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Thread: The Besson Sovereign euphonium: history & review

  1. #1

    The Besson Sovereign euphonium: history & review

    Hi all,
    I anounced some weeks ago that I would do a review of my personal instrument, in the end it got a bit broader than that. I hope you enjoy this little essay of mine on the Besson Sovereign euphonium. English is not my main language however, so my apologies for any odd sentence, word or typo.


    I start off this article with a pretty bold statement: Besson is a brand that everyone who plays the euphonium is familiar with. At least that is so where I’m located at, in mainland Europe. The relationship between the euphonium and Besson can be compared to Vincent Bach and the trumpet and Selmer for the saxophone: they are recognized as one of if not the default high-quality brand for those instruments by their innovative designs in the past and/or the high-profile players who have used those instruments.

    History and development of the Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign euphonium
    The history of Boosey & Co/Boosey & Hawkes/ Besson is a complicated one and one that I can’t do justice in full here, but I’ll give it a try anyway: Boosey & Co acquired a monopoly on the British brass instrument market by the invention of the Blaikley automatic valve system in 1873 for three-valved instruments and in 1874 for four-valved instruments. David James Blaikley was an engineer at the Boosey & Co instrument factory in London and his innovative valve design is the one that we still use today on all professional euphonium models. Boosey & Co merged with Hawkes & Son in 1930 to create the famous Boosey & Hawkes company. Boosey & Hawkes continued to use the business strategy of acquiring other British brass instrument factories and discontinuing those instruments in favor of pushing their own brass instruments on the market. Doing so, they acquired the Besson London factory in 1948. In their own words on their website, Besson became the leading brand for brass instruments.

    There was a time not so long ago that if you wanted to buy a professional-grade euphonium, it had to be a Besson or a Boosey & Hawkes. Boosey & Hawkes continued to manufacture their own “Imperial” line next to the nearly identical Besson “New Standard” throughout the second half of the 20th century. The history of the famous “Sovereign” model starts in 1974, when the patent for the Blaikley automatic compensating system turned hundred years old and presumably expired, finally making it available for other competing brands all over the world.

    Needless to say, Boosey & Hawkes was not planning to suddenly become irrelevant to a market they dominated for so long so they invested into developing a new generation of professional-grade euphoniums and tubas. With the consultation of Denis Wick, the famous trombonist of the London Symphony Orchestra and established mouthpiece manufacturer, they created the Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign euphonium: Essentially a Boosey & Hawkes Imperial with a bigger 12-inch bell and a radically different, large-bore leadpipe design.

    Denis Wick, mainly a trombonist, also used to play all the euphonium and tenor tuba parts in the LSO when required. That might explain that when he was approached by the Boosey & Hawkes company for the creation of their new euphonium, they created what was back then more often looked upon as a tenor tuba, not a euphonium.

    It is a personal observation of mine in regards of trombone players compared to euphonium players that trombone players tend to play more “through” their instruments. Dedicated euphonium players, and tuba players for that matter, play more “into” their instruments. This has probably to do with the air resistance of those instruments. When a trombonist doubles on the euphonium, I can nearly always tell that the euphonium isn’t their main instrument due to this particular observation.

    Back to Denis Wick then, as he is a full-time professional trombonist and occasionally needs to play the euphonium as well. A large-bore leadpipe can work wonders in that situation as it automatically thickens the sound. Dedicated euphonium players from the brass band scene found out on the other hand, that they did not like the new leadpipe design. I’ve seen the prototypes being described as uncontrollable, air-hogs and just too tuba-like to be still called a euphonium. In the end, Boosey & Hawkes settled on a medium-large bore leadpipe and the Sovereign was hailed as a great instrument by most. The Sovereign was made the de-facto euphonium model in ‘80s Europe and beyond by euphonium virtuosos like the Childs brothers, Lyndon Baglin, Steven Mead and many more.

    The “Best Ever Brass Instrument Makers podcast” hosted by Jake Kline and Mathias Wiedmann over in Berlin covered the development of the B&H Sovereign and the influence of the Boosey & Hawkes company in Great-Britain in their interview with Mike Johnson, a custom brass instrument maker from the Manchester area, UK. You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-50714239...w-mike-johnson.

