaction with the valve caps and springs of the stencil horns. But if you weren't happy, they are easy enough to replace, as you mention. I'd start with an open mind and see how it goes.
    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

  3. #3
    Dave, thanks for the advice. I was wondering if any others have anything to add to the helpful advice that Dave has given. I'd especially be interested in knowing a ballpark figure about what it would likely cost me if I needed to add replace such things as valve springs, valve caps, buttons, etc with Yamaha or other good aftermarket parts.

    If anyone has sold a Yamaha 321 in similar condition as mine that I listed above, could you confirm that I really am in the ballpark as far as the possibility of selling mine for about the cost of a new Jinbao stencil horn.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    3,424
    One of my horns is a Yamaha. I've had to replace valve springs about once per year. Springs for the Yamaha 642 are about $3 or $4 a piece so not too bad. I've also purchased new bottom valve caps because I wanted to add a valve trough to the bottom of my valves. Each cap was $8. Felts are pretty cheap.

    Sorry, but don't know the going price of a Yamaha 321.

    BTW there are a few people playing a 321 using their index finger of their left hand. Of course this only works if your sitting and resting your horn on your leg.
    Last edited by RickF; 05-07-2013 at 10:22 PM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  5. #5
    Thanks, it sounds like for about $50 I could replace many of the Jinbao stencil valve parts with Yamaha parts if necessary. As Dave said, it may not be necessary, but a few have mentioned that they thought the Macks, Schillers, etc. played a bit better if some of the valve parts were replaced.

  6. #6
    I'm still playing my Jinbao with the original parts after about 18 months, and haven't really had a problem. I'll pro'ly put 642 valve springs and felts in when it comes up to the 2-year anniversary. I got a Jo-Ral grime gutter; don't have to replace the bottom valve caps to use that.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  7. Hi John,

    I played Yammy 321s for years, and I never, ever tried to play the 4th valve with my pinky. Instead, I just reached across the front of the horn with my left hand and operated the valve with my left index finger. I never had a moment of awkwardness, nor did anybody bother to tell me that this style was odd. I had some other issues with the 321, but the sound and build quality certainly were above reproach.

    As for the 3+1 configuration of the compensating horns, shouldn't that be easy for trombonists who are accustomed to working the F-attachment? Unless your arms are really short, getting around the horn to that 4th valve should be no problem. But here I am the odd duck of the flock: I work the 4th valve with my 4th (ring) finger rather than my index finger. Somehow this feels more intuitive, but it also allows me to support the lateral weight of the horn with my strong index finger, leaving my 4th finger free to work the valve.

    One more comment: a player I know swears by his Mack euphonium, says "they hit it out of the park on this one." He was so impressed that he then bought a Mack B-flat tuba, which he says is miraculous for the price. It's a Hirsbrunner copy, he says.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by warumtobendieheiden View Post
    *snip*

    One more comment: a player I know swears by his Mack euphonium, says "they hit it out of the park on this one." He was so impressed that he then bought a Mack B-flat tuba, which he says is miraculous for the price. It's a Hirsbrunner copy, he says.
    A friend of mine in Community Band bought a Schiller (Jinbao = Mack Brass) four-rotor tuba a couple months ago; he is ver-r-ry happy.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  9. As you can tell from my avatar, I recently purchased a Mack TU-410 CC 5 rotor tuba and it is a wonderful instrument for an amateur player like me who can't shell out the big $$$ and don't want to take my chances with an old CC from EBay (which there are not a lot of .... mostly BBbs). The quality and intonation are outstanding and the instrument is well set up by Tom prior to shipping. I've doubled on tuba in the past and finally took the plunge with Mack Brass after reading all the reviews here and on TubeNet. If I didn't have two Euphs already I would consider a Mack Euph. For you treble euph players out there who want to delve into the dark side of Tuba and read bass clef but stink at transposing, the CC tuba is a natural.
    Last edited by tampaworth; 05-08-2013 at 05:55 AM.
    Bob Tampa FL USA
    Euph -- 1984 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign 967 / 1978 Besson NS 767 / Early 90s Sterling MP: 4AL and GW Carbonaria
    Tuba -- 2014 Wisemann 900 CC / 2013 Mack 410 MP: Blokepiece Symphony American Shank and 33.2 #2 Rim

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by warumtobendieheiden View Post
    As for the 3+1 configuration of the compensating horns, shouldn't that be easy for trombonists who are accustomed to working the F-attachment?
    Good point. I think my impression is based on knowing a lot of studio trombonists, who were using a straight horn for almost all their work. But for a symphonic player, even one responsible for the top part, a trigger is usually second nature and a 3+1 should not be a problem for coordination. I didn't go into it in my post, but I think a second reason trombonists did not care as much for compensating horns (which were/are by far the most common 3+1 horns) is that the response and intonation were so different from what they were used to.
    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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