Age of New Standard EEb Bass ?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by iancwilx, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I have a Besson New Standard EEb Bass with 19" bell that looks like a modern Sov. and I'm curious about its age.
    It is in excellent condition, but because it has been replated, the first two digits of the Reg. No. are not very clear.
    The full number could be any of these :-

    Do any of you knowledgeable guys/gals have any advice as to how to pinpoint its age?

    - Wilkie
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  2. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

    Serial number 663413 would date your tuba to 1981. I do not beleive besson were making new standards at this time (although someone else may correct me on this).

    It is more likely to be numbered 553413 or 563413, which in either case dates the instrument to the later half of 1974.

    Hope this helps

  3. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Excellent Ben - Much obliged.

    - Wilkie
  4. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    I bought a brand new 19" bell B&H Imperial EEb in the latter part of 1980. The serial number was 660xxx.

    Contrary to what is said above , I would say that your instrument IS of early 1980s vintage.
    I would guess that Imperials and New Standards were dropped once the Sovereign was launched which I think was a couple of years later (1983 or 1984?).

    19" bells on Imperials and New Standards weren't a 'standard' fitting until 1979 or 1980 although there were some around (professional players like John Fletcher and John Jenkins and some bands like Brighouse and Fairey, I think) which I presume were made to order although I have no idea if this would have been as far back as 1974.
  5. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Yes, I think you are correct and to back it up further, as well as the 19" bell, my NS also has the large bore mouthpiece pipe which accepts my DW 2L. which I guess would go some way to indicate the later date of 1981
    I googled NS tubas and found some information that agrees with your estimate of 1983 for the introduction of the Sov.

    You guys are a real mine of information - I'm well impressed.

    - Wilkie
  6. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

    Sorry, didn't read the bit about the 19"bell in the original post. Yes, you are correct, 1974 would have been too early for this and I was obviously wrong about New standards not being made in the 1980's. In which case, your serial number is 663413 and was made in late 1981.
  7. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

    You are on a brass forum asking about Brass instruments! What do you expect?
  8. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Well I've been heavily involved with the Brass Band scene for 50 years but wouldn't have known where to personally source that info, and I'd like to bet it's only a miniuscule percentage of tmpers who would have that knowledge.

    I was only saying thankyou, and didn't really expect a reply intimating that I was stupid !

    - Wilkie
  9. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    I can vouch that Ian has been heavily involved, and that he certainly is not stupid! Then again maybe thats because we are both a bit thick :biggrin:. I'm sure young Ben did'nt mean any offence my good buddy (he was probably miffed that he was off the mark with his first assessment ;).

    I'll leave it a while before I ask for mine to be researched.

    PS If we get any more trouble from Ben we'll get our mate Ronnie to perform some minor surgery on his nether regions :D
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
  10. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    You do make me laugh Steve.
    Can we sell tickets for the show when Ron is emasculating the little rascal ?
    Ooh - the very thought of it brings tears to my eyes. (As does looking at the Area "Test" piece !!)

    - YBB
  11. tubbytuba

    tubbytuba Member

    On a similar topic ive been trying to source some similar info about my good old tried and tested Besson Bb its got the i9" bell,a frosted finnish its fitted with the smaller size mouthpiece receiver tube,the name Besson is in the newer style of writing on the bell and it doesnt say new standard the serial no is as follows 6671xx Any help our info would be appreciated Ta
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Here's a picture of John Fletcher from a 1980 CD with his tuba. Although it only says Besson on the bell, it looks like a Sovereign but is it a modified Imperial/New Standard?

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    For a long time I've been under the impression that the Sovereign range was launched in 1974, though I forget where that particular nugget comes from, I must admit... Certainly, I know a player who plays a mid-70s Sovereign euphonium. Maybe the tubas were introduced later?
  14. Active Member

    The Sovereign brand was not launched as a complete range. I think it was euphonium and tenor horn first, in 1974?
  15. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    As I have mentioned before 19" bells on Imperials and New Standards weren't a 'standard' fitting until 1979 or 1980 although there were some around it seems in limited numbers for orchestral players. Copies of Sounding Brass magazines in the 1970s show 19" bell instruments in the hands of John Fletcher, John Jenkins and Stephen Wick etc.

    The CD cover picture of John Fletcher shows an Imperial (or New Standard) with a large bell and straight leadpipe. I would strongly suspect that this instrument was made especially for Mr Fletcher. A similar (possibly the same?) instrument appears in the hands of Mr Fletcher on the front cover of Sounding Brass magazine dated as far back as Summer (July) 1973. The straight (larger) leadpipe was eventually adopted by Boosey and Hawkes for the 981 model Sovereign.
  16. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

    I certaily wasn't implying that you were stupid, only that you seemed surprised that people had answers to your questions. I was just stating that on a forum such as this, there is always likely to be someone who will know the answers to your questions.

    I hope that you weren't offended by my comment, but still fully understand if I still have to put up with the pain of Ronnie's Scalpel on my unmentionables.
  17. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    It may improve your upper register :biggrin:

    (although your lower range may well be - err restricted somewhat)
  18. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Don't worry, Ron'll use a local aneasthetic so it will be painless after the needle goes in and you'll be able to watch him at work !!
    No problem if his hand slips, you just change your name to "Gwen" easy peasy !

    Don't worry about your comment Ben, I was perhaps a bit paranoid.
    It wouldn't be the first time !!

    - Wilkie
  19. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    I'm sure my first Soveriegn EEb was purchased when they were first made and that is recorded as 1985 in our instrument register.

    At the time two types were offered - a higher leadpipe with marching hooks and an "orchestra" version with a lower lead pipe and no hooks. The s/n is 721977 - can anyone confirm the year of manufacture?
  20. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    When I first joined Kippax in 1989 they had a pair of these.
    I seem to recall they were referred to as "Concert Basses"
    There were some very inventive ways of attaching straps for marching jobs, mostly involving bits of wire coat hanger and ending up with the mouthpice either liable to smash your front teeth out or just that little bit too far away to reach comfortably.
    They were excellent basses though.

    - Wilkie

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