    The Boosey & Hawkes/Besson Sovereign euphonium has been in nearly continuous production for almost fifty years by the time that I write this article, and many of us euphonium enthusiasts have noticed some differences over the years. Thanks to the information that I could gather from the Dave Werden forum by many contributors as well as the Denis Wick website, we can sum up the history and differences over the years:
    - 1974 to mid-1980s: The original B&H Sovereign, often called the “Globe Stamp” due to the logo on the bell. Large shank receiver with a medium-large bore leadpipe soldered to the bell. 12-inch bell. All yellow brass construction with a two-piece bell. I think they started out with metal valve guides although my personal horn from 1980 had plastic ones, they could’ve been retrofitted though. These instruments are much sought after and hailed as the golden generation of Boosey & Hawkes instruments.
    - Mid-1980s to early-1990s: The logo changes from the “Globe Stamp” to the classic Besson London logo with “Sovereign” underneath between two dots and a line under it. Under the line there is “Boosey & Hawkes, England” written. Apart from the logo change they are pretty much the same. Plastic valve guides are now standard.
    - Early-1990s to 2002: The Sovereign “GS” was introduced in ’93 or 94 I believe. It saw some drastic changes from earlier Sovereigns: the leadpipe became “free-floating” by only attaching it to the bell by a brace connected to the receiver. The instrument was now also noticeably lighter. There are threads around on the forum suggesting that these changes were made to make the instrument more in-tune, while others suggests that changes were purely cost-cutting measures. The logo on these instruments was still the same from the earlier instruments by this time. Fun fact: nobody seems to know anymore what “GS” stands for, it might have been “Gold Standard” or “Grand Sovereign”. In the late 1990s/begin 2000s the logo changed to the oval Besson logo with “Sovereign” underneath it. At one point someone also decided that the 1st compensating valve slide shouldn’t be removable anymore, thus it was soldered in place up until present day.
    The period from the 1990s have also been called the “lottery years” due to over-production to the diminishing quality and consistency in production. Douglas Ruby posted some information in regards to this topic here: http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...lver-Very-Nice. Besson introduced the Prestige series of euphonium models as a more luxurious option with a standard main tuning slide out of the box at the end of the ‘90s and to this day, both the Sovereign and Prestige models are sold side by side as the professional models from Besson.
    - 2002-2005: The last English made Besson instrument was made in 2002. Due to financial reasons, tooling was shipped out to Schreiber-Keilwerth in Markneukirchen in Germany were during these years all the parts for Besson instruments were made. These parts were then shipped out to Great-Britain to be assembled there. Besson went Bankrupt in 2005 and were sold to Buffet and was absorbed in the Buffet Crampon Group.
    - 2006 – present: Besson resumed production in 2006 in Markneukirchen. Modern German-made Bessons use different threads and parts then English-made horns of the past making them not interchangeable. Schreiber-Keilwerth, the last leftover brand from the late Boosey & Hawkes group continued to manufacture brass instruments using the original Besson tooling under the brand name “York” until they went bankrupt themselves and were bought up by the Buffet Crampon group who discontinued the brand in 2010. By 2018, the logo on Besson instruments changed to the newer “Besson London” logo starting with the Besson 180th anniversary limited edition instruments.

    The original Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign euphonium did not bear a model number until around 1983, when it was given model number 967. Apart from the “standard” large-bore, large-bell model 967, there were also two other models which were slightly different in specifications. Developed in 1985, the Sovereign 966 used a smaller 11-inch bell with a more traditional leadpipe that was more angular compared to the 967. The internal taper of the leadpipe also expanded more moderately. British euphonium virtuoso Morgan Griffiths is known for his preference towards this instrument. In the early 90s the 966 was replaced by the 968 model. The 968 differed only in bell size from the 967 with a 11-inch bell.

    Besson BE967T-2 review
    Introduction

    Now that we got the history of the Besson Sovereign euphonium model pretty much taken care off, I’ll now go on with my review of my personal instrument of choice, a Besson BE967T-2 manufactured in 2019. Up until now I tried to be as objective as possible in regards to the history of the Besson/Boosey & Hawkes brand and their models, the next chapter of this article will be riddled with my personal opinions and will be very subjective, please keep that in mind when reading.

