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Thread: Contrasting Shires Q40 vs Q41

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
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    Contrasting Shires Q40 vs Q41

    A number of recorded examples of the Shires Q41 euphonium exist on youtube, including the excellent performance by Bente Illevold of Tchaikovsky's Variations On A Rococo' Theme at

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLBy0KNIcvU

    Conversely, I had discovered no examples of its Q40 sibling. Hence, I have been wondering how the two might differ in tone and performance characteristics.

    Until, very recently, I found a well-recorded youtube where Alexis at Shires compares and contrasts the two horns

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeF9rKf8sIk

    Listening through the speakers of my laptop computer differences between Q40 and Q41 seem quite subtle. Yet, the personalities unique to each of the two emerge clearly when I switched to my good Plantronic USB headset.

    Thus my questions to this community, whether or not you own either of them, or play tested them, or have only listened to Q40 and Q41 through the clip above...

    * What tonal and performance difference do you perceive?
    * Which horn might you prefer and why?
    * If you have adopted one of them, which one and why?
    * Which eupho brand/model has your Q euphonium replaced, and why?

    BTW, if you know of any further recorded clips of Q40, please do poste them here.

    Best regards, Guido
    Last edited by guidocorona; 03-12-2021 at 10:33 AM.
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U, 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Summerville (SC)
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    Sorry... Duplicate deleted.
    Last edited by guidocorona; 03-12-2021 at 10:13 AM.
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U, 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  3. Steve Vaughn, who I believe posts here every so often, recently switched from a Besson Prestige to the Q40 (He's listed on the Shires Euph artist page). Here's a short clip on Facebook of him playing an excerpt from "Blind Spot":



    I'm sure he'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about the instrument!

    He'll also be performing at VTEC (ITEA's virtual Tuba-Euph Conference) in a few months, so you'll be able to hear the Q40 there as well!
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Bach 5G
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941) - Faxx 7C

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

  4. For the Q41, there are a number of fantastic recordings Hiram Diaz (The President's Own US Marine Band) has made with the instrument. Should be noted that he uses the medium/euro shank version of the Q41.

    Here are a few recordings so you can hear the horn in a variety of settings:

    Kevin Day's Euphonium Concerto, accompanied by Pershing's Own US Army Band:


    Solo recital with piano accompaniment from Nov. 2020:


    US Marine Brass Sextet and Brass Ensemble concerts:


    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Bach 5G
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941) - Faxx 7C

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Location
    Summerville (SC)
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    Thank you so much Fujiifilm for all the links.... Hiram Diaz is wonderful on his own Q41, and particularly impressive/intense performing the Vladimir Cosma concerto...

    This begs the question... Does a recording of the Cosma concerto performed on a Q40 exist somewhere?

    Regards, Guido
    Last edited by guidocorona; 03-15-2021 at 08:50 AM.
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U, 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  6. Rather than start a new thread, Steve Vaughn’s video list the Q41 in the description which may be in error as shires lists him as an artist playing the Q40. As for Alexis video it seems to me the Q41 seems more focused and lyrical where the Q40 seems almost muted in comparison. Now the bell size may account for this but has me leaning towards the Q41….

    JJ
    Miraphone 289
    Adams F5
    Kanstul 991 Custom
    Always room for more....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    218
    After AwesomeDad posted the above, he received a message from Steven Vaughn confirming that in the video Mr. Vaughn was playing a Q41,, and that his mouthpiece is a K&J3.5D.

    So, perhaps the Shires Euphonium artists page is incorrect or obsolete, as it lists Steve as playing on a Q40. See:

    https://www.seshires.com/euphoniumartists

    Regards, Guido
    Last edited by guidocorona; 06-08-2021 at 03:37 PM.
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U, 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    22
    I play and own a medium shank Q41, though I've never laid hands on a Q40. I've had it since November 2020.

    For me the horn sounds great, blows easily, and the intonation is good enough that I don't find myself wanting for a trigger or another horn. I don't know if medium shank really makes a difference or not compared to the same horn in large shank, but other than the inconvenience of buying a new mouthpiece it plays with a nice focused sound.

    As far as replaced horns, I've owned or borrowed every Yamaha distributed to the United States over the last 15 years (321, 641, original 642, Neo, 842) with the most recent and significant time spent with the 641 and the Neo. The 641 is mine and I love that horn, but the intonation is not at all flexible - it's incredibly difficult to lip notes in tune. One could also that the great focused tone it produces borders on stuffy. The Neo compares favorably with the Q41 in my opinion. I think it would come down to sound preference - I like the Shires a little better, but I could live happily with a Neo.

    I also spent a good bit of time with an army-issued Willson 2950 a few years back. The fit and finish on the Willson were superior, but the musical qualities on the Q41 are better for me.

    One thing on the Q41 that I don't care for is the valve block. The valves are perfectly fine, but the threading on the valve caps is super thin and feels very cheap. I get paranoid putting it back in the horn that I'm going to have it off center and strip the threading. Hopefully Shires will step up the build quality here if/when they introduce the custom line made entirely in Massachusetts.

    Overall though, it's a good horn and no regrets buying one.
    Andrew Easley
    Principal Euphonium, 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas Army National Guard

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    218
    Thank you so much Andrew for posting all this excellent information!

    Sadly, Flimsy threading seems to be systemic on euphoniums from Mainland China, or euphos featuring valve blocks from the People's Republic.... My quasi-entry-level priced priced Wessex Festivo is a case in point.

    But Q41 is a professional horn -- hardly entry-level. I am befuddled that Shires -- with its stellar reputation -- let such glaring flaw pass their Q.A. process. Have you tried to contact Alexis Smith at Shires about it? They might be able to address it.

    Concerning medium vs large receiver, when I chatted with Alexis a couple years ago, she seemed to have experienced little difference between the two receivers on Q euphoniums.

    BTW, have you heard any scuttlebutt about timeline/features of the future Shires custom euphonium series?

    Lastly, which mouthpiece are you using on Q41?

    Regards, Guido
    Euph - Wessex EP104 Festivo - SM4U, 4AL
    Flugel - Kanstul 1525
    Trpt - Adams A4 LB
    Bb Cornet -Carolbrass CCR-7772R-GSS
    Eb Cornet - Carolbrass CCR-7775-GSS

  10. Regarding the custom series, there was a livestream through the S.E. Shires Facebook page with Hiram Diaz and Brandon Jones when they were up at the factory doing some development work with Shires. They play a rochut duet on the Q series, then answer Q&A that they received through Facebook about various topics, including some testing work on the custom series.

    About 46 minutes in, they shift to James Monaghan (Shires General Manager) who discusses the development, manufacturing approaches and design concepts that they're planning for the custom euphs, including different weight/material of valve caps, and a modular mouthpiece receiver for not only accepting different sized shanks, but also options for recievers that cater to different tapers and insertion depths of various mouthpiece manufacturers.

    At the end they play another rochut duet, this time on what I believe are prototype custom series euphs.

    Here is a link to the video: https://fb.watch/63wWo8gha3/
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Bach 5G
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941) - Faxx 7C

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

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