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Thread: Buying a Euphonium (Play Testing)?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2021
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    Panhandle of Florida
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    Question Buying a Euphonium (Play Testing)?

    I have been passively looking to buy a euphonium for some time now, and have recently discovered this great forum! I've been looking at the listed euphoniums for sale thread, and it has motivated to start taking a serious look. My question is: how do I trial and play euphoniums that I am interested in, or do I at all for that matter? Is there a common process or etiquette? I've play tested a euphonium before, but that was in my local area. I just don't want to buy something that I haven't played. Any help would be greatly appreciated Also, I apologize if this is the wrong thread for this, it was the most fitting I could find.

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum! If you live near a large music store, perhaps there will be some there to try. First off, though, you need to figure out what your budget is. If it is $3K or less and you are looking for a new euphonium, then Wessex, John Packer, Mack, are some to consider. Also, what type of euphonium are you interested in? A three valve, a four valve, a compensating model? That makes a difference. If you are interested in used also, you can often find used major brand top end horns for prices ranging from $3K or $4K and up.

    Wessex will ship you a horn that you can try and if you don't like it, you can return it, being out only the shipping charges. If there is a large store within driving distance, call to see what they have, and maybe take a trip there. You can search the For Sale section on this forum for euphoniums, mostly all used.

    If you have a much larger budget, then you might be interested in Besson, Willson, Yamaha, Sterling, Adams to name a few. See if there are music conventions in your area/state to go to, particularly things like regional International Tuba Euphonium conventions. Many times, the major instrument makers/distributors will have displays at these where you can try many horns. If you are really serious about getting a good high end horn, it would be worth it to travel, even out of state, to major euphonium/tuba conventions to try many horns (plus see and hear great musicians).

    As for trying out instruments outside of music stores and conventions (and Wessex and maybe a few others), you mostly decide on a brand and model of horn you are interested in, look for those on line, check price, condition, and if you think it is the one, then you can buy it, but you usually don't have the option to return it, and if it is a ways from your place, no option to try before you buy. Big music stores and conventions are the best place to try horns before buying. And horn makers and distibutors if they are anywhere near you.

    You might, rarely, find a seller who is willing to let you try a horn before buying it. (Send it to you on approval)

    Perhaps if you can state your budget (range) and what type of euphonium (3 or 4 valve, compensating or not, new or used, etc.) I and others can provide better advice/guidance. But in any event, hunting for a euphonium is a fun task, and hopefully that hunt will result in you finding a euphonium you can love and play for a long time.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum! And a big thank-you to John Morgan for responding with good general advice and some focusing questions.

    You might take a look at this article I wrote, which talks about how to test euphoniums:

    http://www.dwerden.com/eu-articles-choosing.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

  4. I live where there aren't any great music stores as well. I've bought and sold a lot of used horns. I think it takes more than a week to really get to know an instrument. So I tend to buy used stuff, and then if I don't like it, I just turn around and sell it. Conventions is another option, but you only get a quick glimpse, and the dreaded "elephant room effect" means that it's hard to hear what's going on with a room full of people blasting pines of rome, holst, or bolero.

    If you're traveling for other purposes, sometimes you can just go to a nice shop, like Dillons in NYC, Baltimore Brass, I'm sure there's a place in Atlanta. Schedule a date where you can play a lot of horns and actually get to hear yourself. You could take a train to Chicago and go to the Wessex showroom and blow your brains out, so to speak.

    "The Quest" to find the right horn or mouthpiece is something most if not all of us are too familiar with. It can take years, but winding up with the right horn is a great feeling.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Summerville (SC)
    Posts
    218
    If you were interested in Besson, consider contacting Declan Lynch, Besson specialist, with the Besson distributor Crampen in Jacksonville.... Might not bee too far from where you live... And you might be able to play test some units on their premises:

    Buffet Crampon USA
    7255 Salisbury Road
    Suite 4
    Jacksonville – FL
    32256
    Phone: 904.821.0234
    Email: corporate-usa@buffetcrampon.com
    Web: http://www.buffetcrampongroup.com
    Sales: Declan Lynch

    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    Panhandle of Florida
    Posts
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    Wow! Thank you for the in depth response! To answer some of your questions, I'm looking for a compensating model, most likely a used top brand model. I plan on going to college to study music and want to make a worthwhile investment. I had the chance a while ago to try out horns at a convention, but that was before I had any plans to buy a euphonium, so I wasn't thinking about it unfortunately. I was excited this year to get to attend that same convention, but All-State was done online this year due to COVID, so that wasn't able to happen. I'll look out for conventions near me in the future, but for now the best option seems to go to a large music store and try out horns I might be interested in. As far as that goes, should I call ahead or ask what they have or just show up? My main concern is that I don't want to be a bother; is there a good way to go about it that you recommend?

    Once again thank you for your help!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    Panhandle of Florida
    Posts
    5
    Thank you!

    That is not too far of a trip so I will definitely have a visit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    Panhandle of Florida
    Posts
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    [QUOTE=davewerden;160275]

    You might take a look at this article I wrote, which talks about how to test euphoniums:

    Thank you for referencing this!
    I jotted down some notes from it that I will have to use when testing euphoniums in the future.

  9. #9
    It shouldn't be a bother at all if you call major music stores and find out what they have on hand. Most any large music store with instruments in stock will let you try them out. This is a very normal and expected thing from customers. Kind of like going in a shoe store and trying on different pairs until you find what you like. Music stores are very used to this. If they aren't, then they are not serving the public very well. But do call ahead, especially if you are traveling a distance, to see what they have in stock.

    You may find used top end horns at music stores, but the majority of them would be found probably in on-line places like eBay and Craig's list and outfits like that. There is a large For Sale section on this forum that you can watch, and some of the better horns for sale on eBay are frequently listed here on the forum as well.

    If you are able to make a trip to the Washington, D.C. / New York area, a few to look at would be:

    1) Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center (they used to, and maybe still do, supply horns to the premier service bands in Washington, D.C., I bought several from them)
    2) Dillon Music in New Jersey
    3) Baltimore Brass Company

    For sure call ahead. Dillon still says you need an appointment to come visit them, but don't know if that is up to date or not.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    Panhandle of Florida
    Posts
    5
    Ok that makes sense.

    Well, thank you for sharing your wisdom and helping out, I truly appreciate it.

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