    This will be a shocker to some readers, but the instrument that I owned before I bought the German-made Sovereign that I play now was a 1980 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign euphonium. Yes, you heard that right. I owned and played a Globe Stamp and even had it completely refurbished by the famous McQueens in Manchester after I fell from my bike with it. You can still look up the thread on the Dave Werden forum from when I just got my instrument back from England. The sound was absolutely gorgeous but it also had some major downsides, mainly intonation.

    As this horn did in fact have aftermarket trigger installed on it, it was a truly abysmal one: The main tuning slide would often not come back up and I actually snapped the trigger spring not once, not twice but three times. It also lacked any kind of belly guard so in the end, I uninstalled it and tried to tame the intonation using alternate fingerings. Note that I said “tried”. Apart from the intonation, the valves were also on their way out with the fourth valve sounding very airy so by the time when I started graduate school, I started looking at other options.

    I visited the Buffet Crampon Showroom in Amsterdam a couple of times in fall 2019 and tested the Sovereign next to the Prestige. As I generally trust my first impressions fairly well, it did not take long before I pulled the trigger on the Sovereign. I considered other options as well of course, but I was offered a generous partial exchange that resulted in a very steep discount on the price of the new Sovereign, so that’s the offer I took and looking back, I’m very glad I did.

    Playing characteristics
    The modern German-made Besson Sovereign 967T has full, warm tone. On the scale from dark to clear, I would put it somewhere middle, leaning towards dark. This allows it to be used in great effect in all sorts of ensembles and music. The lighter bell and free-floating leadpipe also make this a very lively instrument with excellent responsiveness and articulation. The low register is in my opinion unmatched, it has just the right amount of resistance that allows you to play with ease down there where as most euphoniums will tend to sound stuffy below the low F. Pedal register is also very free-blowing, I have never been able to play as loud while still retaining tonal quality as I am able to do with this horn. The high register seemed to have a learning curve at first, as couldn’t really make it sound nice above the high Bb. However, with the right amount of time, practice, airflow and air support I am currently able to make this horn sing beautifully and comfortably in the high register.

    Intonation on Besson euphoniums has often been cited as a weak-point, and I can understand why. Low B natural is flat, F, F sharp and G and in de the middle register are high as well as the D above when played open. 6th partials are traditionally high on Besson euphoniums and this example is no different. High C is also low when played open as it is on most euphoniums. Intonation is not perfect, not at all, but it is also not problematic. As you learn to know the instrument you automatically adapt your playing to be in tune, and with the addition of an excellent trigger design the intonation of this horn is absolutely fine in my opinion. However, I would not get this instrument without the trigger.

    Slotting and flexibility are also very good. I tend to play with a lot of core/center in the sound and can be quite an energetic/aggressive player at times and that is possible with this instrument. I have played instruments in the past that played easier than this Besson does, namely the Adams E1 and the Yamaha Custom, but both of those horns do not come close to the quality of sound that this Besson can produce in my opinion, and that is a trade-off that I am content with.

    Build quality and construction
    The Besson Sovereign is a well-build instrument, I have not noticed any defects in the build quality in all the solder joints or braces. The current German-made Sovereign is an almost exact copy of the Sovereign GS introduced in the early 1990s. A while ago I acquired an example made in 1994 and struggled to find differences between them. Some minor ones are:
    - The 1994 Sovereign has a brace between the legs of the main tuning slide, the German-made ones do not, even the ones without trigger.
    - 1st compensating valve slide is removable and has draw knobs, the German-made one is not removable
    - The “false piece”, the inert piece of tubing which upon the right hand rests, is different. The 1994 one is soldered directly onto the top bow where as the German-made one is soldered with braces.
    - The lyre box, traditionally located on the 3rd valve slide, has moved to the 1st valve slide on the German-made one with trigger, the ones without trigger still have it located on the 3rd valve slide.

    What I have noticed is that German-made horns use very soft brass compared to their earlier brethren made in England. Now, that doesn’t mean that the German instruments are not as structurally sound or are made with lesser quality materials per se, but it is very easy to dent it. I try to be as careful as I should be with a musical instrument, but I have seen dents pop in the bell from merely pushing a mute snug in the bell during rehearsal. On the contrary, dents can be easily taken out of course, especially in the bell.

