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Thread: British Baritone Advice

  1. #1

    British Baritone Advice

    I am new to the forum, but have read postings here for years. As a bit of background, I have owned and played a Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Euphonium and BBb tuba for over 40 years. Both instruments were made in the 1950s and the tuba is a high pitch conversion. I also have a Salvation Army Dixie by Boosey & Hawkes Eb tuba and a Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tenor horn. They all have the usual quirks, but I love the sound and the physical "feel" of them and find it well worth the adjustments needed to play them in ensembles. In retirement I play in a small orchestra and with some regularity have to play french horn parts. The Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tenor horn (also from the 1950s) works well, but doesn't blend as much as I would like it to. This has led to an interest in adding a baritone to my bag of tricks. Based upon experience and reading this forum, the choices have been narrowed down to either an older Boosey & Hawkes/Besson compensating (1950s or 1960s) or a Salvation Army Triumphonic (late vintage compensating). Any thoughts from members who actually play these either of these instruments would be greatly appreciated.

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    I have played both of the horns you mention: Besson New Standard(B&H Imperial) baritone of 1950'-60's vintage and the late model SA Triumphonic (which I own). They both play similarly, though all things being equal, if I could get my hands on the Besson/B&H in near perfect condition, I would go with that. My Triumphonic is in fantastic condition and is built more ruggedly than the Besson, but it is smaller bore and has some intonation quirks in the 2nd partial that I don't like. The Besson has better response and better intonation, but they tend to be very well used whenever one appears.

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  3. #3

    Thank you for the thoughtful input. Your advice and that of Charlie pushed me toward a Besson/Boosey & Hawkes. I found a Besson from 1959 with only a few dents and the plating in pretty good condition. The valves are in good shape and it plays rather well. It has some intonation quirks, but it's in the shop to test for leaks, dent removal and an ultrasonic cleaning. Hopefully that will make it even better.


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