Brassy Mum

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Timmy's Taxis, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. Timmy's Taxis

    Timmy's Taxis New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Hi
    Growing up playing piano and viola I had no experience of brass. (and the crazy world of transposing instrunents!) My two kids had whole class free brass lessons in Y4 (age 8/9) and we are all hooked. My 12 yo daughter plays Tenor Horn to Grade 3 standard and my 10yo son started on Tenor Horn but switched to Trombone. They play in the town Children’s Brass Band. I want to by my daughter her own Tenor Horn now and I’m keen for advice on intermediate models, budget about £1500 but for an exceptional deal we’ll scrimp and save for a couple of hundred more.
     
    KenIrvin likes this.
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

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    6,531
    Location:
    Oxford
    For that money, you can (and general wisdom would say, should) buy a second hand professional model - you won't have to upgrade in the future, it'll physically last better and financially keep its value better, plus it'll make a sound that will work in any section. I'll leave specific tenor horn recommendations to the experts - barring the observation that the Besson Sovereign is what most have played for a long time. Many are tempted to buy new cheap Chinese branded imports (anything that is new and notably cheap - ~£300 range - will be of this type), but on your budget (which is bigger than many) you have no need to cut corners and risk getting an instrument that you struggle with after-sales care for (and is likely to need it - second hand removes this consideration as previous owners have made it work).

    Private sales will be cheaper than buying from a shop, but of course you have to find them. Speak to somebody local with their finger on the brass buying and selling pulse - (or perhaps someone here will be able to point you in the right direction, but it's hard to in the absence of location info). Even if you don't buy from them, brass shops are often good places to start enquiries - they have people coming in to them all the time looking to sell instruments and can put you in touch with suitable people that they remember (then the shop builds goodwill, boosts future sales, etc.).

    Here's one online - a second hand Sovereign for £1900 (cf. new is ~£3k). I wouldn't personally pay that for one - that's the premium you pay for buying (even second hand) from a specialist shop. With a little patience, you ought to be able to find a nice one for a fair bit less than that.
     
    Tom-King likes this.
  3. Timmy's Taxis

    Timmy's Taxis New Member

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    5
    Thanks Moomin...we are in Cheshire. Should I be asking if an instrunent has been serviced? Which parts are vulnerable on a second hand instrument? Are there parts that need regular replacement - I’ve seen valve springs and something that looks a bit like a washer on my online travels.
     
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Oxford
    Best bet is to ask a good player that you have a link to to tag along to look it over and blow it for you. Most will be more than happy to do this in return for a pint or two...

    Short answer is that things like springs and felts are very cheap and easily replaced if they need to be. But actually all the bits and pieces tend to last happily for decades unless specifically damaged.
     
    Timmy's Taxis likes this.
  5. KenIrvin

    KenIrvin Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Ashbourne, Derbyshire
    If buying from a dealer make sure that the instrument has been professionally serviced. If private buy then ask the same question but be aware that a professional service may be neccessary at some stage. If it plays well, and all the moving parts move freely and is free from major damage or signs of repair it should be OK. Talk to your local band and ask where they have their instuments serviced.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
    Timmy's Taxis and MoominDave like this.
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Oxford
    Lots of brass band stuff within easy reach of Cheshire - your location's about as helpful as it might have been. I'm in the South, so don't know the scene round there, but here's a couple of shop names that aren't a million miles away that have a good rep:

    Normans - Burton upon Trent
    McQueens - Manchester
     
    Timmy's Taxis likes this.
  7. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Some more possibles for you, starting close to Cheshire:

    Alan Gregory (Manchester):
    Eb Tenor Horns
    They currently have Yamaha YAH-203 tenors in stock; in lacquer at £1,095, and silver at £1,229.

    Forsyth's (Manchester):
    Search - Forsyths Music Shop
    They have Trevor James Renaissance tenors at £1,279, and Yamaha YAH-203 tenors in lacquer at £1,464.

    A bit further away, Band Supplies (Leeds):
    Student Tenor Horns
    Yamaha YAH-203 tenors in stock; in lacquer at £1,279, and silver at £1,449.

    If you want a particular instrument second-hand, or one they don't have in stock, all of these shops are happy to take such requests.

    Re. the particular models I've listed above; I don't know anything about tenor horns, so cannot advise you on how they compare, but I'm sure that tenor players on this forum will do so.

    HTH,

    Jack E.
     
    Timmy's Taxis likes this.
  8. Timmy's Taxis

    Timmy's Taxis New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Can I bore you with my shortlist and seek some views on price etc? All second hand obvs and locations I can reach
    Geneva Symphony dealer £1500
    Sterling Virtuoso private £1700
    Sterling Virtuoso dealer £1100 (raw, have read raw v laquer/plate debates so seeking info on cost of plating)
    Boosey and Hawkes Sovereign Roundstamp dealer fully refurb/replate £1700
    Yamaha Maestro £1500 private.
    Do any of these jump out to Tenor Horn player?
    Thanks there are some recent Tenor Horn threads I’ve read with interest. One thread led me to explore the Geneva range. Another led me to question the Boosey and Hawkes which I think if the thread is correct is 40 yo. Are there any views on the Edgeware range which I think is new.
    Cheers
     
  9. KenIrvin

    KenIrvin Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Ashbourne, Derbyshire
    For me I would stretch to the Besson
    The Edgeware is promoted by Norman's who claim its good value but I have not tried the range. Usually come out about the same price as a new Besson student model instrument.
     