    A lot of people including myself have noticed that the weight of the Sovereign model has come down somewhat over the years. Many see this negatively as a cost-cutting measure that comes with using cheaper materials. I, in fact, like to have lighter instrument. I’ve always had trouble with ergonomics when playing with my former instruments while with my current one I never have trouble playing with a straight back and little muscle strain. The weight and the position of the leadpipe do help with that in my case.

    The compensating valve-block is in my opinion the best set of valves in any instrument that I have played. They come with plastic-coated Mead springs from the factory, as well as rubber dampeners in the bottom valve caps and in the bottom of the actual valve, resulting in a very quiet action. The valves are very fast, quiet and close together so using them is very comfortable. They use plastic valve guides that do wear out over time, but are cheap to replace.

    The trigger found on Besson euphoniums is hands-down the best mechanism I’ve encountered on euphoniums. If your main tuning slide is lubed up right, it is a very fluid action. Tuning can be easily adjusted by turning the connecting rod and if you need to access your main tuning slide, you can simply pop out the minibal out of the socket. The trigger assembly is also quite light and has no great impact on the overall weight of the instrument. However, triggers are moving parts that require some attention and care for them to operate as they should. They are often the part on euphoniums that require maintenance most often, so keep that in mind if you want yours to work flawlessly.

    The belly guard on the other hand, is one part of this instrument I really can’t say many good things about. In the year and a half that I have owned and played this euphonium on a daily basis, I have broken two plastic belly guards with the third one on its way out showing cracks. These belly guards attach via a rod to instrument that you have to screw down on one side, with the other side directly screwed through the plastic plate. The side that you have screw into place through the plastic is the structural weak point of the instrument as it is guaranteed to crack and break off due to daily use. My particular instrument is even worse as the rod on the other side does not fit snug into its attaching point, making it very wobbly.

    Besson does however include a smaller metal guard that you can attach to one side of the main tuning slide. This smaller plate is useless to me however, as it does not protect the action well enough to not make contact with my body while playing. Your mileage may vary as you might hold your instrument in another way than I do.

    My particular example is silverplated, as that is my preference. The silver plating is generally good, but not the best I’ve seen. The silver plating that is found on Hirsbrunner brass instruments is in my opinion the gold standard for every brass instrument and is in a different league than the plating on my Besson. As I am aware that playing your instrument a lot can result in wearing down the finish rather quickly, I wipe down my instrument every time before I put it back in the case. But even with that routine I’ve managed to wear off some silver plate on the 1st compensating loop where the right thumb rests on. Not a big deal and easily fixed with some clear tape, but sad to see on your expensive new “professional” euphonium.

    What’s in the box?
    When you buy a Besson Sovereign BE967T-2 euphonium like mine, you’ll get a standard case with some accessories included:
    The case is a molded, brown ABS case with latches that is very solid and sturdy. It has a big handle on top and a smaller one on the side, making it only carriable by hand. As it is quiet heavy to by carried by one hand, I do not use it regularly. Inside there is a compartment for sheet music hidden in the top half with the bottom half heaving the instrument inside a Besson red fabric bag, a mouthpiece holder and a deeper compartment filled with a music lyre with some screws for mounting, a polishing cloth, some replacement rubber dampeners, the smaller metal belly guard, metal valve gutter, some paperwork, valve oil and the included mouthpiece: an Alliance E3A.

    Conclusion
    I very much like my German-made Besson Sovereign euphonium. It fits the music I play very well and is in my opinion very versatile. I’ve used this instrument as a soloist on concerts and auditions with success, and in very different ensembles such as brass band, wind band, symphony orchestra, tuba quartet, brass ensemble and others. It has yet to let me down. You can listen to me playing my horn in a couple of recordings:

    -Euphonium Concerto No.2 - II. Largo Elegaico (In Memoriam: John Childs) - John Golland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOkYIsLZZj4
    -Soliloquies - John Stevens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXFMU_gYXp8
    -Peter Graham - Six A Capella Studies - No. 2 - A Time for Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCCQlu-_QoQ

    Compared to the other professional Besson offering, the Besson Prestige, I find that the Sovereign is a little more focused and somewhat brighter while still being capable to produce a very big “British” sound. The two horns are very similar as they only differ in bell thickness and leadpipe design next to the cosmetics.

