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Thread: Pending Euphonium Purcharse

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Smoketown, Pa
    I'm downsizing a bit and have a B&S rotary which is quite nice. I have used it for solo work and mostly community bands. It is for sale on Craigs List.
    B&S 3046 Baritone/Euphonium
    B&S PT33-S Euphonium
    B&S PT37-S
    Schilke ST20 Tenor Trombone

  2. #12
    Short answer, if I were in your situation, a 3 valve front action Conn with upright bell would suit me. Bell front fine.

    Part of the question was about rotary valves versus piston maintenance. For both horns, if you don't eat or drink while playing, the time table for washing the horn inside and out is about the same for both horns, but extra time to put the rotary valves back.

    What you probably know from your rotary horn is that when you do have to "get in there", you need the right tools, maybe 2 lubricants, and time time time, because there are a lot of parts and alignment concerns. There is skill involved in replacing and lining up the valve in the casing, and using the leather mallet to reinstall the cover plate just right. I go months or a year between taking apart my valves entirely. In my experience, rotary needs dropping in a little rotor oil to the hub or via a slide, for me, once every two weeks, maybe weekly max. Takes 5 minutes max. The lubrication is occasional and does not involve dismantling except the valve cap or pulling a slide. I could go years between having to replace bumpers, but if I have to realign, that might be yearly or longer. Rotaries have more parts than pistons, but less friction on rotaries I think because piston surface area is much less and we do not press pistons down straight.

    For a piston horn, my approach is using the lightest oil (like Al Cass or the lighter Hettman) a few drops daily. Pull out the valves a couple of drops, keeps it clean and lubed. Takes less than a minute. I go years between replacing springs felts and corks. I know the ones to buy so that is a few minutes of maintenance. But more frequently than my rotary valves, I have to take out the valves for a clean and brush and dry swab, especially to clean out the valve guide slots. The springs and guides themselves last years unless I were touring on Euphonium or in a military band. The nylon guides ones I can replace myself.

    A piston player would have a learning curve to maintain their rotaries. But a rotary player can pick up piston maintenance in a few minutes.

    Horn orientation is a separate question. If you're in a community band situation, it's mostly a matter of preference, but depends on the level of the band and desperation for euphoniums. I know a couple of community bands where I live. The lower ability bands plays a mix of top and front action and bell up and bell front models, 3 and 4 valves, 1 compensating horn the rest not. The higher ability band are all 3 + 1 compensating horns, Miraphone, Wessex, Yamaha. If someone came in with an old conn bell front, they'd probably hint at getting a Wessex. If you came with a 4 valve top action King 2280 or top action Yamaha 621, no problem. If you're in the military or college situation, your bandmates are probably like that but playing maybe Yamaha, Willson, Sterling, or Adams, something over $5-$7K. I'm still a big fan of 4 valve Yamaha 321 euphs, and used to their foibles. A lot of players use them, so lots of mouthpiece choices and such. I don't know that you'd need to go for a larger bore instruments for your situation. If you have a bit of money, there seems to be a lot of excitement about Wessex 4v top action compensating. A lot of horn for the money.

    Kaiser/oval style. Unless you're in a German/Czech band, not seeing these in the US. Especially the side bell, which I think is for calvary. As mentioned prior, blending issue. I even see more German bands in Europe using front action pistons with bell front so they can use a microphone easily. If you play a rotary euphonium in an American community band, you'd be in the minority for sure. But if set on that, you're better off if it is the straight upright bell rather than the curved side bell.

    Short or regular piston Conns. What bells? The valve condition is the first thing I'd want more info on before buying a 1970s horn. If you need repair parts, there are more regular piston horns around than short action baritones. These are probably Conn 51 I or similar American style baritones which are Euphoniums (i.e., not British brass band baritones.) Lots of parts around for these. Bell up on these would be more similar to the other bell up horns. Bell front was used for marching or to get the Euph sound out of the back of the band. If standing in a German band, you might like the bell front on the microphone. If going for one of the Conns, I'd want both bells if the seller has them. But otherwise either is okay. I think easier to find a replacement upright bell than a bell front bell.

    Best to you. It's great to get back in the saddle.
    Last edited by BrassedOn; 09-02-2018 at 03:23 PM.

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