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Thread: Something like the sovereign, but not a sovereign

  1. #1

    Something like the sovereign, but not a sovereign

    Am playing an 11 inch Besson Sovereign which I like very much. Except that I am sick of not having a trigger.

    Now they make one which has a trigger, but, I cannot get it delivered unless I pay up front. Buying before playing just seems weird.

    So can anyone recommend a horn which plays similar to the sovereign and has a trigger? It is that witchy dark sound I like.

    And before anyone says it, I purchased a trigger kit and the local brass magician, who can fix anything, refused to touch it. So no trigger kit.

    Having played several other brass instruments, it occurs to me that the euphonium without a trigger is singularly crippled in comparison with everybody else. Everybody else has a mechanical way to alter the pitch while playing, and we usually have nothing. How have we accepted this for so long? Iíve been playing the trombone a lot and it has become intolerable switching back the euphonium where I must bend half the notes just to get close to in tune. Must have a trigger.

    Thanks in advance.
    -Mark

  2. #2
    At a previous ITEC (I think the one in Bloomington, IN) a fellow was looking at the Adams booth and wanted something with the gravitas of his old New Standard (from which the 968/11" is derived). When he tried a horn similar to mine (an E1 at the time) it just didn't cut it. But then he picked up an E2 and that was the answer! It had the depth & center that you hear in the British Bessons (11" bell version). The E2 can be had with a factory trigger. Might be worth a thought.

    Worthy of note is that the Adams line has the best intonation I have found, so it might be better for trombone folks. NO horn is perfectly in tune, but you might as well start as close to the mark as possible, right?
    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. Mark,

    The Besson 2051 Prestige is an 11" bell horn with trigger. There are quite a few in the used market and they are MUCH more available than the 968T. I had a very early German production version of one of these and it was quite nice.

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

  4. #4
    Bending half the notes? Must be a real dog horn if that many notes need adjusting. The biggest issue Iíve found with most euphs is notes that are flat not the sharp ones. Thatís probably just me though.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I will look into both the Adams and the prestige.

    I don’t have enough experience to know if the horn is a dog or not, but even a perfectly tuned horn has to contend with the errors of the overtone system, the errors inherent in the valve system, the challenges of chord balancing, errors inherent in the tempered tuning system, temperature based errors, and the always present need to adjust your tuning to musicians around you, each of whom is dealing with all those same errors plus whatever errors their particular instrument has to offer. If there’s a way to bend brass to do all that, I don’t know of it.

    I played the euphonium for years and just put up with it. But after playing the trombone and the cello for a while, it now seems an unnecessary handicap. The tuba players move a tuning slide, the French horn players can adjust pitch with their hand, the trumpet players have a nifty trigger or two they can use, and we have.... jack. Have never been able to train myself to take my hand off the 4th valve to move the slide and I really dislike the pinkie 4th valve. My pinkie is just too weak to do a good job there. The trigger I am thinking is the key. Freedom baby!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    The trigger I am thinking is the key. Freedom baby!
    Only a little bit free. The trigger is helpful on sharp notes only. Peruse the intonation charts on my site and evaluate that. On my Adams it would only help on a few notes. But the Willson 2960 has all but a couple of its issues in the sharp direction - there a trigger would be much more helpful.

    I'm sure you are familiar with alternate slide positions. On euphonium we have alternate fingers we can use. Some can be used like trombone - to ease technical passages. But there are also uses for intonation. I show you those "secrets" in this book:

    http://www.dwerden.com/eu-books-fingering.cfm
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    I played the euphonium for years and just put up with it. But after playing the trombone and the cello for a while, it now seems an unnecessary handicap. The tuba players move a tuning slide, the French horn players can adjust pitch with their hand, the trumpet players have a nifty trigger or two they can use, and we have.... jack. Have never been able to train myself to take my hand off the 4th valve to move the slide and I really dislike the pinkie 4th valve. My pinkie is just too weak to do a good job there. The trigger I am thinking is the key. Freedom baby!
    In the case of tubas and trumpets, constantly having to move tuning slides sounds like an even bigger pain to me personally, both literally and figuratively. French Horns didn't have any other way to change notes out of the harmonic series before valves were invented, so that's just a staple of the instrument.

    Alternate fingerings are generally the solution on euph and other valved brass, even double French Horns.

  8. #8
    So to close out this thread, firstly thanks again for all the kind words.

    I went with the prestige out of brand loyalty and am so far very happy. The sound is not as dark but it is I would say very sweet and happy sound, and I am content. I think I may actually prefer it. I dunno.

    The trigger gives you about 15 percentage points tone down, which on certain notes is huge. Combined with the alternate fingerings and whatever magic can be coerced from the compensating system, it gives you a lot of options.

    I concede that the pros and those with chops of titanium can bend every note to wherever it needs to be without any loss of tone. For those fellows a trigger is probably just unnecessary weight and complication.

    For mere mortals like myself though, the 15 points is huge. My lip (actual lip) won’t let me practice more than 30 minutes a day and chops of titanium are seemingly not in my future (or my present!). For me the trigger is a lifesaver.

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