    I would certainly recommend this instrument for the aspiring professional or the serious amateur euphonium players out there. It is a well-build instrument with great mechanics and good build quality, if the sound and characteristics suits you it is definitely not a bad buy.

    That said, there are things I would like to see improved on an instrument with this kind of price tag, mainly the polycarbonate belly guard and some improved quality control in the little things such as fitting of the rods and screws, finger button inlays not glued down from the factory etc. Those are not deal-breakers in my opinion, but frustrating as they can be quickly solved in the factory.

    I also hope that one day that a company such as Besson with very traditional models on offer will go on the experimentation route once again to improve their instruments to an even better standard. It’s great to see the diversity of euphonium brands and models you can buy today, but in the end they’re all made in mostly the same way with four piston valves and hydroformed bows.

    I can only think of one completely hand-made euphonium that doesn’t make use of hydroforming and that is the Inderbinen euphonium from Switzerland, go look it up but make sure that you sit down when you read the price tag. As for the use of piston valves: Mike Johnson Custom has converted many E-flat British style tubas to use a rotary fourth valve and has found an improvement in the low register next to the obvious improved ergonomics. Wessex also makes use of the 3 pistons + 1 rotary on their larger tubas. I’m hoping to see another manufacturer try this out on a euphonium model in the near future as I think we can all agree that the euphonium can also use some work in the ergonomics department.

    Sadly, I’ve not noticed any enthusiasm from Besson on some user feedback on their products. I know of a colleague who made a very extensive comparison between a Bb Besson tuba and a Bb Melton Fafner, both from the Buffet Crampon group. In his comparison he made some points about the Besson that are well-known among Bb Besson players for decades now. The document was sent to a very well-known Besson endorser who in turn forwarded it to the R&D facility of Besson, never to be heard again.

    I hope you enjoyed this essay as much as I did, thank you for reading!
    Last edited by Vito; 07-19-2021 at 05:18 AM.
    2019 Besson Sovereign 967T silverplated - Denis Wick SM4U

  2. Vito,

    Great write up. I want to say that I REALLY like your playing. You sound fantastic. I haven't listened all the way through the Golland piece, but the Stevens is magnificent! Keep playing the heck out of your 967T. BTW, AFAIK, the 1st valve compensating slide was removable throughout all British production, even into the early German production, and only became fixed soon after German production. Also, Your 1980 had updated valves if it had the Besson style plastic guides. Many earlier Besson/B&H horns, including New Standard, Imperial, and Sovereign have been upgraded with plastic screw-in tacquets that will work in the old-style valves. Also, the dampeners, Mead Springs, and modern synthetic felts can be retrofitted to the old horns.

    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

  3. #3
    Beautiful playing! I agree with Doug--you sound fantastic. The Sovereign is a very special instrument when played with the wonderful musicianship you show in these videos. I've subscribed to your YouTube channel and hope for more!

    John

  4. Rock-solid writeup, and even better playing. Thank you.
    Much food for thought and the essay and clips will reward re-reading and re-listening.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    What a great write-up Vito! A lot of good information there. Your playing is top notch too. Enjoyed it very much.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
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  6. #6
    Wow - that's a great review/article! (I have to listen to the recordings yet - lots going on for me right now!)

    I will take exception with one point:

    Quote Originally Posted by Vito View Post
    I can only think of one completely hand-made euphonium that doesn’t make use of hydroforming and that is the Inderbinen euphonium from Switzerland, go look it up but make sure that you sit down when you read the price tag.
    The Adams Custom euphoniums (E1, E2, E3) do not use hydroforming. They are made from sheet metal and are built by hand. That is what Adams says and it matches what I saw when I toured the factory. The hand assembly is one reason they can offer such a dazzling array of configurations (even before you add some of the custom touches I did).
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    Vito,

    BTW, AFAIK, the 1st valve compensating slide was removable throughout all British production, even into the early German production, and only became fixed soon after German production. Also, Your 1980 had updated valves if it had the Besson style plastic guides. Many earlier Besson/B&H horns, including New Standard, Imperial, and Sovereign have been upgraded with plastic screw-in tacquets that will work in the old-style valves.
    Doug
    Hi Doug, thank you for the nice comments!
    I actually played a very late English-made Sovereign which did not have removable 1st valve compensating slide. I'm sure it had "made in England" on the logo, but it might have been a Schreiber-Keilwerth one. Yes I suspected as much with my particular 1980 round stamp. like you described it used plastic bits that were screwed in the valve unlike modern Besson valve guides.
    2019 Besson Sovereign 967T silverplated - Denis Wick SM4U