    Timmy's Taxis likes this.
  10. Timmy's Taxis

    Timmy's Taxis New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks , yes this is the dilemma, spend another £300 or £400 on a second hand pro Besson, takes me well over budget though. Was not really thinking of a new student Besson but can see there are advantages. I get what you’re saying about the Edgeware.
     
  11. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Messages:
    499
    Location:
    Dereham, Norfolk
    My 11 year old son plays tenor horn, and he's got my wife's old Besson Sovereign. As a rule you are looking at around 1300 - 1500 but you might need to look wider than just local. I'd also suggest seeing if a local band friend can come with you to help advise (and try it out for you)

    Makes to look for - Willson, Besson Prestige, Besson Sovereign, Round Stamp Sovereign. Not sure about the Sterlings, although I know plenty who like their Euphs and Baris, and we quite liked the Geneva Cardinal, until we saw a second hand one 2 years old with the finish already coming off it

    Band Supplies at Leeds are good to talk to, Normans as well. Our son's tenor horn came from there originally. Look at the Duchy Brass website and also the Facebook Buy and Sell Brass page

    As Moomin mentioned try and go for a better second hand instrument than a "student" level new one - our son had his pretty much from Grade 1 and he's now doing work towards Grade 6. He'll probably want to replace it eventually but he's got his eye on a Prestige - but thats still a few years off - lots of pocket money to save up
     
    Timmy's Taxis likes this.
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Oxford
    Raw brass vs lacquer vs silver plate. It doesn't make a noticeable difference to playing characteristics - though many people will claim that it does. It's a favourite rabbit-hole among brass players - don't get pulled down it :) All can agree that a player relatively early on in their development will not be able to tell the difference. And raw brass will need polishing all the time and will leave green marks on your daughter's hands. Raw brass is in this situation best avoided. Silver plate is harder wearing than lacquer, but either is fine - it's the difference between needing to replate in a decade or a century...

    All of these are respectable - general thoughts on the instrumental range mentioned:
    - Geneva is a new player on the scene (a decade or so). Some decent players play them. They've been around long enough that we can start to rely on them as a company not disappearing off under normal circumstances (though do we live in normal economic times?).
    - Sterling is not such a new player, but it's also not long long established (several decades), and it's never grown a strong market share. Some decent players play them.
    - Yamaha - is a quality and reliable make, the massive Japanese operation famed in recent decades for manufacturing consistency. Maestro was their former top-line model. This will be a good instrument, chances are.
    - B&H Sovereign 'round stamp' - I'll insert a little bit of background here in case it's not already clear - B&H and Besson - same company; a B&H Sovereign and a Besson Sovereign are the same design. They used different corporate badgings in different eras. Although good instruments can come from all eras of their manufacture, quality became more variable in the 90s in the era in which many bands placed lottery-grant-funded orders for whole new instrument sets - the B&H factory couldn't really cope with the demand, and in fact it was in general run so poorly that it went bankrupt in the 2000s (reasons are complex and I don't know the whole story). Instruments are now made in Germany, and are reportedly as good as they ever were. But second hand, a prized era was marked with round stamp on the bell (those stamped with a globe are also prized). A 'round stamp' Sovereign attracts a price mark-up, but if you choose carefully you'll find Sovereigns from less prized eras that are just as good as any. The Sovereign design is old - but musical needs haven't changed. In fact, it's older than you realise - the Sovereign is a fatter version of the old Imperial, which range was designed by Boosey's resident acoustic genius David Blaikley waaaay way back - in the first decades of the 20th century. The Imperials are too small-bore for modern banding, but they do what they're designed to do excellently.

    I hope that helps make things clearer - you seem keen on a bit of detail :)

    Something worth bearing in mind is what instruments she'll be playing alongside once she develops into a serious player. Every design has its consistent little quirks of tuning and intonation, and it is considerably easier to develop a consistent way of playing within a section if everyone is on the same model. I'm not saying that is a prohibitive consideration - but in a world where most sections she'll encounter will be on Sovereigns, she'll have an easier time of playing in tune with other horn players if she plays a Sovereign too.

    I would be inclined to say, if you must this second buy one of that list:
    Consider most strongly the Yamaha and the Sovereign. And if you (she) prefer(s) the Sovereign, look around for one a little cheaper. There are many Sovereign tenor horns in the world.
     
    KenIrvin likes this.
  13. Timmy's Taxis

    Timmy's Taxis New Member

    Messages:
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