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    The Adams Custom euphoniums (E1, E2, E3) do not use hydroforming. They are made from sheet metal and are built by hand. That is what Adams says and it matches what I saw when I toured the factory. The hand assembly is one reason they can offer such a dazzling array of configurations (even before you add some of the custom touches I did).
    Hi Dave, thank you as well!
    I'm not sure about Adams not being a hydroformed instrument, I will ask some people who work there and let you know.

    My point about the hydroforming stuff is that most euphoniums on the market today are all very similarly made apart from the odd difference in specification or cosmetics as they all use the same setup and configuration. Nowadays when a new model or brand is announced it is almost always a new revisement of what is in essence the original 1874 Boosey & Co. model. Sure, we've come a long way since then, whitout a doubt, but I miss some innovation and experimentation on the market today.
    Take for example Wessex: I've had no first-hand experience with Wessex yet, but I applaud them for their "Leviathan" model Bb tuba that was developed to compete directly with the Besson Bb tuba on the British banding scene. The Leviathan seems to be almost certainly an improvement over the latter as it features drastic changes to an older design like the Besson, and that's the kind of innovation I miss on the euphonium market. I want to see another tubing lay-out, bugle wrap, different valves etc. instead of recycling the same designs. Just a thought.
    2019 Besson Sovereign 967T silverplated - Denis Wick SM4U

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Vito View Post
    My point about the hydroforming stuff is that most euphoniums on the market today are all very similarly made apart from the odd difference in specification or cosmetics as they all use the same setup and configuration. Nowadays when a new model or brand is announced it is almost always a new revisement of what is in essence the original 1874 Boosey & Co. model. Sure, we've come a long way since then, whitout a doubt, but I miss some innovation and experimentation on the market today.
    We have a problem in the euphonium world. Part is "attitude." If you are an aspiring euphonium player, do you want to buy a horn that looks a lot different from the ones Bowman/Childs/Mead/etc. play? Adams is innovating a lot in trumpet/flugel lines, but I'm not sure what the difference is, although part of it is certainly the number of trumpets any company is going to sell vs. the number of euphoniums they will sell. Also, toying with in instrument that sells for 3x or 4x what a trumpet does is inherently more risky. I suspect part of it is having more room to twist the wrap of a trumpet and still have it be practical to hold. Not so easy with a COMPENSATING euphonium, which has a very intense wrap.

    Moderator Doug is playing a prototype where Adams incorporated to experiments: short-action valves and top-sprung valves (the latter being my suggestion, which Miel built for this experiment). They displayed these at several shows. I have to think that attendee response did not reveal a market large enough to put this in as a production model. That said, Adams is willing to do custom work if a customer wants it done and understands the extra cost. Such work may evolve into production models if the right combination of factors line up. I'll put some examples below from their high brass. At least some of these were driven by an artist who wanted something different.

    Some changes may not be a good idea. Besson had models just like my horn in design except for a curved, adjustable bell. The market didn't have much demand, though.

    When I got my first Adams horn (an E1) they still had a pretty large reach around the 3rd slide tubes. They modified mine so it had a greatly reduced reach, but it required more than just bending one tube. (That later made it into production.)

    In my current horn I have Amado-style water keys, which Adams offers. But beyond that, I have specified a non-standard placement for them, which I find much quicker to use. It's a small change, but one *I* like. However, I wonder if the average college player looking at such a model on display would think, "Nice!" Until they tried it, they would be hard pressed to imagine why on Earth I wanted that.

    I should add the Adjustable Gap Receiver as a nice feature that Adams chose to use, even though no other "big brand" was using it. Adams is also the first major euphonium manufacturer to offer metal in several thicknesses and alloys. Such options are a burden for production and are costly, so it is not surprising that companies like Buffet/Besson are not offering so many. Adams is a very unique company in several respects!

    I suppose we could start a thread for suggestions of design changes to a compensating euphonium.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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

  10. #10
    Very well done and informative. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write this.
    John Packer JP274L Euphonium
    __________________________
    “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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